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The 25 hardest schedules for the 2023 College Football season according to ESPN

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater05/21/23


Every team takes a long, winding road during the span of a schedule in the college football season. Even so, some paths are more treacherous than others en route to potentially making the College Football Playoff or winning a national title.

ESPN believes so as they have released their rankings of the sport’s most difficult schedules for this fall based on REM SOS. When it comes to strength of schedule, Ole Miss takes the cake with the most difficult stretch next season to lead the Top-25.

  1. Ole Miss Rebels
  2. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  3. Florida Gators
  4. Maryland Terrapins
  5. Auburn Tigers
  6. Arkansas Razorbacks
  7. Michigan State Spartans
  8. Tennessee Volunteers
  9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  10. Indiana Hoosiers
  11. South Carolina Gamecocks
  12. Texas Longhorns
  13. Kentucky Wildcats
  14. Penn State Nittany Lions
  15. LSU Tigers
  16. Texas A&M Aggies
  17. Purdue Boilermakers
  18. Alabama Crimson Tide
  19. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  20. Missouri Tigers
  21. Michigan Wolverines
  22. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  23. Ohio State Buckeyes
  24. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  25. Wisconsin Badgers

The Rebels have two decent non-conference matchups with Mercer to open their schedule and then UL Monroe in the second to last week. However, after that, nothing else in between is a cakewalk. It starts with a game at Tulane, who went 12-2 last season, and a matchup at home Georgia Tech. From there, they’ll get their usual SEC West slate while also hosting Vanderbilt and having to go to Athens to play Georgia.

Florida and Auburn join Ole Miss as conference foes who also made it in the top-five. Minnesota and Maryland round out that group at the second and fourth spots respectively.

As you’ll notice, conference dominance continued for the SEC and Big Ten in these schedule ratings. Only three teams outside of those leagues made the cut in Texas, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech. Overall, the list features 11 teams from the Southeastern Conference including all seven members of the west division. It also includes 10 teams from the Big Ten with all seven members of their east division represented.

By the time the season arrives, nobody’s road is ‘easy’ by any stretch of the imagination. Still, based on these ratings, these two dozen squads are going to have their work cut out for them when it comes to their 2023 schedules.