Even if only entering its fourth year of existence, the early stages of the College Football Playoff era has hammered home one fact: strength of schedule matters.
Teams can’t necessarily control their own conference slate – it may be a down year in a given league, for example, and the increase in teams across the Power Five landscape means a playoff contender might miss one or two of the strongest opponents in its league during the regular season.
But the non-conference slate? While games scheduled years in advance might not look as appealing when kickoff rolls around, it’s in this area that a title contender can impress the selection committee by matching wits with a premier opponent.
Last week’s top 10 list glanced at the toughest out-of-conference slates during the 2017 season. One or more of those teams might reap the benefits when the committee convenes for the debut rankings on Halloween.
On the other hand, others went with an easier route. This week’s list takes a look at those on the opposite end of the spectrum: Which teams from the Power Five ranks will face the easiest non-conference schedule this fall?