College Football 2011: The 19 Weirdest Schedules
Warning: These schedules are borderline absurd in some cases, and have been known to cause hallucinations in which the reader spouts mindless drivel about tiger blood and Adonis DNA.
OK, it's not that bad, but as we perambulate slowly through the "dog days" of summer, one of the best ways to pass time until football season starts is by perusing the schedules.
By doing so, one gets a firm grasp on which games to program in the DVR, as well as when to plan things such as weddings, birthday parties, etc...so as to avoid conflicts.
This list is your guide to schedules that are a little less than ordinary.
Some are extremely difficult, or extremely easy, but that is neither here nor there.
This is a ranking of the weirdest schedules, not the toughest or easiest.
19. Boston College Eagles
The Eagles play Northwestern to start the season, then travel to UCF before facing Duke, UMass and Wake Forest.
Whoever put together their 2010 schedule put together a pretty interesting slate.
The first five games are manageable.
After their tangle at Clemson and bye week, things get crazy.
The Eagles travel to Virginia Tech and Maryland in consecutive weeks, host Florida State and NC State the next two weeks, and finish of the stretch with two games on the road against Notre Dame and Miami.
While they may get off to a good start, it's going to be an ugly second half of the season for BC.
18. Kentucky Wildcats
You know, there are some great neutral field matchups early in the season.
Georgia-Boise State, Texas A&M-Arkansas, LSU-Oregon.
And then there is Kentucky.
They travel to Nashville, Tennessee in the first week of the season to face off against another team from...you guessed it, Kentucky.
That makes perfect sense.
Oh, and don't forget that ever important bye, immediately preceding that heavyweight bout with Jacksonville State.
17. Miami Hurricanes
As if starting the season on the road against a conference foe isn't weird enough for them, the Hurricanes immediately follow that up with a bye.
Throw in their bout with Bethune-Cookman (sounds like the name of a law firm), and the weirdness meter starts to rise.
On top of all that, everyone knows non-conference games are meant to be played early in the season against cupcakes.
Apparently, the 'Canes never got the memo, scheduling a 11/19 bout with USF, who has a legit shot at a BCS game this season...at least as legit as they can be and play in the Big East.
16. Baylor Bears
Baylor has it all backwards.
The Bears open the season, albeit it home, with tough MWC foe and rival TCU.
They promptly follow that up with a bye before heavyweight bouts with Stephen F. Austin and Rice.
What's with the "F" anyway.
We all know which Stephen Austin is being referred to without it. (it's that "Stone Cold" guy right?)
Anyway, it's pretty bizarre to schedule one of your tougher games before a week off and follow that up with two gimmes.
15. Arkansas Razorbacks
Preparing for SEC Play for Dummies, must have been written by someone in the Arkansas athletic department.
The Hogs have a very solid team this season, but will not be ready for the elite level of play within the conference when they face off against Alabama in Tuscaloosa 9/24.
Their method of preparing for a road trip to one of the toughest road venues in the country is tilts with FCS Missouri State, New Mexico (who should be FCS) and Troy.
And playing Texas A&M, a potential top-10 squad immediately following their battle with the Tide is a stroke of pure genius...or something.
14. Kansas State Wildcats
I get it, alright.
For some reason the Big 12 has to have 60 percent of their teams get two off weeks during the season now.
However, the Wildcats just plain swung and missed with their byes.
They open against Eastern Kentucky, then have a bye before they face Kent State.
They then proceed to play a brutal schedule that includes games against, both Oklahoma schools, Texas A&M, Miami(Fl), Baylor and Missouri.
Then they have a bye, after which they finish the season against perennial Big 12 power, Iowa State.
Seems like a pretty poor use of off weeks.
13. Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines seem to have another semi-tough season ahead of them with a fairly difficult schedule.
Upon further review, their schedule is just bizarre.
Michigan leaves their home state only one time before November 5.
As a matter of fact, the Wolverines only leave the state for games against Iowa and Illinois, and only play four road games.
Must be tough.
12. Pitt Panthers
A member of the most maligned BCS conference in recent memory, the Panthers are attempting to help the conference gain back some respectability.
Since there are only eight teams in the conference (funny, since they have 16 squads in basketball) almost every Big East schedule is somewhat strange.
The Panthers start off with a couple of pedestrian matchups against Buffalo and Maine.
While both of them meet the qualifications to be cupcakes, the Panthers depart from the standard scheduling guidelines at that point.
A trip to Iowa will end their undefeated run, and Notre Dame will bring them to a .500 record.
That's what happens when someone commits a scheduling SNAFU.
11. Air Force Falcons
Conventional wisdom would say to take your off week before a tough game.
