June 12, 2007

Road to glory will be tough one for Seminoles

Bobby Bowden helped build Florida State's reputation as a national power by agreeing to play anybody just about anywhere.

The Seminoles' 2007 schedule should bring back memories of the early years of the Bowden era.

Florida State plays only five games at Doak Campbell Stadium and faces six 2006 bowl teams away from home. The Seminoles must go on the road to play four teams that won at least 10 games last season, including defending national champion Florida.

No wonder we've rated Florida State's road schedule as the toughest in the nation.

Our analysis of college football schedules across the nation concludes today with our lists of the top 10 home schedules, road schedules and non-conference schedules.

A quick look at the lists shows that the Sun Belt and Pac-10 deserve credit for their willingness to schedule high-profile teams from outside their conferences. Those schools apparently have taken a page from the playbook Bowden wrote during his early years at Florida State.

Top 10 Home Schedules | Top 10 Road Schedules | Top 10 Non-Conference Schedules

Top 10 Home Schedules
1. Washington
Home dates: Sept. 8: Boise State, Sept. 15: Ohio State, Sept. 29: USC, Oct. 20: Oregon, Oct. 27: Arizona, Nov. 17: California, Nov. 24 Washington State. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 1: Washington fans haven't had much reason to celebrate in the last few years, but their 2007 season-ticket package still ranks among the most attractive in the nation. The Huskies' home schedule features three teams that played in BCS games last year (Boise State, Ohio State and Southern California) and doesn't include anyone who had a losing record in 2006.
2. Stanford
Home dates: Sept. 1: UCLA, Sept. 15: San Jose State, Sept. 22: Oregon, Sept. 29: Arizona State, Oct. 13, Texas Christian, Nov. 3: Washington, Nov. 24: Notre Dame, Dec. 1: California. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 2: Washington is the only team coming to Stanford that didn't play in a bowl game last year. Stanford will play host to three teams that won at least 10 games last season (TCU, Notre Dame and California).
3. LSU
Home dates: Sept. 8: Virginia Tech, Sept. 15: Middle Tennessee, Sept. 22: South Carolina, Oct. 6: Florida, Oct. 20: Auburn, Nov. 10: Louisiana Tech, Nov. 23 Arkansas. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 3: Louisiana Tech is the lone LSU home opponent that didn't play in a bowl game last year. The Tigers get a chance to avenge their only two losses from last season when they play host to Florida and Auburn.
4. UCLA
Home dates: Sept. 8: Brigham Young, Sept. 22: Washington, Oct. 6: Notre Dame, Oct. 20: California, Nov. 10: Arizona State, Nov. 24: Oregon. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 4: The absence of USC didn't leave a void of star power on UCLA's home schedule. The Bruins still play host to three teams that won at least 10 games last season (Brigham Young, Notre Dame and California) and two more teams that played in bowls last year (Arizona State and Oregon).
5. Michigan
Home dates: Sept. 1: Appalachian State, Sept. 8: Oregon, Sept. 15: Notre Dame, Sept. 22: Penn State, Oct. 6: Eastern Michigan, Oct. 13: Purdue, Oct. 27: Minnesota, Nov. 17: Ohio State. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 5: The Wolverines' eight-game home schedule includes a couple of snoozers (Appalachian State and Eastern Michigan), but it also features high-profile showdowns with Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State. An intersectional matchup with Oregon offers additional intrigue.
6. California
Home dates: Sept. 1: Tennessee, Sept. 15: Louisiana Tech, Sept. 22: Arizona, Oct. 13: Oregon State, Nov. 3: Washington State, Nov. 10: Southern California. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 6: This list's Pac-10 flavor continues with California, which has perhaps the nation's best first-week matchup when it plays host to Tennessee. California's home schedule includes only one team (Louisiana Tech) that had a losing record last season.
7. Alabama
Home dates: Sept. 1: Western Carolina, Sept. 15: Arkansas, Sept. 22: Georgia, Oct. 6: Houston, Oct. 20: Tennessee, Nov. 3: LSU, Nov. 17: La.-Monroe. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 7: Nick Saban's arrival isn't the only reason why Tide fans will pack Bryant-Denny Stadium this fall. Georgia visits Alabama for the first time since 2002 in one of many interesting home games on the Tide's schedule. Alabama also gets a chance to avenge losses to Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU.
8. Ole Miss
Home dates: Sept. 8: Missouri, Sept. 22: Florida, Oct. 6: Louisiana Tech, Oct. 13: Alabama, Oct. 20: Arkansas, Nov. 3: Northwestern State, Nov. 17: LSU. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 8: Ole Miss plays host to five bowl teams from last year, including defending national champion Florida and Sugar Bowl champion LSU. Those games should compensate for sitting through likely victories over Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State.
9. Kentucky
Home dates: Sept. 1: Eastern Kentucky, Sept. 8: Kent State, Sept. 15: Louisville, Sept. 29: Florida Atlantic, Oct. 13: LSU, Oct. 20: Florida, Oct. 27: Mississippi State, Nov. 24: Tennessee. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 9: The Wildcats' eight-game home schedule features defending national champion Florida, Sugar Bowl champion LSU and Orange Bowl champion Louisville. The lackluster dates with Eastern Kentucky, Kent State and Florida Atlantic keep Kentucky from ranking higher.
10. Colorado
Home dates: Sept. 15: Florida State, Sept. 22: Miami (Ohio), Sept. 29: Oklahoma, Oct. 20: Kansas, Nov. 3: Missouri, Nov. 23: Nebraska. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 10: An intersectional matchup with Florida State complements conference showdowns with Oklahoma and Nebraska, the two teams that played in last year's Big 12 championship game. Miami (Ohio) is the Buffaloes' only home opponent that had a losing season last year.

