Toughest College Football Schedules For 2016 Based On Win Percentage

    We take a look at who as the toughest road to the College Football Playoff based on their opponents' records from last season.

    March 3, 2016


    We take a look at who as the toughest road to the College Football Playoff based on their opponents’ records from last season.


    The path to the College Football Playoff is a long one, and a tough schedule makes that trip seem even more arduous.

    While last year’s performance by a team might change, it is a good indicator of the quality of opponents that a team will face this upcoming season. So, which teams have the toughest road to the playoff in 2016 based on their opponents’ record from last season? Let’s just say it isn’t fun being in the SEC West.


    1. LSU
    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 108-52 (0.675)
    Toughest Stretch


    • Ole Miss (Oct. 22)


    • Alabama (Nov. 5)


    • at Arkansas (Nov. 12)

    Les Miles kept his job in Baton Rouge, but he and the Tigers have a tough road ahead of them in 2016. A neutral-site game at Lambeau Field against Wisconsin starts the season, before trips to Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas A&M greets them in SEC play. Add in hosting Ole Miss and Alabama, and you get a torturous schedule.


    2. Arkansas

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 104-52 (0.667)
    Toughest Stretch


    • Alabama (Oct. 8)


    • Ole Miss (Oct. 15)


    • at Auburn (Oct. 22)

    If the Razorbacks want to make their first appearance in the SEC Championship game since 2006, they will have to hold serve at home. Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida, and LSU all come into Fayetteville, while the Hogs will look to big road games against Auburn and Mississippi State. Don’t overlook that second game of the season either, as Bret Bielema takes his boys into Fort Worth to battle TCU.


    3. Ole Miss

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 102-52 (0.662)

    Toughest Stretch


    • Alabama (Sep. 17)


    • Georgia (Sep. 24)


    • Memphis (Oct. 1)

    A neutral-site game in Jacksonville against FSU is a whopper of a season opener, and it only gets harder from there. In three consecutive weekends, the Rebels host Alabama, Georgia, and Memphis in Oxford, and then travel to Arkansas and LSU before returning home against Auburn to end the brutal six game stretch. A November trip to Kyle Field will be tricky, and then they host the Egg Bowl to close out the season.


    4. Auburn

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 100-56 (0.641)

    Toughest Stretch


    • at Mississippi State (Oct. 8)


    • Arkansas (Oct. 22)


    • at Ole Miss (Oct. 29)

    Hey, Gus Malzahn, how about a matchup with national runner-up Clemson and presumptive Heisman Trophy favorite Deshaun Watson to begin 2016? At least that game is at home, as the road schedule is as tough as it can get for the Tigers this year, as they travel to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama, while hosting Texas A&M, LSU, and Arkansas in Jordan-Hare.


    5. USC

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 101-58 (0.635)

    Toughest Stretch


    • at Stanford (Sep. 17)


    • at Utah (Sep. 23)


    • Arizona State (Oct. 1)

    Remember, Clay Helton, you wanted this. Now, in your first game without the interim tag, you will go up against the machine that is Alabama and Nick Saban. Back-to-back trips to Stanford and Utah will be tough as well, along with hosting Oregon and taking on crosstown-rival UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Let’s not forget the final game of the season, as the Trojans will travel to South Bend to take on the Irish.


    6. Wisconsin

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 98-57 (0.632)

    Toughest Stretch


    • at Michigan State (Sep. 24)


    • at Michigan (Oct. 1)


    • Ohio State (Oct. 15)

    Following the opener against LSU in nearby Green Bay, the Badgers have a rough road of four straight games from September 24 to October 22, traveling to Michigan State and Michigan, enjoying a much-deserved bye, and then host Ohio State before ending the stretch with a trip to Iowa. Don’t’ overlook that trip to Evanston in November to take on Northwestern, though. The Wildcats defeated Wisconsin, 13-7, last year in Madison.


    7. BYU

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 97-57 (0.630)

    Toughest Stretch


    • at Michigan State (Oct. 8)


    • Mississippi State (Oct. 14)


    • at Boise State (Oct. 20)

    Congratulations, Kalani Sitake, on being named BYU’s new head coach. Now have fun preparing for this schedule. A neutral-site game against Arizona in Phoenix begins the Sitake era, and then “The Holy War” game comes calling in Salt Lake City against Utah. UCLA comes to Provo in third week, followed by a trip to Landover, MD to play WVU. Want more? In a six-day span in October, the Cougars play Michigan State in East Lansing and host Mississippi State. A trip to play on the blue turf in Boise follows.


