All of the top teams’ schedules have finally been released! So it’s time to take a deeper look and see who will face off against the toughest opponents in 2016. Our formula is simple. Looking at the top 20 teams from last season, we took their opponents’ rankings from 2015 and added them all together. For an opponent that was competing at home, we deducted two points to account for “home-mat advantage.”
Going in we thought the award for most difficult 2016 would go to either Georgia or UCLA. Both teams are in tough conferences and face a good number of well-established out-of-conference teams. However, UCLA welcomes former national championship to Pauley Pavillion while Georgia travels to these formidable opponents. In the end, this was the difference maker.
So Georgia will have a hard go in 2016. Facing nine of the top 12 teams from 2015, including UCLA, Utah, Stanford and Alabama on the road. Plus the Gym Dogs have a strong lineup of conference teams due to the strong competition within the SEC. So a mixture of tough in and out-of-conference meets is what gave the team the award for hardest 2016 schedule.
Speaking of difficult conferences, the top three in our rankings are all from the SEC with Arkansas and LSU coming in second and third, respectively. The Razorbacks not only face all seven other southeastern schools but add on Michigan and Oklahoma to its 2016 slate. LSU did the same with non-conference match-ups against Stanford, Oregon State and Oklahoma twice.
Rounding out the top five are Utah and Alabama.
Take a look at the rankings and let us know what you think in the comments below.