I'm sorry, but in no universe does playing Tennessee State qualify as a tough game.
The Falcons also have one of the toughest four game stretches of any team in the MWC, traveling to face Navy and Notre Dame, then taking on San Diego State at home before traveling to the "smurf turf" to battle Boise State.
Interesting scheduling strategy...
10. Utah Utes
So, as if playing USC and BYU on the road in back to back weeks isn't enough for the Utes, they somehow got the raw deal of having to play in nine consecutive weeks.
Yeah, that's right, nine straight games.
While the schedule is manageable during that time, Arizona State and Pitt both pose unique challenges.
Welcome to the Pac-12, Utah.
9. Penn State Nittany Lions
Kudos to the Nittany Lions for an attempt at making a statement.
Playing Alabama the second week of the season is a bold move.
However, everyone knows that the non-conference schedule is for inviting cupcakes to come take a beating on your home turf.
What was PSU thinking?
Also, consider their final three games of the season.
After a bye, they host Nebraska, then travel to Wisconsin and Ohio State in back-to-back outings.
While it's hard to gauge the strength of conference and non-conference foes years ahead of time, that stretch is just brutal.
8. Florida State Seminoles
Cupcakes are nice, but they will not prepare you for the heavyweights very well.
FSU starts out nice and easy, with visits from ULM and Charleston Southern, then the training wheels fall off.
The 'Noles host the top ranked Sooners the next week.
Talk about a change of pace.
As if that wasn't nonsensical enough, they have their bye week after the game with the Sooners.
I guess Jimbo needs the extra time to prepare them for Wake Forest.
7. Wisconsin Badgers
This seems to be a recurring theme for Big Ten squads.
The Badgers don't have a true road game until October 22 against Michigan State.
However, they seem to have forgotten the rule about playing non-conference games away from home that seems to be in place for most BCS schools.
The Badgers will travel to Chicago's Soldier Field to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies on September 17.
What are they thinking?
6. Alabama Crimson Tide
If the last decade or so has been any indication, the battle within the SEC for the two BCS berths is going to be brutal and may be decided by a minuscule amount of points.
So someone please explain the thinking here.
Sandwiched between road trips to Mississippi State and Auburn, the Tide cram Georgia Southern on November 19.
Obviously a well-calculated move, designed to drop their strength of schedule, and thus make an even better story for the ESPN hype machine when the sneak into a BCS berth.
5. Missouri Tigers
The Tigers are going to be very good this season, but only one of their first four games is a gimme.
Mimi (OH) has an explosive offense, Arizona State is going to be tough at home and then there is the little matter of a trip to Norman, where the Tigers can only hop the Sooners' attempts at revenge are futile.
That rough stretch is followed up by an off week before...wait for it...Kansas State.
That's right, "Futility U".
They also have a stretch of games anyone would consider rather difficult against Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas.
4. Tennessee Volunteers
The Vols couldn't have planned for this.
Their last four games in October are all against SEC championship contenders.
They face Georgia, Alabama, LSU and South Carolina in consecutive weeks.
What's odd is that they break up that string with game against Middle Tennessee State before facing the only team left in preseason predctions who might be a contender, Arkansas.
3. Cal Golden Bears
The Bears open the season against Fresno State.
Fairly standard scheduling for any BCS team, following the neutral field trend that seems to be catching on.
The game will be played at Candlestick Park in San Fransisco.
The next week is the kicker.
The Bears are traveling to play new Pac-12 conference member, Colorado.
The funny thing is, it's not a conference game.
As was always suspected, those western squads have cornered the weirdness market.
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers
This may be the best picture ever of Carl and Bo Pelini.
It was taken shortly after they discovered their inaugural Big Ten conference schedule.
It seems as if the Huskers have to face every conference title contender, as well as every team that is one step below that level.
And their off week is before there only conference cupcake, Minnesota.
But the weirdness doesn't end there.
The Huskers play teams from states whose names start with "W" for three consecutive weeks.
They host Washington on 9/17, then travel to Wyoming and Wisconsin in back-to-back weeks.
1. Colorado Buffaloes
The Buffs have struggled of late.
Their scheduling practices in 2011 are not going to be conducive to helping change that trend.
First of all, the Pac-12 saw fit not to give them a bye week at any point during the season.
That's right, the Buffaloes have 13 games on the schedule, which is not only an unlucky number, but they play them all consecutively.
As if that isn't bizarre enough, they get a hearty welcome to the Pac-12.
Colorado must take on Stanford, Washington, USC, Oregon and Arizona State in consecutive weeks.
Yeah, that's all four teams predicted to have a shot at the BCS, as well as Washington, in a five-week period.
Life's tough for the new kid on the block...