Ahh schedules - the drop of water in the off-season desert. Way back in July when Kentucky released its non-conference the predominant opinion seemed to be: "Holy crap those home games are weak!" Ken and Glenn each wrote about their own reactions and we all chimed in with our own thoughts about what the schedule looked like at the time.
That was 5 months ago. No one had any real idea of how good these teams might be once the season kicked off, but as we approach the start of the regular season we have more information about how these squads are perceived in the form of national and conference rankings released by coaches, media, and a couple of computers. With that in mind, I thought it might prove to be informative to look at the schedule in terms of how these teams are expected to perform both nationally and within their respective conferences. Is it possible there are some diamonds in the rough that make the home schedule look better than it did in July? Read on to find out!
First up, here are the national rankings as measured by the AP and Coaches Polls, Dan Hanner, and Ken Pomeroy. Obviously the AP and Coaches only rank the Top 25 teams so not every team gets something there. That makes Dan and Ken's respective rankings useful since they do every team.
|Opponent||Conference||Location||AP Poll||Coaches Poll||KenPom||Hanner|
|Notre Dame||Big East||Road||22||23||17||22|
- There are 4 teams ranked by the Coaches and Media which is not a surprise. The rankings are probably roughly what we would have expected back in July.
- The media and coaches are largely in agreement with the computers on these teams with the only serious disagreement being Louisville. Obviously Ken and Dan are a little more suspicious about the Cardinal's ability to score points than the coaches and media are.
- Beyond the 4 ranked teams Marshall, Long Island and Portland stand out as having good-to-decent ratings by the computers. That's not a surprise for Marshall and LI who are coming off of successful seasons, but maybe Portland will be better than we thought back in July?
- Ken and Dan are basically in agreement for all the teams except Eastern Michigan where there is a 43 place difference. I just think that's interesting.
Next, here are where each team is predicted to finish within their conference. Some conferences have both a coaches poll and media poll, others have one but not the other. Conference USA doesn't have a preseason poll of any kind which prompted Ken Pomeroy to organize his own. I've listed the results for all the ones I could find. I also extrapolated conference rankings from Dan and Ken's rankings. Also, some conferences rank teams overall and others split into divisions. Rankings listed are overall except where specifically notated.
|Morehead St||OVC||Home||4 (Div)||5||5|
|Notre Dame||Big East||Road||3||3||3||5|
|Samford||SoCon||Home||4 (Div)||6 (Div)||11||11|
|Eastern Michigan||MAC||Home||6 (Div)||10||10|
- Duke, Louisville, Baylor, Marshall, and Long Island are teams that at least one group likes to contend for their conference title (ranked 1 or 2). None of those teams are surprising.
- A couple of teams are high-to-middle of the pack: Notre Dame, Maryland, Morehead St, Lafayette. Everyone else is closer to the bottom of the league than they are the top.
Sadly, I have no hope to offer you season ticket holders. The first impressions of this schedule have proven to be correct: it is pretty strong on the road/neutral site games and pretty weak at home. Marshall and Long Island might prove to be better games than the school names might suggest, but we knew that back in July. The only team that might prove to be moderately more interesting to watch than we initially thought is Portland, but it's a bit of a stretch.