Top 10 Hardest College Football Schedules in 2024

    The 2024 college football season is on the horizon, so there is no better time to look at strength of schedules. Which teams have the hardest schedules?

    College football is still three months away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to project how the season will play out. Using CFN’s proprietary strength of schedule metric, let’s dive into the programs with the hardest on-paper campaigns.

    College Football Teams With the Hardest Schedules in 2024

    CFN’s SOS model was crafted with careful consideration, using as many resources as possible ahead of the 2024 season. Using a bevy of metrics such as returning production, roster projections, coaching staffs, incoming talent, and home-field advantage, as well as other factors, the CFN SOS analyzes which teams have the most and least difficult schedules this season.

    CFN’s strength of schedule metric included teams’ transfer portal classes, valued quarterbacks returning to their school, and continuation among the coaching staff into the ranking. These factors all awarded schedule difficulty more heavily based on merit and projection, as opposed to looking back at results from last season, though those results were factored in moderately.

    10) Purdue Boilermakers | 23.67

    Ryan Walters is in the middle of a rebuild at Purdue, and it’s unlikely they will improve much — if at all — on their 4-8 campaign from 2023. There’s some talent on the roster, and Hudson Card is a solid collegiate QB, but outside of contests against Indiana State and Northwestern, there aren’t many clear wins on the Boilermakers’ schedule.

    9) Arkansas Razorbacks | 23.71

    Sam Pittman is traversing an entirely new backfield after KJ Jefferson (UCF) and Raheim Sanders (South Carolina) left the program. Taylen Green and Ja’Quinden Jackson are the Walmart versions of those two, and the Razorbacks face one of the most difficult seven-game runs in the country:

    • Auburn
    • Texas A&M
    • Tennessee
    • LSU
    • Mississippi State
    • Ole Miss
    • Texas

    8) Colorado Buffaloes | 23.79

    Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes have possibly the largest target on their backs this season due to their social media and interview comments. And with 30+ players coming in and leaving, turnover has ravaged the roster.

    If you ask Coach Prime, the team got better. But cohesion is a large aspect of sustained success, and it’s safe to say Colorado has little in the way of synergy right now. Facing the eighth-toughest schedule in the country won’t help matters.

    T-6) Vanderbilt Commodores | 23.83

    In Diego Pavia, we trust. Even with the New Mexico State QB in tow, it’s difficult to see how the Commodores will win more than a few games in 2024, as their SEC bottom-dwelling ways are likely to continue.

    T-6) Alabama Crimson Tide | 23.83

    Welcome to the SEC, Kalen DeBeor. Not only is he filling the shoes of the greatest collegiate football coach ever, but he also faces one of the most difficult schedules in the nation. Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, LSU, and Oklahoma will push the Crimson Tide to the brink, but they have the talent to vie for a conference title and a CFP berth once again.

    5) Houston Cougars | 23.92

    The Cougars went 4-8 in their first season in the Big 12 and brought in Willie Fritz from Tulane to right the ship. The only problem is that the waters have risen and are threatening to drown Houston. How many of these teams can the Cougars realistically beat? UNLV, Oklahoma, Rice, Cincinnati, Iowa State, TCU, Kansas, Utah, Kansas State, Arizona, Baylor, and BYU.

    4) USC Trojans | 24.25

    Lincoln Riley’s squad joins the Big Ten without Caleb Williams, and the transition will test their limits. Michigan and Penn State welcome the Trojans to the conference, while bouts with LSU and Notre Dame bookend a torturous schedule.

    3) Oklahoma Sooners | 24.54

    Riley’s former employer is also making the jump to a new conference, as they’ll call the SEC home in 2024 and beyond.

    After a light opening few weeks (Temple, Houston, and Tulane), the Sooners won’t have a reprieve until they face Maine in October. Even if they survive clashes with Tennessee, Auburn, Texas, South Carolina, and Ole Miss in that time, they end the season against Missouri, Alabama, and LSU.

    2) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets | 25.29

    Following four straight losing seasons, Brent Key led Georgia Tech to a 7-6 campaign and their first bowl victory since 2016. However, the Yellow Jackets may come back down to Earth in 2024.

    KEEP READING: Must-See Games on the 2024 College Football Schedule

    Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami (FL), and Georgia are near locks in the loss column, and although QB Haynes King and RB Jamal Haynes have been a revolution, there isn’t much around them.

    1) Florida Gators | 27.42

    Gainsville? More like Painville, am I right? Not only do the Gators have to host Miami (FL), Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU, and Ole Miss, but they also have to travel to Mississippi State, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida State. It’s a brutal schedule, and even though Florida has SEC-level talent of their own, it’s difficult to see them surpass the five or six wins they’ve posted the last two years under Billy Napier.

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