Sully's Big Blog! Commentary on College Football, Weekly Games, And Strange Statistics!

Ten Best Games in Week One (August 30 through September 3)

Our intent here is to identify the 10 best games in College football’s kick-off weekend!  That said, it was not an easy task and in fact, you may not agree with our list. So we will begin with “Almost a top ten game” and go from there!

In identifying the best game, we will count down from 10 to 1, 1 being the best game of week one! But first, the almost Top 10 Games!

August 30 Games

Kennesaw State (FCS/Big South) @ Georgia State (FBS/Sun Belt): This is a very dangerous game for Georgia State, as they are 2-5 against FCS opponents since they made the jump from the FCS to the FBS in 2013. This includes last year’s, 2017, lost to Tennessee State (FCS/Ohio Valley Conference), 17-10! Kennesaw State (12-2 in 2017) is one of the best FCS programs and do not be surprised to see the FCS pick up one of a handful of annual FCS wins vs FBS opponents!

Central Florida @ UConn: UCF enters the 2018 season as the #1 ranked Group of 5 (G5) team on SCFP (see Top 25 on site), remember, we rank Power 5 (P5) and G5 independent of one another, this is unique, as far as I know, to Sully’s College Football Page! The Knights return 12 starters, including Heisman hopeful, McKenzie Milton, arguably, one of the best QB’s in the country! UCF coach Scott Frost is gone and UConn coach, Randy Edsall, will be, if he does not start to improve on the Huskies 3-9 season in 2017! Enjoy watching Milton, he is a true dual threat!

September 1 Games

Boise State @ Troy: On SCFP, Boise State is ranked 2nd in the Group of 5 and Troy is ranked 10th! In 2017, Troy (11-2) won the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) and hammered C-USA, West Division Champion, North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl, 50-30! Meanwhile Boise State (11-3) won the Mountain West Conference (MWC) and outscored Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, 38-28! These teams met a year ago, on the Blue Turf, with the Broncos beating the Men of Troy, 24-13! This year’s game is in Troy, Alabama and should be one of the opening week’s best! A final point, Boise State is the #1 recruiting program in the G5, while Troy is ranked as the 39th best G5 recruiting program!

Texas @ Maryland: This game was hard to keep out of the Top 10 battles of opening week! Last year, the Terps went down to Texas and shocked the Longhorns, 51-41, in Tom Herman’s debut. This year, Texas comes north, to College Park, MD, looking to “set things a right”! Texas is the 9th best recruiting program in the country and based solely on that, at least arguably, the #1 underachieving program in all of college football! Maryland, while recruiting better under DJ Durkin, is a long way from where Texas is ranked, holding down the 33rd recruiting spot! On SCFP, Texas’ pre-season top 25 ranking is 17th, while Maryland is not ranked! Texas’ talent needs to ‘show up’,  on the road, in their 2018 opener!

BYU @ Arizona: The Kevin Sumlin Era begins in Arizona, and, if it is anything like his experience @ Texas A&M, it will begin with a bang! Sumlin’s A&M teams start fast and finish wondering in the abyss! In 2013, started 5-1 in the 1st 6 games (finished 9-4); in 2014, 5-1 (8-5); 2015, 5-1 (8-5); 2016, 6-0 (8-5); 2017, 4-2 (7-6). While their early schedule has some challenges, if Sumlin gets the Wildcats to play to their potential, only one team in their 1st 6 games, has a better roster USC! BYU has won 10 of their last 11 season openers and is 4-1 vs Arizona, including their last meeting, in 2016, a 18-16 victory @ Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium. BYU coach, Kalani Sitake, is 13-13 in his first 2 years in Provo, given what Lavell Edwards & to a lesser extent, Bronco Mendenhall accomplished at BYU, the Cougars need to be the real ‘wildcats’ in Tucson!

James Madison @ NC State: Dave Doeren’s Wolfpack needs to be ready as James Madison may have the best starting line up in all of the FCS. In the past 2 years, the Dukes have won 28 of 30 games! JM won the FCS championship in 2016, beating North Dakota State, 27-17, in the Semi’s and then stopping Youngstown St. in the Final, 28-14! In 2017, James Madison entered the FCS Championship Game, 14-0, before falling to North Dakota State, 17-13! NC State will counter with the best QB in the ACC, Ryan Finley and WR, Kevin Harmon, who passed the 100 yard mark in 6 games in 2017! The ‘Pack’ has only 3 starters back on D, this could be interesting to say the least!

Army @ Duke: This marks the 26th meeting between these teams, the Blue Devils lead the series which began in 1944, 13-11-1. Their last meeting in Durham, 2016, Duke won, 13-6, in a torrential downpour! That said, the teams met last year, 2017, with Army opening a 21-3 lead and then holding off the Devils for a 21-16 win! The coaches in this game make watching worth the time, Duke’s Coach, David Cutcliffe, is one of the best kept secrets in all of college football and Jeff Monken has won 18 games the past 2 seasons with a program that had won only 14 in the previous 5 years!  

Cincinnati @ UCLA: It may surprise you that Cincy is the 2nd best recruiting program in the group of 5 (G5) over the past 4 years, 2nd to only Boise State! It certainly did me, in fact, I doubled and tripled checked 247 sports, which is the only site that I have access to that tracts all 130 FBS teams! Bearcat Coach, Luke Fickell has done a really good job in the “living room”, he now needs to translate those recruiting successes onto the playing field. He went 4-8 in his first year and needs to get his very good roster in gear! Especially, when one considers Fickell’s Cincy team welcomes UCLA’s new coach, Chip Kelly, back to college football! Kelly guided the Oregon Ducks to a 46-7 record and a trip to the BCS Championship Game vs Auburn! This is the 1st meeting between UCLA and Cincinnati. Given Cincy’s young talent and Kelly return to college football, this game is absolutely worth a look see!

South Dakota State @ Iowa State: Will the real Cyclones please stand up! The question to be answered is who will show up at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 1st when South Dakota State arrives in Ames? The team that beat OU (12-2), 38-31 & TCU (11-3), 14-7 or the team, that in the past 5 years, is 2-3 vs FCS opponents (losing in 2013 to Northern Iowa, 28-20, in 2014 to North Dakota State, 34-14, and again to Northern Iowa, 25-20, in 2016). Matty Campbell has the Cyclones headed in the right direction, finishing 8-5 in 2017 with several impressive wins. The Jackrabbits are one of the top teams in all of the FCS and the Cyclones, that is, the real Cyclones, had better be ready!

Saint Francis (IL) @ Sacramento State: Finally, a game that I may be the only person in the entire country, outside of the schools involved, would mention as must see college football. I am a proud graduate of the University of Saint Francis and the last time the Saints stepped up to take on an FCS team (USF is an NAIA Affiliate) they beat Georgia State, 30-27, in 2011! My brother Pat was the AD @ USF at the time and the players awarded him the game ball!  Bring on the Hornets & Go Saints!!!

And now the Countdown to the 10 Best games during week One!

Florida Atlantic @ Oklahoma: Lane Kiffin has moved from Problem Child to Rock Star in a few short years. His time in Alabama, in spite of what he says about it, I believe is the primary reason for the perceptual change of how Kiffin is thought of, in and around college football. Last year, FAU began the season 1-3 and then ran off 10 straight wins. They won the East Division of C-USA, won the championship game, beat North Texas, 41-17, and then won the Boca Raton Bowl, beating Akron, 50-3! FAU enters the 2018 season ready to take another step up and this game is made to order. OU is losing the Heisman Trophy winner, QB, Baker Mayfield, WR, Dede Westbook,  the Biletnikoff winner (2016), TE, Mark Andrews, the John Mackey Award winner, &  2 All-Americans from the O-Line, LT Orlando Brown (twice recognized AA 1st team) & Center Erick Wren (AA 3rd team). A lot to replace and at critical positions! One more note, FAU QB will likely be Chris Robinson, an OU transfer! Let the fun begin! OU -21; take FAU and the points! Later in the season, I would say take OU and give the points, when the Sooners very good, but inexperienced, talent has had time to develop!

North Carolina @ California: Last year UNC had the season from Hades (3-9) anything that could go wrong, usually did, as they started the season 1-8, including a 35-30 lost to Cal in the 2017 opener. This year, Larry Fedora, UNC Coach is determined to right the ship against the team, California, they were a double digit favorite @ home in 2017! The Tar Heels travel to California (longest road trip in school history) fully intent to wake up and end this past year’s nightmare. Cal’s Coach, Justin Wilcox (Wisconsin DC) has other ideas! In his 1st year @ Cal, 5-7, he was within an eyelash of getting the Bears bowl eligible, losing to Arizona, 45-44 and their final 2 games, they lost close games to Stanford, 17-14 & UCLA, 30-27. A win in any of these games and the Golden Bears would have been bowling. Both teams & coaches are “chomping at the bit” to get the 2018 season started on the right foot! Cal -5.5; take UNC and give the points!

Tennessee vs West Virginia (@ Charlotte): This game has a little bit of everything, SEC vs B-12, (Revenge … Georgia, SEC beat OU, B-12 in semi’s, 54-48 in double OT) A new coach (Tennessee’s, Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama DC in 2017), an All-American at QB, (WV’s Will Grier), Mountaineers vs Volunteers (sounds like the Civil War battle), & yet, it is the 1st meeting between these schools! The game will be played at a neutral site, Bank of America Stadium, in Charlotte, NC. This could be bad news for WV as the Volunteers are 7-0 in neutral site games and Tennessee has won their opening game in 9 straight seasons! The Mountaineers have played 3 neutral site openers in the last five years, going 1-2, lost to Alabama, 33-23, beat Missouri, 26-11, and lost to Virginia Tech, 31-24, in last year’s opener! Look for a lot of fireworks from QB, Will Grier, to WR, David Stills, in this game! WV -9.5; take West Virginia and give the points!

Ole Miss Vs Texas Tech (Houston): An SEC/B-12 match-up at a neutral site (Houston) and the 6th overall meeting between these teams! Three of the 6 meeting have been in bowl games, the last being in 2009 @ the Cotton Bowl, Ole Miss won, 47-34, over a Mike Leach TT team! The Rebels are 11-2 in season openers and 1-1 in @ Neutral site games, beating Boise State, 35-13 (Atlanta)  & losing to Florida State, 45-34 (Orlando). TT has played 6 straight Neutral Site games (all vs Baylor, losing the 1st four and winning the past 2). There can be no doubt that Kliff Kingsbury, saved his job by beating Texas, 27-23, in their season finale. That win got the Red Raiders bowl eligible and of course, beating Texas is always a huge plus in job security @ Tech! Texas Tech -2.5; Give the points and bet the house on Ole Miss!

