photo credit Andrew Shurtleff
by Lisa Horne
In our fifth and final installment of power ranking non-conference schedules, we take a look at the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC, like the Big Ten and SEC, plays an eight-game conference game schedule so non-conference scheduling becomes very important. Non-conference games account for one-third of its members' schedules.
Notre Dame is contracted to play five ACC teams a year but it is counted as a non-conference opponent for those teams. To read more on Notre Dame's role in the ACC, click here.
Note: I am fairly unforgiving when it comes to scheduling two FCS teams, let alone one. At times a school may have to scramble to replace an opponent that canceled a game. An FCS team may be the only available replacement-- that's excusable. But schools that already have one FCS team on their schedule may have two if they are faced with a cancellation.
Maine, Howard, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame (at Fenway Park)
NIU and Notre Dame are good opponents but TWO FCS teams? Fail.
Wofford, Appalachian State, Notre Dame, at South Carolina
Well, at least Clemson's schedule is better than Boston College's.
At Tulane, North Carolina Central, Northwestern, at Army
Road trips to Tulane and Army are not going to keep the Blue Devils up at night. Neither is a date with North Carolina Central. So it boils down to Northwestern (5-7).
Texas State, South Florida, Chattanooga, at Florida
The big hitter here is Florida but last year the Gators needed three overtime periods to beat Kentucky and lost to a mediocre South Carolina in overtime.
Alcorn State, Tulane, at Notre Dame, Georgia
This is a very good schedule despite the FCS team in there.
Auburn (at Atlanta), Houston, Samford, at Kentucky
Kentucky is an in-state rivalry game for Louisville so the Cardinals adding an additional SEC school (Auburn) is fairly impressive. Also, Houston is no slouch.
Bethune-Cookman, at Florida Atlantic, Nebraska, at Cincinnati
Beside the requisite FCS staple, we also have FAU in the mix. The two teams really take away the punch of Nebraska.
South Carolina (at Charlotte), North Carolina A&T, Illinois, Delaware
There are two Power 5 teams on the slate but there are also two FCS teams. Inexcusable.
North Carolina State
Troy, Eastern Kentucky, at Old Dominion, at South Alabama
How hard was the scheduling staff laughing when it turned in this pathetic slate? Woof.
Youngstown State, at Akron, at Iowa, Notre Dame
This is an acceptable schedule. I also like the Panthers keeping that Midwest vibe.
Rhode Island, Central Michigan, LSU, at South Florida
How did Syracuse manage to convince an SEC team to play at its opponent's stadium? While we ponder that, we note that LSU is the only decent opponent on this slate.
At UCLA, Notre Dame, William and Mary, Boise State
Ohio State, Furman, at Purdue, at East Carolina
I love this schedule (except for Furman, of course). The Buckeyes are the defending national champions, Purdue is a lower-tiered Big Ten team (but it's a road game so that adds difficulty) and East Carolina is a "playa."
Elon, at Army, Indiana, at Notre Dame
Notre Dame saves this from a complete fail.
Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings
2- Virginia Tech
4- Georgia Tech
9- Florida State
10- Wake Forest
12- North Carolina
13- Boston College
14- North Carolina State