Strength of schedule is one of the biggest debates in college football come bowl selection time. The majority of this debate centers on the issue of the quality opponents a team played outside of their conference.
Auburn suffered in 2004 when their undefeated team was banned from the National Championship game. Their non-SEC schedule consisted of Louisiana-Monroe, The Citadel, and Louisiana Tech. Looking ahead to 2009, several teams from the ACC and SEC stand out with exceptionally strong or embarrassingly weak schedules.
The two standout teams with respectable out-of-conference schedules are Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets face Ryan Perrilloux and the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, followed by three SEC opponents. Georgia Tech will travel to Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, then end the season with a home game against Georgia.
Virginia Tech will play their season opener in Atlanta against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff. After hosting Marshall and Nebraska, the Hokies finish their out-of-conference schedule with a trip to East Carolina.
The University of Georgia have arguably the most challenging schedule in the SEC. Their out-of-conference starts in the first week, when they travel to Oklahoma State. They then host Arizona State and Tennessee Tech, followed by their regular season finale at Georgia Tech.
Auburn also features a tough schedule, opening against Louisiana Tech and then hosting West Virginia, Ball State, and Furman. Although the Tigers play all home games against non-SEC schools, the talent level of these opponents will be a challenge.
Duke owns the weakest schedule in the ACC with Richmond, Army, Kansas, and North Carolina Central, but who can blame them for that? The Blue Devils need all the help they can get, and they have a chance to pick up a couple out-of-conference wins.
The Florida Gators may be the weakest in the SEC, as they play four home games for their out-of-conference schedule against Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida International, and Florida State.
Which team in either conference has the toughest out of conference schedule? Does the ACC or SEC feature tougher schedules top to bottom?
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