Power teams playing two non-conference Power opponents in 2018

By Amy Daughters -

Of the 64 members of Power conferences coming in to 2018, only 13 (or 20%) are scheduled to double-up on non-conference Power opponents.

It’s a crucial, potential one-game disadvantage against the rest of the field.

The 13-team honor roll is listed by conference, a key designation because of the varying number of league games members are required to play. In the ACC, teams play eight conference games each season – for schools doubling-up, it means 10 Power opponents (assuming each member already meets the minimum requirement of one non-conference Power foe). In the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 – all of which legislate nine league games annually – it means 11 Power opponents for those mentioned here.

The SEC, like the ACC, has an eight-league game format. But, that’s irrelevant in this specific case as no SEC member has two non-conference Power opponents scheduled for 2018.

As a note, to maintain consistency we’ve counted BYU as a Power opponent across the board.  


Clemsonat Texas A&M (Sept. 8) and vs. South Carolina (Nov. 24)

Clemson has added a non-conference game against a Power opponent to its annual meeting with South Carolina consecutively since 2010. That’s eight years of doubling up, putting the Tigers in the scheduling hall of fame. Also worth noting is the quality of that second opponent; Auburn in 2010-12 and 2016-17, Georgia in 2013-14 and Notre Dame in 2015.

Dukeat Northwestern (Sept. 8) and at Baylor (Sept. 15)

This is Duke’s third-straight season with two non-ACC Power opponents. Last year it hosted Northwestern and Baylor and in 2016 it traveled to Evanston to play the Wildcats and visited Notre Dame. Before that it was 2008, when both Northwestern and Vanderbilt were on the schedule.

Florida Stateat Notre Dame (Nov. 10) and Florida (Nov. 24)

Florida State added a kick-off game against an SEC foe to its annual finale with Florida each of the last two seasons; meeting (1) Alabama last year and squaring off with (11) Ole Miss in 2016. In 2014, the Seminoles similarly started with Oklahoma State in Arlington, Texas.

LouisvilleAlabama (Sept. 1, at Orlando, Fla.) and Kentucky (Nov. 24)

Louisville joins Clemson in 2018 in facing two SEC foes during the regular season. The Cardinals also double dipped last season, adding Purdue to its regular fixture with Kentucky. The last time they played two SEC members was in 2015, when they met Auburn in Atlanta to open the season and then visited Lexington for the finale with the Wildcats.

Pitt Penn State (Sept. 8) and at Notre Dame (Oct. 13)

This is Pitt’s fourth-consecutive season to play two Power opponents outside of its ACC slate. In both 2016 and 2017, it was Penn State combined with Oklahoma State and in 2015 it was Iowa and Notre Dame. Prior to that, it was 2012, also the Panthers’ final season in the Big East, when they hosted Virginia Tech and visited Notre Dame.

Big Ten

Northwestern – Duke (Sept. 8 and Notre Dame (Nov. 3).

The Wildcats haven’t faced two teams from Power conferences outside of their Big Ten slate since 2015. That season, Northwestern defeated Stanford 16-6 at home and Duke 19-10 in Durham.

Ohio StateOregon State (Sept. 1) and at TCU (Sept. 15, at Arlington, Texas)

Ohio State hasn’t played two Power opponents outside of Big Ten play since 2011, also the last time it posted a losing record. The Bucks had back-to-back games at Miami Fla. (a loss) and vs. Colorado (a win) that year. It’s worth noting that the Big Ten was still playing eight league games in 2011, meaning OSU had four non-conference games scheduled in the regular season. This year they have just three such slots, and two are filled with Power schools.

PurdueMissouri (Sept. 15) and Boston College (Sept. 22)

This is the second-consecutive season that Purdue has doubled-down on non-Big Ten Power foes. The Boilermakers opened 2017 with a loss to Louisville and then won at Missouri two weeks later. It makes the fact that Purdue earned bowl eligibility last season for the first time since 2012 even more impressive.

Big 12

TexasMaryland (Sept. 1, at Landover, Md.) and USC (Sept. 15).

Texas is another school, like Clemson, that consistently schedules two Power foes out of conference. The Longhorns have doubled-up every season since 2012. The difference is, as members of the Big 12 the Longhorns already play nine league games, giving them an additional Power opponent compared to the Tigers who hail from the eight-game ACC.

