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ESPN's FPI Ranks College Football's 10 Hardest Schedules

Maryland college football players running onto the field.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Members of the Maryland Terrapins are introduced prior to the start of their game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Byrd Stadium on November 29, 2014 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Maryland Terrapins don't have an easy draw, with the Big Ten East being one of the toughest divisions in college football. With a tough crossover schedule against Big Ten West teams, Maryland is going to really earn it if they wind up getting to bowl eligibility.

Maryland gets off to a manageable start. The Terps host FCS squad Towson and MAC power Northern Illinois, before a non-conference game against West Virginia. Things ramp up from there, with a game against 2019 breakout squad Minnesota to begin October.

The Terps travel to Northwestern and then host Big Ten West power to finish out the Big Ten West games. The four major Big Ten East powers are all lined up to end the season: at Michigan, vs. Ohio State, at Penn State, vs. Michigan State.

ESPN's Football Power Index has Maryland's schedule ranked No. 1 for most difficult in the country. In the Big Ten, they're joined by Iowa and Nebraska in the top 10.

South Carolina is a regular around the top of any college football hardest schedule ranking. The Gamecocks have an annual game against Clemson, a pretty tough SEC West crossover in Texas A&M, and draws a trip to LSU this year. Georgia and Florida as annual division opponents doesn't help matters.

Here's the full FPI strength of schedule top 10, entering the 2020 season:

  1. Maryland
  2. South Carolina
  3. Alabama
  4. LSU
  5. Iowa
  6. Nebraska
  7. Arkansas
  8. Georgia Tech
  9. Ole Miss
  10. USC

Most FBS programs are scheduled to begin the season on Saturday, Sept. 5.