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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

As a Whole, The Big East Scheduled Up

As if getting only three Big East games at home wasn’t bad enough for Syracuse. At least the Orange aren’t alone in this regard: Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut also play four road games during Big East play.

Where Syracuse stands alone against the rest of the Big East is in its 2012 non-conference schedule, which ranks among the most difficult for a B.C.S. conference program. The Orange face four fellow B.C.S. conference teams during non-conference play; worse yet, only one, Northwestern, comes to the Carrier Dome.

It certainly won’t be easy for the Orange to find six wins on this schedule, which only adds another layer of difficulty to a season already containing enough question marks to make Syracuse a borderline pick for postseason play.

While Syracuse’s non-conference slate stands above the rest of the league, the Big East as a whole has scheduled up. Every team plays at least one B.C.S. conference program outside of Big East action; every team but two, Rutgers and Cincinnati, play two B.C.S. conference programs.

Here’s the non-conference schedule for each team – and I think you’ll be surprised by just how difficult they are, by and large:

Sept. 15 Delaware State
Sept. 29 vs. Virginia Tech (in Landover, Md.)
Oct. 6 Miami (Ohio)
Oct. 13 Fordham
Oct. 20 at Toledo

Aug. 30 Massachusetts
Sept. 8 N.C. State
Sept. 15 at Maryland
Sept. 22 at Western Michigan
Sept. 29 Buffalo

Sept. 2 Kentucky
Sept. 8 Missouri State
Sept. 15 North Carolina
Sept. 22 at Florida International
Sept. 29 at Southern Mississippi

Sept. 1 Youngstown State
Sept. 15 Virginia Tech
Sept. 22 Gardner-Webb
Oct. 20 at Buffalo
Nov. 3 at Notre Dame

Sept. 1 at Tulane
Sept. 8 Howard
Sept. 22 at Arkansas
Oct. 27 Kent State
Nov. 10 Army

South Florida
Sept. 1 Chattanooga
Sept. 8 at Nevada
Sept. 22 at Ball State
Sept. 29 Florida State
Nov. 17 at Miami (Fla.)

Sept. 1 Northwestern
Sept. 8 vs. U.S.C. (in East Rutherford, N.J.)
Sept. 15 Stony Brook
Sept. 22 at Minnesota
Nov. 17 at Missouri

Aug. 31 at Villanova
Sept. 8 Maryland
Sept. 22 at Penn State
Nov. 17 at Army

Just something to consider. What might this mean? I’ll tell you one thing that it definitely means: You probably won’t see a Big East team head into B.C.S. play with more than nine wins. Another? That by the time a Big East team does head into the B.C.S., it might be more prepared for a heavily-favored opponent than ever before.

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  1. John in BHM says:

    One note on non-conference scheduling: the “baseline” schedule for a major conference team is to play nine games against major conference opponents, which is generally eight conference games and one non-conference. Since the Big East only plays seven conference games, playing two of five against major conference opponents only gets them to the baseline.

    The ACC and PAC-12 average 9.9 major conference opponents. The Big-12 has stepped up with 9.7 due to their nine game conference schedule. The Big Ten is at about their normal level with 9.25.

    Syracuse’s “Bunting Death March” only gets the Big East up to 9.1, while the SEC brings up the rear at 8.9 with Mississippi State and Texas A&M avoiding any non-conference challenges and only Missouri taking on two.

    Cincinnati has the easiest schedule by far, with two FCS opponents and only three major conference road games.

  2. Cedar Rapids says:

    How many road games against MAC teams are on that schedule. Its like each team has at least one.

  3. Matt Rob says:

    Cincy does have a favorable lineup. If they squeak out a victory over Virginia “Lay Two Eggs A Year or Bust!” Tech, they could be 5-0 heading into Big East play.

  4. Josh H. says:

    I think the match-up between Cincy and Toledo could be really interesting especially since it is at Toledo. That is definitely a tricky place to play in and with Miami (OH), you never really can tell if they are going to be good or not. They are rivals however so it could always be a tight match-up too.

    To Cedar Rapids, there are only 3 B.E. teams traveling to MAC schools (Cincy to Toledo, USF to Ball State and UCONN to WMU). The B.E as a whole is scheduled to play 8 MAC schools. That’s 20% of the entire O.O.C schedule for the B.E.

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