College football this year should be one of the more exciting years yet. With the amount of talent pouring into each and every school no one is out of contention. That being said there are favorites and some of these favorites have a far easier road than others. Here are the ten easiest schedules for CFP contenders this year.
10. OHIO STATE
Ohio State is coming into the 2019 season with a gaping hole on the sidelines losing Urban Meyer to retirement, that being said they gained one of the most highly sought after 2018 recruits in Justin Fields. Fields was able to secure immediate eligibility for this season after leaving Georgia and will help make Ryan Days debut season a little bit easier. Day has big shoes to fill but sure does have a team that can get him on his way.
This year OSU has a fairly easy schedule thanks to their lackluster opponents out of conference, facing teams like Florida Atlantic and Miami Ohio. Cincinnati could potentially be a tough test for Ohio State early as they’re coming off an 11-2 season beating USF and Virginia Tech.
In conference matchups obviously, become a little more tough for the Buckeyes being in the power five and in the tougher side of the league. Having to face Penn State and Michigan will always be a challenge, despite talent differences. Penn State isn’t looking like a major threat on the gridiron this year which could make for an easier time with them for the Buckeyes than usual. Michigan, on the other hand, is SCARY. The rivalry between these two is enough in itself, add the fact that both are title contenders and you’ve got yourself a war.
Nebraska, Northwestern and an always lingering Wisconsin are the only teams coming from the West that show any threat. Anything could happen though with this Ohio state team being young and new to each other. That being said, their schedule gives them a perfect cushion to help pad some of the chemistry struggles that may occur.
Talk to anyone just two falls ago and you would have never heard them predict the Florida gators would be featured in an article regarding title contention, but here they are. Coming off last year they have high hopes to roll through a tough schedule at first glance, but very doable at second. Opening the season they have Miami, who yes is in a power five conference and has been pretty good in recent memory, but have also lost a lot of pieces. To round out their out of conference schedule the Gators have Tennessee-Martin, Towson, and Florida State. Four wins right there.
In conference things obviously, look scarier. Having to face both Auburn and LSU in the West and Georgia in the East will be a tough task but they should beable to pick up 2 of those 3 games. Which ones they win is up to them.
Florida has been an up and down team and it’s hard to tell if the way they played last year was a fluke or not. This year they could go into selection Sunday only losing one or two games IF they keep things rolling. It’s a stretch, and it’d be scary to bet on them but the fact of the matter is, its possible and will be very fun to watch.
Notre Dame is coming off a disappointing playoff loss in the College Football Playoff last year. Being a loner in no conference on top of last years result will make it tough for Notre Dame to prove themselves worthy of another playoff spot. They’d have to win high profile games and truly “wow” the voters.
This isn’t quite the year for a ton of big-time matchups but whether you like it or not the Irish will be highly ranked and given the outcome of other teams and games, have another chance at the playoff. That being said they do have TWO chances to clear their name and be looked at seriously again. They take on Georgia and Michigan both on the road. Win both of those and you’ve proven yourself. Lose just one and it might be all for naught.
The rest of Notre dames schedule is fairly easy taking on teams like Louisville, New Mexico, Bowling Green, and Duke. There are a few matchups in Boston College, Virginia, and USC that may cause trouble during Notre Dames comeback season but those games should be easily handled by a title-contending team like the Fighting Irish.
Year in and year out people give Alabama flak for their weak out of conference play and to that Alabama says… “National Championship”. No matter how many times you deny their schedule strength this is still the football team of the 2010s and who knows when that reign will be over.
This year though is extra easy outside the SEC. Their hardest contest will be against the Duke Blue Devils at home followed by New Mexico State at home. They’ll go on to play Southern Miss and Western Carolina but in terms of out of conference threat, that’ll be a quick four up, four down.
Inside the SEC things obviously, tighten up. When you’re in the SEC, especially the west I don’t blame you for taking those four out of conference games and making them easy. Especially if your Alabama and you don’t need a stacked resume to prove yourself. As they do every year they’ll take on Tennessee from the East as well as South Carolina this year. No doubt in anyone’s mind that Alabama will win those games and rack up win number five and six
The West matchups this year could prove to be interesting though in Texas A&M and LSU. Other than those two teams you have a rebuilding Ole Miss and Auburn and a Nick Fitzgeraldless Mississippi State. Another undefeated year is on the horizon for the Tide.
Next up, the other half of the ongoing trilogy. The Clemson Tigers are obviously going to be mentioned in any article regarding the strength of schedule or lack thereof. Being in the ACC must be a dream for the powerhouse as its at the bottom of the power five right now with the Pac 12 and Big 12.