West Virginia Tennessee (Sept. 1, at Charlotte, NC) and at NC State (Sept. 15)

West Virginia doubled-up as recently as 2016, when it opened-up with Missouri and then met BYU two weeks later. Before that, it was 2014 when the Mountaineers kicked off against Alabama in Atlanta and visited Maryland two weeks later.


Cal – North Carolina (Sept. 1) and at BYU (Sept. 8)

Like the Big 12, the Pac-12 has only three non-conference games slotted each season. Impressively, Cal has managed to schedule two of the three against Power foes three of the past five years. In 2017, the Golden Bears opened at North Carolina and then welcomed Ole Miss two weeks later. In 2014, it was a road trip to Northwestern in the opener and a visit from BYU in the regular-season finale. That leaves 2013, when they added Ohio State to the front-end of the series with the Wildcats.

USC at Texas (Sept. 15) and Notre Dame (Nov. 24)

USC has added a heavy hitter to its annual date with Notre Dame each of the last two seasons. It played Texas in Los Angeles last year and opened 2016 with Alabama in Arlington, Texas. Though the Trojans didn’t double up in 2015, they played at least two current Power members out of Pac-12 action consistently from 2000-14. In many of those years they faced three such opponents.

Washington Auburn (Sept. 1, at Atlanta, Ga.) and BYU (Sept. 29)

Washington hasn’t played two Power opponents outside of Pac-12 play since 2010, when they beat Syracuse in Week 2 and then fell to Nebraska the following Saturday. The Huskies also opened at BYU that season, but the Cougars were still Mountain West members then – their final campaign before declaring independence. Washington managed to avoid playing any Power foes out of conference as recently as 2015, when it faced Boise State, FCS Sacramento State and Utah State.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football.

Comments (36)

And not a single SEC school even though they play 8 conference games, what a joke.

Not true. Georgia played at Notre Dame (2017), vs. UNC (2016), vs. Clemson (2014), at Clemson (2013), vs. Boise State (2011, not FBS but good team and UGA did lose), at Colorado (2010), at Oklahoma State (2009), at Arizona State (2008)….

Now this is only one team, but SEC teams do sometimes play two, while others often play two. It’s not an either or argument.

Yep. What a joke.

If only the SEC teams could play in a conference that are weak and dominated by a single team. Last year, Georgia and Alabama beat the best two teams in college football.


Looks like the joke is on you.

@Joe and this is still acceptable to you? Alright, enjoy Alabama vs Arkansas State, UL Lafayette and The Citadel and Georgia vs. Austin Peay, MTSU, and UMass outside of a lone non-conference P5 opponent (and Georgia’s is yearly).

Why can’t some other so called non power conferences be promoted. There is a big difference in these tease and fcs teams: Troy beat LSU. Liberty beat Baylor then turned around and lost to Jax State…Ranking conferences is only an opinion, big deal. . Change the opinions not the schedules


I will also enjoy the Michigan St vs Youngstown St the Spartans just added, it goes both ways.

I enjoy those games as much as I enjoy Ohio State and Purdue or Penn State and Indiana.

Every team in every conference plays teams that they should beat. The problem is, in the Big (Little?) Ten, those games count as conference games.

Penn State plays Kent State and Appy State this year. Plus a terrible Big (Little?) Ten slate. How is that any different? Because they get an extra weak conference opponent? Please.

Those SEC teams are playing a MUCH tougher conference schedule (even at eight games) against MUCH better teams comprised of MUCH better players… week in and week out.

The NFL Draft is coming up… What conference do you think will have the most players taken?

How many years in a row will that make for the SEC?

Most every school in the SEC will have players taken. No other conference will be able to make that claim. That alone proves that it’s tougher to win in the SEC than in the Big (Little?) Ten or any other conference.

The SEC was 6-9 against Power 5 opponents during the regular season. Totally understand why most SEC teams don’t want to play two Power 5 teams each year


SEC going 6-9 has absolutely nothing to do with not wanting to play P5 teams OOC. It just so happens this year that SEC is not playing 2 P5, once again, it is in the guide lines of the NCAA & the SEC is complying with the rules. Every conference is not created equal.

How tough is it to win on the road in the SEC vs. the Big (Little?) Ten?

Think about this:

Commonwealth Stadium where Kentucky plays their home games seats 61,000 and is 13th out of 14 stadiums in terms of size.

There are SEVEN Big (Little?) Ten stadiums smaller than Commonwealth.

