ESPN computer predicts college football’s hardest schedules – College Football HQ

    Playing a quality schedule is more important now than ever as college football playoff selectors prioritize quality opponents.

    but good competition is not evenly distributed throughout the sport. most still reside in the sec, where the weekly slugfest has produced 12 of the last 16 national championship teams.

    Reading: Toughest college football schedule 2021

    It’s no surprise, then, that most of the tougher schedules come from that league, but you can also find some quality teams in the big ten this fall. Which teams will have the worst time in the 2022 season?

    let’s see how the espn football power index computer ranks the 10 toughest schedules in college football.

    ranking the 10 toughest schedules in college football

    10. lsu

    hardest match: nov. 5 vs Alabama

    projected record: 8-4

    what it means to lsu: This team is one of the biggest question marks in college football this season. undisputed national champions in 2019, it’s all been downhill from there. on Brian Kelly steps in a bombshell coach move to return the Tigers to national prominence.

    Achieving that goal, as always, means being on the right side of the ever-difficult Second West calendar. the month of october will put this team to the test, going to auburn, hosting tennessee, visiting florida and coming home with ole miss. same goes for november: after week off, alabama hits death valley, followed by a visit to arkansas, and closes the road to texas a&m.

    9. indiana

    hardest match: nov. 12 in the state of ohio

    projected record: 4-8

    what it means to indiana: life is always hard if you’re a big ten team from the east that isn’t called ohio state. Last season, the Hoosiers failed to capitalize on their 2020 success, sitting last in the division and going 0-9 against conference teams. and it won’t get any easier this season.

    iu loses some big pieces, including quarterback michael penix and wide receiver ty fryfogle, and faces a brutal schedule that includes a three-week stretch in cincinnati, in nebraska and at home to michigan. and the final month of the season includes four in a row against penn state, ohio state, michigan state and purdue.

    8. south carolina

    hardest match: nov. 26 at clemson

    projected record: 6-6

    What it means for South Carolina:Shane Beamer has already exceeded expectations after one season with the Gamecocks, winning seven games and winning the May Bowl against rival UNC.

    Now, he has a couple of high-profile transfers to work with former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner. That’s an immediate upgrade this team could use on offense, especially with an early roster that includes trips to Arkansas and Kentucky and a home date with reigning college football playoff champion Georgia.

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    texas a&m comes to columbia after the off week and the last three games of the season include going to florida, hosting tennessee and visiting clemson.

    7. Alabama

    hardest game: oct. 8 vs. Texas A&M

    projected record: 11-1

    what it means for alabama: if any team has proven capable of weathering the western west storm over the past 15 years, it has been the crimson tide. But the most interesting test this season could come in an early game on campus against Texas.

    A win in Austin secures an undefeated September, which is a good prospect for October: a trip to Arkansas and a home game against Texas A&M, who beat world no. 1 Tide a year ago and is a potential contender coming out of this division. Half of November is spent away from home, with back-to-back games at LSU and Ole Miss.

    6. texas a&m

    hardest game: oct. 8 in Alabama

    projected record: 8-4

    what it means for texas a&m: jimbo just signed arguably the best recruiting class in college football history, but now comes the uphill task of exercising that talent at the front of a second. championship.

    Watch for two interesting home dates on the non-conference roster against App State and Miami before taking on Arkansas and going to Alabama. Two home dates against Ole Miss and Florida are crucial, followed by an away matchup at Auburn and finishing at home against LSU.

    5. tennessee

    hardest game: oct. 15 against Alabama

    projected record: 7-5

    what it means for tennessee: josh heupel won seven games in year 1 behind the offense ranked 9th in college football, but he’ll have to fix this secondary to improve his performance as a rookie. september will be hard enough, pitting and hosting florida before off week.

    that sets up a brutal october stretch: at lsu, vs. Alabama vs. Kentucky, and in Georgia. ut martin is a welcome reprieve during that stretch, and the vols should do better to close out the season, against missouri, south carolina and vandy.

    4. georgian technology

    hardest match: nov. 26 in Georgia

    projected record: 4-8

    What it means for Georgia Tech: The wreck will no doubt miss running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who transferred to Alabama this offseason, for the first six weeks of this season. Tech opens against Clemson, hosts Ole Miss, then visits UCF and Pitt in consecutive weeks.

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    it won’t get any easier after the off week: host virginia, go to florida state, go to virginia tech, host miami, go to north carolina, and end up in georgia.

    3. vanderbilt

    toughest game: September. 24 in Alabama

    projected record: 3-9

    What it means for Vanderbilt: It looks like another tough year for the ‘dores, who now have to deal with the loss of top receiver cam johnson and no. 1 tackle tyler steen to the transfer portal. To add insult to injury, Steen signed with Alabama this offseason.

    If the second list wasn’t tough enough, vandy opens up on the road in hawaii in week 0 and then hosts wake, which brings back most of his offense at 11th, albeit notably not quarterback sam hartman, in week 3.

    There are dates away from home in alabama, georgia and kentucky before closing at home against florida and ut. Vanderbilt hasn’t won a second game since 2019 and has five overall wins in the last three seasons.

    2. mississippi state

    hardest game: oct. 22 in Alabama

    projected record: 6-6

    what it means for the state of mississippi: good luck to the bulldogs in october, with games against texas a&m, arkansas, kentucky and alabama.

    two weeks later it’s a date at home with georgia and two weeks after that the bowl of eggs on the road. MSU opens against Memphis, followed by a road trip to Arizona, and then at LSU before coming home to Bowling Green before the sec.

    will rogers returns at quarterback after setting school records in yards and touchdowns, and led second in yards per game last fall playing behind an improved defense that ranked fourth in the conference. the state of mississippi will need all that production and more to meet this schedule.

    1. brown

    hardest match: nov. 26 in Alabama

    projected record: 7-5

    what it means for auburn: bryan harsin enters year 2 already on the bench and looking at another brutal second sked west, even against what should be the two best teams in college football, alabama and georgia, and both on the way.

    In all, expect Auburn to line up against only five sec ranked opponents. potentially six, if brian kelly can get lsu, which hits the plains, up and running by october. Auburn hosts Penn State in September, goes to Ole Miss and hosts A&M in a season-ending clash.

    (h/t espn college football power index)

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