Power-Five teams that won’t play a power, non-conference opponent in 2015

By Amy Daughters -

Of the 64 schools that are members of a Power-Five conference, how many do you think won’t face a Power team out of league play in 2015?

How about 11? That’s 17% of the field with at least a one-game advantage over the 53 teams that will play a Power foe.

Think about it, while Mississippi State gets Southern Miss, FCS Northwestern State, Troy and Louisiana Tech, fellow SEC West member Texas A&M draws Arizona State, Ball State, Nevada and FCS Western Carolina.

It’s not rocket science: The Aggies have a much better chance of picking up an additional loss than do the Bulldogs.

Here’s a look at the 11 exceptions. The list consists of one team apiece from the ACC and Big Ten and three each from the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.

Note: BYU and Notre Dame will be considered Power Five non-conference opponents by the ACC and SEC moving forward. Both are considered as such for this article.

NC State

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. Troy (Sept. 5), vs. FCS Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 12), at Old Dominion (Sept. 19), at South Alabama (Sept. 26)

The Wolfpack last played a Power team out of ACC play in the regular-season in 2012 when they opened up with a loss to Tennessee in Atlanta.

Looking ahead, NC State has Notre Dame scheduled for 2016-17, West Virginia in 2018-19 and Mississippi State in 2020-21.


2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at SMU (Sept. 4), vs. FCS Lamar (Sept. 12), vs. Rice (Sept. 26)

Baylor hasn’t had a non-Big 12 Power opponent in the regular season since 2009 when it opened up with a win at Wake Forest.

The Bears don’t have a Power team scheduled until a 2017-18 home-and-home series with Duke. Then it’s Utah in 2023-24.

Kansas State

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. FCS South Dakota (Sept. 5), at UTSA (Sept. 12), vs. Louisiana Tech (Sept. 19)

2015 is the first season K-State hasn’t had a Power team out of conference since 2013, when it drew FCS North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass. Before that, it was 2008 when it played North Texas, FCS Montana State and Louisville (then in the Big East).

As of now, the Wildcats don’t have another Power game slated until 2017, a road trip to Vanderbilt. After that, it’s Mississippi State in 2018-19 and a home game vs. Vanderbilt in 2020.

Oklahoma State

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Central Michigan (Sept. 3), vs. FCS Central Arkansas (Sept. 12), vs. UTSA (Sept. 19)

Oklahoma State, like fellow Big 12 member K-State, has a solid track record of scheduling Power teams out of conference. The last time it didn’t play such a game was in 2006, when it faced FCS Missouri State, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and Houston.

The Cowboys get rolling again in 2016-17 with a home-and-home with Pitt but, as of now, that’s the only power matchup on its future schedule.

Penn State

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Temple (Sept. 5), vs. Buffalo (Sept. 12), vs. San Diego State (Sept. 26), vs. Army (Oct. 3)

2015 is Penn State’s second consecutive season without a Power foe outside of Big Ten play. It’s last such game came in 2013 when it opened up with a win over Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Nittany Lions have Pitt scheduled from 2016-2019 and then pick-up future games vs. Virginia Tech (2020 and 2025) and West Virginia (2023-24).


2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. UTSA (Sept. 3), at Nevada (Sept. 12), vs. FCS Northern Arizona (Sept. 19)

Arizona hasn’t had a non-Pac-12, Power opponent in the regular season since beating No. 18 Oklahoma State in 2012.

Though the Wildcats do have BYU on the schedule in 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2027, its next opponent that’s a member of a Power conference is Texas Tech in 2019-20. Other than that, it’s a home-and-home series with Mississippi State in 2022-23.


2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Hawaii (Sept. 3), vs. UMass (Sept. 12), vs. Colorado State (in Denver, Sept. 19), vs. FCS Nicholls State

Colorado last played a Power team out of conference in 2011 when it fell to Ohio State in Columbus.

Everything changes for the Buffs starting next season when they travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. After taking 2017 off, they get Nebraska (2018-19 and 2023-24), Texas A&M (2020-21), Minnesota (2021-22), and TCU (2022-23).


