At this time last year, ESPN’s FPI formula somehow decided that B1G teams were loaded with cupcakes. That proved not to be the case.
This year, however, there seems to be a different tone about some of the schedules in the B1G.
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli came up with a formula to figure out which teams have the toughest schedules in college football in 2017. Believe it or not, it was B1G-heavy.
As Fornelli explained, a big part of that was the fact that B1G teams have nine conference games and none of them play against FCS opponents. Compare that to the ACC and SEC, which only have eight conference games.
Fornelli included three B1G teams on his list of the five toughest schedules in the country. Actually, the B1G had three of his four toughest schedules:
5. Oklahoma State
1. Michigan State
It’s understandable how each one of those teams made the cut. Illinois travels to face likely preseason top-25 squad USF, and five of its nine conference games are against B1G teams that won at least nine games in 2016.
Purdue has the toughest non-conference schedule among B1G teams. A neutral-site tilt against Louisville to open the season, as well as a road game at Missouri won’t be an easy start for Jeff Brohm.
Michigan State, on the other hand, has some major unknowns in non-conference play. Home games against Western Michigan and Notre Dame are big question marks after both had outlier seasons. But the Spartans face Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, they have five conference road games and all three of their crossover matchups are against teams that won between 7-9 games.
Oddly enough, the three B1G teams Fornelli listed all missed the postseason last year. Getting over that hump certainly won’t be easy with their loaded schedules.