Breaking down the 2016 college football schedule
Thanks to yesterday's ACC schedule release, we know the full schedules for Florida State, Miami and Florida (which was previously announced by the SEC). Although USF and UCF haven't unveiled their schedules, let's start planning next fall, shall we?
Best date: Oct. 29. The Gators play Georgia in Jacksonville in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. But that game might be upstaged by FSU hosting Clemson in what could be a top-five matchup with playoff implications. Oh, and Miami travels to Notre Dame in a game between programs with a combined 16 consensus national championships. Not bad, I guess.
Second best date: Oct. 8. UF hosts Leonard Fournette and LSU. If that game is anything like the one last year, it should be a lot of fun. Also, UM hosts FSU. If that game is anything like the one last year (or the year before), it should be a lot of fun.
Worst date: Oct. 22. The Seminoles are off. So are the Gators. The Hurricanes are off that day, too; they play at Virginia Tech two days earlier on Thursday night. So if you're planning a wedding/out-of-town trip/family reunion, this is your football-less window. Use it wisely.
Best opening game: Forget the first Saturday and skip to Labor Day, when FSU plays Ole Miss in the Citrus Bowl. Even though the Rebels lose some top-notch talent, they will still likely be ranked in the top 15 leading up to this Orlando showdown.
Worst non-conference game: Take your pick between FSU-Charleston Southern, Miami-Florida A&M and the Gators' trio of UMass, North Texas and Presbyterian. On the plus side, the ‘Canes play an Appalachian State with a history of beating power programs named UM, and FSU comes to Tampa to play USF.
Don't overlook these games: FSU at Louisville (Sept. 17) is a tough ACC opener, and North Carolina (Oct. 1) returns seven starters on both sides of the ball. UF's first real test should be Sept. 24 at a Tennessee that has recruited well and could finally produce a long-awaited breakout season. The Gators' Nov. 5 game at Arkansas isn't bad, either. UM will likely be undefeated heading into an Oct. 1 game at Georgia Tech, where strange things have been known to happen.