April 11, 2011

Breaking down the 2011 schedules

Spring practices are winding down across much of the nation, and by the end of the month, the pads will be put away until the first week of August, when fall practice begins.

Still, it's never too soon to star obsessing over the 2011 season, so let's begin the analysis by breaking down 2011 schedules.

Today, we'll have a broad overview of each league's non-conference schedule. Tuesday, we'll look at the 12 best non-conference games of the season. Wednesday, we'll look at the 12 most embarrassing non-conference games of the season.

One thing: While Notre Dame isn't a member of a "Big Six" conference, we are including the Irish when we talk about Big Six schools.

The "Big Six" leagues
ACC
For the second season in a row, ACC programs are playing 13 games against FCS opponents; that's the most of any league and it's the fourth season in a row the ACC has had the most FCS games. Every league team is playing at least one FCS opponent, and North Carolina State is playing two. On the other hand, ACC schools have 20 non-conference games against Big Six opponents; that's the most for any Big Six conference. Miami and Wake Forest are playing three such games, but Virginia Tech - for the second season in a row - has none.
Big East
Big East schools are playing eight games against FCS opponents, the same number as last season. Every league member is playing one FCS foe. Big East teams are playing 16 non-conference games against other Big Six opponents, one more than last season. Each league team is playing two except Pittsburgh, which has three, and Rutgers, which has one. Pitt is one of just four teams nationally with eight home games this season.
Big Ten
Big Ten members are playing 10 games against FCS schools, the same as last season. Every team is playing one such game except Michigan and Ohio State, which don't have any. League schools are playing 14 non-conference games against other Big Six schools, two more than last season. Every league member has one such game, with Iowa and Ohio State having two each. Illinois and Michigan are two of the four teams nationally with eight home games.
Big 12
There are six games against FCS schools, a decrease of two from last season. The Big 12 has the fewest FCS games of any Big Six league. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M are the league schools without a game against a FCS foe. There are nine non-conference games against Big Six opponents, three fewer than last season and the fewest of any Big Six league. Iowa State has two such games, but Baylor and Texas Tech have none. It's the sixth season in a row that Tech has zero non-conference games against a Big Six opponent.
Pac-12
League schools have eight games against FCS schools, an increase of one from last season. Colorado, Stanford, UCLA and USC are the league schools without a FCS game. League schools also are playing 16 non-conference games against Big Six opponents, two more than last season, but there's a caveat to that total. California and Colorado already had a contract to play before Colorado moved to the Pac-12; thus, their game on Sept. 10 in Boulder counts as a non-conference game for both schools, which means we're counting that as a Big Six non-conference game for both schools. USC has three non-conference games against Big Six schools, and the Trojans are the only team in the nation with 12 games against Big Six opponents. Washington State is the only league school without a Big Six non-conference opponent. California, Colorado and Washington State have just five home games; they are the only three Big Six schools nationally with fewer than six.
SEC
There are 12 games against FCS opponents, one more than last season; each league school has one such game. There are 12 non-conference games against "Big Six" opponents, a decrease of four from last season. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are playing zero non-conference games against "Big Six" opponents, and LSU and Vanderbilt are playing two. Tennessee is one of four schools nationally with eight home games.
The other leagues
Conference USA
There are seven games against FCS opponents, one more than last season. There also are 21 games against Big Six opponents, five fewer than last season but still the second-highest total nationally. Each league member has one such game, with Rice having four - the most of any school nationally - and East Carolina and Marshall having three each.
Mid-American
