In the world of college football betting, a difficult schedule doesn’t equate to bad, just in the same way an easy schedule for the season doesn’t necessarily mean good. The 2014 season clearly exemplified this standpoint as TCU and Baylor won a combined total of 22 games, yet could not find their way to the playoffs simply because they didn’t have “enough quality wins”. Conversely, a good number of teams in the SEC and Pac-12 could also not contend for the playoffs because of their tough schedules. Still, if you ask most teams and their players, they’d tell you that they’d prefer an easy schedule to a tough one. In the 2015 college football schedule, most teams (including Utah, Louisville, Michigan State, Clemson, Oregon and Alabama, among many others) have very tough slates and will need to play their very best football to make it to the playoffs. However, there are other teams that have sponge-soft schedules, which I believe is a good thing to NCAA Football odds bettors as it offers them better chances of racking up good money by betting on such teams. Here is a look at the main teams with such soft schedules.
A Closer Look at the Top 5 Softest 2015 NCAA Football Odds Schedules
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
• Combined 2014 record of its Opponents: 54-89
• Combined 2014 road record of its opponents: 30-41
• Total Bowl opponents: 1 (1 road)
Analysis: Marshall arguably has the softest of all 2015 team schedules in the league. After cruising through the majority of its NCAAF odds in 2014 due to an easy slate, the Thundering Herd now have a softer schedule, with the selection committee giving them just one bowl opponent from 2014 in Western Kentucky. Their Conference USA schedule does also not do the team any good as most of the teams there are bottom-feeders. So, even with QB Rakeem Cato‘s absence from the team in 2015, it doesn’t look like Marshall will have something to show in regards to the Group of Five access bowl bid.
• Combined 2014 record of its Opponents: 65-84
• Combined 2014 road record of its opponents: 31-44
• Total Bowl opponents: 4 (2 home, 2 road)
Analysis: Unlike their 2014 season that saw them play top-tier opponents like Ole Miss and UCLA plus future bowl opponents like Houston and Cincinnati, the Tigers have a very soft schedule in the upcoming college football season. The defending AAC champions don’t have any power-conference opponents and their only noteworthy foes are Kansas (on the road) and Ole Miss (at home), making up a bowl-bound season for them.
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
• Combined 2014 record of its Opponents: 69-82
• Combined 2014 road record of its opponents: 27-46
• Total Bowl opponents: 6 (5 home, 1 road)
Analysis: If the Blue Devils won’t be bowling in 2015, it won’t be because of a tough schedule. Besides Georgia Tech, Duke’s ACC schedule is pretty much navigable for the Blue Devils, who are 11-1 in non conference games over the past three years. Moreover, 10 of the 12 teams Duke will be facing in 2015 finished the 2014 season with losing records. With the majority of Duke’s core set to remain intact in 2015, the Blue Devils should be able to have another solid season.
• Combined 2014 record of its Opponents: 75-76
• Combined 2014 road record of its opponents: 32-31
• Total Bowl opponents: 7 (4 home, 3 road)
Analysis: Though Baylor’s schedule is a bit harder than its 2014 slate, the 2015 schedule is far from tough as the only quality opponent they will be facing is TCU, on November 27th. As a matter of fact, besides TCU, Baylor’s schedule in 2015 features just two more road games against teams with winning records–SMU and Kansas State. So, even if the Bears win most of their games, it is hard to see them clinching a top-4 finish in the nation, probably just falling short of quality wins to rank them among the best four teams in the country as was the case last year.
TCU HORNED FROGS
• Combined 2014 record of its Opponents: 74-78
• Combined 2014 road record of its opponents: 38-38
• Total Bowl opponents: 8 (4 home, 4 road)
Analysis: Like last year, the Horned Frogs have a soft slate (if you measure them against other top teams in the league), opening their season with the Gophers and then facing a host of other easy schedules like SMU and Austin. However, TCU has relatively tough road tests, traveling to Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, which could see them ranked well if they manage to win such games. Also, the Frogs finish their regular season against Baylor at home, making up for an interesting meet.