The Five Easiest Schedules of 2015

At the end of the last college football season, one of the biggest talking points was the easy schedules of teams like Baylor, Ohio State, and Florida State.  Ultimately, the lack of a Big 12 championship game held TCU and Baylor out of the first ever College Football Playoff, which was won by Ohio State.  Looking forward to next season, taking advantage of an easy schedule is exactly what could push a team into the playoff.  Last year, Florida State was able to get into the playoff by going undefeated, so let's take a look at five of the easiest schedules for next season.

5. Ohio State

Sept. 7th – @Virginia Tech
Sept. 12th – Hawaii
Sept. 19th – Northern Illinois
Sept. 26th – Western Michigan
Oct. 3rd – @Indiana
Oct. 10th – Maryland
Oct. 17th – Penn State
Oct. 24th – @Rutgers
Nov. 7th – Minnesota
Nov. 14th – @Illinois
Nov. 21st – Michigan State
Nov. 28th – @Michigan

With all the time in the world to prepare for Virginia Tech, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes may have an easier time against the Hokies.  Outside of the season opener, the Buckeyes' non-conference matchups are very weak and the conference road games against Indiana, Rutgers, and Illinois should each be a walk in the park.  The last two games of the season will be the toughest for Ohio State, as the Spartans will be hoping to get revenge on the Buckeyes, and the new coaching rivalry between Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer will be ignited when the Bucks travel to Ann Arbor in late November.  Overall, the Buckeyes have a great chance to go undefeated next season and defend their national title. 

4. Iowa

Sept. 5 – Illinois State
Sept. 12 – @Iowa State
Sept. 19 – Pittsburgh
Sept. 26 – North Texas
Oct. 3 – @Wisconsin
Oct. 10 – Illinois
Oct. 17 – @Northwestern
Oct. 31 – Maryland
Nov. 7 – @Indiana
Nov. 14 – Minnesota
Nov. 21 – Purdue
Nov. 28 – @Nebraska

Last season, I thought Iowa had the easiest schedule in all of college football and it is very similar again this year.  The Hawkeyes went a disappointing 7-5 in the regular season with a loss to a bad Iowa State team and they capped their disappointing season with a blowout loss to Tennessee in their bowl game.  Iowa should be more than capable of going undefeated at home next season but tough road games against Wisconsin and Nebraska will be very difficult for the Hawkeyes.  A two-loss season for Iowa would be fantastic for a program that has been struggling in the past few years. 

3. North Carolina

Sept. 3 – South Carolina (neutral site)
Sept. 12 – North Carolina A&T
Sept. 19 – Illinois
Sept. 26 – Delaware
Oct. 3 – @Georgia Tech
Oct. 17 – Wake Forest
Oct. 24 – Virginia
Oct. 29 – @Pittsburgh
Nov. 7 – Duke
Nov. 14 – Miami
Nov. 21 – @Virginia Tech
Nov. 28 – @North Carolina State

Although it is highly unlikely that North Carolina wins the national championship next season, they may be able to make some noise because of their schedule.  If the Tar Heels can find a way to pull out a win in the season opener against South Carolina, they could find themselves with 9 or maybe even 10 wins at the end of the year.  Playing at Georgia Tech is the toughest game on their schedule by far, but the Tar Heels have proven to play close with the Yellow Jackets the past few years.  Look out for UNC in 2015.     

2. Wisconsin

Sept. 5 – Alabama (neutral)
Sept. 12 – Miami (OH)
Sept. 19 – Troy
Sept. 26 – Hawaii
Oct. 3 – Iowa
Oct. 10 – @Nebraska
Oct. 17 – Purdue 
Oct. 24 – @Illinois
Oct. 31 – Rutgers
Nov. 7 – @Maryland
Nov. 21 – Northwestern
Nov. 28 – @Minnesota

Okay, I understand that opening the season against Alabama isn't ideal for an 'easy' schedule but any time a team only has four true away games on the schedule, they are already winning.  Wisconsin has a great chance to return to the Big Ten championship game if they can take care of business against Nebraska and Minnesota, because outside of those two games, I see no other struggles for the Badgers.  They simply won't lose a home game because Wisconsin always plays great in front of their fans at Camp Randall Stadium and their toughest home game is against Iowa.  

1. Duke

Sept. 3 – @Tulane
Sept. 12 – North Carolina Central
Sept. 19 – Northwestern
Sept. 26 – Georgia Tech
Oct. 3 – Boston College
Oct. 10 – @Army
Oct. 24 – @Virginia Tech
Oct. 31 – Miami
Nov. 7 – North Carolina
Nov. 14 – Pittsburgh
Nov. 21 – @Virginia
Nov. 28 – @Wake Forest

The Blue Devils have a great chance to build on the success of last year under the command of head coach David Cutcliffe.  Their non-conference games should cause zero problems and their most important games are at home (Georgia Tech, Miami, and North Carolina).  Duke doesn't have to face Florida State or Clemson, which is huge, but, if they make the ACC championship game they will most likely play one of those teams.  Look for the Blue Devils to make some national noise this year.  

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