Although year in and year out the Tigers have a decent schedule they seem to stutter a bit at some point throughout the season losing a game they really shouldn’t, or coming very close to that. This year there’s a most definite threat in the Texas A&M Aggies who on the other hand have one of the most difficult schedules having to play Georgia, Alabama, and Clemson. Other than that, out of conference play is not a real factor for the Tigers
Inside the ACC, as stated before should be quite easy as well. The Tigers only have to face Georgia Tech and North Carolina in the Coastal who are both in the midst of a bit of rebuilding and the Atlantic side of things is pretty easy as well despite the Syracuse game that could prove difficult as it has in the past.
Some may be surprised to see a team like the Orange crack this list as a contender but the fact of the matter is, they are. It may be a long shot but with the schedule they have and their ability to win a big game or two a year you cant count them out.
Being in the same division of the same conference as Clemson, we know the competition isn’t too good and they don’t have to worry much expect for their game against the Tigers. Out of conference things should be fairly light as well. They will be facing ONE power five teams out of conference in Maryland and that should be a breeze. Other than that they’ve got Liberty, Western Michigan and Holy Cross none of which are threats.
The Huskies decided to become a contending team right around when the college football playoff was introduced. Since then they’ve been a team to beat and with Jacob Eason finally getting his highly anticipated start as a Husky week one this year, this team is more than capable of making a run.
Their schedule proves to be easy as well being in what some would say the worst power 5 conference right now. Things won’t change much for the teams in the PAC 12 and the Huskies look to take full advantage of that. Out of conference play will be easy, as it has been for all of the teams stated previously in this article. Eastern Washington, Hawaii, and BYU are among their out of conference opponents and should be easy wins.
Inside the Pac 12 things are just as easy. Washington State will prove to be Washington’s biggest test all year and that comes the final week of the regular season. Oregon and Utah seem to have decent programs this year but should be no match for the star-studded Huskies (comparatively). With past powerhouses like USC and Stanford in rebuild mode, this is Washingtons year to get it done and make it back to the playoff.
The Oklahoma Sooners may have one of the best offenses fans will get to watch this year thanks to Ceedee Lamb and new prospects at the wide receiver position coupled with transfer Jalen Hurts. The Sooners need help on the other side of the ball in order to make a real push for the championship game though. Being in their conference and having their schedule might be enough to get them to the playoff alone this year.
Oklahoma has no real challenge outside the BIG 12 this season and looks to rely heavily on their games against Houston (could be dangerous), South Dakota, and UCLA to pad their stats heading into the postseason.
Inside the BIG 12, the only team worthy of fear is the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns are coming into this year after finally turning things around in 2018 ending the season with a huge win against Georgia. Oklahoma, for the most part, should be able to glide right through this season and given they beat up on these teams and don’t allow many points against they may make the playoff again.
Washington is the only state on this list to have two schools represented and for good reason. It has two highly talented teams in the Huskies and the Cougars. For State, they’ve got it easier than just about any other team on this list this year. The talent they have grouped with a schedule that poses no threat, they’re gonna be sitting pretty in the W/L column come selection Sunday
Out of conference play is almost a joke as their toughest matchup will be the Houston Cougars, who should have a decent team this year but nothing to write home about. Other matchups include New Mexico State and Northern Colorado.
Inside the PAC 12, its goes the same for State as the Huskies but flipped. The Cougars toughest test will November 29, against Washington. They’ve struggled in the past against UW but given they find a formula the Cougars could roll into conference championship week undefeated.
Controversial? Yes. Contender? Yes. Worthy of contention? Maybe. The Central Florida Knights are the only group of five team to crack this list and they sit at the easiest schedule for that purpose only. Not only that but they’ve turned down opportunities to strengthen their schedule and play power five schools, but have become the kings of easy schedules instead.
This year has a few question marks with no doubt star McKenzie Milton being sidelined with a gruesome leg injury. The Kights luckily they still have a fairly easy road to selection day thanks to Brandon Wimbush coming in. Their toughest game this season, or highest-profile game, some may say, is their matchup between the Stanford Cardinals. Stanford is at one of its lowest points as a program though and will need to have a stellar year for a win to even matter.
Outside of that Stanford game the Knights have no one, and will probably go undefeated again, and the controversy for a playoff spot will continue. Their schedule consists of Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Stanford, Pitt, UConn, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Temple, Tulsa, Houston, Tulane and as always South Florida. Of those teams few are scary. Pitt, Cincinnati, and Houston could linger around and potentially cause trouble but UCF will be favorites in all of those games. It’ll be another fun high scoring season to watch as a Knights fan this year. Who knows maybe they’ll prove they’re worthy of cracking the top four this time.