Hello all,

I have been sitting on this well-researched and potentially controversial  article for far too long, waiting for “just the right moment” to publish it.  Well, seeing as we are now in the midst of the off season and we have a non-holiday weekend coming up, I figured now was the time.  Time to stir that soup!  -Michaelangelo

Name that Conference

by Richard Hefner (Pitt-Cocks Fan)

After hearing all the talk about Pitt’s schedule during the season, I was curious to see how the various non-conference schedules stacked up, so I reviewed all 2018 out of conference (OOC) scheduling for all 64 P5 conference teams.

First, the ground rules for my analysis:

As you are aware, some conferences schedule 8 conference games (ACC and SEC) while others (Big10, Big 12 and Pac12) schedule 9. This results in four conferences having to fill 4 OOC spots, while the the SEC and ACC have to fill only three.

This review does NOT take include bowls.

Notre Dame is considered a P5 team.

BYU is more of a gray area. Most experts consider independent BYU a G5
team. But for scheduling purposes the ACC, Big10, and SEC consider BYU as Power 5, and so for this exercise, I am including BYU as a P5 team but will note whenever they are included.

So, what did my review find?  Some interesting results!

There were six teams who scheduled zero Power 5 non-cons.  They also did not play BYU.

Editor’s Note:  These teams suck.  Really they do, and the athletic directors that made these schedules should be paraded naked through the town square.  (Metaphorically speaking of course).  

  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma State
  • Arkansas
  • Oregon
  • Washington State

There were three teams that did not play a P5 opponent but did play BYU.

Editor’s note:  Based on each conference’s scheduling rules, only Wisconsin counted this game as “Power 5”.  I personally find it ironic that the Pac 10 does not consider BYU as a Power 5 opponent, since BYU is probably better than half the conference, but perhaps this is because they want the Cougars on the outside looking in.  Note that Utah-BYU is also a rivalry game, so kudos to those schools for keeping “Holy War” alive, and also preserving what is one of college football’s more colorful traditions, in the “Battle for the Beehive Boot“.  If only the good folks at Penn State were equally as aware of how much tradition means to fans on both sides.  

  • Wisconsin
  • Arizona
  • Utah

It should be noted N.C. State did not play a P5 team but did have West Virginia on the schedule. The game was canceled due to a hurricane. N.C. State scheduled G5 East Carolina as a replacement.

Ten teams played two Power 5 opponents.  Pitt is one of those teams.

Editor’s note:  Surprisingly there are only five voluntarily-scheduled rivalry games in here.  I thought there might be more.  Most of the ACC teams have Notre Dame on their schedule as well due to ND’s scheduling agreement with the conference.  While many people don’t like this agreement, I kind of do.  It helps ACC Strength of Schedule and national recognition and it leaves the Coastal wide open for the taking, which of course, opens the door for Pitt.  How boring would it be if the Irish got blown out by Clemson every year in Charlotte?   Pretty damn boring, let me tell you.  Rivalry games (excluding Pitt / ND which is a scheduling coincidence) in bold.  My comments are in italics.

  • Clemson (Texas A&M, South Carolina)
  • Florida State (Notre Dame, Florida)
  • Louisville (Alabama, Kentucky)
  • Duke (Baylor, Northwestern) Love the “smart school” matchup here between Duke and Northwestern.  Not sure if Baylor is considered a “Smart School” or not, but I do consider them to be in Duke’s weight class, so to speak.
  • PITT (Penn St., Notre Dame)  It’s fair to point out that the other FBS school on Pitt’s non-con was the only Group of 5 School to go undefeated in the previous season and also knock off an SEC school in a bowl.
  • Ohio St. (Oregon St., TCU)
  • Northwestern (Duke, Notre Dame)
  • Purdue (Boston College, Missouri)  Interesting OOC scheduling here with teams that are compelling matchups and pretty much on the same level.
  • Texas (Maryland, USC)
  • USC (Notre Dame, Texas)

If include BYU, then you can add two more to this list.

  • Cal (North Carolina, BYU)
  • Washington (Auburn, BYU)

West Virginia would have played 2 if the game with N.C. State wasn’t cancelled. They did play Tennessee.  (And from what I hear there was about three full sets of teeth in that entire stadium…heyooo!)

So how did the six teams who did NOT play a P5  opponent fare overall?

  • One ended up in the CFP final rankings:  #13 Wash. State (and nobody east of Boise and West of the Cascades cares about them anyway)
  • Two ended up with a losing record:  Illinois and Arkansas, (All you naysayers take note…you want to complain about mediocrity? At least we aren’t these guys)
  • The remaining three teams were bowl eligible.  (Minnesota 6-6, OK State 6-6, Oregon 9-3) What is even more noteworthy is that all three teams won their bowl.