    8. Alabama

    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 97-58 (0.626)

    Toughest Stretch


    • at Tennessee (Oct. 15)


    • Texas A&M (Oct. 22)


    • at LSU (Nov. 5)

    When you are the champ, everyone is going to take its best shot at you. For Alabama, that begins with a marquee matchup in Arlington, TX against USC. In SEC play, the Tide must travel to Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU, while having the luxury of playing Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Auburn in Bryant-Denny. A possible interesting matchup comes on September 10, as the Tide welcome explosive Western Kentucky to Tuscaloosa.

    9. Northwestern
    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 97-59 (0.622)

    Toughest Stretch


    • Nebraska (Sep. 24)


    • at Iowa (Oct. 1)


    • at Michigan State (Oct. 15)

    A brutal road schedule awaits head coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats in 2016, as they travel to Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State. The home portion of the schedule isn’t much easier, as they will welcome Duke, Nebraska, and Wisconsin to Ryan Field in Evanston.

    10. Florida State Seminoles
    Opponents’ 2015 Record: 96-61 (0.611)

    Toughest Stretch


    • at Louisville (Sep. 17)


    • at South Florida (Sep. 24)


    • North Carolina (Oct. 1)

    A primetime Labor Day matchup against Ole Miss in Orlando will begin the season for the Seminoles, who are looking to make their way back to the College Football Playoff. Games on the road against Louisville, South Florida and Miami will be a tough test, along with their home dates against Clemson and rival Florida.

    Here’s a look at the rest of college football’s most difficult schedules for 2016.
     

    T-11. Iowa State Cyclones – 95-61 (0.609)
    T-11. Ohio State Buckeyes – 95-61 (0.609)
    13. Illinois Fighting Illini – 94-61 (0.606)
    14. Texas A&M Aggies – 91-60 (0.603)
    15. Pittsburgh Panthers – 92-62 (0.597)
    16. Michigan State Spartans – 90-61 (0.596)
    17. Syracuse Orange – 93-64 (0.592)
    18. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – 91-63 (0.591)
    19. Oregon State Beavers – 91-64 (0.587)
    T-20. Kansas Jayhawks – 89-63 (0.586)
    T-20. South Carolina Gamecocks – 89-63 (0.586)
    22. NC State Wolfpack – 90-64 (0.584)
    23. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 91-65 (0.583)
    T-24. Texas Longhorns – 89-64 (0.582)
    T-24. Tennessee Volunteers – 89-64 (0.582)
    26. Colorado Buffaloes – 90-65 (0.581)
    27. North Carolina Tar Heels – 88-64 (0.579)
    28. Mississippi State Bulldogs – 87-64 (0.576)
    29. California Golden Bears – 90-67 (0.573)
    T-30. Washington Huskies – 88-66 (0.571)
    T-30. Rutgers Scarlet Knights – 88-66 (0.571)
    32. Penn State Nittany Lions – 88-67 (0.568)
    T-33. Arizona State Sun Devils – 87-67 (0.565)
    T-33. Oklahoma Sooners – 87-67 (0.565)
    35. Virginia Cavaliers – 88-68 (0.564)
    36. Vanderbilt Commodores – 85-66 (0.563)
    37. Arizona Wildcats – 87-69 (0.558)
    38. Purdue Boilermakers – 85-68 (0.556)
    39. UCLA Bruins – 86-70 (0.551)
    40. Texas Tech Red Raiders – 83-68 (0.550)
    41. West Virginia Mountaineers – 82-68 (0.547)
    42. Miami Hurricanes – 83-69 (0.546)
    43. Kentucky Wildcats – 84-70 (0.545)
    44. Duke Blue Devils – 82-69 (0.543)
    45. Louisville Cardinals – 83-70 (0.542)
    T-46. Kansas State Wildcats – 81-70 (0.536)
    T-46. Washington State Cougars – 82-71 (0.536)
    48. Stanford Cardinal – 83-72 (0.535)
    49. Oklahoma State Cowboys – 80-71 (0.530)
    50. Utah Utes – 82-73 (0.529)
    51. Virginia Tech Hokies – 79-71 (0.527)
    52. Nebraska Cornhuskers – 80-72 (0.526)
    53. TCU Horned Frogs – 78-73 (0.517)
    54. Iowa Hawkeyes – 79-74 (0.516)
    55. Indiana Hoosiers – 77-74 (0.510)
    T-56. Oregon Ducks – 78-76 (0.506)
    T-56. Michigan Wolverines – 78-76 (0.506)
    58. Missouri Tigers – 75-75 (0.500)
    59. Georgia Bulldogs – 74-76 (0.493)
    60. Minnesota Golden Gophers – 73-77 (0.487)
    T-61. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – 73-78 (0.483)
    T-61. Baylor Bears – 72-77 (0.483)
    T-63. Maryland Terrapins – 71-80 (0.470)
    T-63. Boston College Eagles – 71-80 (0.470)
    65. Florida Gators – 69-78 (0.469)
    66. Clemson Tigers – 67-81 (0.453)

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