2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Boise State (Sept. 4), vs. FCS Sacramento State (Sept. 12), vs. Utah State (Sept. 19)

2015 is the first season since 1979 that Washington hasn’t technically played at least one non-conference game vs. a team from a Power league. That was the year it faced Wyoming (WAC), Utah (WAC), Fresno State (PCAA) and Pitt (an Independent).

The Huskies get back on track in 2016-17 with a home-and-home with Rutgers. After that it’s another delay, until 2020-21, for a series with Michigan. They do have independent BYU (technically a Power team as per the SEC and ACC) in 2018-19.

Mississippi State

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: at Southern Miss (Sept. 5), vs. FCS Northwestern State (Sept. 19), vs. Troy (Oct. 10), vs. Louisiana Tech (Oct. 17)

Mississippi State last played a non-SEC power team in 2013, when it opened up with a loss to No. 13 Oklahoma State in Houston.

The Bulldogs take advantage of the new BYU rule with games vs. the Cougars slated in 2016-17 and then have K-State (2018-19), NC State (2020-21) and Arizona (2022-23).

Ole Miss

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. FCS UT Martin (Sept. 5), vs. Fresno State (Sept. 12), vs. New Mexico State (Oct. 10), at Memphis (Oct. 17)

Ole Miss played a Power team as recently as the home-and-home series with Texas in 2012-13.

After two years off-line, the Rebels ramp things up big time by opening up the 2016 season with Florida State in Orlando. After that, it’s spotty with Cal in 2017 and 2019, Georgia Tech in 2022-23 and Wake Forest in 2024-25.


2015 Non-Conference Opponents: vs. Western Kentucky (Sept. 5), vs. FCS Austin Peay (Sept. 19), at Middle Tennessee (Oct. 3), at Houston (Oct. 31)

Vanderbilt’s most recent non-SEC Power opponent was Wake Forest, who it played in 2012 along with Northwestern.

Looking ahead, the Commodores get Georgia Tech in 2016, K-State in 2017 and 2020, Stanford in 2021, 2024-2025 and 2027 and Wake Forest in 2023.

Amy Daughters is a contributor to FBSchedules.com.

Comments (56)

Shame on these teams for the weak scheduling and I hope the committee frowns upon them in the rankings. Schedule up AD’s!

Yup, I think a victory over a non-power opponent should count as a half victory. Losses to them equals 2 losses.

The power of labels. Washington does not play any OOC against a team from a wealthy conference, but you cannot convince me that their OOC schedule is weak.

Next year it will again be the weakest in the PAC12 just like last years series of 4 cupcakes, Hawaii, Illinois, Eastern Washington and Georgia St. Next year (2016) they draw @ home Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State-probably one of the weakest OCC schedules in the country.

They need it as Coach Petersen did nothing in 2014 to improve the win/loss record and 2015 looks to be much worse with no decent quarterback and 4 top draft picks gone. It will certainly be their worst season since the Tyrone Willingham disaster of 2009 (0-12)

I would like to see the article of Non Big 5 teams that are better than these bad Big 5 teams. Boise St, Cincinnati and Utah St would lead my list of good Group of 5 teams, Purdue, Colorado, and Vanderbilt (without James Franklin) would lead my list of weaker teams to play.

Of the Pac 12 schools, I can cut UW some slack—-Boise St. might as well be “Power 5”, and is certainly a more challenging opponent than Rutgers, who replaces them on next years’s schedule. CU has been down, so I guess I can understand, but there is no excuse for U of A’s lame schedule.

Thank goodness for the BYU exception or you could add Missouri with their stellar 2015 schedule of; Southeast Missouri, @ Arkansas State, UConn, and BYU in Kansas City. Funny thing, Mizzou is another SEC team.