Top 10 Road Schedules
1. Florida State
Road dates: Sept. 3: at Clemson, Sept. 15: at Colorado, Sept. 29: vs. Alabama at Jacksonville, Oct. 11: at Wake Forest, Nov. 3: at Boston College, Nov. 10: at Virginia Tech, Nov. 24: Florida. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 1: Florida State goes as far north as Chestnut Hill and as far west as the Rockies in a road schedule that includes four teams (Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Florida) that won at least 10 games last season. Although the Alabama game is at a neutral site, it qualifies for this list because it's occurring away from Florida State's home stadium. Colorado is the only FSU road opponent that didn't have a winning season last year.
2. Auburn
Road dates: Sept. 29: at Florida, Oct. 13: at Arkansas, Oct. 20: at Louisiana State, Nov. 10: at Georgia. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 2: The only reason Auburn doesn't top this list is because the Tigers go on the road just four times all season. But you could make a case that no team in the nation has four road games as difficult as Auburn's upcoming trips. Auburn's four road foes posted a combined record of 43-11 last season.
3. South Carolina
Road dates: Sept. 8: at Georgia, Sept. 22: at Louisiana State, Oct. 13: at North Carolina, Oct. 27: at Tennessee, Nov. 3: at Arkansas. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 3: South Carolina's four SEC road opponents went a combined 39-14 last year. North Carolina is coming off a 3-9 season, but the Tar Heels should improve in their first season under Butch Davis.
4. Arizona
Road dates: Sept. 1: at Brigham Young, Sept. 22: at California, Oct. 6: at Oregon State, Oct. 13 at Southern California, Oct. 27: at Washington, Dec. 1: at Arizona State. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 4: Arizona goes on the road to face four teams that won at least 10 games last season (Brigham Young, California, Oregon State and Southern California). Washington is the only team on Arizona's home schedule that had a losing record last year.
5. Boston College
Road dates: Sept. 15: at Georgia Tech, Oct. 13: at Notre Dame, Oct. 25: at Virginia Tech, Nov. 10: at Maryland, Nov. 17: at Clemson. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 5: Every team on Boston College's road schedule won at least eight games and played in a bowl last season. The Eagles also must go on the road for four of their last six games.
6. USC
Road dates: Sept. 15: at Nebraska, Sept. 29: at Washington, Oct. 20: at Notre Dame, Oct. 27: at Oregon, Nov. 10: at California, Nov. 22: at Arizona State. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 6: Southern California travels to the middle of the country twice to face Nebraska and Notre Dame as part of a road schedule that includes only one team (Washington) that had a losing record last year.
7. Miami
Road dates: Sept. 8: at Oklahoma, Oct. 6: at North Carolina, Oct. 20: at Florida State, Nov. 17: at Virginia Tech, Nov. 24: at Boston College. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 7: Miami goes on the road to face three teams that won at least 10 games last season (Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Boston College). The Hurricanes also have to travel to Tallahassee to face a Florida State team that should be much better than last year's 7-6 squad.
8. Mississippi State
Road dates: Sept. 8: at Tulane, Sept. 15: at Auburn, Sept. 29: at South Carolina, Oct. 20: at West Virginia, Oct. 27: at Kentucky, Nov. 17: at Arkansas. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 8: The Bulldogs' road schedule features three teams that won at least 10 games last year (Auburn, West Virginia and Arkansas) plus two more programs that are coming off bowl victories (South Carolina and Kentucky). Tulane is the Bulldogs' only road opponent that didn't have a winning season last year.
9. Texas A&M
Road dates: Sept. 20: at Miami, Oct. 13: at Texas Tech, Oct. 20: at Nebraska, Nov. 3: at Oklahoma, Nov. 10: at Missouri. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 9: All of the Aggies' road opponents won at least seven games and played in bowls last season. This road schedule would be tough enough even if Texas A&M hadn't added that intersectional game with Miami.
10. Notre Dame
Road dates: Sept. 8: at Penn State, Sept. 15: at Michigan, Sept. 29: at Purdue, Oct. 6: at UCLA, Nov. 24: at Stanford. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 10: The regular-season finale at Stanford is the only probable breather in a road schedule that otherwise includes four bowl teams from last season. The Irish will have to go to Penn State and Michigan on back-to-back Saturdays in the first three weeks of the season.