How about the teams who played only BYU?  (I’m only showing regular season records, but I am indicating how they fared in their bowl)

  • Wisconsin 7-5, won Pinstripe
  • Arizona 5-7
  • Utah 9-3, lost Holiday

And what of the 12 teams who played two P5 opponents (including BYU)

  • Five ended up ranked in the final CFP rankings, four were bowl-eligible but not ranked and three had losing records.  Editor’s Note:  I didn’t have time to go back and look at which teams landed where but I can tell you that one of the three bowl eligible teams was Pitt.

For those of you who wish for all Power 5 teams to play 12 Power 5 opponents, I will tell you that nobody does that.

But… six teams played or scheduled 11 P5 opponents

  • Ohio State
  • Northwestern
  • Purdue
  • USC
  • Texas A&M
  • West Virginia (One P5 Game cancelled and not rescheduled)


  • 16 teams did not play an FCS team – Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona State, UCLA, USC and 11 teams from the Big10. (Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska were the only teams from the Big10 who did play an FCS opponent.)
  • Florida played 2 FCS teams. In their defense, one of their FCS opponents was Idaho.  Back in 2016, a hurricane postponed a home game with LSU. To win the SEC east division, Florida was forced to play an AWAY game with LSU. To make this happen, Florida had to cancel a $ 1+M buy HOME game with then FBS Idaho to open a date. Instead of just writing a check to Idaho, the game was rescheduled for 2018. In 2018, Idaho dropped to FCS, but when the game was scheduled they were FBS.


  • There are 64 Group of 5 teams (65 including BYU). Those 64 teams played a total of 100 games against the 64 Power  conference teams. Group of 5 teams had an overall 16-84 W/L record or 16%.
  • 2 Group of 5 teams (Air Force, and Hawai’i) did not play a P5 conference opponent.
  • Navy played ND (rivalry game)
  • 9 Group of 5 teams played three Power 5 opponents. While some of these games may be Home/Away or 2 for 1 scheduling, more than 1 (*cough* Kent State *cough*) are probably are $ games for their cash strapped athletic departments.
  • 21 Group of 5 teams played two P5 opponents.
  • No Group of 5 team won 2 or more games over Power 5 opponents. UCF would probably have won two if their game with North Carolina wasn’t cancelled due to a hurricane.

And now for the fun part.  Now that you are an expert on Out of Conference Scheduling, I’ve created a little game for you to test your knowledge.

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 10.45.46 PM

Mike will reveal the answers on Monday night, so weigh in now!

Editor’s note:  What a great idea for reader engagement.  I’m so thrilled about this game, that I’ve decided to mail the winner the last Pitt POV T-shirt in existence.  Suitable for framing!  Ties will be broken by a random drawing.  Get your ballots in now!

79 thoughts on “How do Power 5 Non-Cons Stack Up?

  1. Off topic, saw Booker T at the Manchester Craftsmen Guild last night. Saw him and the MG’s at the Red Rooster in 1967. He is still as great as ever. For you young guys Booker T and the MG’s were the back-up band for Stax records and were in the studio for Aretha, Otis Redding, San and Dave, just to name a few. His son now plays lead guitar and does Steve Cropper proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All I know is that is a lot of impressive work there Richard. Thank You.. Maybe after my ADD meds kick in I’ll try to give an educated guess.


    1. Reed – The “game” is from an excel spreadsheet. I wrote the article on word. I believe I copied the excel spreadsheet as a “Picture” (the drop down arrow on copy function) & then pasted to word. How Mike got it to wordpress is above my pay grade.


    2. I took a screen shot and cropped it, then I added it as an image


  3. Reed, he mentioned that PITT was late to the recruiting process. I don’t know how much can be put on Capel but it was a big local miss. The Johnson brother is almost a must get. Still think they land DJ Gordon, another local product.


    1. From Morton’s comments it sounded to me that he wanted to go to a winning program — and that’s what left out Pitt.

      He didn’t want to struggle for a year or two to help make a winning program.

      Players who are not put off by that challenge are who we need right now.

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Tracing back to Gallagher allowing Barnes to hire Stallings was the day Pitt had zero shot at Morton. Hoops under the Chancellor’s watch has been abysmal today the least. Luckily hoops can be turned around quickly if you land impactful players, which Capel is struggling to do in this class. Sy likely heads to Ole Miss on Monday.