Northwestern @ Purdue: This is the 1st of many battles for 2nd place in the B-10 West! Five teams are going to be locked in behind the Badgers (Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota & Nebraska) and this is the opening salvo! Shocking to some, when told that the Boilers have won 14 straight home openers. Last time the Cats were in town, they trailed 10-0, before going on a 45 to 7 run to close out the victory. Jeff Brohm has Purdue headed in the right direction as he enters his 2nd year and Pat Fitzgerald brings Northwestern into the 2018 season off a 10 win campaign a year ago! Last year (2017), Purdue hit the Windy City to face the Wildcats, who were coming off 3 straight OT wins, the Boilermakers could not force a forth, losing in regulation, 23-13, to the Wildcats! Purdue -3; Northwestern has won four straight, Purdue lost 8 starters on Defense and Brohm has not had enough time (2nd year HC) to replenish the ranks … take the points and the Wildcats!

Alabama vs Louisville (Orlando): These teams have not met since 1977 and Bama leads the series, 2-1! The most interesting element of this game is Saban vs Petrino and that’s about it! While Louisville returns seven starters on offense, the one who would have given them a glimmer of hope against a talented, but inexperienced (3 starters back on D), Tide defense, Lamar Jackson, is off to the NFL. The strength of Alabama, at least early, is on the offense side of the ball and Louisville returns only 4 starters on D! Alabama is coming off a national Championship and Louisville, a 31-27, loss to Mississippi State in the Taxslayer Bowl! Alabama -25.5 … Bama is going to score and score often, while Louisville’s identity offensively, along with Lamar Jackson, is in the wind. Take Bama & give the points! 

Virginia Tech @ Florida State (Monday Sept. 3rd): An ACC showdown between the Atlantic Division’s, FSU and the Coastal’s, Virginia Tech. This is Willie Taggart’s first game as the Seminoles HC, replacing Jimbo Fisher (Off to Texas A&M). This fact, coupled with a disastrous season in 2017 (7-6), this 2017 disappointment was especially difficult as the Seminoles entered the 2017 season ranked 1st or 2nd in the preseason!  As a result, look for FSU to come out with an attitude and a determination to ‘get it right’ in their 1st game in 2018! I am very interested to see Deondre Francois, Seminole QB, back under center. He was injured in their opener vs Alabama, he never  showed back up on the field in 2017 and neither did FSU! Virginia Tech QB, Josh Jackson, passed for 2991 yards, completed 58.6% of his passes, and had a 20-9 ratio, TD’s to INT’s as a red shirt freshman. VT returns 7 starters on offense & 5 on D! FSU -5.5: The simple truth here is FSU has a superior roster, Take the Seminoles and give VT the 5.5!

LSU vs Miami (Arlington TX): This is a fun one! Both these team’s players have ‘little men who live behind the ears’ and when they hit the field, these ‘little guys’ pull a cord and all their mouths start running! I have to say, I am so looking forward to the entertainment value of player interactions in this game. That said, LSU has the better roster (6th best recruiting program to the Canes 17th on SCFP Recruiting Rankings) yet Miami has the better QB, Malik Rosier. Miami returns 14 starters (7 0n Offense & 7 on D)  to the Tigers 10 (5 & 5) and while Miami is 3-9 all time vs LSU, 3 of the wins have come in the last 5 meetings! The Canes are 3-0 in neutral site games! This is the 4th time LSU is opening the season at a neutral site in the past 5 years, they are 3-1, losing to only Wisconsin, 16-14, @ Lambeau! The last time these teams played was in the Peach Bowl, LSU won, 40-3! Miami -3; I ain’t buying it, Ohio State QB, Joe Burrow, transferred to LSU and should provide the more wide open passing attack Tiger HC, Ed Orgeron, is looking to establish; take LSU and the points!

Michigan @ Notre Dame: Why Michigan wants to play ND is a mystery to me! They are already engaged to ‘2 bloodbath rivalries’ vs Ohio State & Michigan State. So why get involved with ND? Michigan does not need to play the Irish, win the B-10 and in all likelihood , you are in the CFP! True, the last 2 B-10 Champions have not made the playoffs, yet I would suggest this is an anomaly not the norm! That said, Game Day will be at Notre Dame to kick off the 2018 season & it should be noted, the home team has won the last 4 games. Michigan is loaded on D, they return 9 starters on that side of the ball and have outstanding talent at all three levels! Defensive Ends Rashan Gary & Chase Winovich are the 2nd best tadun @ that position in the nation, behind only Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell & Austin Bryant. Their LB’s are led by Devin Bush, an All-American & Khaleke Hudson, a player who is headed towards All-American status! In the secondary Lavert Hill is one of the best cover corners in the B-10! The Irish are also very good on D, just not as good as the Wolverines! Jerry Tillery & Jonathan Bonner are good up front, Linebackers, Te’von Coney (arguably the best LB in the game … sorry Bush) and Drue Tranquill provide very good play at this level of the Irish D, and ND’s secondary is slightly better than Michigan’s, with CB’s Julian Love & Troy Pride leading the way. On Offense, I am not buying all the hype around, Shea Patterson (ratio of 17 TD’s to 9 INT’s). We always hear about what a good athlete Patterson is, yet @ Ole Miss in 17′ he rushed 47 times for -3 yards (sacks included) & 1 TD. Compare that to ND’s QB, Brandon Wimbush’s numbers (16 TDs to 6 INTs) and Wimbush rushed 141 times for 803 yards, 5.7 YPC and 14 TD! What Wolverine advantage? The concern with Wimbush is accuracy, 49.5 % will not cut it and this number needs to be at 60%! At WR, Michigan is led by Donovan Peoples-Jones, a highly talented receiver, who has been victimized by Michigan QB’s inability to throw the ball accurately, while ND counters with size at the WR, Chase Claypoole is 6’5” & Miles Boykin is 6’4”. ND’s O-line is superior in every way to what Michigan will field! I believe the key to this game will be at RB, Michigan’s Karan Higdon (994 Yards / 6.1 YPC, & 11 TD’s) & Chris Evans (685 Yards, 5.1 YPC, & 6 TD’s) are really good, while the Irish counter with Dexter Williams (361 Yards, 9.2 YPC, & 5 TD’s)! That said, the real determinate is Williams, he has the ability to make that terrific Michigan front miss, he had a total of 1 negative yard on 39 carries in 2017, a clear indicator of vision & quickness. Last year, Williams would have led the nation in yards per carry if he had 3 more caries (39 carries, for 361 yards, 9.2 Yards per carry)! Williams & Wimbush equals nightmare! Michigan -1; Take ND and the point @ home … hold on … up date!!! While Kelly has not announced it, practice reports indicate that Dexter Williams will not play in the game due to off-field transgressions! Given that, Take Michigan and give the point!

Auburn vs Washington (Atlanta): This is the day’s best game and will have CFP implications, not for the SEC, yet the outcome will absolutely impact the PAC-12! If Washington wins the North Division of the P-12 and then the championship game vs the South, it had better have won this game. An Auburn loss is easily overcome, by winning the SEC West Division (Best in College Football) and the SEC championship Game, likely against Georgia. The PAC -12 needs a win in Atlanta! Let’s start unit comparisons (QB, RB, WR, O-Line, D-Line, LB, & DB). First the QB’s, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham 6’3 / 214 & Washington’s Jake Browning 6’2 / 206!  In 2017, Stidham passed for 3158 yards on 370 attempts completing 246 for a 66.5% completion rate, with a ratio of 3 to 1 (18 TD’s to 6 INT’s)! While Browning put up the following numbers; 2719 yards on 336 attempts completing 230 for a 68.5% completion rate, with a ratio of 3.8 to 1 (19 TD’s to 5 INT’s)! As runners, Stidham ran (sacks count as carries) 103 times for 383 yards gained to 230 yards lost for a net gain of 135 yards, 4 TD’s, & 1.5 YPC; while Browning has carried the ball (sacks count as carries) 56 times for 197 yards gained to 172 yards lost for a net gain of 25 yards, 7 TD’s, & 0.4 YPC! Given the different offensive philosophies of the HC’s, Gus Malzahn @ Auburn & Chris Peterson at Washington, the numbers are both consistent and impressive! At RB, Washington’s Miles Gaskin leads the way! Last year (2017), he ran for 1380 yards on 222 caries, 6.2 YPC, & 21 TDS! Auburn will counter by committee, Kam Martin, will more than likely start, but JaTarvious Whitlow may have the most talent in a group that goes, at least, 4 deep! Auburn has their top five leading receivers back, led by Ryan Davis, 5’9 / 175 (84 receptions, 815 yards, 9.7 YPR & 5 TDs) & Darius Slayton 6’2 / 190 (29 Receptions, 643 yards, 22.2 YPR, & 5 TDs). Not mentioned is Nate Craig-Myers, a 5 star talent ready to break in to stardom in 2018! Washington lost their all everything, Dante Pettis (3rd year in a row the Huskies lose their top receiver) but return two of their top three from a year ago; Arron Fuller 5’10 / 190 (26 receptions, 291 yards, 11.2 YPR, & 1 TD) & TE, Hunter Bryant 6’2 / 245 (22 receptions, 331 yards, 15.0 YPR, & 1 TD). It should be noted that Chico McClatcher 5’8 / 176 will return from a season ending in 2017!  On the O-Line Washington has a clear advantage as they have one of the nations best, anchored by LT, Trey Adams, 6’8 / 331 & RT, Kaleb McGary, 6’8 / 325, and P-12 Honorable Mention, center, Nick Harris 6’1 297! Auburn O-Line can best be thought of as 4 journeymen, they had no one selected to the SEC first four teams in/by Phil Steele’s Preview! They do have back 4 players who started 6 or more games and lose 4 with essentially the same credentials. Auburn D-Line features DE, Marian Davidson 6’3 / 282 & DT, Derrick Brown 6’5 / 316, while the LB’s are led by Deshawn Davis  5’11 / 246, and the Secondary’s best player is CB, Javaris Davis! Washington lost Vita Vea, a beast in the middle of their D-Line, but return NT Greg Gaines 6/2 / 313, DT Jaylen Johnson 6’3 / 294, while the LB’s are led by Ben Burr-Kirven 6’0 / 221, and finally, Washington has one of the best secondaries in the country, Safety, Taylor Rapp leads the way with plenty of help from JoJo McIntosh, also a Safety, and CB, Byron Murphy! Auburn -3 … Take Auburn and the give points; In a comparison of the 7 units, Washington comes out the stronger Team! Auburn has a slight edge at QB, while the Huskies have the best runner on the field and a measurable advantage in the run game, the WR situation is that neither team has elite talent (proven, but Auburn’s Craig-Myers may emerge) yet for now, no real distinction here! The O-Line is a clear advantage for the Huskies! On Defense, the picture is not much different, Auburn will field the better D-Line, yet Washington has quality up front, as they are projected to have the best D-Line in the PAC 12! Give Washington a slight edge at LB and and a big edge in the secondary goes to the Huskies! So on paper, unit by unit, Washington has the edge, but there are other factors to be considered! Auburn beat Alabama & Georgia a year ago and plays in the best league, in the best division, in all of college football. They see teams like Washington all the time, Washington simply does not play teams like Auburn very often, given that, and the game being in Atlanta, is all the edge the Tigers will need! 

