Ranking the ACC Out-of-Conference Schedules
The 14 ACC schools certainly have different scheduling philosophies for out-of-conference games. However, there is not one team that has a truly embarrassing slate, especially relative to the program at issue. Here is the Confidential’s ranking of teams and the degree of difficulty for their OOC schedules:
Syracuse–USC and Missouri. That alone puts them atop the list. Add in Northwestern and Minnesota as two more BCS-level opponents. Even Stony Brook is a high-level FCS opponent. Syracuse gets the AC/DC Honorary “Big Balls” Award.
Miami–Kansas State, South Florida and Notre Dame are three high quality opponents. Only Bethune-Cookman is a sure win.
Florida State–Florida and South Florida are very challenging opponents. And FSU gets points for being willing to schedule West Virginia, even though that game was cancelled due to West Virginia fleeing the Big East.
Clemson–Auburn and South Carolina are two high-quality OOC opponents also. Ball State may be tricky too.
Boston College: Notre Dame and Northwestern will be challenges. Maine is good for an FCS program. Army may or may not be good.
Virginia–Penn State was supposed to be the key game, but that is now weaker. TCU remains as a very tough opponent though. Louisiana Tech and Richmond round out the schedule.
Pitt: Virginia Tech and Notre Dame are tough opponents. Youngstown State and Gardner-Webb mean two FCS opponents. Buffalo is not an overly difficult game for OOC #5.
Virginia Tech–returned to its Big East roots with games and Pitt and Cincinnati. The other games are against Bowling Green and Austin Peay. Meh.
Maryland–West Virginia and UConn, which gives Maryland the edge over NC State. Temple is not a shabby third OOC game. William and Mary round out the schedule.
North Carolina State–Tennessee and UConn will be OK opponents, but this is not the Tennessee of the 1990s and UConn did not exist back then. South Alabama and Citadel are decent for their mid-major/FCS levels, respectively.
Georgia Tech–Georgia is always tough. Brigham Young may or may not be a challenge, but Middle Tennessee State and Presbyterian are not going to be.
Wake Forest–Notre Dame will be tough, and you can never look past Vanderbilt. Army and Liberty are also on the schedule.
Duke–Besides Stanford, the Blue Devils play a soft Florida International, Memphis, and North Carolina Central.
North Carolina–Louisville will be good, but Idaho, Elon, and East Carolina are underwhelming. North Carolina gets the Beck Honorary “Loser” Award for 2012. [And let’s not talk scandal either.]