So, when you go on the road to Kentucky, you’re playing in front of more fans than in half of the stadiums in the Big (Little?) Ten.

Think about that.

@Joe the fact that you keep adding (Little?) makes me know that you are the type of person that most likely uses terms such as Fake News and Libtard in everyday life, and that’s just sad. Last I checked the B1G went 7-1 in bowl games this season against all P5 conferences, with the loss being UM absolutely choking the game away.

@Day, you mean the same year that MSU is playing a 9-game conference schedule and playing at Miami? Good call.


I am not bashing the BIG 9-game schedule, who only knows how much the Spartans are going to beat teams like Rutgers, Indiana & Purdue by. I am only pointing out the other teams Michigan St plays like C.Michigan, Utah St, Tulsa & W.Michigan. Point being is don’t be a hypocrite when it comes to making comments like who BAMA & Georgia play meanwhile the Spartans are doing the same exact thing!

Don’t really understand bringing up Indiana, Purdue, and Rutgers when 4-8 Tennessee, 4-7 Florida, and 5-7 Vanderbilt are hanging out in the SEC. Bottom line, all conferences have strong and weak teams. The BIG east and SEC west were consistently rated the two toughest divisions and the BIG west and SEC east were the weakest.

This idea that the SEC only plays 8 conference games because they are the toughest conference sounds good but is nonsense. It’s simply because it’s easier to get into the playoffs and bowl games with 8 games.


There is no guarantee that you are going to get 8 wins just because you play an 8-game conference & just because you play in 9-game conference does not mean that much either when you tach on teams like Rutgers, Indiana & Purdue . ACC also plays 8-game but on the other hand, there have only been a handful of teams that have gotten in the playoffs, just because they are the best teams out there no matter who they play. Alabama, The Ohio State & Clemson
I also have no complaints about ANY team getting 6 wins to go to a bowl game, all teams add a couple of wins on their schedules for the same reasons, not just the SEC.

Last I checked the SEC won the national championship.

So, you harping on the Big (Little?) Ten winning 7 meaningless bowls tells me the kind of person you are in everyday life. You’re the guy with skid marks in his underwear, eating Cheetos in his mom’s basement, and listening the Green Day because you think they are cool and edgy.

The difference between Tennessee and Purdue or Rutgers is that Tennessee will have players drafted in the NFL Draft and they have about 50,000 more people cheering against you when you play in Knoxville. But you’re right, every conference has weak teams. But a weak team in the Big (Little?) Ten is a lot weaker than a weak team in the SEC. Conferences are not created equally.

IF BYU is a ‘power team’ then so are most of the teams in the AAC and Mountain West. If you are going to write an article about teams playing two power teams you can’t just pull the definition of the term out of your ass.

Purdue beat Missouri by 32 and Northwestern beat Kentucky. Michigan was 1-1 vs the SEC. Explain to me again Joe your logic on how strong the weakest SEC teams are

Day, you area leaving the fact out that MSU is playing WMU, USU, etc. while playing a 9-game conference schedule and (ideally) a P5 team in addition to that. I do not like how the B1G allowed so many exceptions to this rule, and I have no problem calling them out on that for how weak it is because I don’t have blind allegiance to every single thing they do. The fact remains that you have FOURTEEN SEC teams all playing an eight game conference schedule and not a single one is playing at least 10 P5 teams, whereas you have three B1G schools playing eleven P5 opponents.


BYU has been known as a P5 team for years. Not one team from the AAC or MWC could last one year in the SEC, BIG, ACC, BIG-12 or PAC-12. That’s why they’re considered G5 & no one is pulling anything out of their ass, it is a good article.

Yeah, thing is, all the conferences, even the vaunted SEC, have good years where every week is tough, and bad years, where 2 or 3 teams benefit from everyone else being kind of bad. The SEC has definitely had some of the latter in a few of the recent years. It also has had the former. Using the fact that sometimes the conference might be really hard (and the reputation and hype to cover for the other years) isn’t an excuse for softening the schedule. It’s why more inter-conference power-5 match-ups should be encouraged and rewarded. It lets everyone take a peek behind the curtain and see if the hype matches the reality of that particular season. If a conference is as tough as their advocates suggest, this shouldn’t be an issue. If everyone is doing it, then everyone gets a shot at that extra loss or win that helps their team and their conference profile.

The SEC had both teams in the final game. Your arguments against the SEC are invalid.

