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Stop Hyping Up Notre Dame's Schedule

Every year you listen to someone on ESPN or elsewhere in the main stream media hyping up how difficult Notre Dame's schedule is this season. This season in particular I have heard people saying that it's so difficult they could lose their first 8 games. A) Stop making excuses already for how bad their record is going to be. B) They're schedule just isn't that out of the norm that you need to point it out every single time the words "difficult schedule" are uttered. For instance let's take a look at a team that won't get talked about at all, will probably be better this season and has just as hard of a schedule, if not worse. That team is the Oregon Ducks.

First lets just throw the games they have in common out. They both play USC at home, at Michigan, at UCLA and at Stanford. The USC and Michigan games will most likely be losses for both teams, the UCLA game will be a tossup for both and the Stanford game should be easy despite Jim Harbaugh hiring coaches he's never met.

Now let's get into the other comparisons we'll start with the easy games first and lead to the difficult ones.

Fresno St. vs. Duke - Fresno was terrible last year but for years prior they had good teams while Duke, well, they never have a good team. Advantage: Oregon

Washington vs. Navy - Navy seems to be getting better and winning some games each year, but in reality they couldn't compete with Washington every year despite Washington being coached by Ty. Advantage: Oregon

Wazzu vs. Air Force Air Force and Wazzu had down years last year, but again the whole service academy thing hurts Air Force and Wazzu did fight their way to 6-6 last year. Advantage: Oregon

Arizona vs. Michigan St. Michigan St. was horrible last year and they had a long time start. This season who knows the depths they will reach. Meanwhile Arizona played a lot of good games last season and Mike Stoops has the program on the Up and Up. Advantage: Oregon

Arizona St. vs. Purdon't Both teams sucked up on the weak last year, to the tune of 7 and 8 wins respectively. But Purdon't really did with five of their wins coming against 3 weak MAC schools and Indiana and Illinois. Both lost to Hawaii in shootouts. We'll give this one the push. Advantage: Push

Houston vs. Georgia Tech Houston went 10-3 last season and is bringing back senior qb Kevin Kolb so they should continue their solid play for a small conference team. Ga Tech meanwhile lost the best WR in the sport and their 4 year starting QB. I'll still give the edge to GaTech simply because of their defense and athleticism but this gap isn't very wide. Without Kolb Tech should have a considerable skill advantage over Houston. Advantage: Notre Dame

Oregon St. vs. BC Oregon St. had a terrific year last season going 10-4 and knocking off Missouri in their bowl game. Meanwhile BC also had a fantastic year, narrowly missing the ACC crown and going 10-3 including a not so impressive 1 point bowl win over Navy. Both games are serious rivalry games but I'll give the slightest of edge to ND on this one. Advantage: Notre Dame

Cal vs. Penn St. These are definately Notre Dame and Oregon's next biggest challenges after USC and Michigan. Personally I think Cal is the better team and Oregon will probably get dropped by them and Deshawn Jackson but I'll be lenient towards ND because they face Penn St. on the road here while Oregon faces Cal at home, so... Advantage: Push

So there you have it, while Notre Dame's schedule will be reported as a death march, no one will give word to the fact that Oregon, a team who's talent level is probably on par with Notre Dame this season, is playing a harder schedule. Their 4 "cupcakes" are much more difficult than Notre Dames Military Academy/Duke finish while Notre Dame's top other games are not much more difficult than Oregon's.

So next time a Notre Dame fan comes and tells you they have the most difficult schedule in college football you can point to the Oregon schedule and tell them to shove it and stop making excuses for all the losses they will have this season.


The Feed said…
Interesting, although Navy is a better team than you give them credit for.

I think you could throw almost any SEC team out there and you'd end up with a harder schedule than Notre Dame and/or Oregon.

Also, Houston doesn't return Kevin Kolb. The Eagles picked him in the second round which drops them considerably in talent.
Frank the Tank said…
Until College football gets a playoff system its always just gonna be a big sham.
Papa Bear said…
What they should be debating is how the hell Charlie keeps defying nature and is still alive when his aorta must look like the L.A. freeway.
Unknown said…
Interesting comparison, and I agree that Notre Dame's schedule is being insanely over-hyped, much like the team itself is every single season. I do have to disagree with you on one thing however; I think you are way off-base with the Washington-Navy comparison. Navy is hands down a better team than Washington. To prove it, just look at their common opponent last year; Stanford. Washington lost to Stanford 20-3, while Navy destroyed the Cardinal 37-9. That is a 45 point swing between those two results. I only point this out because Navy being harder than Washington would change the final conclusion of the post quite a bit.
Simon said…
In addition Washington lost by 6 at USC and 7 to Cal, you won't find a Navy result close to being competitive with USC. When Navy played its superior foes, it lost 34-0 to Rutgers and 38-14 to ND.