Hey Amy, here’s another interesting tidbit. Of the 64 P5 schools there are only 7 schools that will not play a non-conference away game or have a “neutral site” NC game more than 120 miles (two hour bus ride) in 2015. They contain; 5 from the SEC, 1 B1G, and 1 Big 12. Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, & Texas A&M from the SEC, and Rutgers from the Big 10 and West Virginia from the Big 12. Does anyone else see a common trend here when discussing facts about weak non-conference scheduling?

I’d love to see you try to drive a bus in two hours from Auburn’s Athletic Complex into downtown Atlanta to get to the Georgia Dome. Especially on a game day. So who else are you trying to reject with that phony 120 miles? Why not say 135? (It’s 112 from AU to the Georgia Dome, and 130 for South Carolina to get to Clemson).
It’s a road trip for Auburn. They go up the day before, stay the night in a hotel… it’s a game on the road against a Power 5 school. It isn’t a home game.

David, go ahead pick a distance. I choose 120 miles not only for the team bus, but fans that are based in the area. So I’m not trying to “reject” any particular team, just drawing a line in the sand. I think you would have to admit it’s hard to call a game less than 120 miles away from your campus stadium a neutral site game. Your point about the hotel stay the night before makes no sense, as most all D1 teams stay in a team hotel the night before even for home games for various reasons we can further talk about if you’d like. My facts stay as they are; 5 SEC, 1 B1G, and 1 Big 12 schools that will have no away or neutral site non-conference games over 120 miles in 2015. By the way, this a common occurrence for the SEC.

Washington plays at Boise State …that is certainly a bigger challenge than playing most of the ACC or B10.

Penn State had Rutgers scheduled OOC for 2014-15 before they joined the Big Ten. 2014 was the only year since PSU joined the B1G without a Power 5 team OOC.

I’m a Penn State fan. It’s a shame James Franklin has to bring along bad habits he learned in the SEC. I like it when the Lions play a non-con that you can really root against like USC, Alabama, or Miami. Glad they are bringing Pitt back (wish it would be every year), but they should not play two or three other wussies. I like beating the best to be the best! We have to win the conference to get into the Football Four any way. A shame to become another Baylor.

1. robconstant – great point about the fact Penn State had scheduled Rutgers before RU joined the B1G, thus eliminating the OOC game and requiring PSU to scramble for a new OOC game.

2. Steve-o – Coach Franklin very little to absolutely zero input on this 2015 schedule. The Temple and Buffalo games were agreed to before the 2011 season, the San Diego State game was scheduled before the 2013 season and was probably a result of Rutgers becoming a B1G team with BO’B / Joyner scheduling this game, and the Army game was scheduled just after the Croke Park Classic by Franklin and Barbour. After the Croke Park Classic, there were only limited options and I would rather play a FBS school like Army than a FCS school, period.

3. With all due respect to every other school mentioned, Penn State’s schedule required such poor opponents in hopes to rack up the wins during a time they were expected to play with the brutal sanctions. I think everyone needs to take a step back and realize Penn State needed Wins more than anything during the sanctions and this schedule is partially a result of such sanctions.

4. Personally, I wrote to Sandy Barbour after UAB announced their intent to drop football and requested she consider eliminating the agreement with Temple and scheduling Tennessee instead (a game in Nashville). Instead, Tennessee scheduled Bowling Green.

5. I think we will need a few years to see how the CFP will impact scheduling before we 100% get worried. I admit, I would love to see 1 major Power 5 OOC game, 1 winnable Power 5 OOC game, and 1 AAC/MAC OOC game each year for PSU going forward. Ideally, Pitt and Temple annually with 1 big name opponent.

This site really needs to stop acting like all P5 schools are automatically better opponents than all G5 schools. It’s really tiring and extremely lazy.

Yeah and we have so many teams scheduling great G5 teams. That’s sarcasm by the way.

As a whole, P5 teams are better than G5 teams. Scheduling them shows you are making a competitive effort. Obviously there are exceptions as bad P5 teams and good G5 teams, but overall it’s not even close when comparing the two!

We don’t do that. The article simply states facts, Power Five teams that don’t have another Power Five team on their non-conference schedule.

I can be a little more forgiving for the teams playing a road non conference game.

