Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (2023)

These Power Five programs have a yellow-brick road to success.

Brad Crawford

When you determine months before the start of the 2023 college football season that your team's schedule is favorable, you already win. Schedules matter, especially if you're one of those teams in need of every win you can get to summon positivity.

For the elites, a favorable schedule means double-digit victories and College Football Playoff buzz late in the year. Those programs can afford a slip-up during the regular season for the most part as long as they come out of their respective conference as the last team standing.

No specific metric was used for this exercise, but schedule favorability relative to how a team's collection of games could positively impact a respective program's season affects the ranking. Conference strength matters, along with the breadth of quality opponents (or lack thereof, in this case).

Ranking college football's 10 toughest schedules ahead of 2023 season

Here's a look at the nation's nine most favorable slates among Power Five teams this fall.

9. Nebraska Huskers

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (2)

2023 schedule:at Minnesota, at Colorado, NIU, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, at Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, at Michigan State, Maryland, at Wisconsin, Iowa

Games against ranked teams (projected): 2

Yes, Michigan is the two-time defending Big Ten champion and the favorite to reach the playoff from the conference, alongside Ohio State. That's the only game, with a trip to Wisconsin being the other, that should give this coaching staff extra pause in 2023. The opener at Minnesota is a toss-up and Colorado's projected win total under Deion Sanders this season is under five. Imagine what Matt Rhule could sell to recruits if the Huskers play for bowl eligibility coming down the home stretch? This is the schedule to get there before USC and UCLA enter the Big Ten next year.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (3)

2023 schedule:Utah State, at Iowa State, Western Michigan, at Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, at Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern (Chicago), Rutgers, Illinois, at Nebraska

Games against ranked teams (projected): 2

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If Kirk Ferentz's offense has a pulse and Iowa survives the first half of the conference schedule, the Hawkeyes could control their destiny in the divisional title race in mid-October. Iowa's not far away from being a top-25 team and gets a couple chances in September to get it right offensively before traveling to Penn State. Outside of the trip to Happy Valley and a road trek to Wisconsin a couple weeks later, the Hawkeyes could bethe betting favoritein every other contest.

7. Virginia Cavaliers

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (4)

2023 schedule:Tennessee (Nashville), James Madison, at Maryland, NC State, at Boston College, William & Mary, at UNC, at Miami, Georgia Tech, at Louisville, Duke, Virginia Tech

Games against ranked teams (projected): 1

If UNC or Miami is ranked during the second half of the season, this projected number of top-25 opponents increases, but as it stands, the schedule looks manageable in Year 2 for Tony Elliott and the Cavaliers. They'll be a three-touchdown underdog in the opener, but after that, Virginia should be able to improve on last fall's win total with toss-up games against James Madison, NC State, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, among others.

6. Illinois Fighting Illini

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (5)

2023 schedule:Toledo, at Kansas, Penn State, FAU, at Purdue, Nebraska, at Maryland, Wisconsin, at Minnesota, Indiana, at Iowa, Northwestern

Games against ranked teams (projected): 2

Penn State is a guaranteed top-10 opponent in Week 3, but where are the rest of the Big Ten's heavyweights? Illinois, which nearly toppled Michigan on the road last season, does not deal with the Wolverines again andBret Bielema's teamavoids Ohio State, too. Given some of the talent returning defensively, the Fighting Illini have a chance to continue positive strides and advance as a program with this slate. Non-conference matchups with Kansas and FAU do, however, provide intriguing storylines at the quarterback spots.

(Video) 2023 Georgia Football Schedule Preview (Game-By-Game Analysis)

5. Virginia Tech Hokies

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (6)

2023 schedule: Old Dominion, Purdue, at Rutgers, at Marshall, Pitt, at Florida State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, at Louisville, at Boston College, NC State, at Virginia

Games against ranked teams (projected): 1

Virginia Tech misses Clemson, Miami and UNC during ACC play, arguably three of the league's four-best rosters entering the season depending on your favorite summer metric used in grading these things this time of year. Brent Pry knows the Hokies are in rebuild mode and early games against Old Dominion, Purdue (with a first-year coach) and Rutgers should help his players find some semblance of confidence. A top-25 team would waltz through with nine or 10 wins. Given the current landscape at Virginia Tech, if the Hokies can get to six, it will be a job well done.

