ESPN’s College Football Power Index Reveals Which Teams Have The Hardest Schedules In 2019 (Good Luck, SEC Teams)

ESPN's College FPI Reveals Which Teams Have The Hardest Schedules

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Okay, now that we’re officially through the Major League Baseball All-Star Game it’s time to turn our attention to football, right? After all, the first college football games, Arizona at Hawaii and Florida at Miami (FL), are just 45 days away.

The statheads over at ESPN are certainly aware of the impending football season and have released the first Football Power Index (FPI) of 2019.

The usual suspects are at the top: (1) Clemson, (2) Alabama, (3) Georgia, (4) LSU, (5) Michigan, (6) Oklahoma, (7) Notre Dame, (8) Florida, (9) Auburn, and (10) Oregon.

None of that is really a surprise. The more interesting part of the 2019 ESPN FPI going into this season is which teams are projected to have the hardest schedules.

Based on these projections, if a team from the SEC or Pac 12 manages to make to the Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on January 13, 2020, they will have most definitely earned it.

That’s because out of the 20 teams with the most difficult schedules, 16 of them come from those two conferences (SEC – 11, Pac 12 – 5). Only FBS Independent Notre Dame, West Virginia of the Big 12, and Maryland of the Big Ten were able to sneak into the top 20 from outside those two conferences.

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1. S Carolina, SEC – Key matchups: Alabama, Georgia, Florida
2. USC, Pac-12 – Key matchups: Notre Dame, Washington, UCLA
3. Florida, SEC – Key matchups: Auburn, LSU, Georgia
4. Stanford, Pac-12 – Key matchups: Notre Dame, Oregon, USC
5. Georgia, SEC – Key matchups: Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn
6. Colorado, Pac-12 – Key matchups: Oregon, Washington, UCLA
7. Auburn, SEC – Key matchups: LSU, Georgia, Alabama
8. Oregon St, Pac-12 – Key matchups: UCLA, Utah, Washington
9. UCLA, Pac-12 – Key matchups: Oklahoma, USC, Utah
10. LSU, SEC – Key matchups: Florida, Auburn, Alabama
11. Texas A&M, SEC – Key matchups: Clemson, Georgia, Alabama
12. West Virginia, Big 12 – Key matchups: Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma
13. Cal, Pac-12 – Key matchups: Washington, Oregon, Utah
14. Vanderbilt, SEC – Key matchups: Georgia, LSU, Florida
15. Arizona, Pac-12 – Key matchups: UCLA, Washington, Oregon
16. Tennessee, SEC – Key matchups: Florida, Georgia, Alabama
17. Maryland, Big Ten – Key matchups: Penn St, Michigan, Michigan St
18. Ole Miss, SEC – Key matchups: Alabama, Auburn, LSU,
19. Mississippi St, SEC – Key matchups: Alabama, LSU, Auburn
20. Alabama, SEC – Key matchups: Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn

The rest of the most difficult schedules from conferences other than the SEC and Pac 12…

21. Michigan, Big Ten
24. Purdue, Big Ten
26. Ohio State, Big Ten

22. Louisville, ACC
25. North Carolina, ACC
30. Georgia Tech, ACC

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35. Texas, Big 12
37. Iowa State, Big 12
39. Kansas State, Big 12

67. Cincinnati, American
68. Tulsa, American
69. Houston, American

70. Utah State, MW
77. UNLV, MW
80. San Jose State, MW

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72. N Illinois, MAC
83. Kent State, MAC
84. Miami (OH), MAC

74. Rice, C-USA
76. Mid Tennessee, C-USA
92. Southern Miss, C-USA

82. UL Monroe, Sun Belt
94. Georgia State, Sun Belt
97. South Alabama, Sun Belt

78. New Mexico St, FBS Independent
109. UMass, FBS Independent
118. Liberty, FBS Independent