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Computer Model Ranks College Football's 10 Hardest Schedules

A general view of Arkansas' football stadium.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 27: Views around Donald W. Reynolds Stadium of the Arkansas Razorbacks before a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Razorback Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Commodores defeated the Razorbacks 45-31. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

With two months to go until Week 0 of the college football season, analysts are busy at work trying to figure out which teams have the toughest road ahead of them this year.

According to

The top-10 hardest schedules in College Football pic.twitter.com/MvK7ZVpoHL

— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 24, 2021

">the Pro Football Focus "Opponent ELO" computer ranking, the Arkansas Razorbacks have the toughest slate for the upcoming 2021 campaign. The Razorbacks are no strangers to playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. Being a subpar team in the loaded SEC typically leads to some difficult slates for the program. Here’s a look at who Arkansas will be playing this fall:

  • vs. Rice
  • vs. Texas
  • vs. Georgia Southern
  • vs. Texas A&M
  • at Georgia
  • at Ole Miss
  • vs. Auburn
  • vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  • vs. Mississippi State
  • at LSU
  • at Alabama
  • vs. Missouri

After the Razorbacks, a collection of four SEC schools, three Big Ten programs and two ACC teams rounded out the top-10. Here's a look at the rest of the rankings following Arkansas, in order:

  • Nebraska
  • Georgia Tech
  • Purdue
  • South Carolina
  • Mississippi State
  • Indiana
  • Auburn
  • Ole Miss
  • Florida State

Unsurprisingly, all 10 teams come from the three of the Power Five conferences. With the early preseason rankings dominated by the SEC and Big Ten, it makes sense that eight of the ten hardest schedules in the nation would come from those two conferences.

The Razorbacks have a chance to steal a few games in 2021, but the ESPN computer also ranked the program as having the toughest schedule this fall. 247Sports analyst Brad Crawford put Arkansas atop his list, citing the fact that the school might play six games against top 25 opponents.

“At some point, you have to feel sorry a bit for Sam Pittman and Arkansas,” Crawford wrote earlier this month. “No one in the SEC will, but it’s difficult shift the direction of a struggling program when there are landmines week after week on the schedule. With five guaranteed matchups vs. ranked teams and the possibility of three more, we’re going to feel safe landing in the middle here and project the Razorbacks to play six contests this fall against Top 25 competition — a treacherous task.”

Pittman will have to do his best to outperform expectations when the Razorbacks 2021 season gets underway in early September.