4. Boston College Eagles

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (7)

2023 schedule:NIU, Holy Cross, Florida State, at Louisville, Virginia, at Army, at Georgia Tech, UConn, at Syracuse, Virginia Tech, at Pitt, Miami

Games against ranked teams (projected): 1

Jeff Hafley faces a pivotal year at Boston College, and knows forward progress must be shown or he could be shown the door at season's end. The Eagles should be able to get off on the right foot over the first couple weeks prior to their ACC opener against Florida State, easily the most talented team they face. The rest of the schedule is free of landmines outside of the final two weeks against Pitt and Miami.

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (8)

2023 schedule:UT Martin, Ball State, South Carolina, UAB, at Auburn, Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, vs. Florida (Jacksonville), Missouri, Ole Miss, at Tennessee, at Georgia Tech

Games against ranked teams (projected): 2

Projecting two nationally-ranked opponents is a stretch, but give the Bulldogs either South Carolina or Ole Miss along with Tennessee (Nov. 18). When you consider Georgia's talent level and the teams the two-time defending champions face this fall, the Bulldogsare at least a touchdown favorite in every contest. This slate is tailor-made to three-peat, or at least return to the College Football Playoff with opportunity.

(Video) Schedule concerns won't impact Georgia football playoff chances in 2023, 2024

Kirby Smart, who calledSEC future scheduling the "most overrated conversation ever,"takes the same mentality into this season as he did the last couple during Georgia's impressive playoff run — worry about his program's "Process" and nothing else. Outside noise about his team's perceived easy slate means nothing to him. Smart insists Georgia will always be the "hunter" and not the "hunted" and continuing to play up that mantra has seemed to benefit his players.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (9)

2023 schedule:Central Arkansas, at Arizona State, South Alabama, at Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, at West Virginia, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, at UCF, at Houston, BYU

Games against ranked teams (projected): 2

Mike Gundy'sonly conference championship with the Cowboys came in 2011 and the schedule Oklahoma State faced that season was considerably more difficult than this year's installment. Of course, the team was comparatively more talented, too.Oklahoma State faces the easiest schedule among Big 12 teams in 2023 because it misses Texas and TCU and the Cowboys' non-conference Power Five opponent is Arizona State, who takes the field with a first-year coach in Week 2. There's a path to nine wins or more for the Cowboys this season.

1. Louisville Cardinals

Georgia, Oklahoma State among college football's 9 most favorable 2023 schedules (10)

2023 schedule:Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana (Indianapolis), Boston College, at NC State, Notre Dame, at Pitt, Duke, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Miami, Kentucky

Games against ranked teams (projected): 1

Somehow, Louisville misses Florida State and Clemson during the regular season, which is great news for first-year coach Jeff Brohm and this team's darkhorse chances in the ACC championship race. Unless Miami or Kentucky are inside the top 25during the final stretch,the only matchup we're projecting against a nationally-ranked opponent is Notre Dame on Oct. 7 and that comes at home.Brohm lick his chops, especially during the first month.

Clemson is again roaring on the recruiting scene with a trio of Top 100 commits and a Top 10 class.

Brian Dohn

Clemson recruits differently than other schools, and it does not apologize for it or care what you think.

(Video) The BEST in Georgia! Sammy Brown can do it ALL #shorts

There was outside concern when the Tigers were once again not active in the transfer portal, and there were questions about coach Dabo Swinney’s recruiting prowess and approach in light of recent staff changes when Clemson finished outside the top 10 in 2023 and sat in the mid-20s of the team rankings a few weeks ago.

Throw in Clemson hosts only one weekend of official visits – June 2-4 – this month and the chatter became louder about the strategy.

After the Tigers' weekend flex, those worries about the ACC's benchmark program were all for naught.

Clemson is always going to do things its way, and that way again is proving successful as the Tigers all of a sudden have a top 10 class with the idea of climbing toward the top with the momentum gained coming out of the huge recruiting weekend and the committing a of a trio of elite players.

Five-star linebacker Sammy Brown and five-star receiver Bryant Wesco, both top 10 players in the Top247 rankings, committed to the Tigers. So did top-100 receiver TJ Moore, and all of sudden things are looking rosy in Death Valley, and there is plenty more bloom to come.

It started with Brown, who is the No. 5 player in the nation and the No. 1 linebacker. The Jefferson (Ga.) High standout made his weekend official visit and he announced his commitment Monday, which set the stage for a huge two days.

