By now, you’ve probably read about the Washington Huskies leading the nation in terms of having the toughest college football schedule, facing opponents with the highest winning percentage (64.33%) as per the 2014 regular-season records. But what about the conferences—which NCAA Football conference has the toughest slate of games in 2015 and how could it impact the 2015 college football betting odds? Well, excluding records of FCS teams, FBS Transitional teams, and bowl games, it is worth noting that the SEC leads the nation with six teams in the Top 10 of the rankings for the toughest schedules in 2015. The Pac-12 and Big Ten follow with two teams apiece, and then the ACC completes the Top 10 with one team.
However, when you move down the rankings of schedule toughness for the 129 major teams in the league (based on the NCAA win/loss %), you find a better balance across all the Power Five Conferences, giving them a fighting chance to race for the NCAAF Playoffs. But rather than focusing on the broad comparison of conferences and the toughness of their schedules, we will simply be highlighting the teams that lead the Power 5 Conferences with the toughest schedules.
Breaking Down the Toughest 2015 NCAA Football Odds Game Schedules
ACC: Miami (FL.)
Louisville, Virginia and Georgia Tech have gruesome ACC schedules, but there is no doubt that Miami leads the ACC with the toughest schedule. For starters, Miami will be going against opponents with a combined win-loss record of 97-58 (62.58% winning percentage)—the second toughest opponents record in the new season. Moreover, 10 of the 12 opponents Miami will be facing in 2015 finished last season with winning records. Then there is the five crazily daunting five-game ACC stretch in their schedule, going against Nebraska (at home), Cincinnati (on the road on a Thursday night,), Florida State (on the road) and the home games to Virginia Tech and Clemson. Added to the games against Duke (on October 31st) and Georgia Tech (on November 21st), it goes without saying that the Hurricanes are going to have it really hard in 2015.
Big 12: West Virginia
After a tough schedule in 2014, the Mountaineers will 2015, facing another loaded slate, going against opponents with a winning percent of 56.86 (87-66 win loss record). Their schedule includes Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Kansas State all on the road. At home, coach Dana Holgorsen’s team won’t be having it any easier, as they’ll be hosting Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State. Even so, this year’s schedule is slightly easier than last year’s schedule, so Holg’s men could be faring better than they did in 2014.
Big 10: Purdue
The Boilermakers were the worst team in Big Ten in 2014, finishing on a 3-9 (1-7 Big Ten) record. And it seems like the football gods are punishing for being a poor team, as they will be going against the sixth-toughest winning percentage in the league this year (97-61, 61.39%). The 2015 schedule includes 9 games against teams with winning records in 2014. Most notably, they’ll be playing against Virginia Tech (at home on September 19th), Michigan State (on the road October 3rd), Minnesota (at home on October 10th), Wisconsin (on the road on October 17th) and Nebraska (at home on October 31st). With such a schedule, it looks like the Boilermakers will be sitting out of bowl games for another year.
With the toughest schedule in college football to their name, the Huskies easily take the honors of having the hardest Pac-12 schedule. Besides the fact that 9 of Washington’s 12 opponents in 2015 have winning records, the majority of the teams the Huskies will be facing in the Pac 12 (USC, Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona) are solid contenders for the Pac-12 title. Meanwhile, the non-conference also comes with its share of minefields, including the highly feared Boise State Broncos. Even with their talented players, it will probably take a near miracle for Washington to impress as they did in 2014 to finish on an 8-6 (4-5 Pac-12) mark.
When you are in the SEC, playing a tough schedule is more of a yearly obligation rather than an option decided by the schedule makers. Sadly for the Tide, their schedule has been juiced up, starting the season with Wisconsin. Then as the season progresses, the Tide will be going against strong SEC title contenders like Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU. Not to forget, they must also travel to Jordan Hare to face Auburn for the Iron Bowl. Nick Saban has certainly proved himself capable of moving mountains so another good year should be in the offing in the NFL odds, but that is not to say the Tide, who are facing the fourth toughest winning percentage from last year (62.34%), will be having it smooth.