2017 college football strength of schedule rankings – ESPN FPI

By Kevin Kelley -

ESPN Stats & Information has posted their 2017 Football Power Index (FPI), which includes college football strength of schedule rankings.

According to the preseason ESPN FPI, the California Golden Bears have the toughest schedule for the 2017 season. Georgia is second, followed by LSU, Florida, and South Carolina.

The SEC leads the ESPN FPI strength of schedule rankings with nine teams in the Top 25. The SEC is followed by the Pac-12 (7), ACC (6), Big 12 (1), Big Ten (1) and Notre Dame.

Below are the top 25 toughest 2017 college football schedules as ranked by the ESPN FPI, followed by 26 through 130.

1. California
2. Georgia
3. LSU
4. Florida
5. South Carolina
6. USC
7. Stanford
9. Arizona State
10. Georgia Tech
11. Alabama
12. Utah
13. Florida State
14. Mississippi State
15. Vanderbilt
16. Texas A&M
17. NC State
18. Oregon State
19. Auburn
20. Clemson
21. Wake Forest
22. Notre Dame
23. Duke
24. Texas Tech
25. Maryland


(26) Pittsburgh, (27) Iowa State, (28) Oklahoma State, (29) Arkansas, (30) Tennessee, (31) Texas, (32) Kentucky, (33) Boston College, (34) Syracuse, (35) Oklahoma, (36) Ole Miss, (37) North Carolina, (38) Michigan State, (39) Washington State, (40) TCU, (41) West Virginia, (42) Miami (FL), (43) Washington, (44) Kansas, (45) Purdue, (46) Oregon, (47) Baylor, (48) Arizona, (49) Missouri, (50) Colorado


(51) Kansas State, (52) Ohio State, (53) Nebraska, (54) Virginia, (55) Michigan, (56) Virginia Tech, (57) Louisville, (58) Iowa, (59) Rutgers, (60) Penn State, (61) Illinois, (62) Indiana, (63) Wisconsin, (64) Minnesota, (65) Northwestern, (66) East Carolina, (67) Navy, (68) Tulane, (69) Tulsa, (70) Houston, (71) Fresno State, (72) BYU, (73) Temple, (74) UConn, (75) UMass


(76) SMU, (77) Nevada, (78) San Jose State, (79) Boise State, (80) Utah State, (81) Cincinnati, (82) Air Force, (83) UCF, (84) Colorado State, (85) New Mexico, (86) ULM, (87) Memphis, (88) Kent State, (89) Eastern Michigan, (90) Hawai’i, (91) Rice, (92) UTEP, (93) Akron, (94) San Diego State, (95) UL Lafayette, (96) Wyoming, (97) Central Michigan, (98) Georgia Southern, (99) Bowling Green, (100) Northern Illinois


(101) UNLV, (102) USF, (103) Army, (104) New Mexico State, (105) Western Michigan, (106) Toledo, (107) South Alabama, (108) Middle Tennessee, (109) Old Dominion, (110) Marshall, (111) Texas State, (112) Florida Atlantic, (113) Arkansas State, (114) Southern Miss, (115) FIU, (116) Idaho, (117) Ball State, (118) North Texas, (119) Buffalo, (120) Georgia State, (121) Miami (OH), (122) Louisiana Tech, (123) Troy, (124) Charlotte, (125) Coastal Carolina, (126) UTSA, (127) Western Kentucky, (128) UAB, (129) Appalachian State, (130) Ohio

Comments (18)

That must be a dubious honor for Ohio to be listed as the softest schedule of the year!

This looks like it’s split right down the line between P5s (1-65) and G5s(66-130). I wonder how much separation there is between 65 and 66.

These are all funny numbers in the preseason. But if you want an example of SEC bias, this is pretty good. The PAC12 has half of the toughest schedules in the top 10. You have to reach down to the 25th best team before the SEC comes out ahead. But that’s the headline and the story!

Interesting. I’m a Georgia fan, but was surprised to see them at 2. At Notre Dame, GT, Tennessee, and Auburn, but the other crossover game is Mississippi State and the SEC East still looks like a bit of a mess to me. Highest ranked opponent in the USA Today poll is Auburn at #13. Maybe all the road games?

I think it’s just the fact that they have what amounts to 2 P5 opponents with both on the road as well as a top tier G5 opponent as well in Appalachian St. Throw in Auburn, arguably the #2 out of the SEC West as one of the crossover opponents and it makes sense- the bias built of the projection system (note, that’s not an anti-ESPN/SEC knock or anything) almost dictates SEC schools should generally have the toughest schedules so it’s really a matter of who you play OOC and in your crossover games.

FAKE NEWS!!! Go to ESPN and look at the strength of schedule rankings….keep this one up for verification. Look at the end of the URL, it says /fake!! So tired of click bait articles!!

Wrong! It says /false at the end. True and false are MySQL data field types. In this case, it has to do with the column order. If you knew anything about web development you would have been able to make an informed comment.

This is also not a “click bait” article. A “click bait” article is one that has a title that tricks you into clicking on it and then the article is about something completely different. Do some research.

This is a joke! Alabama rank 11th with FCS school and 0-8 school and two MW conference schools. and they don’t play florida and georgia?

USF’s ranking shows how light the 1st two-thirds of its schedule is because it’s backloaded. Aside from Temple, the Bulls won’t be seriously challenged until at least late October.

How can michigan play 4 top 20 teams –Florida–Ohio s. –Penn St. and Wisc. and 3 top 10 teams Ohio St. 2—PennST. 6 and wisc. 9 and have one of most difficult schedules

Yes, this has to be a TOTAL JOKE !!! . EVERY B1G Conference team has the toughest schedule! B1G Conference has 4 ( FOUR !!! ) of the AP Poll National Top 10 Teams in it !!! . Most B1G teams play 3 or 4 of the Top 10 Teams in the Nation!

Yes, most B1G teams play 2 – 4 of the Top 10 Teams in the nation, yet their schedules are listed as weak… Alabama and Clemson play NO Top 10 Teams… so write them in for the PlayOffs…

How in the hell can the morons at espn keep going on about UW’s weak schedule (ranked #43), and then I see their very own metric shows penn state’s strength of schedule is #55. Ohio state #52. Michigan #55. virginia tech #56. wisconsin #63. even oklahoma at #35 isn’t far off. it just shows that they get narratives in their heads and then don’t let facts get in the way of their brainless rambling. Where’s the concern about penn state playing a weak schedule? what about ohio state? Michgan? etc. espn must issue an IQ test to work there. If you score too high, you’re not eligible for hire!