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ESPN Ranks The Toughest Non-Conference Schedule In College Football

The Pittsburgh Panthers football players gathered together.

ANNAPOLIS, MD - DECEMBER 28: The Pittsburgh Panthers gather before the start of their game against the Navy Midshipmen in the Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on December 28, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

ESPN college football analyst Chris Low ranked today the toughest non-conference schedules in college football for the 2018 season. There are some brutally difficult ones.

Whether or not it's advantageous to play a tough non-conference schedule has become a big debate in the College Football Playoff era. Do you schedule tough to give yourself more chances for big wins or do you schedule easy to make it more likely that you win 11-plus games?

One team that is going with the former: Pittsburgh.

The Panthers, according to ESPN, have the toughest non-conference schedule in the country for 2018.

From ESPN:

1. Pittsburgh 

Sept. 1 vs. Albany, Sept. 8 vs. Penn State, Sept. 29 at UCF, Oct. 13 at Notre Dame

The top spot was a no-brainer. The Panthers are the only Power 5 team to face three non-conference teams ranked in Mark Schlabach's latest Way-Too-Early-Top 25, including No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 18 UCF on the road. The trips to South Bend and Orlando are part of a stretch that includes three road trips in four weeks for Pitt, which also travels to face ACC foe North Carolina on Sept. 22. That's not to mention a home game with No. 13 Penn State the second week of the season.

Good luck with that, Panthers.

You can view the full rankings here.