EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans leads the band after the Trojans upset the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. USC won the game 38-35. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
By Ben Johnson - Special to SBNation.com
As I was writing my weekly Trojan column on My Favorite 5 this week, I broke down the infamous hype surrounding the SEC and the fact that most of the giants within this super conference do not play each other every year and it inspired me to take a closer look at the overall schedules for the entire Top-25.
I use PhilSteele.com due to the fact that he and I are on a similar page in terms of breaking down statistics and knowing how to apply them, so I will use Phil Steele's Top-25 because I think it is pretty accurate, other than Florida State at #1.
Just a side note, if the NCAA is serious about creating a subcommittee to determine the final four for the first ever college football playoffs in 2014, they lose all credibility in my mind if Phil Steele is left off the list.
The guy is consumed by college football...perhaps one day we can work together in creating some statistical metrics that accurately reflect the true power grid for college football.
Breaking Down Phil Steele's Top-25...One Schedule At A Time:
|Rank/Team||Conference||Non Conference||Who They Miss (Conference)||Schedule Rank|
|1. Florida St.||Wake, Clemson, @ NC State, BC, @ Miami, Duke, @ VTech, @ Maryland||Murray St, Savannah St, USF, Florida||UNC, GTech, Virginia||70th|
|2. Oklahoma||KState, @ TTech, Texas, Kansas, @ Iowa St, Baylor, @ W. Virginia, Oklahoma St, @ TCU.||UTEP, Florida A&M, Notre Dame||None||20th|
|3. LSU||@ Auburn, @ Florida, S. Carolina, @ Texas A&M, Alabama, Miss. St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas.||N. Texas, Washington, Idaho||Kentucky, Georgia, Missou, Tennessee.||29th|
|4. USC||@ Stanford, Cal, @ Utah, @ Washington, Colorado, @ Arizona, Oregon, ASU, @ UCLA.||Hawai'i, Syracuse, Notre Dame||Oregon St, Washington St.||30th|
|5. Alabama||@ Arkansas, Ole Miss, @ Missou, @ Tennessee, Miss State, @ LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn.||Michigan, WKU, FIU.||Florida, Georgia, Vandy, S. Carolina.||28th|
|6. Oregon||Arizona, @ WSU, Washington, @ ASU, Colorado, @ USC, @ Cal, Stanford, @ OSU||Arkansas St, Fresno St, Tennessee Tech.||Utah, UCLA.||55th|
|7. Texas||@ Oklahoma St, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Baylor, @ Kansas, @ TTech, Iowa St, TCU, @ KState.||Wyoming, New Mexico, Ole Miss.||None.||36th|
|8. Georgia||@ Missou, Vandy, Tennessee, @ S. Carolina, @ Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss, @ Auburn||Buffalo, FIU, Georgia Southern.||LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Arkansas.||72nd|
|9. Wisconsin||@ Nebraska, Illinois, @ Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan St, @ Indiana, Ohio State, @ Penn St.||N. Iowa, Oregon St, Utah St, UTEP.||Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern.||56th|
|10. Florida||@ Texas A&M, @ Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, @ Vandy, S. Carolina, Georgia, Missou,||Bowling Green , Louisiana, Jacksonville St, Florida St.||Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss St.||5th|
|11. Ohio St.||@ Michigan St, Nebraska, @ Indy, Purdue, @ Penn St, Illinois, @ Wisconsin, Michigan||Miami (OH), UCF, Cal, UAB||Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern.||23rd|
|12. Oklahoma St.||Texas, @ Kansas, Iowa St, TCU, @ KState, West Virginia, TTech, @ Oklahoma, @ Baylor.||Savannah St, @ Arizona, Louisiana.||None.||22nd|
|13. UNC||@ Wake, VTech, @ Miami, @ Duke, NC State, GTech, @ Virginia, Maryland.||Elon, @ Louisville, ECU, Idaho.||BC, Clemson, FSU.||85th|
|14. Clemson||@ FSU, @ BC, GTech, VTech, @ Wake, @ Duke, Maryland, NC State,||Auburn, Ball State, Furman, S. Carolina.||UNC, Virginia, Miami.||49th|
|15. UCF||ECU, S. Miss, @ Memphis, @ Marshall, SMU, @ UTEP, @ Tulsa, UAB||@ Akron, @ Ohio St, FIU, Missouri.||Houston, Rice, Tulane.||83rd|
