Posted: 3/23/2013 5:32:16 AM
Combined opponent record from 2012: 99-54 (64.7 percent)
Number of bowl teams from 2012: 9
Number of final AP Top 10 teams from 2012: 4
Number of final AP Top 25 teams from 2012: 5
Bret Bielema takes over the reins in Fayetteville and is yet another new head coach in the SEC who faces a difficult task in 2013. Excluding Southern Miss, which went 0-12 a year ago, the Hogs' opponents were a combined 99-42 (70.2 percent) in 2012 and nine of their 12 opponents made it to a bowl. The Razorbacks open the season with eight straight games without a bye and their four-game gauntlet in late September through October is arguably the toughest stretch of any team in the country this year. Each of the four teams finished in last year's final AP Top 10 and it starts with a home game against Texas A&M (finished No. 5), followed by a road trip to Florida (No. 9), a home game against South Carolina (No. 8) and wraps up with a road trip against the defending champs in Tuscaloosa. Finally, their non-conference slate includes a tricky opener against a Louisiana-Lafayette team that is off back-to-back nine-win seasons and figures to be the Sun Belt favorite this year, along with a road test against a Rutgers team that upset the Hogs in Fayetteville last year and won nine games.
Combined opponent record from 2012: 96-57 (62.8 percent)
Number of bowl teams from 2012: 10
Number of final AP Top 10 teams from 2012: 0
Number of final AP Top 25 teams from 2012: 3
The Charlie Weis tenure got off to a rocky start with a 1-11 campaign in 2012 and his job won't get any easier in 2013, as the Jayhawks play one of the toughest schedules in the Big 12. While their schedule is not as top-heavy as some of the SEC teams, with zero top-10 teams and just three top-25 teams from a year ago, the depth of their schedule is what puts them near the top. The Jayhawks play a total of 10 teams that made it to a bowl last year, and that does not even include a Louisiana Tech team that won nine games and would have been a bowl team had they not rejected an early offer to the Independence Bowl. When you exclude their FCS opponent in South Dakota, which went just 1-10 a year ago, the Jayhawks' 2013 opponents combined for a 95-47 record (66.9 percent) in 2012 and 10 of those teams finished with seven or more wins.
Combined opponent record from 2012: 96-56 (63.2 percent)
Number of bowl teams from 2012: 6
Number of final AP Top 10 teams from 2012: 2
Number of final AP Top 25 teams from 2012: 4
Darrell Hazell is yet another new head coach who makes this list as the Boilermakers pull arguably the toughest schedule in the Big Ten for the upcoming season. The Boilers play a total of four top-25 teams from last year, including two that finished in last year's top 5. While they only play six bowl teams from a year ago, keep in mind Ohio State and Penn State both would have made bowls under normal circumstances. In conference play, Purdue pulls Nebraska and Michigan State from the Legends division, which both could be preseason top-25 teams. Their nonconference slate is brutal as well, as they play at Cincinnati (off back-to-back 10-win seasons), host Notre Dame and also play Northern Illinois, which finished in the AP Top 25 after its Orange Bowl appearance and have quarterback Jordan Lynch back.