Teams are still tweaking their schedules -- Michigan State recently switched their opener from Friday to Saturday -- and most game times have yet to be announced, but for the most part the 2011 schedule is complete. Of course just like everything that has to do with college football, there are oddities. Below are a few notes on the upcoming college football schedule.
For a complete list of home games, FCS opponents, bye weeks, etc. by team check out our 2011 Draft Kit.
Week One Byes
This is never a good thing. Build up for the start of the season is immense and you want to get the season started on a high note. That is going to be tough to do for Nevada and UAB when they are sitting at home watching everyone else play. To make matters worse they'll start the season off with heavyweights Oregon and Florida respectively in Week Two. Someone in the athletic departments of these two schools dropped the ball with these.
While the addition of the twelfth game has extended the college football season, it has also meant more garbage games on the schedule. In all there will be 97 games that feature FBS teams squaring off against FCS opponents. In other words, there are 97 games where season ticket holders can stay and enjoy their tailgate instead of heading into the stadium. Four teams will play two FCS opponnets: North Carolina State, Air Force, Eastern Michigan and Wyoming.
BCS Non-Conference Games
Six BCS teams (yes, I know the proper term is teams from Automatic Qualifying Conference, but who are they trying to kid with that?) don't play another BCS team in their non-conference schedule. They include: Baylor, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and Washington State. The Hokies schedule is one reason I'm salivating over the prospects of running back David Wilson and the Hokies defense this season (more on that later).
Tough Row to Hoe
Rice has non-conference games against four BCS opponents in 2011: Texas, Purdue, Baylor and Northwestern. East Carolina is sure to attract a lot of attention from fantasy owners, but three of their first four games are are against South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Getting through that four game stretch unscathed could be tough. A number of other teams have three BCS opponents in their non-conference schedule, most notable are: Miami (Fl), Pittsburgh, USC and Wake Forest.
Michigan State had the luxury of only having to leave the state three times during the regular season in 2010. This year they must travel to South Bend, Columbus (less Terrelle Pryor & Co.), Lincoln, Iowa City and Evanston. Ouch.
With two neutral site games, Army plays the fewest amount of home games with four. A number of teams only play five home games, most notable are Washington State and Colorado.
On the other side of the coin BYU, Illinois, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Tennessee all have the luxury of playing eight home games in 2011.
Cal will open the season at Candlestick Park against Fresno State and will be playing the remainder of their five home games at AT&T Park as Memorial Stadium goes under renovation.
Along with Army, Georgia and Washington State will also play two neutral site games. Though some will argue that Georgia playing Boise State in the Georgia Dome will hardly be an unbiased crowd.
The Hawaii Rule
Hawaii and teams that travel to Hawaii are allowed to add a 13th game to their schedule, if they so choose. Hawaii, Colorado, Fresno State, New Mexico State and Tulane all play an an additional game in 2011.
Thursday and Friday night college football games have become the norm and a great way to whet the appetite for Saturday. In week eight the real zaniness begins as we start to see games played on Tuesday and Wednesday night, much to the dismay of my wife.
Toledo leads the charge with five weekday contests. The Big East is obviously trying to gain national television exposure as Louisville, South Florida and West Virginia (one on Sunday) will all play four non-Saturday games each.
College football has also recently taken advantage of starting a week earlier than the NFL and we'll once again have five day smorgasbord of games running from Thursday Sept. 1 through Monday Sept. 5. Bring it on!
Coming up soon, we'll be adding our ease of schedule calculations to our 2011 Draft Kit. Stay tuned.