Top 25 toughest schedules (cont.)
Posted: Thursday June 21, 2007 12:52PM; Updated: Thursday June 21, 2007 4:04PM
Combined record of Division I-A opponents: 90-51 (.638)
Why they're No. 11: Kentucky faces only three Division I-A teams that had losing seasons last year. The Wildcats have their annual nonconference showdown with Orange Bowl champion Louisville to go along with an SEC slate. Kentucky doesn't rank higher because most of its toughest games are at home and the nonconference schedule -- aside from Louisville -- is rather underwhelming.
Combined record of Division I-A opponents: 88-65 (.575)
Why they're No. 12: Although Nebraska's Big 12 schedule doesn't include a date with Oklahoma, the Cornhuskers make up for it with an intriguing nonconference slate that doesn't include any Division I-AA opponents. Instead, the schedule features three bowl teams in Nevada, Wake Forest and USC. Nebraska must make the trip to Wake Forest, but don't be surprised if Husker Nation finds a way to turn Groves Stadium into a red sea.
13. Notre Dame
Combined record of Division I-A opponents: 83-71 (.539)
Why they're No. 13: The start of Notre Dame's schedule couldn't be much tougher. The end couldn't be much easier. The Irish face eight bowl teams in their first nine games and go on the road for four of their first six. Then they finish up with three teams (Air Force, Duke and Stanford) that combined to win five games last year. If Air Force becomes a .500 team and Stanford shows marked improvement in its first season under Jim Harbaugh, this schedule could rank among the nation's five toughest by the end of the year. The schedule is set up horribly for a team as inexperienced as this year's Notre Dame squad. The Irish would benefit from playing poor teams at the start of the season as their first-year starters get the hang of big-time college football. They instead will get thrown into the fire by traveling to Penn State and Michigan the first three weeks of the season.
Combined record of Division I-A opponents: 87-56 (.608)
Why they're No. 14: Georgia scheduled a pair of solid nonconference opponents in Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech. Although the Bulldogs get Auburn at home, they face most of their toughest opponents on the road. Georgia would have ranked higher if its list of SEC West opponents had included LSU or Arkansas instead of Ole Miss. The Bulldogs also were one of many SEC teams to schedule a Division I-AA opponent.
Combined record of Division I-A opponents: 75-65 (.536)
Why they're No. 15: Michigan's schedule features a pair of intriguing nonconference showdowns against Oregon and Notre Dame. Michigan's Big Ten schedule features the conference's three other heavyweights (Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State). The only reason that the Wolverines aren't ranked higher is because they have the luxury of eight home contests and a Division I-AA opponent on their schedule.
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