      Sucks to think another losing season is on the horizon next year. How will the 2020 kids look at Pitt as a program after fourth-straight losing seasons? Definitely need Johnson and Gordon and two bigs in the next class.

      What happened to grad transfers wanting to player with the X-Man in 2019-20? That is what I’m most disappointed in with this staff at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Richard — great job of researching. That was a lot of work!

    Hope Heather reads this…

    Go Pitt!


    1. MajorMajors (John) – It was a cold & rainy winter. If I couldn’t be outside, there was only so much daytime TV, cleaning & reading on the computer I could do.

      There is always talk about OOC scheduling & how the Coastal division sucks. That gave me an idea & I was able to spent my time researching instead of going nuts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Richard — Maybe Pitt should hire you to do some research for them – you’re good at it. I could see you putting a good handle on opponents play-calling tendencies, e.g….

        This OC scheduling article should be of interest to the AD and anyone on the football staff…

        Go Pitt.


  5. I would like to thank Mike for making this article a great read. His comments actually (& I mean ACTUALLY) made the article a pleasant read.

    My prose needs a ton of work. I blame it on my high school English teacher. She was a believer in writing like you spoke. To bad that I was the first & only yinzer at Sewickley Academy.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. If the “Game” columns are not intuitive, here’s a little explanation. I broke the P5 conferences into divisions (D) (except for the Big12 (C) which doesn’t have divisions). This gave 9 C/D’s.

    I then took that those individual C/D’s & came up with a winning % against P5 opponents (Column 1) Column 2 is % of those P5 opponents who were 6-6 or better in regular season games.

    Columns 3 & 4 are the same as above but for G5 OOC opponents.

    Column 5 is adjusting for that C/D individual teams playing the same G5 opponent. For example, UTSA played 2 games against one C/D. UTSA won 1 or 2 games in total. This column takes out the effect of using the same bad or good team more than once.


  7. Richard thank you. I now need a beer to really digest this. However, I do think that bowl eligibility is up to around 60% in Division 1, so making a bowl in my mind doesn’t mean as much as it used to, except for a head coach getting canned for not qualifying for one. We will see more 5-7 teams this year qualify then ever before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huff – I used bowl eligibility (6-6) as a cut-off point. I could have used winning (7-5). Some schools are delighted with bowl eligibility. Some are only delighted if they make the CFP. I am delighted by a division championship & three great tailgating opportunities with fellow POV’erts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m in agreement with you Richard as evidently we have the same comprehension problem with the question being………. How is not winning the division title not a step in the right direction? It boggles my mind when people want to add the 7th loss (by Clemson) for PITT that was accrued by winning the division and then poo poo it.


    1. You are correct. Pac12, Big10 & Big12 only play 3 OOC. ACC & SEC play 4.

      My wording in article makes no sense. Besides being a poor writer, I am only slightly better as a proof reader, I see what I meant to say & not what I actually wrote.


  8. P-cocks, good data but as of Aug 24, 2018, I quit racking my brain (although I still do two online crosswords per day).


    1 Clemson (61) 15-0 1,525 2
    2 Alabama 14-1 1,462 1
    3 Ohio State 13-1 1,364 5
    4 Oklahoma 12-2 1,356 4
    5 Notre Dame 12-1 1,286 3
    6 LSU 10-3 1,119 11
    T-7 Georgia 11-3 1,103 6
    T-7 Florida 10-3 1,103 10
    9 Texas 10-4 1,076 14
    10 Washington State 11-2 959 12
    11 UCF 12-1 898 7
    12 Kentucky 10-3 820 16
    13 Washington 10-4 806 9
    14 Michigan 10-3 745 8
    15 Syracuse 10-3 683 17
    16 Texas A&M 9-4 552 21
    17 Penn State 9-4 492 13
    18 Fresno State 12-2 466 19
    19 Army 11-2 418 22
    20 West Virginia 8-4 296 15
    21 Northwestern 9-5 284 NR
    22 Utah State 11-2 188 NR
    23 Boise State 10-3 184 23
    24 Cincinnati 11-2 171 NR
    25 Iowa 9-4 120 NR

    This is the year end top twenty five from last year.
    Pitt played six of them in the last two years.
    A couple of them twice.

    There are P-5 teams and then there are top twenty five teams.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Zactly. Schedule Illinois or a bad sec team each year, not tenna flippin c! We are trying to build a program, not be a cement block for a powerhouse to build theirs. We are the OOC creampuff for the big programs. Stop it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hope you nailed it, Dan.

