There are still a few games left on the schedule this weekend involving teams from the ACC and Pac-12, but the majority of the games are in the books and opinions about the value of wins in the opening weekend are already being formed. The ACC has gotten off to a rough start after an offseason of chest-thumping, but Georgia Tech and Virgina Tech get two chances to end the weekend on a positive note for the conference in games against the Big 12 and the SEC.
The ACC has had a decent record this weekend with a mark of 9-3, but six of those wins came against FCS opponents. Similarly, the Pac-12’s clean-looking 10-0 record (with one game to play tonight; UCLA vs. Texas A&M) was anchored by half of those wins coming against FCS opponents. Here’s the breakdown for each FBS conference so far this weekend in non-conference games against FBS opponents and against FCS opponents.
The Big Ten was the only conference not play a single game against an FCS opponents, thanks to the conference’s no-FCS scheduling policy that has been put in place (an exemption to that policy will be made for Maryland in Week 2; the Terps host Towson). Credit for wins against FCS opponents should be given little credibility if any, but losses to the opponents from the FCS ranks should damage a teams’ and conference’s credibility. Four teams went down against FCS opponents this weekend.
What do we make of this? It is still too early to say for sure, but you can use these records to evaluate just how much stock you should place in a conference’s overall strength of schedule. Right now, the Big Ten takes the decisive lead going into Week 2 in terms of strength of schedule credibility. Meanwhile, the ACC is caught trying to catch up. In the Big 12, Baylor’s loss at home to Liberty may be excused if Oklahoma can leave Ohio State with a win this week. But if the Sooners lose (and Iowa State loses to Iowa), the Big 12 will once again behind the curve in terms of conference supremacy in 2017, and that could end up making it a little more difficult for the conference to get into the College Football Playoff without an undefeated or potentially a one-loss conference champion.
How many FCS opponents are on the schedule this week?
- American: 1
- ACC: 2
- Big 12: 1
- Big Ten: 1
- Conference USA: 2
- MAC: 5
- Mountain West: 3
- Pac-12: 2
- SEC: 7
- Sun Belt: 3