Every year, it seems like USC has one of the nation’s toughest schedules. But if you use the NCAA formula (opponents’ records from the previous season), the Trojans have the 84th-toughest schedule according to college football analyst Phil Steele.
Steele correctly notes this is not a full-proof method. Indiana had the 110th-toughest schedule last year but eight of its 12 opponents went on to play in bowl games.
Nevertheless, USC’s spot is interesting. With Texas and Notre Dame as nonconference opponents, one would assume the Trojans’ schedule is one of the nation’s toughest. But it’s the poor performance of Pac-12 teams that hurts USC.
Or is it? UCLA’s schedule is ranked No. 8 and the Bruins’ opponents went 94-63. USC’s opponents went 78-75. USC faces seven teams with winning records last season and eight who went to bowl games. UCLA faces nine teams with winning records and nine who went to bowl games.