The SEC will have a huge day at the draft coming up. More players will be taken from the SEC and from more teams in the conference than any other league, further rendering your argument invalid.

The 9-game conference schedule doesn’t matter when you play outside the SEC or even the ACC. Those other leagues just aren’t as strong top to bottom.

Keep pretending that they are and the SEC will keep winning championships.


I understand your point. What the SEC can do this year consider at least one of the USA, Mac, SUNBELT or MWC teams as a P5 like the BIG has done for Minnesota & the rest of the teams in the BIG.
I respect BYU, Army & Navy as P5 but the BIG makes up rules as it goes.

Ok, we are not going to schedule any more FCS teams, ok wait, we will schedule them only if we have 5 home games.

Ok, lets just add on Fresno State, UCONN & Air Force as P5 while it is convenient for us. Make your mind!
The SEC may only play 8-game but they are not making exceptions to the rule for anything, the NCAA says you need to play at least one P5 team, in which MOST SEC schools do. When the rule changes in the future then the SEC with other conferences will change along with it. Just because the BIG plays 10 P5 does not mean other conferences have to do the same. The committee also made it a point & felt that two SEC teams were stronger then other conferences last year & it wound up they were correct. It once again just comes down to. WIN YOUR GAMES! If you lose, keep it a respectable lose! It all balances out in the end but no one wants to believe that. They just want to complain about our conference plays 9 in game teams when some FCS or G5 are better then the bad schools that are actually in the conference itself.

Joe, why do you keep referring to the draft as a benchmark? Take any receiver out of the SEC in the past decade and they aren’t as good as Antonio Brown out of the MAC. What conference is the greatest QB out of not only presently but in history? The B1G. The best running back playing? B1G. The best running back in history? Big XII. The SEC is known for producing draft busts, so go ahead and keep your Jamarcus Russels and your lack of rationale. Let me know if you can think of something better the next time you’re at a truck stop.

Day, I just said I agree with that – so what’s your point? I don’t like it when the B1G says oh Cincinnati is a P5. But with that being said, and as I’ve mentioned numerous times, they still have a very high percentage of schools scheduling double-digit P5 games whereas the SEC can’t even get a single one and it’s just sad.

My point is stop complaining about things you have no control of, its just sad that teams like Minnesota has to call Fresno St a P5 but I’m not complaining about it.

As for a couple of outstanding receivers from the SEC in the last decade.
Julio Jones – Bama
A.J. Green – Georgia

There are pretty good I think & still playing.

Wait, so according to you every single person should not criticize every single thing that they do not have control of? That makes absolutely zero sense. Jones + Green =/= AB84

I refer to the draft because it’s not biased. NFL teams are going to take the best players. And every year, more best players come from the SEC than any other league.

That means that on Saturday, the previous year, SEC teams were playing better talent.

It’s really that simple. But we’ve already seen that simple, to you at least, can be quite difficult.

Julio Jones is as good if not better than Antonio Brown. But again, you probably can’t understand that. Amari Cooper might be better than both.

SEC and ACC conference commissioners are still the smartest guys around by sticking with the 8-game conference schedule. Don’t tell me 8 conference games isn’t easier. Or course it is. Why change it? It is any coincidence that after the Big 10 switched to 9 games, their conference champion has missed the last two CFPs (OSU was not the champ in 2016)? Conference games, by nature, are typically historical or regional rivalries and have extra juice to them that OOC games do not have. Conference games are just tougher no matter how weak the opponent might be. The fans travel well. Chances are the players probably know each other from high school games, etc. And the nine-game conference schedule means that every other year, the teams in those conferences are playing five true road games, in conference. Plus whatever other road or neutral site games they might have OOC. It is tougher to play nine conference games a year. 8 gamers can pretend otherwise and trumpet championships and this does not take away at all from the greatness of the Georgias, the Alabamas and the Clemsons. But nine games is tougher. And then teams like Michigan, Stanford and USC add on Notre Dame as well.
As I said, the ACC and SEC commissioners are smart not to change it. Look at the championships. Is that the main reason why those conferences are great? No but it is a bigger contributing factor that those conferences want to admit. No question.

Wow, there are some real conference homers on this message board. Hope you are proud of “your conference”. For those of you that have brought valid arguments to the table without being homers, thank you. All conferences have good teams and garbage teams and “your conference” is no exception. And by the way, “the team” I root for is a garbage team in the SEC!