Michigan’s nonconference schedule of Notre Dame, Army and Middle Tennessee State is the toughest in the Big Ten this season, according to Jerry Palm of CBS Sports.
Palm picked the toughest and weakest nonconference schedules from the Power Five conferences, plus the Group of Five’s AAC.
Indiana owns the weakest schedule in the Big Ten, Palm says, with UConn, Eastern Illinois and Ball State (a neutral-site game in Indianapolis).
“The Big Ten is right up there with the SEC when it comes to home cooking,” Palm said. “It will play just over 78 percent of its nonconference games at home. (The SEC is at 80 percent). No other league is higher than 67 percent. However, with only one neutral site game (Ball State vs. Indiana in Indianapolis), the Big Ten ends up with a much higher percentage (19 percent) of true road games than the SEC (10 percent).
“Because of league rules restricting games against FCS schools, less than 10 percent of the Big Ten's nonconference games are against those teams. Every other league plays at least 20 percent of its games against FCS opposition.”
Here are Palm’s toughest and weakest in the other conferences:
Toughest: South Carolina – Clemson, Appalachian State, Charleston Southern, North Carolina-Charlotte
Weakest: Arkansas – Colorado State, San Jose State, Western Kentucky, Portland State
Toughest: Duke – Notre Dame, North Carolina A&T, Alabama (at Atlanta), at Middle Tennessee State
Weakest: North Carolina State – Ball State, East Carolina, Western Carolina, at West Virginia
Toughest: Texas – LSU, Louisiana Tech, at Rice
Weakest: Baylor – Texas-San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin, at Rice
Toughest: Stanford – Notre Dame, Northwestern, at UCF
Weakest: Utah – Northern Illinois, Idaho State, at BYU