League schools are playing 12 games against FCS members, an increase of two from last season; Eastern Michigan is playing two FCS opponents, and Ball State (which played two last season) and Miami aren't playing any. MAC schools also are playing 28 games against Big Six foes, the most of any conference and an increase of two over last season. Just three of those will be on MAC campuses (Connecticut at Buffalo, Cincinnati at Miami and Penn State at Temple). Every league team has two Big Six games except Bowling Green and Ohio with one each and Ball State, Buffalo, Central Michigan and Miami with three each.
Mountain West
There are nine games against FCS schools, five more than last season; Air Force and Wyoming have two such games each, and every other league team has at least one except Boise State, which has none. Mountain West schools also are playing 11 games against Big Six opponents, four fewer than last season. Every league school is playing at least one Big Six opponent, and New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV have two each.
Sun Belt
There are four games against FCS schools, the lowest number nationally but still two more than last season. There also are 20 games against Big Six opponents, six fewer than last season; two of those games are on a Sun Belt campus (Duke at FIU and Indiana at North Texas). Every league team has at least two Big Six foes, while FAU and Middle Tennessee have three each.
Western Athletic
There are five games against FCS foes, three fewer than last season. There also are 16 games against Big Six opponents, two more than last season. Every league team is playing at least two Big Six opponents except Fresno State (three) and Utah State (one).
Independents
There are three games against FCS foes, with Army, BYU and Navy each playing one. BYU is playing four Big Six schools and Army and Navy each are playing three. Notre Dame is playing 10, an increase of three from last season.
INSIDE THE SCHEDULES
"Big Six" vs. FCS games
2011: 57 total
2010: 57
2009: 56
2008: 51
2007: 41
2006: 47
2005: 31
(NOTE: 12-game regular seasons started in 2006.)
Playing two FCS teams
(NOTE: Asterisks denote Big Six schools)
Air Force
Eastern Michigan
North Carolina State*
Wyoming
Playing four "Big Sixers"
Rice
Playing three "Big Sixers" in non-conference action
(NOTE: Asterisks denote Big Six schools)
Ball State
Buffalo
Central Michigan
East Carolina
Florida Atlantic
Fresno State
Marshall
Miami*
Miami (Ohio)
Middle Tennessee
Pittsburgh*
USC*
Wake Forest*
(NOTE: Independent programs Army, BYU and Navy are playing three Big Six schools each, while Notre Dame is playing 10.)
Playing no "Big Sixers" in non-conference action
(All are Big Six schools)
Baylor
Mississippi State
Ole Miss
Texas Tech
Virginia Tech
Washington State
(NOTES: This is the sixth season in a row that Texas Tech has been on the list, the third season in a row for Ole Miss and the second season in a row for Baylor, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech.)
Teams with eight home games
(All are Big Six schools)
Illinois
Michigan
Pittsburgh
Tennessee
Teams with four home games
Army
Teams with five home games
(NOTE: Asterisks denote Big Six schools)
Ball State
California*
Central Michigan
Colorado*
Florida Atlantic
Louisiana-Lafayette
Louisiana-Monroe
Louisiana Tech
Marshall
Navy
Rice
San Jose State
Troy
UAB
UNLV
Washington State*
Western Michigan
Non-"Big Sixers" playing host to "Big Sixers"
Colorado at Hawaii, Sept. 3
Mississippi State at Memphis, Sept. 3
UCLA at Houston, Sept. 3
Boston College at UCF, Sept. 10
Georgia Tech at Middle Tennessee, Sept. 10
Purdue at Rice, Sept. 10
Virginia Tech at East Carolina, Sept. 10
Northwestern at Army, Sept. 17
Oklahoma State at Tulsa, Sept. 17
Penn State at Temple, Sept. 17
Texas Tech at New Mexico, Sept. 17
Utah at BYU, Sept. 17
Washington State at San Diego State, Sept. 17
Connecticut at Buffalo, Sept. 24
Indiana at North Texas, Sept. 24
Nebraska at Wyoming, Sept. 24
Virginia Tech at Marshall, Sept. 24
Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio), Oct. 1
Duke at Florida International, Oct. 1
North Carolina at East Carolina, Oct. 1
Ole Miss at Fresno State, Oct. 1
Mississippi State at UAB, Oct. 8
Syracuse at Tulane, Oct. 8
BY THE NUMBERS
A look at the power leagues and how many FCS and "Big Six" opponents each has played in the past five regular seasons:
FCS opponents
League20112010200920082007Total
ACC13131414761
SEC1211119952
Big Ten101099846
Big 1268910841
Big East8897739
Pac-108742223
Total5757565141
"Big Six" opponents
League20112010200920082007Total
ACC2019202322104
Big East161516161578
SEC121614151471
Pac-10161415141170
Big Ten141214131366
Big 1291211151158
Total8788909686

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.




 

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