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Big 12 Non-Conference vs P5, G5, & FCS

The Big 12 is the only P5 Conference that has not divided into divisions and, in fact, is the only conference that plays a round robin (every team plays ever other conference team). The Big 12, like the Big Ten & PAC 12, play 9 conference games (The ACC & SEC play 8) and therefore have the where-with-all to play 3 Non-Conference (NC) opponents. The NCAA allows FBS teams to schedule 12 games in the regular season, as a result, the B-12 ten (10) teams play 30 Non-Conference (NC) games!

The B-12 clubs are free to schedule 3 P5’s (Power 5 which includes, B-10, P-12, SEC, ACC and themselves) or 3 G5 (AAC, American Athletic Conference; C-USA, Conference USA: MAC, Mid-American Conference; MWC, Mountain West Conference; and the SBC, Sun Belt Conference) or a combination of P5 / G5 that equal 3. These 10 conferences, plus 6 independents, make up the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) or 85 scholarship programs. It should be furthered noted, on SCFP (sully’s College Football Page) we divide the 6 Independents (IND) into P5’s (ND & BYU) and G5’s (Army, U-Mass, Liberty, & New Mexico State).

Finally, the B-12 may schedule 3 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, this subdivision can offer only 63 scholarships as compared to the 85 the FBS programs can offer), but they will schedule only 1 FCS opponent, because they can count only 1 win vs an FCS team toward the 6 wins they need to become bowl eligible!

So as we consider the strength of B-12’s NC schedule, we will take notice of the number of P5 teams, (stronger opponent), G5’s (85 scholarship programs, yet, at least perceptually, a step down from a P5 opponent), or an FCS team, which has fewer scholarships!

Let’s take a look see …

Baylor plays 1 P5, Duke (ACC) @ home, 1 G5, Texas San Antonio (C-USA) on the road, and 1 FCS team, Abilene Christian SLC (Southland Conference) @ McLane Stadium, the Baylor Bears home field!

Iowa State takes on 1 P5 Iowa (Big Ten) @ Iowa, 1 G5, Akron (MAC) @ Jack Trice Stadium ISU home field, and the Cyclones play 1 FCS opponent, South Dakota State a team from the MVFC (Missouri Valley Football Conference) on their home turf in Ames, Iowa!

Kansas lines it up against 1 P5, Rutgers (B-10) @ home in Lawrence, Kansas, 1 G5, Central Michigan, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and 1 FCS team, Nicholls State (SLC) @ home in Memorial Stadium!

Kansas State kicks it off against 1 P5 opponent, Mississippi State (SEC) in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, 1 G5 Texas San Antonio (C-USA), and 1 FCS Opponent, South Dakota (MVFC). It should be noted, the Kansas State plays all 3 of their NC games on their home field!

Oklahoma battles 1 P5, UCLA (P-12) @ Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and 2 G5’5 Florida Atlantic (C-USA) & Army (IND), both of these games are in Norman! OU has not played an FCS team since 2012, Florida A&M (MEAC – Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference), a 69-13 win over the Rattlers!

Oklahoma State is the only B-12 team that did not schedule a P5 opponent in 2018! The Cowboys round up 2 G5’s South Alabama (SBC) and Boise State (MWC) and 1 FCS squad, Missouri State (MVFC). While it is true that not playing a NC P5 team will hurt their chances to get into the College Football Playoff (CFP) it is equally true the Boise is as good or better than most FCS teams!

TCU steps up against 1 P5, The Ohio State (B-10) in Arlington, Texas, 1 G5 SMU (AAC) away, and 1 FCS club, Southern University (SWAC Southwestern Athletic Conference) at home, in Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frogs never leave the Great State of Texas in their NC season!

Texas challenges 2 P5 opponents in 2018, Maryland (B-10) away in College Park, Maryland and USC (P-12) @ home in Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX and 1 G5 Tulsa (AAC) at home! Texas, similar to USC, ND, and some others does not schedule FCS opponents!

Texas Tech gets it on with 1 P5 team, Ole Miss (SEC) @ a neutral site, Houston Texas, 1 G5, Houston (AAC) @ home in Jones AT&T Stadium, and 1 FCS team, Lamar (SLC) also at home in Lubbock, Texas. Like TCU, the Red Raiders do not leave the Great State of Texas for their NC schedule!

West Virginia is looking for trouble, scheduling 2 P5’s, Tennessee (SEC) @ a neutral site Charlotte, NC & NC State (ACC) @ home, Mountaineer Field – Milan Puskar Stadium. WV plays 1 FCS, Youngstown State (MVFC) at home in Morgantown, WV!

The Big 12 takes on 11 Power 5 Opponents ( ACC two (2), B-10 four (4), SEC three (3), P-12 two (2), they play 11 G5 Teams ( C-USA three (3), MAC two (2), IND One (1), SBC One (1), MWC one (1), & AAC three (3) & the FCS 0n 8 occasions (SLC three (3), MVFC four (4), & SWAC one (1)!

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SCFP All American / All Name Team

Our intent here is to add to the excitement & fun of college football by identifying the most colorful and creative names of the participants. We just try to align the name with the position, whether they are a star or a sub, if they are out there, we recognize them!

Offensive Team 2018


QB: Chad President, Tulsa:

RB: Soso Jamabo, UCLA

RB: Squally Canada, BYU

WR: Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, Texas

WR: Amon Ra Saint-Brown, USC

TE: Jaeger Bull, Rice

OL: Michael Jordan, Ohio State

OL: Kobe Buffalomeat, Illinois State

OL: Hunter Littlejohn, Indiana

OL: Clay Greathouse, Tulsa

OL: Brodarious Hamm. Auburn

Place Kicker: Jet Toner, Stanford

Kick-Off Returner: Jaqwis Dancy, Louisiana Tech

Defensive Team 2018


DL: Youhanna Ghaifan; Wyoming

DL: Quincy Roache, Temple

DL: Thor Katon, Oregon State

DL: My-King Johnson, Arizona

LB: Bryce Swackhammer, North Carolina State

LB: Zach Sandwich, West Virginia

LB: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

DB: Greedy Williams, LSU

DB: Hassan Defense, Kansas

DB: Clifton Duck, Appalachian State

DB: Smoke Monday. Auburn

Punter: Mac Loudermilk, Central Florida

Punt Returner: CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma


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SCFP 2018: P5 Top 25 / G5 Top 20 / FCS Top 15

Please note: SCFP ranks the Power Five teams (ACC, B-10, B-12, PAC 12, & SEC … Plus 2 Independents; ND & BYU) as one group of 66 teams into a Top 25. Next, we rank the Group of Five (AAC, CUSA, MAC, MWC, & SBC … Plus 2 Independents, Army & U-Mass, a group of 64 teams into a Top 20. Finally, we rank the 124 FCS teams into a Top 15! Enjoy and let us know what you think!


Power Five Top 25


  1. Alabama (SEC)
  2. Clemson (ACC)
  3. Georgia (SEC)
  4. Ohio State (B-10)
  5. Wisconsin(B-10)
  6. Auburn (SEC)
  7. Washington (P-12)
  8. Oklahoma (B-12)
  9. Penn State (B-10)
  10. Notre Dame (IND)
  11. Miami (ACC)
  12. Michigan (B-10)
  13. USC (P-12)
  14. Stanford (P-12)
  15. Michigan State (B-10)
  16. LSU (SEC)
  17. Texas (B-12)
  18. Florida State (ACC)
  19. Florida (SEC)
  20. Mississippi State (SEC)
  21. Oregon (P-12)
  22. TCU (B-12)
  23. South Carolina (SEC)
  24. West Virginia (B-12)
  25. Nebraska (B-10)

Group of Five Top 20


  1. Central Florida (AAC)
  2. Boise State (MWC)
  3. Memphis (AAC)
  4. Temple (AAC)
  5. Florida Atlantic (C-USA)
  6. Arkansas State (SBC)
  7. Marshall (C-USA)
  8. Houston (AAC)
  9. Utah State (MWC)
  10. Troy (MWC)
  11. UAB (C-USA
  12. Fresno State (MWC)
  13. Ohio (MAC)
  14. Appalachian State (SBC)
  15. South Florida (AAC)
  16. Navy (AAC)
  17. Louisiana Tech (C-USA)
  18. Middle Tennessee (C-USA)
  19. Northern Illinois (MAC)
  20.   Toledo (MAC)

Football Championship Subdivision Top 15


  1. North Dakota State (MVFC)
  2. James Madison (CAA)
  3. South Dakota State (MVFC)
  4. Kennesaw State (BSC)
  5. Jacksonville State (OVC)
  6. Sam Houston State (SLC)
  7. Weber State (B-SKY)
  8. Eastern Washington (B-SKY)
  9. New Hampshire (CAA)
  10. Samford (SoCon)
  11. Delaware (CAA)
  12. Elon (CAA)
  13. Illinois State (MVFC)
  14. Northern Iowa (MVFC)
  15. Wofford (SoCon)

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Power Five, Group of Five, & FCS: Final 2107 Ranking

Power Five: Top 25

1.  Alabama (SEC) 13-1: Alabama pulled an Ohio State this year, didn’t win the SEC or the even the West Division, but Bama did win the College Football Play-off, exactly what the Bucks did in 2014! The Tide rolled over Clemson, 24-6 (Sugar Bowl) and survived Georgia, in OT, 26-20 (Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta, Georgia)! A late loss to Auburn put their chances for a bid to the CFP at risk, but Georgia’s win over the Tigers and Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin, opened the flood gates and the the Tide came roaring up-top of New Orleans, Louisiana and rolled right through Atlanta, Georgia!

2.  Georgia (SEC) 13-2: Georgia won the SEC West Division, then beat Auburn, 28-7, in the SEC Championship Game, Auburn had beaten Dawgs, 40-16 in the regular season. Georgia then took on and beat the B-12 Champs, Oklahoma, in the semi final, in 2 OTs, 54-48! This set the stage for an all SEC final, Georgia had their way with Bama in the 1st half, leading 13-0 and seemed on their way to magical season! Saban changed QB’s and the Georgia defense struggled to adjusted, as did the offense in the 2nd half, Alabama 26 Georgia 23!

