Of the 64 schools that are members of a Power-Five conference, how many do you think won’t face a Power team out of league play in 2015?
How about 11? That’s 17% of the field with at least a one-game advantage over the 53 teams that will play a Power foe.
Think about it, while Mississippi State gets Southern Miss, FCS Northwestern State, Troy and Louisiana Tech, fellow SEC West member Texas A&M draws Arizona State, Ball State, Nevada and FCS Western Carolina.
It’s not rocket science: The Aggies have a much better chance of picking up an additional loss than do the Bulldogs.
Here’s a look at the 11 exceptions. The list consists of one team apiece from the ACC and Big Ten and three each from the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.
Note: BYU and Notre Dame will be considered Power Five non-conference opponents by the ACC and SEC moving forward. Both are considered as such for this article.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. Troy (Sept. 5), vs. FCS Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 12), at Old Dominion (Sept. 19), at South Alabama (Sept. 26)
The Wolfpack last played a Power team out of ACC play in the regular-season in 2012 when they opened up with a loss to Tennessee in Atlanta.
Looking ahead, NC State has Notre Dame scheduled for 2016-17, West Virginia in 2018-19 and Mississippi State in 2020-21.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at SMU (Sept. 4), vs. FCS Lamar (Sept. 12), vs. Rice (Sept. 26)
Baylor hasn’t had a non-Big 12 Power opponent in the regular season since 2009 when it opened up with a win at Wake Forest.
The Bears don’t have a Power team scheduled until a 2017-18 home-and-home series with Duke. Then it’s Utah in 2023-24.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. FCS South Dakota (Sept. 5), at UTSA (Sept. 12), vs. Louisiana Tech (Sept. 19)
2015 is the first season K-State hasn’t had a Power team out of conference since 2013, when it drew FCS North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass. Before that, it was 2008 when it played North Texas, FCS Montana State and Louisville (then in the Big East).
As of now, the Wildcats don’t have another Power game slated until 2017, a road trip to Vanderbilt. After that, it’s Mississippi State in 2018-19 and a home game vs. Vanderbilt in 2020.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Central Michigan (Sept. 3), vs. FCS Central Arkansas (Sept. 12), vs. UTSA (Sept. 19)
Oklahoma State, like fellow Big 12 member K-State, has a solid track record of scheduling Power teams out of conference. The last time it didn’t play such a game was in 2006, when it faced FCS Missouri State, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and Houston.
The Cowboys get rolling again in 2016-17 with a home-and-home with Pitt but, as of now, that’s the only power matchup on its future schedule.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Temple (Sept. 5), vs. Buffalo (Sept. 12), vs. San Diego State (Sept. 26), vs. Army (Oct. 3)
2015 is Penn State’s second consecutive season without a Power foe outside of Big Ten play. It’s last such game came in 2013 when it opened up with a win over Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Nittany Lions have Pitt scheduled from 2016-2019 and then pick-up future games vs. Virginia Tech (2020 and 2025) and West Virginia (2023-24).
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. UTSA (Sept. 3), at Nevada (Sept. 12), vs. FCS Northern Arizona (Sept. 19)
Arizona hasn’t had a non-Pac-12, Power opponent in the regular season since beating No. 18 Oklahoma State in 2012.
Though the Wildcats do have BYU on the schedule in 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2027, its next opponent that’s a member of a Power conference is Texas Tech in 2019-20. Other than that, it’s a home-and-home series with Mississippi State in 2022-23.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Hawaii (Sept. 3), vs. UMass (Sept. 12), vs. Colorado State (in Denver, Sept. 19), vs. FCS Nicholls State
Colorado last played a Power team out of conference in 2011 when it fell to Ohio State in Columbus.
Everything changes for the Buffs starting next season when they travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. After taking 2017 off, they get Nebraska (2018-19 and 2023-24), Texas A&M (2020-21), Minnesota (2021-22), and TCU (2022-23).
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Boise State (Sept. 4), vs. FCS Sacramento State (Sept. 12), vs. Utah State (Sept. 19)
2015 is the first season since 1979 that Washington hasn’t technically played at least one non-conference game vs. a team from a Power league. That was the year it faced Wyoming (WAC), Utah (WAC), Fresno State (PCAA) and Pitt (an Independent).
The Huskies get back on track in 2016-17 with a home-and-home with Rutgers. After that it’s another delay, until 2020-21, for a series with Michigan. They do have independent BYU (technically a Power team as per the SEC and ACC) in 2018-19.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Southern Miss (Sept. 5), vs. FCS Northwestern State (Sept. 19), vs. Troy (Oct. 10), vs. Louisiana Tech (Oct. 17)
Mississippi State last played a non-SEC power team in 2013, when it opened up with a loss to No. 13 Oklahoma State in Houston.
The Bulldogs take advantage of the new BYU rule with games vs. the Cougars slated in 2016-17 and then have K-State (2018-19), NC State (2020-21) and Arizona (2022-23).
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. FCS UT Martin (Sept. 5), vs. Fresno State (Sept. 12), vs. New Mexico State (Oct. 10), at Memphis (Oct. 17)
Ole Miss played a Power team as recently as the home-and-home series with Texas in 2012-13.
After two years off-line, the Rebels ramp things up big time by opening up the 2016 season with Florida State in Orlando. After that, it’s spotty with Cal in 2017 and 2019, Georgia Tech in 2022-23 and Wake Forest in 2024-25.
2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. Western Kentucky (Sept. 5), vs. FCS Austin Peay (Sept. 19), at Middle Tennessee (Oct. 3), at Houston (Oct. 31)
Vanderbilt’s most recent non-SEC Power opponent was Wake Forest, who it played in 2012 along with Northwestern.
Looking ahead, the Commodores get Georgia Tech in 2016, K-State in 2017 and 2020, Stanford in 2021, 2024-2025 and 2027 and Wake Forest in 2023.
Amy Daughters is a contributor to FBSchedules.com.