Power Ranking Non-Conference Schedules in the ACC Atlantic
1. Florida State Seminoles: Aug. 30, Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-3); Sept. 6, The Citadel (5-7)*; Oct. 18, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-4); Nov. 29, Florida Gators (4-8).
Why: The reigning national champions will have their hands full in the quest for a repeat, facing one of the Big 12’s best teams in Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and a healthy Gator squad.
2. Clemson Tigers: Aug. 30, Georgia Bulldogs (8-5); Sept. 6, South Carolina State Bulldogs (9-4)*; Nov. 22, Georgia State Panthers (0-12); Nov. 29, South Carolina Gamecocks (12-2).
Why: Clemson will be tested right away by playing a road game at Georgia without Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.
3. Syracuse Orange: Aug. 30, Villanova Wildcats (6-5)*; Sept. 13, Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6); Sept. 20, Maryland Terrapins (7-6); Sept. 27, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-4).
Why: The Orangemen will play teams with at least six wins from the 2013 season in a back-to-back-to-back format.
4. Boston College Eagles: Aug. 30, UMass Minutemen (1-11); Sept. 13, USC Trojans (10-4); Sept. 20, Maine Black Bears (10-3)*; Sept. 27, Colorado State Rams (8-6).
Why: While never guaranteed nowadays, Boston College should be able to notch wins against UMass and FCS Maine. However, Colorado State has improved under Jim McElwain and USC should be a force in the Pac-12.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Aug. 28, ULM Warhawks (6-6); Sept. 6, Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (7-5)*; Sept. 13, Utah State Aggies (9-5); Sept. 20, Army Black Knights (3-9).
Why: Utah State highlights a mediocre non-conference slate for Wake Forest, which will be looking to get back to the postseason with new head coach Dave Clawson.
6. Louisville Cardinals: Sept. 6, Murray State Racers (6-6); Sept. 20, FIU Panthers (1-11); Nov. 22, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-4); Nov. 29, Kentucky Wildcats (2-10).
Why: Louisville will have the same level of low-quality competition in its non-conference schedule as it did in 2013—when it took some criticism for doing so—but this time will be playing a much more difficult conference slate, rather than facing the American competition.
7. NC State Wolfpack: Aug. 30, Georgia Southern Eagles (7-4)*; Sept. 6, Old Dominion Monarchs (8-4); Sept. 13, USF Bulls (2-10); Sept. 20, Presbyterian Blue Hose (3-8)*.
Why: You’re going to be at the bottom of the rankings when you have two Division-1AA programs on your schedule.
*denotes FCS team
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