3.  Oklahoma (B-12) 12-2: Beat TCU (11-3) in the modified B-12 Championship Game, 41-17 and then fell to Georgia (13-2) in the CFP Semi, 54-48 in 2 OTs! It should be noted, the Sooners beat a 12-2 Ohio State, a 10-3 Oklahoma State, and an 11-3 TCU, twice!

4. Clemson (ACC) 12-2: Won the ACC by hammering #8 Miami (10-3) in the ACC Championship Game, 38-3 and then fell to #1 Alabama in the three-peat, 24-6, in the CFP semi-final! During the regular season, the Tigers beat #9 Auburn (10-4), 14-6, #19 South Carolina, 34-10, #22 Wake Forest, 28-14, #21 Virginia Tech, 31-17, & #23 NC State, 38-31!

5. Ohio State (B-10) 12-2: Won the B-10 by stopping an undefeated Wisconsin, 27-21, but could not overcome their 55-24 schalacking by Iowa. Beat USC, PAC 12 Champs, in one of the New Year’s 6 Bowl Game (Cotton), 24-7!

6. Wisconsin (B-10) 13-1: Won the B-10 West Division and posted a school record 13 wins. The Badgers lost the B-10 Championship Game to OSU, 27-21, but got back to their winning ways, beating the ACC runner-up, Miami, in the Orange Bowl, 34-24

7. Penn State (B-10) 11-2: Lost the B-10 East showdown to Ohio State, 39-38, @ the Horse Shoe, but played well after that disappointment, winning 4 straight, including the Fiesta Bowl, beating Washington, 35-28, in their 2017 finale!

8. Miami (ACC) 10-3: Mark Richt has the swagger back in Miami! For the first time since jointing the ACC, the Canes won the Coastal Division and played for the league championship. That said, after going 10-0, Miami ended the season with 3 straight losses! They will need to right the ship immediately in 2018, as the Hurricanes open up with LSU

9. Auburn (SEC) 10-4: Auburn had a true rollercoaster ride in 2017. They beat both teams that played in the CFP final; Georgia, 40-14 & Alabama, 26-14. Yet, ended the season with 2 straight losses, Georgia, in the SEC Championship, 28-7 and UCF, in the Peach Bowl, 34-27! All this amid rumors that Gus Malzahn was first, going to be fired and then, after beating Georgia & Bama was leaving for his home state, Arkansas, to replace the fired Bielema! Well, he’s back and Auburn had a really entertaining year in 2017!

10. USC (P-12) 11-3: The Trojans lost three games in 2017, all for different reasons; 1) Injuries to the Offensive Line vs Washington State, 20-17, 2) no shows; not sure who they sent to South Bend, but it certainly did not look like any SC team I have watched over the years, 49-14 and 3) Ohio State, who is/was simply better than USC, 24-7!

11 Notre Dame (IND) 10-3: ND had a good season in 2017, they played well against Georgia, a CFP finalist, 20-19 loss @ home. The Irish played lights out good vs SC, a 49-14 blasting of the Trojans. But, as in 2015, could not close the deal in 17′, they looked intimidated vs Miami, a 41-8 stomping by the Canes and got beat up … again, by a less talented/more physical Stanford Team, 38-20. The Irish did bounce back and beat LSU in the Citrus Bowl, 21-17!  The Tigers had won 6 of their last 7, their only loss was, a competitive one, to Alabama, 24-10!

12. TCU (B-12) 11-3: The Frogs need to find a way to get Oklahoma off their schedule, as 2 of TCU’s 3 losses were to Oklahoma, 38-20 & 41-17 in the B-12 Championship Game! Nine of TCU’s eleven wins were by double digits, only their 7 point win over West Virginia, 31-24 and their bowl win over Stanford, 39-37 were in doubt late into the 4th quarter. TCU had another outstanding year under Gary Patterson’s leadership!

13. Oklahoma State (B-12) 10-3: Mike Gundy continues to impress! His Teams from 2009 through 2012, won 40 games in 4 years. From 2013 through 2017, they won 10 games in 4 of the 5 seasons, the only year they failed to win double digits was in 2014, yet, OSU still posted a winning record at 7-6. Gundy’s overall record @ Oklahoma State is 104-50, a winning percentage of 68, and he ranks 24th of the 130 current college coaches in winning percentage at their respective schools!

14. Mississippi State (SEC) 9-4: Danny Mullen is gone to Florida, this is a big problem for the Bulldogs. Mullen was 70-46 @ MSU, a winning percentage of 60% compared to the school’s overall winning percentage of 49! MIssissippi State’s wins over LSU, 37-7, Texas A&M, 35-14, Kentucky, 45-7, and even their 7 point loss to Alabama, 31-24 are all reflective of the coaching leadership Mullen provided in Starkville. Enter Joe Morehead, Joe has big shoes to fill, to say the least!

15. Washington (P-12) 10-3: Chris Peterson has it going in Seattle. The Huskies have won 22 games the past 2 years and made the CFP in 2016! This past year an upset loss to Arizona State, 13-7 and 30-22 loss to a physical Stanford were what kept them from returning to the play-offs in 2017! They played well vs a very good Penn State team in their bowl game, losing 35-28. The Huskies open the 2018 season against Auburn, @ Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, let the fun begin!

16. LSU (SEC) 9-4: The Tigers had another typical year, best described as, LSU fans have no idea who will show up on any given Saturday. The Louisianans are a top 4 recruiting program over the past 5 years, so why not better play on the field?. That said, from up north, it appears that coaching decisions and QB play has been the primary culprits  for the inconsistency! A blowout loss to Mississippi State, 37-7 and a head scratching loss to Troy, 24-21, and @ home? Couple that with wins over Auburn, 27-23, Texas A&M, 42-27 (A&M has not beaten LSU since joining the SEC, 7 straight losses) & Ole Miss, 40-24 and the confusions grows! LSU needs to address these 2 issues and need to do so quickly, as Georgia (already), Texas A&M (Jimbo Fischer) and Florida (Danny Mullen) will hurt LSU recruiting!

17. Northwestern (B-10) 10-3: Pat Fitzgerald is one of the beat kept secrets in all of college football. Early season losses to Duke, 41-17, Wisconsin, 33-24, & Penn State, 31-7, left the Cats @ 2-3. They would not lose again in 2017! Consecutive wins over Iowa, 17-10, in OT, Michigan State, 39-31 in 3OTs, and Nebraska, 31-24 in OT was a 1st in NCAA history. These 3 OT wins were the spring board that the Wildcats used to close out their season with 8 straight wins!

18. Michigan State (B-10) 10-3: Mark Dantonio is arguably the best coach in the B-10, given their talent level compared to three other teams in the East Division. The Spartan faithful were angry about a 3-9 season in 2016, the fact is that season is no more of an anomaly then what Dantonio does year in and year out! Last year’s win over PSU, 27-24, was Dantonio at his best as MSU held the Lions to 65 yards rushing, forced 3 turnovers, and held them to 4 of 12 on 3rd down conversions!. 

19. South Carolina (SEC) 9-4: Will Muschamp is doing really good work at the other, USC! He is putting the fight back in the Gamecocks. The changes at Georgia (Kirby Smart), @ Florida (Danny Mullen) and what Muschamp is doing at SC are quickly reestablishing the SEC East back to a level that is no longer miles below the SEC West. USC season opening win over NC State, 35-28 and its comeback win over Michigan in their bowl game are indicators of a slow but steady rise in SC’s play!

20. Stanford (P-12) 9-5: David Shaw is one of the most underrated and overlooked coaches in the in the entire country. He operates in an academic environment that ties one hand behind his back and yet expects him to recruit/compete with teams in the P-12 that have no such restrictions. This year they beat Washington (10-3), 30-22 & Notre Dame (10-3) 38-20 and had to close losses to USC (11-3) 31-28 & TCU (11-3) 39-37

21. Virginia Tech (ACC) 9-4: Justin Fuente has won 19 games at Virginia Tech in his first two seasons following the legend, Frank Beamer (238-121-2). Three of their four losses were to Clemson (12-2), 31-17, Miami, (10-3), 28-10, & Oklahoma State (10-3), 30-21 in their bowl game. Their only loss that was suspect was to Georgia Tech (5-6) 28-22.

22. Wake Forest (ACC) 8-5: Wake’s HC, Dave Clawson and NC State’s Dave Doeren are both out of the MAC, Clawson from Bowling Green, where he won 18 games his last two years in the Mid-American. He replaced Jim Grobe (73-74), who was/is regarded as one of the ACC best coaches, performing at a high level in an extremely difficult situation @ Wake. Clawson went 3-9 in his first 2 years and then, in the past two years has won 16 games and in doing so has beaten, Louisville, 42-32, NC State, 30-24 & Texas A&M, 55-52!

23. NC State (ACC) 9-4: Dave Doeren has dome a terrific job for the Wolfpack since leaving the Huskies of Northern Illinois after the 2012 season! In 2017 wins over FSU, 21-17 (an early season game when FSU was still making an effort), Louisville, 39-25 (2 words that make it impressive; Lamar & Jackson) and a bowl statement win over Arizona State, 52-31! The Pack also battled Clemson down to the wire before falling 38-31! North Carolina has some of the best high school football talent in the country & NC State is starting to attract some of that high level talent!

24. Washington State (P-12) 9-4: Mike Leach has done really great work @ Washington State. The previous coach, Paul Wulff was 9-40, an 18% winning percentage! Leach had to rebuild, he experience two 3-9 seasons early in that process, and at one point, was 12-25 @ WSU! In the past three years, the Cougars have gone 26-13 and Leach’s is now 38-38 in Pullman! Two of their 4 losses, in 2017, came in the final 2 games, one Washington, 41-14 (had they won the would have won the North Division) and to Michigan State 41-17! It should be noted the Cougars played the Spartans without QB, Luke Falk (DNP) and were without best defender, Hercules Mata’afa, in the 1st half. WSU was the only P-12 team to beat USC, 30-27, in 2017!

25. Iowa (B-10) 8-5: In 2015, Iowa went 12-0 in the regular season and then lost the B-10 Championship to Michigan State, 16-13 (The Drive by the Spartans) and then did not show up for their bowl Game, losing to Stanford, 45-16! Hawk fans and others like to say, what’s happened to the Hawks? The answer is nothing! In 2012, the Hawks won 7 of their 12 wins by single digits! In the past 2 seasons, Iowa has lost 10 games, 7 of the losses were by single digits. In other words, they won close games in 2015 and lost them in 2016 & 2017. Do the math, add those 7 losses to the 16 wins they had in 2016 & 17 and you get 23 wins, now / by 2 and you are at 11.5 wins or 11 and or 12 wins in each of those seasons. Iowa is good not great and the win discrepancy between 2015 and 16 & 17 is deceptive!   

