A Quick Look at the ACC Schools’ Out-of-Conference Opponents
The Confidential has already done its over-under projections for each team in 2016. In doing so, it became obvious that some ACC teams are scheduling tough, and some ACC teams are scheduling weak opponents. Let’s take a closer look (bold games are rivalries or conference-dictated games with Notre Dame).
- Boston College: UMass, Wagner, Buffalo, UConn
- Clemson: Auburn, Troy, S Carolina State, South Carolina
- Duke: NC Central, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Army
- FSU: Ole Miss, Charleston Southern, USF, Florida
- Georgia Tech: Mercer, Vanderbilt, Georgia Southern, Georgia
- Louisville: Charlotte, Marshall, Houston, Kentucky
- Miami: Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, Notre Dame
- North Carolina: Georgia, Illinois, James Madison, Citadel
- North Carolina State: William & Mary, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Notre Dame
- Pittsburgh: Villanova, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Marshall
- Syracuse: Colgate, USF, UConn, Notre Dame
- Virginia: Richmond, Oregon, UConn, Central Michigan
- Virginia Tech: Liberty, Tennessee, East Carolina, Notre Dame
- Wake Forest: Tulane, Delaware, Indiana, Army
The Annual Greg Schiano Pansy Scheduling Award:
Boston College–after years of decent, tough scheduling, the Eagles decided to go to the opposite extreme with UConn being the toughest opponent. Not a single P5 opponent, which is unique to the conference and earns this spot.
Runner-up: Wake Forest gets the nod by having Indiana on its schedule. Do not sleep on Tulane under its new coach. Army is never a pushover either.
The To Be The Best, You Must Beat the Best Award:
Pittsburgh: After a great leap last year, the Panthers are looking to not only win the Coastal, but make playoff noise if they can win out. Villanova is a tougher-than-normal FCS opponent. Then, Penn State and Oklahoma State will be two huge out-of-conference tussles. Marshall is no slouch either, especially for a late-season game.
Runner-up: North Carolina is taking on an SEC foe and a Big 10 foe (albeit Illinois). Although Virginia Tech has Tennessee and Notre Dame, the latter was dictated by the ACC. Credit to the Hokies, but UNC did its two major conference opponents 100% voluntarily.
The That’s Just How Champions Schedule Award:
Clemson (tie): With South Carolina at the back end of the schedule, Clemson still went ahead and scheduled Auburn at the front end. When you are in the hunt for the playoffs year-after-year, only then does scheduling matter and Clemson is doing the right thing by having two SEC schools. Not Clemson’s fault if South Carolina is/becomes a dumpster fire.
Florida State (tie): Florida State added Mississippi to Florida, This may be an even tougher combination than Clemson’s. Or it may not be. Either way, credit to the Seminoles for scheduling tough, as a potential playoff team should.
If we had to rank the schedule difficulty, without regard to how the teams were scheduled, we would do it this way
- Florida State–USF as a third opponent trumps Troy
- Clemson–see above
- Virginia Tech–Tennessee and Notre Dame are two very difficult opponents for the Hokies
- Pittsburgh–Penn State and Oklahoma State are two very difficult opponents scheduled voluntarily, while Villanova and Marshall are local teams with the motivation to ruin Pitt’s season
- North Carolina–like Pitt, UNC had to get Georgia and Illinois on its schedule without the ACC’s help. Still, it is only Illinois.
- Duke–the ACC forced Duke’s hand on Notre Dame, but Northwestern is a quality add.
- Georgia Tech–Georgia is an annual foe, but Vanderbilt is a second P5 school.
- Louisville–Kentucky is what it is… the Indiana of the SEC. Houston will/should be very good. A very challenging schedule, on top of Clemson/FSU.
- Syracuse–usually at the top of this list, Notre Dame keeps Syracuse above many schools, while USF is a good AAC team. Probably. Neither USF or UConn are P5 teams.
- Virginia–Oregon will be tough, the remainder is not
- NC State–Notre Dame is tough, East Carolina is good. William & Mary and Old Dominion?
- Miami–Notre Dame and little else, although App State is always capable of the upset, while the local schools will WANT to win badly
- Wake Forest–Indiana is what keeps Wake Forest out of the basement. Pretty sad.
- B.C.–when UConn anchors your OOC schedule, you have made your path as easy as possible. A team that upset USC a few years ago is capable of a little bit more challenge than this.
What do you think? Did we get these awards/rankings right or wrong?