Time to rank the non-conference schedules of the Atlantic Coast Conference. And the ACC has a new look. Louisville is in, Maryland is out – I originally called Maryland an ACC school, in my Big 12 blog yesterday. I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last to make that mistake.
Anyway, the ACC consistently plays among the toughest non-conference schedules, and while some have lived up to that legacy, others have not. Here are the rankings:
1. Florida State: Oklahoma State in Arlington, The Citadel, Notre Dame, Florida. Wow. The Cowboys are only the third-most marquee team on the list. If the Seminoles aren’t playing the nation’s best non-conference schedule, I want to see who is.
2. Clemson: at Georgia, South Carolina State, Georgia State, South Carolina. Only in 21st America would we laud a nationally-elite
3. Virginia: UCLA, Richmond, at Brigham Young, Kent State. Why is Virginia playing a Texas-like schedule (both UCLA and BYU) while more tradition-rich ACC schools are not?
4. Miami: Florida A&M, Arkansas State, at Nebraska, Cincinnati. As usual, the Hurricanes are playing a solid schedule.
5. Syracuse: Villanova, at Central Michigan, Maryland, Notre Dame. The Orange is holding up their end. Hard to do, but Syracuse is playing two former conference foes. Villanova (Big East basketball) and Maryland (ACC last season).
6. North Carolina: Liberty, San Diego State, at East Carolina, at Notre Dame. Good thing Notre Dame signed on to play some ACC foes, else UNC might have tried to skate without playing any major-conference foe. But cut the Tar Heels some slack; San Diego State and East Carolina are not easy mid-majors.
7. Virginia Tech: William & Mary, at Ohio State, East Carolina, Western Michigan. Hokies at Buckeyes is a heck of a game.
8. Louisville: Murray State, at Florida International, at Notre Dame, Kentucky. Interesting, Louisville-Kentucky has been moved to the end of the season. Must be an SEC-ACC thing. Intrastate rivals in late November – Georgia Tech-Georgia, South Carolina-Clemson, Florida State-Florida.
9. Boston College: at UMass, Southern Cal, Maine, Colorado State. Hard to do, but Boston College has managed to schedule two fellow New England schools.
10. Georgia Tech: Wofford, at Tulane, Georgia Southern, at Georgia. Not much of a schedule other than Georgia.
11. Pittsburgh: Delaware, at Florida International, Iowa, Akron. Not much of a schedule other than Iowa.
12. Duke: Elon, at Troy, Kansas, Tulane. That Duke-Kansas matchup would be a heck of a basketball game.
13. Wake Forest: at Louisiana-Monroe, Gardner-Webb, at Utah State, Army. Wake really needs to learn how to schedule. If you’re going to play Duck Dynasty and Utah State, don’t do both on the road in the same year.
14. North Carolina State: Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, at South Florida, Presbyterian. This is an embarrassment. An absolute embarrassment. At least the Wolfpack draws Florida State and Clemson in the conference schedule.