|16. Arkansas||Alabama, @ Texas A&M, @ Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss, @ S. Carolina, @ Mississippi St, LSU.||Jacksonville St, ULM, Rutgers, Tulsa.||Tennessee, Vandy, Florida, Missou.||18th|
|17. Nebraska||Wisconsin, @ Ohio St, @ Northwestern, Michigan, @ Michigan St, Penn St, Minnesota, @ Iowa.||S. Miss, @ UCLA, Arkansas St, Idaho St.||Illinois, Indiana, Purdue.||25th|
|18. Stanford||USC, @ Washington, Arizona, @ Cal, WSU, @ Colorado, Oregon St, @ Oregon. @ UCLA.||SJSU, Duke, Notre Dame.||Utah, ASU||12th|
|19. Michigan St||Ohio St, @ Indiana, Iowa, @ Michigan, @ Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, @ Minnesota.||Boise St, C. Michigan, Notre Dame, E. Michigan.||Penn St, Purdue, Illinois.||21st|
|20. USF||Rutgers, @ Temple, @ Louisville, Syracuse, UCONN, @ Cincinnati, PITT.||Chattanooga, @ Nevada, @ Ball St, Florida St.||None.||57th|
|21. Notre Dame||Navy, Purdue, @ Michigan St, Michigan, Miami (FL), Stanford, BYU, @ Oklahoma, PITT, @ BC, Wake, @ USC||N/A||N/A||1st|
|22. Michigan||@ Purdue, Illinois, Michigan St, @ Nebraska, @ Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, @ Ohio St.||Alabama, Air Force, UMASS, Notre Dame.||Wisconsin, Penn St, Indiana.||4th|
|23. S. Carolina||@ Vandy, Missou, @ Kentucky, Georgia, @ LSU, @ Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas.||ECU, UAB, Wofford, Clemson.||Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Miss St.||13th|
|24. VTech||GTech, @ UNC, Duke, @ Clemson, @ Miami, FSU, @ BC, Virginia.||Austin Peay, @ PITT, Bowling Green, Cincinnati.||NC State, Maryland, Wake.||44th|
|25. West Virginia||Baylor, @ Texas, @ TTech, KState, TCU, @ Oklahoma St, Oklahoma, @ Iowa St, Kansas.||Marshall, James Madison, Maryland.||None.||31st|
A couple things to think about with the scheduling.
Florida opens with Bowling Green an then plays 8 straight conference games before ending the season with three consecutive non-conference games (Louisiana, Jacksonville St and Florida State).
If the Gators run the gauntlet of 8 straight SEC games and remain a one-loss or undefeated team, it will make things mighty interesting across the country in the race to the BCS.
Florida misses Alabama and Arkansas, but they gain Florida State and they play the 5th ranked (Pre-Season) schedule in terms of overall strength.
Nebraska and Michigan State are the only Big Ten teams in the national championship conversation to play all five of the heavyweights (Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa (they play each other) , so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out.
The Huskers miss Illinois but gain UCLA in the non-conference; the Spartans miss Illinois too, but gain Notre Dame and Boise State.
If either of those teams makes a run, compare that schedule with any in the SEC and you have a sizable argument.
Michigan misses Wisconsin (but both teams could play each other in the Big Ten Conference Championship Game), but gains Notre Dame and Alabama. It could be very interesting in the State of Michigan this year.
In the SEC, Georgia is the front runner to threaten with an undefeated season since they miss Arkansas, LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M, so remember that when Georgia is ranked within the Top-5 or higher and is touted as playing an SEC schedule.
West Virginia plays at Texas and at Oklahoma State while hosting Oklahoma and TCU. The Mountaineers will find life inside the Big-12 a little different than the Big East.
Oklahoma could make a run at it since they may play 5 teams ranked in the Top-25 in Texas, TCU, Oklahoma St, West Virginia and Notre Dame, plus there is no conference championship game hurdle that they can stub their toe on.
Steele has Florida State ranked as his number one, but even if FSU ends up undefeated, which I highly doubt they will, how can you push them to the top of the rankings after all these years when Boise State will have played a much more difficult schedule.
I mean my god folks, look at that schedule....totally ridiculous, which exposes the fraud of this system...it's all about going undefeated, even if you play a brutally easy schedule in the process.