SCHEDULE STRENGTH: U-DUB, FSU ... GAMECOCKS?
Well, another list of toughest schedules has come out (following SI's), with ESPN's Mark Schlabach counting the Gamecocks' slate as the third hardest in the country.
First up is the Washington kamikaze schedule, a group of teams and dates that would be insulted by being called brutal:
including these five games to open the season: at Syracuse, home contests against Boise State and Ohio State, at UCLA and at home against Southern California. The Pac-10 conference slate also includes home games against Oregon on Oct. 20 and California on Nov. 17, as well as road games at Arizona State on Oct. 13 and Oregon State on Nov. 10. At least the Huskies will have some sort of a bowl game, even if they finish below .500 -- Washington finishes the season at Hawaii on Dec. 1.
Meanwhile, if Pappy Bowden isn't yet senile, he could get knocked around by this schedule enough to get there -- particularly if FSU isn't any better this year.
FSU opens the season with a nationally televised game at Clemson on Labor Day ... the first of four challenging ACC road games; FSU also plays at Wake Forest, Boston College and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles play only five home games -- an Oct. 20 date against Miami headlines the Doak Campbell Stadium schedule -- along with a neutral-site game against Alabama in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sept. 29.
Wait a minute -- where's Jeff? I did what?
Then comes us.
The Gamecocks play four of the most talented SEC teams on the road: at Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas. They also play home games against defending national champion Florida and archrival Clemson to finish the season.
At least we have South Carolina State.