25. Michigan (B-10) 8-5: Harbaugh has a growing list of critics, as they like to say, “8-5 won’t ‘cut it’ @ Michigan”! That said, the reality is/was that Michigan’s most talented (not best, but most talented) players, a year ago, were freshman, redshirt freshman, or sophomores and as the season progressed, they wore down. They played three QBs, none of whom were at the level of the talent around them and yet won 8 of their first 10 games. True, they lost their last three outings, but to whom? Let’s take a peek, a 13-1 Wisconsin, 24-10, a 12-2 Ohio State, 31-20, and then could not hold a 19-3 halftime lead against South Carolina, as they turned the ball over 5 times and were out scored 23 -0 in the second half! If  Shea Patterson, a QB transfer from Ole Miss to Michigan, is declared eligible, then that opening Michigan game at ND is going to become one of, if not, the game on opening weekend!   

Group of Five:  Top 15

1. Central Florida (AAC) 13-0: Won the American Athletic Conference, East Division, then beat Memphis, 62-55, in 2 OT to win the AAC Championship, beat 1 P5, Maryland, (B-10), 38-10, and then beat Auburn (SEC), 34-27 in a New Years 6 Bowl

2. South Florida (AAC) 10-2: Finished 2nd in the American East Division to UCF, losing to the Knights, 49-42, in a wild game. Beat 1 P5 in the regular season, Illinois (B-10), 47-23, and another, Texas Tech, in their Bowl Game, 38-34!

3. Boise State (MWC) 11-3: Won the Mountain West Conference, Mountain Division, then beat Fresno State in the MWC Championship Game, 14-7, to win the Conference. Boise played 4 P5’s, losing to Washington State (P-12), 47-44 in 3 OTs and Virginia (ACC), 42-23, while beating BYU (IND), 24-7 (so classified on SCFP) and Oregon (P-12), in their bowl Game, 38-28!

4. Troy (AAC) 11-2: Tied Appalachian State for the Sun Belt Championship, this conference does not have divisions and Appalachian State and Troy did not play in 2017! Troy beat LSU (SEC), 24-21 in the regular season, and won their Bowl Game vs North Texas, 50-30!

5. Florida Atlantic (C-USA) 11-3: Lane forever baby! Kiffin has gone from problem child to rock star in a few short years. FAU, lost 3 of its first 4 games and then ripped off 10 straight wins. In doing do, won the East Division of  Conference USA and then hammered North Texas in C-USA Championship, 41-17! FAU annihalated Akron, 50-3, in their bowl game!

6. Fresno State (MWC) 10-4: Tim DeRuyter is gome and Jeff Tedford (former Cal coach) has brought back the old, Anybody, Anytime, Anywhere, spirit of Pat Hill. Fresno State won the West Division of the MWC and while losing the Championship Game to Boise State, 17-14, actually beat Boise the week before @ home, 28-17! Fresno then beat Houston, 33-27 in the Bowl Game!

7. Memphis (AAC) 10-3: Won the West Division of the American and then lost the AAC Championship Game to UCF, in 2 OT’s, 62-55! Played 2 P5’s opponents, beat UCLA (P-12) in the regular season, 48-45 and lost to Iowa State (ACC) in their bowl game, 21-20 (Matty Campbell, ISU head coach, another former MAC coach, this one from Toledo, beat Oklahoma, 38-31 & TCU 14-7 in 2017)

8. San Diego State (MWC) 10-3: My early pick to represent the G5’s in the New Year’s 6 Bowl games! The Aztecs beat Arizona State (P-12), 30-20 & Stanford (P-12), 20-17 in back to back weeks in September. Then lost, in back to back weeks, 2 conference games that sealed their MWC fate, Boise, 31-14 & Fresno, 27-3, both of these games were in San Diego! SDSU was then upset by Army in their bowl outing, 42-35!

9. Appalachian State (SBC) 9-4: Tied Troy at 7-1 for the SBC Championship (Teams did not play inn 2017), lost their 2 P5 encounters to Georgia (SEC), 31-10 & Wake Forest (ACC) 20-19! The Mountaineers saved their best for last, hammering MAC champion, Toledo, 34-0, in their Bowl Game!

10. Ohio (MAC) 9-4: I believe Frank Solich had the best team in the MAC in 2017, 2 late losses to Akron, 37-34 & Buffalo, 31-24  cost them a 12 win season. They should have won those road games, won the East Division and played for the MAC Championship against Toledo, a team they had beaten, 38-10 in the regular season. The Bobcats split their P5 games, losing to Purdue (B-10), 44-21 & beat Kansas,(B-12) 42-30. Ohio won their bowl game, beating UAB, 41-6!

11. Toledo (MAC) 11-3: The Rockets won the West Division of the MAC and then, beat Terry Bowden’s Akron, in the MAC Championship Game, 45-28! They lost their one P5 game to Miami (FL), 52-30 and were embarrassed in their Bowl Game by Appalachian State, 34-0

12. Army (IND) 9-4: Army’s Coach, Jeff Monken, is from my home town, Joliet (IL) and I am proud to say; he has, in 3 years, given direction to a program that has been lost for more then a decade! In year 3, army had a winning record, made & won a bowl game, and most important, beat Navy, 21-17!!! This year, they  beat Navy, again, 14-13 and split their 2 P5 games losing to Ohio State, 38-7, while beating Duke, 21-16! The Cadets also won their 2nd bowl game in a row, shocking, a very good San Diego State team, 42-35!

13. North Texas (C-USA) 9-5: Won the West Division of  C-USA and then lost to FAU in  the Championship Game, 41-17!, The Mean Green lost their one P5 game to Iowa (B-10), 31-14 and then fell to Troy in their Bowl Game, 50-30!

14.  Wyoming (AAC) 8-5: Finished 5-3 in MWC play, losing to Boise State, 24-14 & Fresno State, 13-7. The Cowboy’s QB, Josh Allen, struggled with injuries much of the season, which may explain the season ending loss to San Jose, 20-17. Allen showed up big in their bowl game, leading the Cowboys past Central Michigan, 37-14!

15. Houston (MAC) 7-6: A really talented team in the American, who, I believe, underachieved in the 2017 season. The Cougars finished 2nd in the West Division @ 5-3 behind Memphis, who won it, @ 7-1. Houston played 2 P5 opponents, they beat Arizona (p-12), 19-16 and lost to Texas Tech (B-12), 27-24! It should be noted that the Cougars beat South Florida (10-2 Record), 28-24, and did so @ South Florida, and then inexplicability, lost 2 conference games to Tulsa (2-10 record), 45-17 & Tulane (5-7 record) 20-17! This should not have happened! Houston played well in their bowl game, yet lost to Fresno State, 33-27!

FCS: Top 10

1. N. Dakota St. (MVFC) 14-1: Won the Missouri Valley Football Conference @ 7-1, did not play an FBS opponent, and won the FCS Tourney, by beating, James Madison in the final, 17-13! (Also beat San Diego, 38-3, Wofford, 42-10, & Sam Houston, 55-13 in that Play-offs)!

2.   James Madison (CAA) 14-1: Won the Colonial Athletic Association @ 9-0, Played and beat 1 FBS opponent, East Carolina, 34-14, lost in the FCS final to ND State, 17-13 (in the FCS Tourney beat Stony Brook, 26-7, Weber State, 31-28, & SD State, 51-16)!

3. South Dakota State  (MVFC) 11-3: Finished 2nd in the Missouri Valley Football Conference @ 6-2, although they did beat ND State, 33-21, did not play a FBS opponents, lost in the semi finals to James Madison, 51-16.

4. Sam Houston State (SLC) 12-2: Finished 2nd in the Southland Conference @ 8-1, Did not play an FBS opponent, lost in the FCS semi finals to ND State, 55-13

5. North Carolina A&T (MEAC) 12-0: Won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference @ 8-0, The MEAC voted to play in the Celebration Bowl (6 year deal with ESPN) in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome vs the SWAC Champ, televised by ESPN, as opposed to playing in the FCS Tourney. Played 1 FBS opponent, beat UNC Charlotte, 35-31, won the Celebration Bowl, 21-14, over Grambling.

6. Kennesaw State 12-2 (BSC): Won the Big South Conference @ 5-0, did not play an FBS opponent, lost in the FCS tourney’s 3rd round, to Sam Houston, 34-27

7.  Jacksonville State (OVC) 10-2: Won the Ohio Valley @ 8-0, lost to P5, Georgia Tech, 37-10, lost in the 2nd round of the FCS Tourney to Kennesaw State, 17-7

8.  Stony Brook (CAA) 10-3: Tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association @ 6-2, played and lost to 1 FBS opponent, South Florida, 31-17, lost in the FCS Tourney’s 2nd round to James Madison, 26-7

9.  Weber State (MVFC) 11-3: Tied for the Big Sky @ 7-1, Played 1 FBS team, California and lost, 33-20, made the FCS Tourney, lost in the 3rd round to James Madison, 31-28!

10. New Hampshire (CAA) 9-5: Tied for 4th place in the CAA @ 5-3, played 1 FBS opponent, beat Georgia Southern, 22-12, made the FCS tourney, lost in the 3rd round to SD State, 56-14.  

11. San Diego (Pioneer) 10-3: Won the Pioneer Conference @ 8-0, did not play an FBS opponent, lost in the 2nd round of the FCS Tourney to, ND State, 38-3

12. Wofford (SoCon) 10-3: Won the SoCon at 8-1, played one FBS opponent, South Carolina, lost 31-10; made the FCS Tourney, lost in the 3rd round to ND State, 42-10

13. Central Arkansas (SLC) 10-2: Won the Southland Conference @ 9-0; played 1 FBS opponent, Kansas State, lost 55-10, made 2nd Round of the FCS Tourney, lost to New Hampshire, 21-15

14. Yale (IVY) 9-1: Won the IVY League out-right for the first time since 1980, with a 6-1 record. Yale did not play a FBS opponent in the 2017 season. Finally, it should be noted, the Ivy League does not participate in the FCS Tourney, due to academic considerations!

 15. Grambling State (SWAC) 11-2: Grambling won the Southwestern Athletic Conference @ 9-0, played 1 FBS opponent, Tulane, lost 43-14. The SWAC does not participate in the FCS Tourney, but, as mentioned, does play the MEAC Champ in the Celebration Bowl, where Grambling lost to North Carolina A&T, 21-14.

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ACC Non-Conference (NC) 2018 Schedule

The last couple of years Clemson has replaced Florida State, as the Alabama (SEC), Ohio State (B-10), & USC (P-12) as the face of the ACC, its best team, the flag ship and so on! In 2013 the Seminoles put a ‘whippin’ on the Tigers in “Death Valley’s” Memorial Stadium, 51-14! The next year, Clemson showed up in Tallahassee with a lot more michezo, losing in Seminole Country, 23-17. Since then it has been all Tigers, as they have now beaten FSU three straight and looking to make in 2 in a row at Doak S. Campbell Stadium!

