Kennedy Hambrick does a shh motion during her floor routine choreography

Arkansas to Face Hardest Schedule in 2023

The schedules are out, the intrasquads are happening and we’re nearly ready for the 2023 season to begin. But with less than a month left until the season officially kicks off, we thought we’d find out which team will have the toughest road to Fort Worth.

What’s that formula you ask? It’s pretty simple. Looking at 2022’s end-of-season rankings, we took each of the top 20 or so teams’ 2022 opponents’ final rankings and added them all together. If their opponent was the home team, we subtracted two points for “home floor advantage.” In the case of non-neutral site meets with multiple teams, only the home team would have those points subtracted. Finally, we averaged that number and the team with the lowest number ranks first in schedule difficulty.

Confused? We broke down Oklahoma’s 2018 schedule as an example below.

In 2018 Oklahoma was at Georgia (12-2), hosted Iowa State (29) and Texas Woman’s (52), was at Florida (3-2), was at UCLA (4-2), hosted North Carolina (36), had a neutral meet versus Nebraska (7), hosted West Virginia (20), Michigan (10), Arizona State (41), Arkansas (19) and Denver (9), was at Alabama (6-2) and was at TWU (52-2). That means the Sooners competed against 14 total teams, coming out to an average of 20.71.

In 2018 and 2019 Florida had the most difficult schedule, according to our formula, and 2020 saw Alabama overtake the Gators with the toughest lineup by a long shot. We did not calculate schedule difficulty in 2021 or 2022.

Arkansas sees the hardest slate of opponents thanks to meets against all eight SEC teams, as well as national champion Oklahoma, Stanford and Alabama at Metroplex and Minnesota at home to close out the regular season.

Despite the Razorbacks coming out on top of the difficulty rankings, Alabama was within one point behind, followed by LSU, UCLA, Auburn and Oklahoma rounding out the top six. See the chat below for a full ranking of the top 25 most difficult schedules for 2023.

Difficulty RankingTeamDifficulty Score
8Boise State17.818
9Arizona State18.385
19Utah State25.000
20Oregon State25.529
23Ohio State27.000
25Michigan State30.533

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Article by Rebecca Scally and Elizabeth Grimsley

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