A college football season is almost always a grind, no matter a team’s schedule. But 10 teams in particular face a brutal slate this upcoming season.
ESPN’s computer model ranked the 10 hardest schedules in college football on Tuesday. The list includes five Big Ten teams, three SEC teams, and one team from both the ACC and Pac-12.
Per ESPN’s computer model, the Arkansas Razorbacks have the hardest 2021 schedule. Sam Pittman’s team takes on Rice, Texas and Georgia Southern in the non-conference portion. The Razorbacks then play Texas A&M, at Georgia, at Ole Miss, Auburn, UAPB, Mississippi State, at LSU, at Alabama and Missouri. Believe it or not, just three of their conference games will be played in Fayetteville. Good luck, Arkansas.
Nebraska checks in with the second-hardest schedule in college football this year. The Huskers travel to Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners on Sept. 18. They also have a brutal November stretch (Ohio State, at Wisconsin, Iowa). It might be another ugly year in Lincoln.
Here’s a look at the rest of the top 10, courtesy of ESPN’s Bill Connelly.
The 10 hardest 2021 schedules, per SP+ SOS ratings:
4. Georgia Tech
10. Penn State
An avg top-5 team would produce a win% of 0.782 (~9.3 wins) vs. Arkansas' schedule.
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) August 24, 2021
Where do this year’s top contenders check in?
Alabama, the No. 1 ranked team in the AP Top 25 poll, has the 16th toughest schedule. Ohio State (25th) also has a tough road. Oklahoma (55) and Clemson (70), meanwhile, should have no problem with their respective schedules.
As for teams like Arkansas and Nebraska, don’t expect much out of either this upcoming season.