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Wesco, who also officially visited over the weekend, is the No. 3 receiver and No 9 player in the class, made his commitment public Tuesday. The Midlothian (Texas) High prospect is the top player in Texas.

Then it was Moore, a four-star receiver from Tampa Catholic and the No. 83 player in the class, committing later Tuesday as the Tigers’ class moved up to No. 8 in the nation.

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And coming out of the weekend, the Tigers are in contention for a bundle of other high-level players, including Greensboro (N.C.) Grimsley Top247 receiver Alex Taylor, Aiken (S.C.) High Top247 receiver Braylon Staley and five-star receiver Mike Matthews of Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview.

The Tigers are doing well with Leesburg (Va.) Tuscarora offensive tackle Fletcher Westphal and four-star offensive lineman William Satterwhite of Akron (Ohio) Archbishop Hoban. In addition, the Clemson is in a solid spot with Top247 offensive tackle Michael Uini of Copperas Cove (Texas) High and four-star Lindale (Texas) High offensive lineman Casey Poe.

Top247 Cornerback Corian Gipson of Lancaster (Texas) High is high on Clemson and do not be surprised if a decision is near. The Tigers are in it with five-star safety KJ Bolden of Buford (Ga.) High coming out of the visit, but Georgia remains the school to beat.

Clemson is in the thick of it for five-star defensive lineman Eddrick Houston of Buford High and Top247 safety Ricardo Jones of Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside coming out of the official visits, with some sources saying Clemson may lead for Jones.

Also, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel edge Darien Mayo has Clemson high on his list but the Tigers will have to wait out Ohio State, Michigan and USC official visits this month while recent offeree Wyatt Simmons, a linebacker from Searcy (Ark.) Harding Academy, is giving Clemson and Auburn hard looks.

RELATED: Musings on recruiting tea leaves, who could be next (VIP)

There are a ton of prospects on the board, and many of them have Clemson as a leader, co-leader or in the lead group.

It means some tough decisions could be coming for Swinney since taking everyone is not viable, and suddenly a strange Clemson class looks elite again.

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Who has the toughest college football schedule 2023? ›

1. South Carolina Gamecocks. Per Phil Steele's metric, South Carolina has the toughest schedule in college football next season. The Gamecocks kick off 2023 with their third meeting against North Carolina at Charlotte's Bank of America stadium since 2019 (1-1).

Who has the toughest schedule in college football this year? ›

Per ESPN's FPI, here are the nation's 10 toughest schedules this fall and our thoughts on each team navigating through treacherous slates.
  1. Ole Miss Rebels. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
  2. Minnesota Golden Gophers. ...
  3. Florida Gators. ...
  4. Maryland Terrapins. ...
  5. Auburn Tigers. ...
  6. Arkansas Razorbacks. ...
  7. Michigan State Spartans. ...
  8. Tennessee Volunteers. ...
May 3, 2023

Who has the easiest 2023 college football schedule? ›

According to this method, the South Carolina Gamecocks have the toughest 2023 football schedule, while the Ohio Bobcats have the easiest 2023 schedule.

Who is the number 1 college football recruit 2023? ›

There's a new No. 1 in the 2023 college football recruiting rankings, according to Sports Illustrated, and it's not quarterback Arch Manning. Five-star quarterback Dante Moore is the best recruit in the country for the 2023 cycle in the latest SI99 rankings to be unveiled this preseason.

What is the best college football team to ever play? ›

The highest-scoring team in college football history, the Florida State Seminoles were extremely talented in all phases. Led by Jimbo Fisher and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, the 'Noles averaged 51.6 points per game while allowing just 12.1 points each contest.

What SEC team has the hardest schedule? ›

In fact, ESPN's computers say Ole Miss will have the hardest schedule. Then the "worldwide leader" lists Florida at number three and Auburn with the fifth hardest schedule. Arkansas and Tennessee are the other SEC schools that have schedules in ESPN's Top Ten hardest.

What is the most over time in a college football game? ›

After tying 10-10 through four quarters, Illinois upset No. 7 Penn State, 20-18 in nine overtimes, becoming the first game to ever reach the nine-overtime mark. Tied 18-18 in the ninth extra period, Illinois' defense broke up a pass from Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford.

Who is predicted to win the college football championship 2023? ›

With the 2023 college football season a little more than three months away, Vegas Insider has released updated odds for the national championship. There is no surprise at the top as Georgia is the projected favorite to threepeat after winning back-to-back titles in 2021 and 2022.