The ACC plays 8 conference games and lines it up in 4 NC contests, to get to their allotment of 12 games! This conference plays the best (most P5’s) schedule of any of the other 4 Power 5 leagues. In part, because of their agreement with Notre Dame, to play the Fighting Irish 5 games each season!

We will break the schedule into three components, Power 5 (P5), Group of 5 (G5), and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). It should be noted, the P5 & G5 award an identical number of full scholarships, 85, while an FCS team can give out only 63 full rides! In other words, 22 fewer full scholarship players on a FCS roster!

Let take a ‘look see’ what 2018 has in store for the ACC and then how it compares to the SEC, B-10, & PAC 12 (B-12 info is on deck)!

Atlantic Division

Boston College challenges only 1 P5 in 2018, Purdue (B-10), on the road, in West Lafayette’s, Ross Ade Stadium! BC takes on 2 G5 teams, U-Mass (IND) and Temple (AAC) and lines it up against 1 FCS squad, Holy Cross (Patriot League). All 3 of these contest are in Boston’s Alumni Stadium!

Clemson will kick it off against 2 P5’s in 2018, 1st @ Kyle Field, in College Station vs Texas A&M (Just when Jimbo Fisher… FSU’s old Coach & A&M’s new coach … thought he would not be seeing ‘orange’ for a while) they’re back! The Tigers then end their season by take on, the in-state rival South Carolina, @ home in Death Valley! Clemson plays only one G5 as it welcomes, Georgia Southern out of the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) and 1 FCS team, North Carolina Central, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) club!

Florida State will step up against 2 P5’s, Notre Dame in South Bend, @ Notre Dame Stadium (FSU leads the series 6-2) and then welcome in-state rival, Florida, to Tallahassee, a place where the Gators have not won since 2012! The Seminoles will also play Northern Illinois (MAC), a G5 team and a FCS club, Samford, out of the Southern Conference (SoCon).

Louisville is seeing its opponents in 2018 all ‘high fiven’, as Lamar Jackson has moved on the NFL and now NFL D lineman can chase his tail’ all over the field! That said, the Cardinals are stepping up big time, as they open with Alabama (SEC), @ a neutral site, Orlando, FL and end their season with in-state rival, Kentucky (SEC). Patrino’s team also battles 1 G5, Western Kentucky (C-USA) and 1 FCS squad, Indiana State, an FCS team, from the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)!

NC State plays West Virginia, a P5 out of the B-12, @ home, Carter-Finley Stadium, in Raleigh, NC. The Wolfpack tackle two G5’s, Georgia State (SBC), @ home and Marshall (C-USA) in Huntington WV @ Joan Edwards Stadium! ‘The Pack’ open their season against one of the best FCS programs, James Madison, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Syracuse battles the Fighting Irish in Yankee Stadium, the only P5 they play in 2018! They take on 2 G5, at Western Michigan (MAC) in Kalamazoo, Mi, @ Waldo Stadium and U-Conn (AAC) at home in the Carrier Dome! The Orange play 1 FCS team, Wagner out of the Northeast Conference (NEC).

Wake Forest puts on the gloves and takes on the Fighting Irish at BB&T Field, in Winston-Salem, NC! The Demon Deacons line up against 2 G5’s, @ Tulane (AAC) and Rice (C-USA) @ home. They play one FCS opponent, Towson (CAA) @ home!

The ACC Atlantic Division plays 10 P5  (B-10 1, SEC 5, IND 3, B-12 1), 11 G5’s ( IND 1, AAC 3, SBC 2, MAC 2, C-USA 3) and 7 FCS teams (Patriot League 1, MEAC 1, SoCon 1, MVFC 1, CAA 2, & NEC 1).

Coastal Division

Duke battles 2 P5’s, Northwestern (B-10) & Baylor (B-12), both of these games are on the road, @ NW’s Ryan Field & McLane Stadium respectively! The Blue Demons also take on one G5, Army (IND) and one FCS team North Carolina Central (MEAC). The Army / NC Central games are played in Durham, NC, @ Wallace Wade Stadium.

Georgia Tech plays 1 P5, Georgia (SEC), this in-state rivalry is always played the last week in November (rivalry week). Tech also ‘kicks it off’ against 2 G5’s, South Florida (AAC) & Bowling Green (MAC), both Contests will be played @ Bobby Dodd Stadium, GT’s home field! The Rambling Wreck close out their 12 game slate with an FCS team, opening weekend, welcoming Alcorn State, a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)!

Miami seems to have their ‘swag’ back, they better, as they open the 2018 season against the ‘bad boys’ from LSU (SEC), in Arlington, TX! The Canes also look to intimidate, Toledo (MAC) Maybe? & Florida International, (C-USA & Old Cane Coach, Butch Davis) Not likely! The Toledo game is on the road, while the FIU game is at Hard Rock Stadium! Miami plays one FCS team, Savannah State (MEAC) @ HRS!

North Carolina looks to roar back from a disastrous season in 2017, 3-9, winning only one conference game, beating Pitt, 34-31! The Heels play 1 P5, Cal (P-12), in Berkeley. The ‘lock it up’ against 2 G5’s, East Carolina & Central Florida, both teams hail from the AAC! UNC will travel to East to Greenville, NC, to battle ECU at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and welcome UCF to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels also play an In-state, FCS opponent, Western Carolina (SoCon) @ home, in Kenan Memorial Stadium!

Pittsburgh has taken a big bite of the ‘preverbal apple’ taking on 2 P5’s, Penn State (B-10) @ home in Heinz Field and the Fighting Irish (IND) @ Notre Dame Stadium. They also play the lone undefeated G5 from a year ago, Central Florida (AAC) 13-0 in 2017. Further, this game is a road game, at Bright House Networks Stadium, in Orlando, FL! As stated, Big Bite! Pitt does get some relief, as they play one NC, FCS opponent, Albany (CAA), @ Heinz Field!

Virginia ‘lines it up’ only once vs a P5, @ Indiana’s (B-10) Memorial Stadium! The Cavaliers play 2 G5″s Ohio (MAC) & Liberty (IND), a team that is transitioning from the FCS to the FBS! Virginia rounds out its 12 game schedule on opening weekend, as they welcome, an in-state FCS team, Richmond (CAA) to Scott Stadium!

Virginia Tech plays 1 P5 opponent, welcoming the Fight Irish, in Blacksburg, VA @ Lane Stadium! VT beat the Irish in South Bend in 2016, 34-31! The Hokes play 2 G5 teams at home, East Carolina (AAC) & Old Dominion (C-USA) and 1 FCS opponent, an in-state university, William & Mary (CAA) in Blacksburg!

The ACC Coastal Division plays 9 P5  (B-10 3, SEC 2, IND 2, P-12 1, B-12 1 ), 12 G5’s ( IND 2, AAC 5, MAC 3, C-USA 2, and 7 FCS teams (MEAC 2, SoCon 1, CAA 3, & SWAC 1).

As a conference

The ACC plays 19 Power Five opponents (SEC 7; IND 5; B-10 4; B-12 2; & P-12 1).

They play the Group of Five in 23 games (AAC 8; C-USA 5; MAC 5; IND 3; & SBC 2) 

The ACC takes on the FCS 14 times (CAA 5, MEAC 3; SoCon 2; MVFC 1; SWAC 1; NEC 1; & Patriot 1) 


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G5 Recruiting on 247 Sports: 2015 through 2018

This Average Recruiting Rank (ARR) is from one source, 247 Sports! Rivals only ranks down to 100 and ESPN stops at 75; 247 was the only site, of the three we use at Sully’s College Football Page (SCFP), that gave us access to all 130 team’s ARR.

Boise State was the best recruiting G5 during those years according to 247 Sports and yet, their ARR, when factored in with the the Power 5 (P5) teams was 61.5. This score is reflected in the ARR column listed below. In other words, 60 of the 66 P5 teams ARR was better than Boise State’s (#1 of G5 Teams) 61.5, Cincinnati 63.0, Central Florida 65.3, & so on down the line!

An element that surprised me was how high Luke Fickell has Cincinnati, I would have never guessed that the Bearcats were the best recruiting program in the AAC from 2015 through 2018 and the 2nd best in the G5 ranks! Somewhat shocking!

247  Conf. 2015 16 17 18 Total ARR
Boise State MWC 58 68 64 56 246 61.5
Cincinnati AAC 68 74 63 47 252 63.0
Central Florida AAC 71 65 55 70 261 65.3
Houston AAC 89 36 69 72 266 66.5
South Florida AAC 66 66 76 64 272 68.0
Memphis AAC 77 61 56 88 282 70.5
Marshall C-USA 75 51 87 74 287 71.8
FAU C-USA 79 89 60 79 307 76.8
San Diego State MWC 70 82 77 78 307 76.8
Western Michigan MAC 76 67 89 75 307 76.8
Toledo MAC 84 88 78 65 315 78.8
SMU AAC 81 75 80 86 322 80.5
Fresno State MWC 72 85 84 94 335 83.8
San Jose State MWC 62 84 98 93 337 84.3
East Carolina AAC 93 79 79 87 338 84.5
Temple AAC 80 59 119 80 338 84.5
Southern Miss C-USA 87 100 74 82 343 85.8
Colorado State MWC 119 76 73 84 352 88.0
Louisiana Tech C-USA 82 94 100 76 352 88.0
FIU C-USA 100 104 83 66 353 88.3
Georgia Southern SBC 85 77 106 89 357 89.3
UTSA C-USA 103 103 75 85 366 91.5
Tulane AAC 91 97 112 68 368 92.0
Western Kenyucky C-USA 111 101 82 81 375 93.8
Middle Tennessee C-USA 86 96 91 103 376 94.0
UAB C-USA NA 71 108 106 285 95.0
Nevada MWC 98 105 95 83 381 95.3
Arkansas State SBC 90 90 111 90 381 95.3
Northern Illinois MAC 83 112 97 92 384 96.0
Tulsa AAC 109 95 85 97 386 96.5
Bowling Green MAC 104 111 81 91 387 96.8
Miami OH MAC 74 93 94 130 391 97.8
Navy AAC 112 91 88 101 392 98.0
U-Conn AAC 99 99 101 104 403 100.8
South Alabama SBC 88 87 116 112 403 100.8
UNLV MWC 106 81 117 99 403 100.8
Texas State SBC 95 110 92 107 404 101.0
Utah State MWC 96 92 104 115 407 101.8
U-Mass IND 107 86 110 105 408 102.0
Troy SBC 117 98 96 98 409 102.3
Hawaii MWC 122 108 86 96 412 103.0
North Texas C-USA 94 102 115 102 413 103.3
Central Michigan MAC 97 107 93 122 419 104.8
Ball State MAC 105 112 90 118 425 106.3
Louisiana SBC 78 106 121 120 425 106.3
Ohio MAC 92 115 103 123 433 108.3
Appalachian State SBC 114 109 107 110 440 110.0
New Mexico MWC 116 83 118 128 445 111.3
ULM SBC 108 124 102 116 450 112.5
Georgia State SBC 124 127 105 95 451 112.8
Wyoming MWC 113 116 99 127 455 113.8
Kent State MAC 102 131 128 100 461 115.3
Air Force MWC 123 114 109 121 467 116.8
Eastern Michigan MAC 115 121 123 108 467 116.8
UNC Charlotte C-USA 126 119 114 109 468 117.0
Rice C-USA 101 129 122 117 469 117.3
Army IND 120 117 120 114 471 117.8
Old Dominion C-USA 110 120 124 126 480 120.0
Buffalo MAC 118 118 113 137 486 121.5
New Mexico State IND 125 128 129 125 507 126.8
Akron MAC 127 132 131 119 509 127.3
UTEP C-USA 128 125 133 129 515 128.8
Coastal Carolina SBC 171 126 126 111 534 133.5
Liberty IND 142 180 171 135 628 157.0
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PAC 12’s Non-Conference (NC) Schedule