I highly doubt any of these teams have a chance of playing for a NC anyway. May be K-State or Baylor can sneak in but the others teams, conferences are to tough for them.

Mississippi State was ranked #1 deep into the season last year so it is possible

Phil B: I agree with you & they almost had it but the SEC is so strong with traditional powers that it will be very hard for the Mississippi schools to jump that leap.

Why is BYU called a Power 5 when they are NOT a power 5 program. When Wisconsin played them in 2013, Nobody labeled them Power 5. Now the SEC wants to schedule them, suddenly the become a Powerhouse. You can’t have it both ways. BYU hasn’t done anything to become a Power 5 team.

The SEC has been scheduling BYU for years, this is nothing new. If BYU does good then all P5 teams that play them will point that out as well.

BYU is as competitive as about 50 percent of most teams in P5 conferences. Just ask Texas…..

@Tully: Texas hasn’t been Texas for 6 years now. Almost everyone could beat them.

@Day: BYU only played Miss st 2000 and 2001 (1-1), Ole Miss 2011 (1-0), Georgia 1982 (0-1), Alabama 1998 (0-1). And Missouri and A&M has played them since joining the SEC

Boise State is better than most Power 5 schools, Utah State has the potential to be so as well. To say that Washington places itself at a one game or more advantage by playing such schools is preposterous.

I think teams that schedule a neutral site game vs a P5 opponent every year (i.e. Alabama) should stop acting like it makes their schedule so tough. Until Nick Saban grows a pair and is willing to actually play a quality P5 team in a home-and-away series then people should quit giving Alabama so much credit. He backed out of a series with Michigan State because he was worried about the SEC going to a 9 game conference schedule (or so he says). Minus the neutral site game vs Wisconsin in 2015, Saban has just become another Bill Snyder with the likes of MTSU, La.-Monroe and Charleston Southern on the schedule.

Ouch, you do know that Alabama is not the only team that plays neutral sites right? Neutral site have become very popular these days & all conferences are in on it. I think playing a Clemson, W.Virginia, Michigan, FSU, Va.Tech & soon to be Wisconsin, USC & FSU is a tough game that goes along with a tough schedule in the SEC. K-State probably feels the same way playing a one tough OOC then having to play in the BIG-12.

CFB Fan is trying to say. Alabama need to play more Home and Home series. Which I agree. Alabama fans shouldn’t have to travel so much just to watch a game. I don’t care what discount they my get. It still adds up.

If you don’t play at AT LEAST ONE Power Five opponent, then I think you should automatically be BANNED from post-season play (no Bowl games). This uneven playing field is rarely taken into account when SEC schools avoid difficult schedules (the SEC historically plays the EASIEST out of Conference schedule out of ALL the Power Five Conferences, and they should no longer be rewarded for skirting competition).

ABSURD! Teams like tOSU, Oregon, and Alabama would be blackballed by the other conferences in order to eliminate them from CFP consideration.

NC State constantly plays sister of the poor to pad their record. It’s the only chance they have of coming close to .500 in a year as they get blistered in the relatively weak ACC.

That’s factually untrue. In the last 17 years NC State has played 15 P-5’s OOC, and 7 schools that were trapped in the Big East then AAC. When those games with Big East schools were scheduled the Big East was a major football conference. Baylor, Syracuse, Texas, South Carolina, Indiana, Texas Tech, Ohio State, Louisville, Pitt, and Tennessee are not quite the sisters of the poor. Cincinnati, UConn, USF, and UCF are now treated as bad games however if you replace those four with Kansas, Vandy, Indiana, and Rutgers, those would be considered good P-5 games. Moreover, NC State is politically required to play games with East Carolina – it’s their biggest rivalry game when it’s played.

If you are already playing FSU, Clemson, UNC, and Louisville every year and rotating through VT, Miami, and GT, how many additional big games does a school like NC State need? The lack of a P-5 for NC State in 14 and 15 is due to Oklahoma State pulling the plug on the series in 2010 and the ACC twice since 2010 indicating that it was going to 9 conference games making scheduling extremely difficult.

