The 2009 college football season is almost upon us! With that in mind, let’s take a look at Phil Steele’s 2009 strength of schedule rankings.
Steele has been publishing a football newsletter since 1982 and started his College Football Preview in 1995. Today, he is one of the premier gurus of college football stats.
Listed below are Phil Steele’s 10 toughest schedules for 2009 (complete list):
1. South Carolina – The South Carolina Gamecocks have the toughest schedule in 2009 according to Steele. The Gamecocks play Clemson, Florida and Ole Miss at home, and travel to face Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and NC State. Their season opener against the Wolfpack is nationally televised on Thursday night.
2. Florida State – The Seminoles have non-conference games at home against Miami (FL) and USF and road games at BYU and national champion Florida. ACC games include Georgia Tech, NC State, at Boston College, at Clemson and at North Carolina.
3. Oklahoma – The Sooners start the season against BYU at Arlington. They also face Tulsa at home and Miami (FL) on the road. Big 12 games include Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas, at Kansas, at Nebraska and at Texas Tech.
4. Mississippi State – The Bulldogs will host non-conference opponents Georgia Tech and Houston and will travel to Middle Tennessee. SEC games include Alabama, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, at Arkansas, at Auburn and at Kentucky.
5. Minnesota – The Golden Gophers start 2009 at Syracuse before hosting Air Force and California. Big Ten games include Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, at Ohio State and at Penn State.
6. Arkansas – The Razorbacks face the Texas A&M Aggies at Arlington and later host Eastern Michigan and Troy. SEC contests include Auburn, Georgia, at Alabama, at Florida, at LSU and at Ole Miss.
7. Georgia – The Bulldogs open the season at Oklahoma State, host Arizona State and travel to Georgia Tech. SEC games include Auburn, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, at Arkansas and at Tennessee.
8. Virginia Tech – The Hokies open the season against Alabama at the Georgia Dome, host Marshall and Nebraska, and travel to East Carolina. ACC matchups include Boston College, Miami (FL), North Carolina, at Georgia Tech and at Virginia.
9. Tennessee – The Volunteers host non-conference games against Memphis, Ohio, Western Kentucky and UCLA. SEC games include Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, at Alabama, at Florida and at Ole Miss.
10. Michigan State – The Spartans play at Notre Dame and host Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Big Ten games include Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, at Illinois, at Minnesota and at Wisconsin.