      The former would be great news; the latter would be good news…

      Go Pitt.


    1. but the middle game, a 10-6 loss, produced the espn highlight of the ‘day’…on one of their stupid top 10 lists
      it was a catch by the nc left fielder on a foul ball; not worthy of #1 if you ask me
      Pitt was in their dark blues…why?


  11. 6 acc teams are ranked in the top 25
    nc was #13

    send the film of all 3 games to narduzzi
    i bet a meatball would pop out of his head


  12. Breaking: Pitt appears to have landed a 2019 running back commit out of Georgia. If this is true then it looks like we have a heck of a power back on our hands. Check out is senior film.

    Paris Brown Jr


    Offered by Kentucky, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Kansas, Iowa State



    1. This RB looks good. Typical running back under these coaches – runs strong and has speed. As a bonus, looks like he can catch passes.

      BUT, no wiggle. (My opinion — he doesn’t need it in HS, so no reason to learn to plant the foot and cut. )

      Looks like a good pickup (though not a Wanny back…)

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think vision and cutback ability are this guy’s strengths. In the zone blocking scheme that will serve him well.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. good offer sheet but why late?
    but even a 4 star back will find it hard to run behind Pitt’s line this year
    I would have been more excited with a linebacker


    1. I can only speculate that he had issues getting eligible. I’m sure the story will be out there in a couple of days. You may be right about the line, but I suspect that Borbley has a few tricks up his sleeve. They won’t be as bad as people think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. makes sense since i thought pitt didnt have any more scholies
        hes a red shirt then
        pitt can use a power back to replace quadree
        pitt is rb u


      1. pass protection was
        it wasnt all Kenny’s fault who passed for 8 yards…a modern football all time low


        1. It was incredible in Chryst’s last class and then Narduzzi’s position coach, Peterson, couldn’t find a capable right tackle who would have been a redshirt junior or senior in 2018. Having a guard play right tackle should not happen in college football, not with 85 scholarships to give.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Late because he was waiting for the right amount in “the bag”?

      Now we have to pay 3* recruits?

      All sarcasm…

      Anyone know why OF Ron Washington Jr. hasn’t played for Pitt baseball in the past two weeks? Injury, grades, other? He was still listed on the roster the last I check and started all 42 games he played in. He was leading the team in hitting before he stopped playing, but the team has been winning without him. Just curious…


    3. TX, what’s the big difference in Pitt’s OL this year from what we expected going into last years OL at this time? Yikes!! Same time last year we were posting about how weak our OL was going into the 2018 season. That resulted in two 1000 plus runners for last season.


      1. pass protection was a known issue last issue
        i doubt this inexperienced line is balanced
        Pitt will be hard pressed to have another two 1000 yard rushers this year
        And Kenny will probably continue to get sacked like that other QB we all loved


        1. I agree Tx, I would bet lots of cash that PITT won’t have two one thousand yard rushers again this year because last year was the first time in school history it ever happened.

          Last years O-Line wasn’t very good at pass blocking but they were way way better than advertised. Pickett’s happy feet and Watson lack of imagination sure didn’t help either.


  14. Looks like Mr Paris Brown is the answer to the Pat Signal last week? The one big item of note is the big time competition he played against. Yeah high school but ACC worthy imo and from Georgia. You know, the state PITT has recently decided to recruit a lot harder. Love his highlights which should be obvious, who has low-lights in their highlights?

    The other great news here is that it’s Archie Collins who reeled this young man in. Plus, plus, PITT beat out Kentucky for his commitment. They seem like one of the teams PITT has been competing for recruits recently. So in other words, PITT is still working hard trying their best to help the roster moving forward. No surprise here but I’m happy with this late addition. (I agree MM, it may have been an eligibility issue)


    1. TBD … some in the know still think the signal is for the Florida grad transfer linebacker. Why the delay though?


  15. Chris Peak at pantherlair believes Paris Brown is coming to Pitt as a walk on. Good news IMO as Pitt gets a look see before having to award a scholarship. If that’s the case this may end up being Archie Collins best recruiting effort to date.


  16. One other point on the Brown recruit Peak doesn’t think the Friday week ago Pat Signal tweet is connected to the Brown(walk on? commit) and I agree. It does appear that the Brown announcement was not finalized until yesterday a full 8 days after Narduzzi’s Pat Signal tweet.


  17. Reed, why don’t you do a Sunday morning podcast to explain your evening with Narduzzi and company? Just a suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Agree with MajorMajors comment above about NO jump step. Kid looks ok, decent speed and vision but I see little in him making something out of nothing kind of running.

