The 2016 college football season is just five months away, so there is no time like the present to start looking ahead. ESPN did just that when it’s Football Power Index (FPI) ranked the top 20 hardest schedules of the season.
In the list, not one Big Ten makes an appearance and the SEC and PAC-12 dominate with eight teams each. The other four teams come from the ACC and Big 12, with two each.
The list also gives some projected win-loss records and, surprisingly, the 2016 College Football Playoff champions, Alabama, are expected to finish 8-4, which would be their worst finish since Nick Saban’s first year in 2007 (6-6).
On the contrary, SEC West rival, LSU, is projected to finish 10-2, which would likely give them the division title for the first time since 2011.
Six teams on the top 20 list are expected to finish with less than six wins, but that may not matter much as three 5-7 teams made bowl games in 2015. Florida State also joins LSU as the only other program projected to win at least 10 games in 2016 on the list.
As for the easiest scheduled of teams coming out of Power Five conferences, the top, or bottom, five come from the Big Ten.
I guess Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, whose team currently has the tenth hardest schedule, will have a lot to say about his former conference home.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports