Does USC Have 84th-Toughest Schedule?

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.

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3 thoughts on “Does USC Have 84th-Toughest Schedule?

  1. It’s impossible to accurately rank schedules this far in advance of the season —so let’s move on. Yesterday, O-line coach Neil Callaway made an extraordinary statement. He said that USC has embarrassed itself against 3 opponents since he arrived —Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State. He went on to say that it WASN’T the O-line that embarrassed itself —it was the team. Based on that one statement, don’t expect improvement on the O-line. Callaway STILL doesn’t get the fact that it’s a little bit difficult for receivers to get open, runners to find holes and quarterbacks to complete passes if the O-line is getting blown out on most every snap. And, as long as he won’t accept responsibility for what’s really wrong on offense, we all need to expect more of the same. I don’t dislike Callaway —in fact, I’m sure he’s doing the best he can —he’s just not the right guy. How Helton fails to see this is hard to understand.

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  2. Scooter, I you break it down, ugly is the main culprit for bringing down usc’s strength of schedule. I’m sure they are a very minute component to this thought, but anytime I can rag on ugly, I will take a shot.

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  3. Part of it is the quirk of Pac-12 scheduling. UCLA plays Washington (10-2) and Oregon (7-5), for a combined record of 17-7 (not including bowl results).

    USC plays Oregon State (1-11) and WSU (9-3) for a combined record of 10-14.

    Flip them

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