The PAC 12 enters 2018 coming off its worst Bowl showing in conference history, going 1-8,  (SC lost to Ohio State, 24-7, in the cotton Bowl, Arizona lost to Purdue, 38-35, in the Foster Farm Bowl, Arizona State lost to NC State, 52-31, in the Sun Bowl, UCLA lost the Cactus Bowl to Kansas State, 35-17, Washington lost the Fiesta Bowl to Penn State, 35-28, Stanford got beat by TCU, 39-37, in the Alamo Bowl, Oregon lost to Boise State, 38-28, in the Las Vegas Bowl & Washington State lost Michigan State, 42-17, in the Holiday Bowl) with Utah getting its sole win, 30-14 over West Virginia, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl!

The PAC 12 plays 9 conference games, same as the B-12 & B-10, 5 division games and schedule 4 of the 6 teams in the other division! That leaves 3 NC games for each team, equaling a conference total of 36 NC games per season! We will divide NC opponents into 3 categories, Power 5 (P5), Group of 5 (G5), & Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Alright, let’s see what we got in 2018!

South Division

  1. Arizona plays 1 P5, BYU. Independent (On Sully’s College Football Page, BYU & ND are treated as P5’s) at home, in Arizona Stadium, 1 G5, Houston, a team from the American Athletic Conference (AAC), in Houston, @ TDECU Stadium, and 1 FCS club, Southern Utah, Big Sky Conference (B-Sky) @ Home.
  2. Arizona State takes on 1 P5, Michigan State (B-10), @ Sun Devil Stadium and 2 G5 opponents, Texas San Antonio, Conference USA (C-USA) and San Diego State Mountain West Conference (MWC). The Devils do not plat an FCS team in 2018!
  3. Colorado lines up against 1 P5, Nebraska (B-10) in Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium! They also take in state rival Colorado State, a G5 team out of the MWC. This game is played annually (Rocky Mountain Showdown) at a neutral site, Denver’s Mile High Stadium. The Buffs finish off their NC against a FCS squad, New Hampshire, a team from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), a home tilt played @ Folsom Field!
  4. UCLA challenges 1 P5 team, Oklahoma (B-12), as the Bruins travel to Norman Ok in the 2nd week of the 2018 season! They then ‘lace em up’ against 2 G5 opponents, Cincinnati (AAC) & Fresno State (MWC), both of these games are in the Rose Bowl, as the Chip Kelly era begins!
  5. USC breaks the mold as the Trojans battle 2 P5’s, Texas (B-12) in Austin and ND, at home, in the LA Coliseum. SC also kicks it off against 1 G5 opponent, UNLV, in Los Angles. This is the best roster Southern Cal has fielded in several years!
  6. Utah plays 1 P5, in the “Holy War” vs BYU (IND) @ home, in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes tackle 1 G5 opponent, Northern Illinois, a team out of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and welcome Weber State (B-Sky), an FCS team, to Salt Lake City!

The South Division plays Seven P5 opponents (Two  from the B-12 , Two out of the B-10, & Three IND’s), The PAC 12 South play Eight G5’s teams (AAC 2, C-USA 1, MAC 1, MWC 4), & 3 FCS teams (Two B-Sky & One CAA) for a total of 18 NC games!

North Division

  1. California plays 2 P5’s North Carolina, a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) @ home in California Memorial Stadium and BYU (IND) in Provo, UT. The Bears also welcome 1 FCS to Berkeley, Idaho State (B-Sky) to round their NC schedule!
  2. Oregon does not play an P5 opponent in its NC schedule, rather they play 2 G5’s and a FCS Team! The welcome all 3 to Eugene, Bowling Green (MAC) & San Jose State (MWC), and the FCS club hails from the B-Sky, Portland State!
  3. Oregon State, unlike Oregon does play a P5 and does so in a big way, as the Beavers travel to the ‘Horse Shoe’ to take on Ohio State (B-10). OSU then lines it up against 1 G5, Nevada (MWC) in in Mackay Stadium, Reno and 1 FCS, Southern Utah (B-Sky), @ home, in Reser Stadium.
  4. Stanford challenges 1 P5, ND in South Bend, a team the Cardinal have beaten 7 of the last 9 times they have played, however the road team is 2-8 in the last 10! Stanford takes on 1 G5, San Diego State, a team that beat them a year ago in  SDCCU Stadium, 20-17, and 1 FCS, UC Davis, @ Stanford Stadium!
  5. Washington steps up big in its 2018 opener, they kick-off the 2018 season in Atlanta, against Auburn, a team that beat both CFP finalist a year ago, Georgia, 40-17 & the National Champion, Alabama, 26-14! They play BYU in Seattle, @ Husky Stadium and welcome North Dakota (B-Sky), who is in transition from the B-Sky to the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) beginning in 2019, to the great state of Washington!
  6. Washington State, a 2nd North Division that does not play a NC Power 5 team in 2018, the Cougars play 2 Group of Five and one Football Championship Subdivision team. WSU takes on Wyoming (MWC), in Laramie, @ War Memorial Stadium and San Jose State (MWC) at home, in Martin Stadium. The Cougars welcome 1 FCS to Cougar country, Eastern Washington (B-Sky) to finish up their 2018 schedule. It should be noted, Eastern Washington beat WSU, 45-42, in the 2016 season opener!

The North Division plays Six P5 opponents (1 from the ACC, 1 from the B-10, 1 out of the SEC, & Three IND’s), The PAC 12 North play six G5’s teams (MAC 1, MWC 5), & Six FCS teams (All from the B-Sky ) for a total of 18 NC games! The North Division has an even split of its 18 NC game schedule, playing 6 P5’s, 6 G5’s and 6 FCS opponents!

The PAC 12 overall, have 36 NC games (12 teams X 3 games each = 36) play P5 opponents 13 times, G5 Teams on 14 dates, and line it up on 9 occasions vs FCS teams!

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Big Ten vs NC P5’s, G5’s, & FCS

The B-10 plays 9 conference games and 3 NC games to reach its maximum allotment of 12 games (unless you play Hawai’i, @ Aloha Stadium, then you can schedule a 13th game to offset travel costs). The B-10, once going to the 9th conference game were directed by their Commissioner, Jim Delany, to avoid scheduling Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) who are limited to 63 scholarships vs the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), who can award 85 scholarships! He then asked B-10 teams to schedule at least 1, Non-Conference (NC) Power 5 (P5) or more and 1 or 2 Group of 5 (G5) teams per season … let’s see how well the universities complied?

B-10 East!

  1. Indiana plays 1 P5, Virginia, out of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), @ home, in Memorial Stadium & 2 G5’s, Florida International  Conference – USA (C-USA) in Miami, Fl and Ball State Mid-American Conference (MAC) @ home! The Hoosiers do not play a FCS opponent in 2018!
  2. Maryland takes on Texas, a P5 team from the Big-12, @ home in Maryland Stadium and then plays 2 G5’s, Bowling Green (MAC), on the road and then returns home to battle Temple, an American Athletic Conference (AAC) team! The Terrapins do not play an FCS team in the coming season!
  3. Michigan travels to South Bend (Please note; on Sully’s College Football Page (SCFP) we treat ND & BYU as Power 5 Teams) to avenge their 31-0 pounding by the Irish in 2014 and then host 2 G5’s, Western Michigan (MAC) and SMU (AAC) in the Big House! The Wolverines do not play a FCS team!
  4. Michigan State ‘laces em up’ against 1 P5, Arizona State (PAC-12) in Sun Devil Stadium and 2 G5’s, Utah State, Mountain West Conference (MWC) and Central Michigan (MAC) both games will be played in Spartan Stadium! The Spartans do not play an FCS opponent!
  5. Ohio State breaks the norm by taking on 2 P5’s, Oregon State (PAC-12) @ the ‘Shoe’ and TCU (Big 12), at a neutral site, Arlington Texas. The Bucks will play 1 G5 in 2018, Tulane (AAC) in Ohio Stadium! OSU does not play an FCS squad in 2018!
  6. Penn State lines up against in state rival, Pittsburgh, a P5 team from the ACC,  @ Heinz Field, Pitts home turf! The Lions also play 2 G5 in NC tilts, taking on Appalachian State, Sun Belt Conference (SBC) and Kent State (MAC), both of these game will be played @ Beaver Stadium, in State College, PA! PSU does not play a FCS opponent!
  7. Rutgers travels to Lawrence, Kansas,, in week three, to meet the Jayhawks @ Memorial Field. Kansas is a P5 program and member of the B-12 Conference! The Scarlet Knights play 2 G5 teams, Texas State (SBC) and Buffalo (MAC), both of the games are in New Brunswick, NJ @ High Point Solutions Stadium. The Knights do not play a FCS team in 2018!

The East Division of the Big Ten plays 8 P5 opponents (2 ACC, 3 B-12, 1 IND, 2 PAC 12), 13 G5 teams (3 AAC, 1 C-USA, 6 MAC, 1 MWC, & 2 SBC), & 0 FCS Opponents

B-10 West!

