We still have a while to go before the start of the college football season, but ESPN has already rolled out its Football Power Index. The FPI numbers give us a ton of information. The stats include projected win-loss records, and percent chances for teams to go undefeated and win conference titles. There is also the strength of schedule.
Strength of schedule is always a big-time talking point ahead of the season. For top programs, a good schedule can be the difference between missing the College Football Playoff and cracking the field. It can also come off as a point of pride for programs and their fans. Expect plenty of arguments about it once we get into the season.
Now, based on FPI, we have some SOS rankings. Somewhat surprisingly, a Pac-12 program comes out on top.
UCLA has the highest strength of schedule, per ESPN’s FPI.
It may not be to UCLA’s benefit either. The Bruins, led by new head coach Chip Kelly, are projected to go 5-7 by FPI.
FPI has UCLA with a 0.5-percent chance to win the Pac-12. The Bruins have no shot of winning out.
UCLA opens its season with the Cincinnati Bearcats. After that, things get ramped up significantly.
The Bruins head to Big 12 power Oklahoma on September 8. The final non-conference game comes against Fresno State. The Bearcats and Bulldogs may be Group of Five programs, but both are pretty consistently strong.
UCLA is followed by Florida State and Pitt out of the ACC. Northwestern and LSU round out the top five.
Here is the full FPI strength of schedule top 20:
Coincidentally, the Power Five team with the weakest strength of schedule is Kelly’s last stop, and another Pac-12 program: Oregon. For the full strength of schedule list, head to ESPN.