You can do the common opponent comparison, and admittedly thats bad but something has to be taken into the fact that Washington was coming off 4 heartbreaking losses while Navy was coming off two wins.

Plus Navy played probably the easiest schedule in the nation. Their wins were Army, Temple, Eastern Michigan, Air Force, UMass, Eastern Carolina, UConn, Duke, and Stanford. Those are horrendous.
Unknown said…
Navy is better. Period. Just take a look at the two team's records from the past four years:

8-5, 10-2, 8-4, 9-4

6-6, 1-10, 2-9, 5-7

You can bash the schedule for Navy all you want, but the fact remains that they have won at least 8 games each of the past four years, have gone to a bowl game each of the past four years, and have gone 2-2 in those bowl games. Washington on the other hand, has not had a single winning season in the past four years, is the perrenial doormat of the Pac-10, was picked second to last in this year's Pac-10 media poll, AND coming into this year they lost their leading passer, their second leading rusher, and their top reciever to graduation. Am I missing something here? I think it is crazy to say that the second worst team from the Pac-10 is better than Navy just because they are a Pac-10 school.
Simon said…
Records never say everything in college football. Schedules mean everything.

Find a single significant victory for Navy in that 4 year period. It hasn't happened. They pick up a win against Air Force and Army + 1AA opponents (a la Umass, Delaware, Northeastern, VMI, etc.) than beat a directional Michigan, all of their wins are complete fluff. They haven't beaten anyone in that 4 year period the likes of UCLA last season, not even close. In fact their best game in that 4 year stretch was probably their loss to BC in the bowl game last season.

If Navy was in the Pac 10 they would be the perennial doormat.

And if you really protest so much I could simply move Air Force and Navy which would make this argument mute considering Air Force can't beat Navy recently.
Spread Eagle said…
The Beavs are going to dine on duck soup whether you give ND the advantage or not, little guy.
Unknown said…
Bashing Navy's schedule doesn't make Washington not suck. It would be one thing if I was saying Navy was better than a decent team; I'm just saying they are better than a terrible team. Navy is a C level team, Washington is a D level team. And yes, Navy is way better than Air Force, considering the fact that they have beat AF each of the past four years.
Simon said…
I personally don't view Navy as a C level team. They continue to run an offense from the 70s which inferior skill.
Unknown said…
Again, bash Navy all you want. I still haven't seen any reason why Washington isn't horrible. They were the second worst team in the Pac-10 last year and have lost most of their offense since then. They suck. Being a BCS school doesn't automatically make a team better than every non-BCS school. In fact, there are a LOT of non-BCS schools that are better than UW. How many? Well, here are just a few;

Notre Dame
Boise State
Southern Miss
Central Michigan

In fact, if you look at Washington's schedule from last year, their talent level is more on par with Fresno State and San Jose State than the above teams, as Washington barely beat those two schools at home last year winning each game by less that a TD. This year Washington's two non-BCS opponents are Hawaii and Boise, both of whom they will lose to. I mean, take a look at their schedule this year. They are going to go 3-10, 4-9 at the max. If you honestly think a 3-10 Pac-10 squad is better than a mid-level non-BCS team, than feel free to say Washington is better than Navy. I just disagree.
Simon said…
Washington does suck, but that does not take away from the fact that Navy is horrendous. Their record is bloated every year by the fact that they play the worst schedule consistantly. The only bad team they haven't played in Buffalo. They haven't beaten a team that's been good in the 4 said years. Meanwhile Washington beat UCLA last year, and was competetive with USC. If Navy played USC last year they would have lost by 40+. And there is no question about that. Washington's athletes will always be superior to Navy's.

Sure there are plenty of non-BCS schools that are better than Washington but Navy just isn't one of them. Navy just isn't good at all.

And again if you switch Navy with Air Force. Washington is better than Air Force and Wazzu is better than Navy, and thus the same goes. Oregon's schedule is better than Notre Dame's. The initial point.
Unknown said…
I don't think any horrendous teams have won two bowl games in the past four years.

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