  1. Illinois does not play against a P5 opponent in 2018, they do compete against 2 G5’s, Kent State (MAC) & South Florida (AAC). The Illini do play a FCS squad, Western Illinois, a Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) team, in week two! All three of these NC games are in Urbana-Champaign, IL, at Memorial Stadium!
  2. Iowa will ‘kick it off’ against in-state rival, Iowa State, a P5 team from the B-12!  They also line up against 1 G5 team, Northern Illinois (MAC) and one FCS club, Northern Iowa (MVFC). All 3 NC games are in Iowa City, at Kinnick Stadium!
  3. Minnesota, like the Illini, do not play a P5 team in their NC schedule in 2018! They do play against 3 G5 opponents; New Mexico State (IND), Fresno State (MWC) & Miami OH (MAC). The 3 games will be played in Minneapolis MN @ TCF Bank Stadium! The Gophers do not play a FCS team!
  4. Nebraska welcomes one P5 NC opponent, Colorado, to Lincoln in 18’! Colorado is an old Big 12 opponent of the Huskers, when both teams were in that league, the Buffs are mow members of the PAC 12! The Cornhuskers play 2 G5’s, Akron (MAC) and Troy (SBC). All three games are @ Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium!
  5. Northwestern steps up and plays 2 P5 opponents! Duke (ACC) and ND (IND), both of the games are in Evanston, IL  at Ryan Field! The Cats challenge 1 G5 team, Akron (MAC), this contest is also @ Ryan Field!
  6. Purdue, like Northwestern, will take on 2 P5 teams, Missouri (SEC) & Boston College (ACC)! Both NC games are in West Lafayette, @ Ross-Ade Stadium! The Boilermakers are scheduled to play one G5 opponent, Eastern Michigan, also at Ross-Ade Stadium!
  7. Wisconsin plays 1 P5, BYU in Madison, @ Camp Randall in week 3 and 2 G5’s Western Kentucky (C-USA) & New Mexico (MWC) also played at Camp Randal! The Badgers do not play a FCS opponent in 18’! While UW’s NC slate is relatively easy, their Big 10 schedule is difficult, all 5 road games are against teams that had winning records a year ago (Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, & Purdue)!

The West Division of the Big Ten plays 7 P5 opponents (2 ACC, 1 B-12, 2 IND, 1 PAC 12, & 1 SEC), 12 G5 teams ( 1 AAC,  1 C-USA, 1 IND 6 MAC, 2 MWC, & 1 SBC), 2 FCS teams (2 MVFC)

Big Ten plays 15 P5’s, 25 G5’s, & 2 FCS in the 2018 season!

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SEC Non Conference Tilts

For our purposes here, we will divide the teams into three categories; 1) Power Five (P5), Group of Five (G5), & 3) FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) opponents. It should be noted, that the P5 & G5 are not NCAA terms (FBS & FCS are the NCAA descriptors), but rather, constructs of of the CFP (College Football Playoffs), which is also, not, an NCAA championship! I will try to define all acronyms.

Let’s start with the Mighty SEC: West Division!

The SEC plays 8 conference games, 4 @ home, 4 on the road, and 4 NC games to reach the alloyed 12 game schedule

Alabama plays one P5, Non-Conference  (NC) team, Louisville (ACC), in Orlando, two G5’s, Arkansas State, from the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) and Louisiana (SBC), both games are at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The Tide also takes on one FCS (this category of team has 63 scholarships not 85 as an FBS roster), The Citadel, a team from the Southern Conference (SoCon)! To be Bowl eligible, a team must win 6 games, you may count one, and only one win against a FCS opponent toward the bowl requirement of 6 wins!

Arkansas does not play a P5, NC game in 2018! This is likely related to the fact, that they play in the SEC West Division and struggle to win games against the likes of, LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State , not to mention Bama! The Razorbacks challenge, Colorado State from the Mountain West Conference (MWC), North Texas, Conference USA (C-USA), and Tulsa, who plats in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). The R-Backs also play one FCS school, Eastern Illinois, out of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). All of the games are in Fayetteville, with the lone exception of the CSU game, which is in Fort Collins, Colorado!

Auburn opens the season against one of the best teams in the country, Washington, a P5  PAC 12 team, at a neutral site, Atlanta, Georgia! This is the only game the Tigers play against a NC, P5 opponent, in 2018! That said, this game is one of the best match-ups on opening weekend, rivaling, if not surpassing, the Michigan-ND clash in South Bend! Auburn also takes on two G5 teams, one from C-USA, Southern Miss and Liberty, in transition from the FCS to the FBS and playing this season as an Independent. Both of these games are in Auburn! The Tigers also tangle with Alabama State, an FCS from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).

LSU also adds to opening weekend excitement by lining up against the resurgent Miami Hurricanes, in Arlington Texas! This is the only time the Bengal Tigers take on a P5, in the 2018 season. They play two G5’s La Tech & Rice out of C-USA and an FCS opponent, SE Louisiana out of the Southland Conference (SLC). All these games are in Baton Rouge, @ Tiger Stadium! If LSU gets good QB play out of Joe Burrow or anyone  for that matter, they have the talent on their roster, to beat anyone, and I do mean, anyone!

Mississippi State travels to B-12 country to take on Kansas State, this will be their only NC game vs P5 opponent! They play two G5’s From Louisiana, La Tech (C-USA) and Louisiana (SBC), aka Louisiana Lafayette. Their final NC game is their opener vs an FCS team, Stephen F. Austin, from the SLC. All three of these games are in Starkville, MS @ Davis Wade Stadium!

Ole Miss also takes on the B-12 as they ‘lace en up’ against, Texas Tech, in Houston, Texas! The usual look for an SEC West Division team, 1 P5, 2 G5, & 1 FCS. The G5’s are Kent State, from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and Louisiana Monroe (SBC), both of these contests are in Oxford @ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Their FCS opponent is Southern Illinois, a team out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC), this game will also be played in Oxford!

Texas A&M has a Tiger by the tail as they welcome Clemson, to College Station and Kyle Field. Jimbo Fisher, A&M’s new coach, who is 4-4 in his Florida State years vs Clemson, can’t be over-joyed to be playing these guys, yet again, in his second game as the Aggies head man! A&M also follows SEC West suit with 2 G5 opponents and 1 game vs an FCS team! The Aggies take on Louisiana Monroe (SBC) & UAB (C-USA), both of these games are in College Station! Their FCS opponent is Northwestern State, a team from the SLC!

The SEC West Division takes on 6 P5 teams (3 ACC, 2 B-12, & 1 P-12), 15 G5 ( 5 SBC, 1 IND, 6 C-USA,  1 AAC,  1 MAC, & 1 MWC) and 7 FCS opponents;(3 SLC, 1 MVFC, 1 MEAC, 1 OVC, & 1 SoCon) for a total of 28 NC games!

Let’s continue with the, less than, Mighty SEC: East Division!

The SEC plays 8 conference games, 4 @ home, 4 on the road, and 4 NC games to reach the alloyed 12 game schedule.

Florida is the victim of a rather unusual event, Idaho has left the FBS, after being voted out of the SBC (along with New Mexico State, who has elected to stay part of the FBS as an Independent) and is headed for the FCS and the Big Sky Conference. As a result, Florida will play 2 FCS opponents in 2018 and only one of the probable wins can count toward the 6 wins needed to be bowl eligible. That said, the Gators do travel from Gainesville, take on Florida State in Tallahassee’s Doak Campbell Stadium and welcome one G5 opponent to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, from the MWC, Colorado State, led by HC, Mike Bobo, a former Georgia QB and Offensive Coordinator (OC)!

Georgia opens its season against an FCS team, Austin Peay, out of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Dawgs take on 2 G5 teams, Middle Tennessee (C-USA) and U-Mass, an Independent, both of these games are in Athens’ Sanford Stadium! Georgia ends it season, @ home, against in state rival, Georgia Tech (ACC)! While the Dawgs have a relatively easy NC schedule, their SEC crossover games include, Auburn & LSU!

Kentucky plays 1 P5, in state rival, Louisville (ACC) on the road in their season finale. They battle 2 G5, Central Michigan (MAC) and Middle Tennessee (C-USA) and 1 FCS opponent, Murray State (OVC) all 3 of these games are at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky! a consistent theme, 1 P5, 2 G5, & 1 FCS!

Missouri is the only SEC team that will take on a B-10 team in 2018, Purdue, in West Lafayette. The Tigers also play 2 G5 teams,  Wyoming (MWC) and Memphis (AAC), both of these games are in Columbia @ Memorial Stadium! Mizzou opens their 2018 season vs Tennessee Martin, a FCS team from the (OVC)!

South Carolina begins the their NC season at home vs 2 G5 teams, Coastal Carolina (SBC) and Marshall (C-USA). These games are the season opener and the Marshall game is played in week three, the issue is Georgia, who they play @ home in week two! If the Gamecocks are going to challenge for the East Division crown this is a great place to start! That said, no looking past, around, or through those early opponents. USC (the other USC) plays Chattanooga, a FCS (SoCon) team in week eleven and end their season against, in state rival, Clemson (ACC), who has beaten the Gamecocks four straight and badly the past 2 years (56-7 in 2016 & 34-10 in 17)!

Tennessee has a new coach and is hoping for a new beginning after what can best be described as some ‘peculiar goings on’ under the leadership of the last coach and AD! The Volunteers play the best opponent that the SEC East lines up against on opening weekend, West Virginia (B-12)! The game will be a neutral site affair, played in Charlotte, NC. UT will also ‘lace en up’ against 2 G5 teams UTEP (C-USA) & UNC Charlotte, both of these games are at Neyland Stadium, home of the Vols! The 4th NC game is against an FCS, in state opponent, East Tennessee (SoCon)!

Vanderbilt will travel a little further north in Indiana than Missouri, past West Lafayette to South Bend! The Commodores will play Notre Dame for the 1st time since 1995, the Irish jumped out to a 27-0 half time lead and never looked back! Vandy’s four NC games are played in the 1st five weeks on the season, with 3 of 4 played at home in Vanderbilt Stadium! Two G5 teams, Middle Tennessee (C-USA) and Nevada (MWC) & 1 FCS team, Tennessee State (OVC) will fill the NC slate for the 2018 season!

The SEC East Division takes on 7 P5 teams (4 ACC, 1 B-12, 1 B-10, & 1 IND), 13 G5  (1 SBC, 1 IND, 6 C-USA,  1 AAC, 1 MAC, &  3 MWC) and 8 FCS opponents;(1 BSC, 1 B-Sky, 4 OVC, & 2 SoCon) for a total of 28 NC games!

The SEC plays 13 P5 opponents (ACC 7, B-12 3, B-10 1, P-12 1 & IND 1) 28 G5 teams (AAC 2, C-USA 12, MAC 2, MWC 4, SBC 6, & IND 2) and 15 FCS squads (BSC 1, B-Sky 1, MEAC 1, MVFC 1, OVC 5, SLC 3, SoCon 3) to complete their NC schedule which involves 56 teams.

Finally, It should be noted that the SEC & ACC play 8 conference games while the B-12, B-10, P-12 play 9 … so fewer NC games needed by those conferences, especially with the B-10 & P-12, who like to play one another!



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