SHINY GOLD STARSIn our last installment, we brought you the lamest of the lame - the eight most scorn-worthy 2007 OOC slates in one blog's opinion. Now it's time to celebrate those programs that have made gutsy choices to fill out their twelve-game slates. Again, these are not necessarily the highest ranked schedules according to Sagarin - we find it hard to congratulate programs for "lucking" into the fact that Navy or Rutgers is suddenly good. Similarly, it's difficult to penalize schools who scheduled teams like Colorado before they became train wrecks (such as Georgia, by the by).
#8. Georgia (Oklahoma State, Western Carolina, Troy, @ Georgia Tech)
OK, we're having a little fun here but we're also trying to make a point. Georgia got stood up by Oregon State and had an opening on 9/1 - the first week of the season. They could have put any number of directional schools on the calendar as a tuneup, but instead decided to get a BCS conference opponent - and a bowl team, no less. That deserves some respect. And yes, Kyle, we'd love a home-and-home with the Dawgs, if for no other reason than we've never been to Athens (and chances are, you've never been to Berkeley). All we know of Athens we've learned from two sources: watching Georgia football on TV, and grainy footage of REM and Pylon at the 40-Watt Club.
#7. Stanford (@ TCU, SJSU, @ Notre Dame)
Two very tough road games are almost certain losses for the woeful Cardinal. San Jose State is an historical game which is now much more difficult to win since Dick Tomey breathed life into that program.
#6. Miami (Marshall, @ Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Florida International)
It pains us to rank a team that schedules the uber-chippie FIU, but a roadie to Norman is thankless, and A&M makes it two big boys on the OOC schedule. Marshall stinks right now, but it wasn't long ago that they were a trendy mid-major.
#5. Nebraska (Nevada, @ Wake Forest, USC, Ball State)
In fairness, the Wake and Nevada games probably didn't seem too tough when they came on the schedule (we confess to not knowing when the games were inked). But this slate looks pretty tough, with the exception of the Fighting Cardinals of Ball U. Nevada should give the Huskers a game in Lincoln, and USC promises to be monstrous again.
#4. Colorado (Colorado State @ Denver, @ ASU, Florida State, Miami OH)
The Buffs are one team that has nutted up consistently in recent years, making the roadie to Athens last season, tripping to Miami in 2005, and playing USC, UCLA and Washington State from 2002-2003. Shame the team is such a basket case right now.
#3. UCLA (BYU, @ Utah, Notre Dame)
As loyal reader Pete Morris points out, one of the reasons that Pac-10 OOC scheduling looks so good is that the Mountain West - our go-to conference for games - is filled with dangerous teams. Cal can attest that a trip to SLC to take on the Utes is no fun. Notre Dame visits Pasadena for the first time since the Four Horsemen pasted Stanford 27-10 in the 1925 Rose Bowl.
#2. Washington (@ Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State)
Former coach Rick Neuheisel said he wanted U-Dub to be known as the Florida State of the west coast. We're guessing he's at least partly responsible for this murderers' row schedule, of which the Huskies will be lucky to win one game.
#1. Florida State (@ Colorado, Alabama @ Jacksonville, UAB, @ Florida)
Big-boy scheduling, made even more impressive once you consider the rapid decline of the Buffaloes program. Only one game at Doak Campbell. It take cojones to go put Alabama on the schedule when you're already dealing with a roadie to Gainesville. Good show, old man.