Top 10 Non-Conference Schedules
1. Florida International
Non-conference dates: Sept. 1: at Penn State, Sept. 8: vs. Maryland, Sept. 15: at Miami, Sept. 22: at Kansas, Oct. 27: at Arkansas. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 1: Teams from BCS conferences often stack their non-conference schedules with lightweight opponents, so you're going to see plenty of teams from weaker leagues on this list. Florida International is one of four Sun Belt teams in the top five. A non-conference schedule that features four bowl teams could make it tough for the Golden Panthers to rebound from last year's winless season. The Panthers don't face a single non-conference foe that had a losing record last year.
2. Troy
Non-conference dates: Sept. 1: at Arkansas, Sept. 8: at Florida, Sept. 14: vs. Oklahoma State, Nov. 3: at Georgia, Nov. 10: at Western Kentucky. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 2: Florida International beat out Troy on a technicality. Troy has an extremely winnable non-conference game against Western Kentucky, a program that is preparing to enter the Sun Belt as it makes the transition from I-AA to Division I-A. The rest of Troy's non-conference schedule includes four bowl teams.
3. Washington
Non-conference dates: Aug. 31: at Syracuse, Sept. 8: vs. Boise State, Sept. 15: vs. Ohio State, Dec. 1: at Hawaii. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 3: Washington unquestionably has the most ambitious non-conference schedule of any team from a BCS league. Boise State, Ohio State and Hawaii went a combined 36-4 last season. Syracuse went 4-8 a year ago, but going to the Carrier Dome early in the season is no cakewalk.
4. Florida Atlantic
Non-conference dates: Sept. 8: at Oklahoma State, Sept. 15: vs. Minnesota in Miami, Sept. 29: at Kentucky, Oct. 6 vs. South Florida, Nov. 17: at Florida. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 4: This Sun Belt team will get a sample of the Big 12 (Oklahoma State), Big Ten (Minnesota), SEC (Kentucky and Florida) and Big East (South Florida). All five of the Owls' non-conference opponents played in bowls last season.
5. Arkansas State
Non-conference dates: Sept. 1: at Texas, Sept. 8: vs. Memphis, Sept. 15: vs. Southern Methodist, Sept. 22: at Tennessee, Nov. 24: at Southern Mississippi. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 5: Arkansas State doesn't face nearly as grueling a non-conference schedule as Sun Belt rivals Florida International, Troy and Florida Atlantic, but road games with Texas and Tennessee still offer plenty of challenges.
6. East Carolina
Non-conference dates: Sept. 1: at Virginia Tech, Sept. 8: vs. North Carolina, Sept. 22: at West Virginia, Oct. 20: vs. North Carolina State. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 6: East Carolina's non-conference schedule features two potential national title contenders in Virginia Tech and West Virginia. North Carolina and North Carolina State are coming off disappointing seasons, but both could improve under new coaching staffs this fall.
7. UCLA
Non-conference dates: Sept. 8: vs. Brigham Young, Sept. 15: at Utah, Oct. 6: vs. Notre Dame. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 7: UCLA didn't schedule a non-conference breather. Brigham Young and Notre Dame both won at least 10 games last season. Utah went 8-5 and could turn into a rather inhospitable host.
8. Stanford
Non-conference dates: Sept. 15: vs. San Jose State, Oct. 13: vs. Texas Christian, Nov. 24: vs. Notre Dame. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 8: Stanford might rank even higher on this list if all three games weren't at home. All of Stanford's non-conference foes won at least nine games and played in bowls last season.
9. Utah
Non-conference dates: Aug. 30: at Oregon State, Sept. 15: vs. UCLA, Sept. 29: vs. Utah State, Oct. 5: at Louisville. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 9: Utah shouldn't have much of a problem beating Utah State, but Oregon State and Louisville went a combined 26-5 last year and UCLA could emerge as USC's top challenger in the Pac-10.
10. USC
Non-conference dates: Sept. 1: vs. Idaho, Sept. 15: at Nebraska, Oct. 20: at Notre Dame. (Complete schedule)
Why it's No. 10: Southern California shouldn't get too much grief for scheduling Idaho because the Trojans' other two non-conference games are at two of college football's most hallowed venues.




 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.