    Best I see is he was tough to bring to the ground due to balance and determination more so than size or power. I do like the look a bit better than 4 star Salhuddin who I hope I am wrong on but did not impress me in his HUDL a couple years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The jump step or cutback ability. Sound a little familiar? Hall who ran for over a thousand yards last year despite being the #2 back with limited carries.


    1. They are different, both take vision but the jump step gets the back to a hole in tight quarters. This kid has a kind of smooth change of direction cutback rather than the sudden start/stop quickness that I think is innate to the best backs. Maybe he can develop it some as I do think both QO and DH did between their junior and senior years.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Don’t know if this kid will be any good or not but when Huff found out that a player with the first name Paris was coming to PITT he probably bump his head on the ceiling jumping for joy thinking it was Paris Johnson. 🙂


  21. No use in over analyzing the Brown commit if he is coming as a preferred walk on. Let’s just hope he turns into a Morrissey or Aston contributor for Pitt down the road.


  22. Ike, that was a funny one. What is interesting is if Paris Brown joins Paris Ford and then Paris Johnson, we would have a real Ffffrench connection. Also, my vertical jump is about three inches now. Had a great one back in the day however.

    I do not think that we beat out a comittable offer from Kentucky or South Caro syrup University, especially if he is a walk-on. I will say that i do like bringing in a kid from Powder Springs, GA. We have to break in to georgia and this is a great strategy to do so. McEachern is a solid producer and I hope sir Brown has a lot of influence over the up and comers. We need to look at the bigger picture on this….hopefully!

    For all those fathers, uncles and grandfathers who often take on the role of mom, aunt and grandmother, Happy mothers day! I am looking at a lot of you folks out there, but staring at Upitt because he has played both roles glowingly for quite awhile now! We have that in common as well as looking at our athletic program critically, but fairly….i think.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all that read here daily as well and to Annie!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. According to a post on pantherlair Brown would be the 13th highest rated player(based on composite ratings) in this years class. Now if that’s true that may speak more to how poorly Pitt’s last years class was rated than to Brown’s potential.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Could be jrn but the bigger question is………. why is a 3* running back not offered a scholarship and comes to PITT as a preferred walk-on? Brown did very well against top notch competition. Seems like a win win.


  25. Here’s a list by someone I don’t know, a newspaper in South Carolina I think? I don’t put a lot of stock into it but it ranks “King Pat” fairly high. The link at the end

    The list: Ranking ACC and SEC coaches

    Dabo Swinney, Clemson
    Nick Saban, Alabama
    Dan Mullen, Florida
    Kirby Smart, Georgia
    Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M
    Gus Malzahn, Auburn
    Dave Clawson, Wake Forest
    Dave Doeren, N.C. State
    Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh
    David Cutcliffe, Duke
    Mark Stoops, Kentucky
    Dino Babers, Syracuse
    Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia
    Will Muschamp, South Carolina
    Barry Odom, Missouri
    Ed Orgeron, LSU
    Steve Addazio, Boston College
    Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
    Scott Satterfield, Louisville
    Manny Diaz, Miami
    Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
    Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
    Mack Brown, North Carolina
    Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
    Chad Morris, Arkansas
    Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech
    Matt Luke, Ole Miss
    Willie Taggart, Florida State



    1. Two HC’s ranked above Duzz actually lost their only game played vs the King Pat lead Pitt team. Dabo should be ranked ahead, not doubt. Clawson, really?

      Also, just read where the Pitt men’s track & field team took 4th place in the ACC Outdoor Championships this weekend (without an on campus track nor field)



      1. javelin, hurdles and longer distances gave Pitt the points

        Ladies finished 14 out of 15 though


        1. The longer distance was because the athletes practiced running from campus to steeler stadium. Also the other high finishers jumped all the hurdles on the way. They were rewarded with grape fantas at the stadium if the matches were scheduled correctly.


          1. The SO high jumper finished 2nd with a personal best jump of 7’-2.5”

            One of the FB players took 4th in the long jump @ 23’-8.25”


  26. Ike are you sure that list wasn’t written up by our friend TX? I know how highly he regards Narduzzi from his past posts.


  27. the author has the top and bottom right
    the other 26 you can throw a dart

    narduzzi would get points for winning the coastal, winning record in acc and getting to bowls, not cheating, getting some players to the pros

    he would get dinged for only being 4 games above .500 (28-24 record), zero bowl wins, zero team rankings,
    below average recruiting

    why is mack brown on this list. the old goat hasnt coached a game yet

    Liked by 1 person

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