I would think playing four top 25 teams each year would be enough. Maybe not.

The situation improves in 2016 when the SEC starts requiring a P5 opponent, and 2017 when the ACC also does. Here is the list for those years

// Not playing a non-conference P5 opponent in 2016
Maryland, Purdue, Baylor, Kansas, Washington State, Utah, Boston College (*)
// Not playing a non-conference P5 opponent in 2017
Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington State, Utah

(*) Boston College still has an open date in 2016, so they might yet schedule a P5 opponent

Kansas, Utah, WSU, Illinois, and Indiana intentionally avoid P5 OOC games, and their future schedules indicate they will continue that for the next half decade or so. It’s no surprise they show up on the list. They really don’t expect to play in upper tier bowls anyway.

Baylor knows they were hurt with a weak OOC, but they wont be able to fix that until 2017 given the necessary lead time in scheduling stronger opponents. Its an example of the Playoff committee working. The surprise is Wisconsin’s scheduling for 2017; that is clearly a mess up.

Its too harsh to judge 2015 schedules as ADs are still adjusting to the new reality and there is some lead time to schedule stronger opponents. So I cut folks some slack. But 2017 onward, I think you can be as critical as you want.

Wisconsin canceled a home & home with Washington scheduled for 2018 and 2021 last year to deliberately weaken their OCC schedule due to the Big 10 requirement of 9 conference games. Now look who they have OCC for the next several years. Wisconsin should be considered to be the Baylor of the north as far as OCC scheduling is concerned. It is not as if Washington is ever going to be the threat that they were for a few years with Don James as coach,.

Dave, Wisconsin has long been considered the Baylor of the North. Sir Barry never scheduled a tough nc agenda for his Badgers. ’08 – Home against Akron, Marshall, Cal Poly and away at Fresno State (won 13-10), ’09 – Home vs. No. Illinois, Fresno St., Wofford, and @ Hawaii, ’10 – Home vs. San Jose, Arizona State*, Austin Peay, and @ UNLV, ’11 – all home vs. UNLV, Oregon State*, No ILL, and So Dakota St., ’12 – Home vs. No Iowa, UTEP, Utah St. and @ Oregon St.* (loss), ’13 – Home vs. UMass, Tennessee Tech, BYU, and @ ASU* (loss), and ’14 – Home vs. Western ILL, Bowling Green, USFlorida, and neutral site vs. LSU* (loss). The Badgers have long had a joke of non-conference schedule and when they try to play a P5 team on the road they have lost all in these mentioned years. Seven years and 6 P5 teams if you count BYU and don’t forget there were 4 nc games each of these years. I’m sure if you check you’ll see Wisconsin has a long history of “adjusting” their schedule with P5 schools closer to the play date to match their talent level. Barry’s a joke.

I think it is awesome you all are giving Baylor so much credit for being a power… Back when some of these match-ups were scheduled, Baylor was a “sister of the poor P5”. BU is just starting to taste consistent success. I personally think BU is not in position just yet to consistently schedule P5 OOC games and win. I think they are building to that level, but in no way are they at “Wisconsin success level” at this point in time to even be considered “Wisconsin of the South”; Wisconsin has been winning at a high level for 20 years now; BU did not have a winning season between 1996 and 2009 and were fairly limited with their successes from 1899 and 1993.

It is just crazy you all hit Baylor so hard when they are only just coming into the Big Time. They can’t afford to have a bad season just yet.

Oregon still needs to schedule a P5 home-and-home for 2018 & 2019, after Texas A&M cancelled the home-and-home with Oregon.

Alabama, Auburn, Wisconsin and Minnesota need P5 games for both those seasons.

Will Alabama or Auburn be willing to travel to Oregon for a home-and-home?

Wisconsin cancelled a 2018-2021 home and home with Washington to dumb down their schedule. Do you really think they would cast off the mediocre Huskies for a date with Oregon?