Who has the most consecutive college football starts? ›

Florida cornerback Larry Kennedy (1991-1994)--50 consecutive starts. Kennedy is now playing in the Arena Football League. Florida was 40-10-1 with 3 SEC Championships, a win in the 1992 Gator Bowl and 1 win (1993) and 2 losses (1991 and 1994) in the Sugar Bowl.

Who are the top football recruits for 2023? ›

  • Rank Player Pos Ht / Wt Rating Team.
  • Arch Manning Isidore Newman (New Orleans, LA) ...
  • Nico Iamaleava Warren (Downey, CA) ...
  • Keon Keeley Berkeley Prep (Tampa, FL) ...
  • Dante Moore Martin Luther King (Detroit, MI) ...
  • Kadyn Proctor Southeast Polk (Des Moines, IA) ...
  • Francis Mauigoa IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)

How many 5 star recruits are there 2023? ›

A look at the former five-star recruits in the 2023 NFL Draft: Bryce Young, Jalen Carter and Will Anderson Jr. top the list. There are 35 former five-star recruits in the 2023 NFL Draft. All of the top-three prospects were five-star recruits: Bryce Young, Jalen Carter and Will Anderson Jr.

Who is the #1 college QB in the 2023 draft? ›

Player Rankings - Quarterback
1Bryce YoungQB
2C.J. StroudQB
3Hendon HookerQB
4Anthony RichardsonQB
8 more rows
Apr 24, 2023

How many 5 star college football recruits are there? ›

Now, almost all of the dust has settled on the 2023 college football recruiting cycle. In particular, of the 39 players who earned 5-star designation in the 247 Sports Composite rankings, all but one have signed.

Who has the hardest strength of schedule in NCAA football? ›

College football strength of schedule rankings, according to ESPN FPI
  • Tennessee. ...
  • Michigan State. ...
  • Arkansas. ...
  • Auburn. ...
  • Maryland. ...
  • Florida. ...
  • Minnesota. ...
  • Ole Miss.
May 3, 2023

What college football team has the most consecutive winning seasons? ›

In American college football, the longest NCAA Division I winning streak is held by the Oklahoma Sooners, who won 47 consecutive games between 1953 and 1957.

Who squats the most in college football? ›

Beyond the current crop of studs is ex-Wisconsin OL Travis Frederick who reportedly broke a school record by managing a beastly 770-pound squat. Comparing this to the lifting laymen, a 200-pound novice male can squat 230 pounds, an intermediate lifter can squat 285 pounds and an advanced guy can pull 390 pounds.

What is the hardest d1 sport? ›

Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
Ice Hockey7.252
33 more rows

Which college football team plays the fastest? ›

According to College Football Matrix, Bowling Green, North Carolina, Arizona, Baylor and Texas Tech were the top five teams in plays per minute. The average pace of play across FBS last season was 2.919 plays per minute.

Who is the #1 QB prospect for 2023? ›

Player Rankings - Quarterback
1Bryce Young93.6 MORE>>
2C.J. Stroud92.0 MORE>>
3Hendon Hooker87.8 MORE>>
4Anthony Richardson87.5 MORE>>
8 more rows
Apr 24, 2023

Who is the number 1 QB draft prospect 2023? ›

C.J. Stroud

What is the hardest college to get into in 2023? ›

Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.

Has a college football team ever won 3 national championships in a row? ›

Dating back to 1900, Minnesota is the only team to win three national championships in a row, from 1934-36.

What is the UGA football ranking in 2023? ›

Even with 10 players selected in last week's NFL draft, the Georgia Bulldogs remain No. 1 in the second version of the 2023 Way-Too-Early Top 25.

What is the most consecutive sold out in college football? ›

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Fighting Irish — 273 Games

The game against Navy that day marked the first time all tickets went unsold since the Irish played Air Force on Thanksgiving Day in 1973.

How long is Georgia's winning streak? ›

Georgia's 65-7 thrashing of TCU back in January capped off a perfect season for the Bulldogs and extended the team's total win streak to 17 games, which is currently the longest active win streak in all of college football. So what would another perfect season mean for Georgia's win streak?

What is the longest streak of losing seasons college football? ›

The Northwestern Wildcats 34-game losing streak is the longest in Division I (FBS) football history. During the team's winless 1981 season, the Wildcats were outscored 505-82 – an average of 40 points per game.


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