Scruggs, good questions about Alabama or Auburn traveling to Oregon for a home-and-home, but wondering if either school would be willing to do a home-and-home with Wisconsin or Minnesota as well. Last time Alabama played Minnesota they lost to the Gophers in the 2004 Music City Bowl. I would think Minnesota would be an attractive opponent to either school being Minnesota is a bottom tier team from a P5 Conference either should on paper beat. These schools that hold on too long without scheduling another P5 School will have only themselves to blame.

Billy, my post was mostly rhetorical as I find it highly unlikely Alabama or Auburn would travel to Oregon for a home-and-home. Alabama will go for another neutral game (yawn) and Auburn won’t travel too far. Auburn and Florida St in Jacksonville is a possibility in 2019.

I would not refer to Minnesota as “bottom tier” P5 program, more like a middling.

And some people who post here need to understand neutral games are NOT away or road games. They are “neutral field” games. But some are much less neutral than others.

And I don’t understand the posts raving up the strength of the ACC. Overall, it’s the fifth of all P5 conferences. And the five games with Notre Dame do not really help in this regard as many surmised.

Through the alumni grapevine, it appears Auburn’s willing to take up Baylor on their sudden interest in scheduling a P5 home and home. AU v. Baylor makes a lot of sense, but alumni really would be liking to see AU v. Florida State, which many years was a regular game back before conference expansion.

I’d personally split the “does X play a P5” list into four categories:

1. Teams that play a member of a P5 conference
2. ACC teams that play no P5 conference members, but do play Notre Dame
3. Teams that play no P5 conference members, but do play Notre Dame or BYU (excluding ACC vs. Notre Dame)
4. Teams that play no P5 conference members and do not play Notre Dame or BYU

Texas A&M canceling the 2018 & 2019 Oregon series appears to have placed the Ducks in a scheduling bind.

Oregon, Wisconsin and Minnesota play five conference road games in 2018. They all need/want home games in 2018.

Texas Tech and Mississippi still in need of P5 OOC opponent for 2018 but not for 2019.

So maybe Oregon vs Vanderbilt in 2018 & 2019?

Or maybe Alabama and Auburn does the unexpected and/or the Ducks accept a neutral game on a non-neutral field like they did versus LSU several years back?

I can not see Vandy picking up a series with Oregon but since Oregon has been a hot team lately I can see a neutral site game in Dallas may be with Bama or Auburn. That may be an almost priceless game to watch & Oregon will go home with a nice a little pay day as well.

Oregon has publicly spoken that it wants to avoid neutral field games which are not very neutral, as the LSU v Oregon game in Arlington. Alabama or Auburn in Arlington, would not be very neutral for Oregon.

Oregon needs a home game in 2018. A single neutral field game would not solve the dilemma.

A home-and-home with BYU is a possibility, but BYU would have to alter their 2018 schedule so the Cougars would have a minimum of six games at home.

With a back end of the Michigan home-and-home this season, and future home-and-homes with Nebraska and Ohio State, the Oregon AD has been doing a good job scheduling. Will see what rabbit the Oregon AD pulls out of his hat to repair the Texas A&M cancellation situation.

Vanderbilt has scheduled future home-and-homes with Stanford and Kansas State. So why not with Oregon?

Oregon’s home and homes with P5 programs during the last two decades have included Michigan State (2x), Michigan, Oklahoma, Mississippi St, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennesee, Boise St, Texas Tech, Virginia, Illinois, Purdue, and Indiana.

Recently Georgia, Texas A&M, and Kansas St have bailed on home-and-home series with Oregon. With the cancellations, and other programs not wanting to play home-and-homes with the Ducks, the Oregon AD has had a challenge in assembling OOC schedules.

Maybe a future home-and-home with Penn State, Florida State and/or Notre Dame?

Other possibilities include TCU, Baylor, Arkansas, Missouri, Miami FL, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Rutgers, Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, Syracuse and Boston College. And as previously suggested Vanderbilt and BYU.

It would be more interesting to see an article that adds up how many non-P5 teams are on the schedule and how many true road games are on the schedule. I think we know which conference would be way out front in that race…