Cyclones make bowl with 11th-toughest schedule; only eight of Top 15 schools with hardest slates did same


Phil Steele is a college football analyst, whose reputation for number crunching is legendary. He rates everything.

This week, Steele ranked every Division 1A school’s football schedules by difficulty. Iowa State came in 11th-hardest. The 25 toughest schedules included eight from the Big 12 and SEC and seven from the Pac-12.

Of the schools with Top 15 toughest schedules, only eight (barely half) made bowl games. Besides the Cyclones, Baylor, Florida, Stanford, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Arizona received bowl invitations.

Of the schools with Top 15 easiest schedules, 11 (nearly three-quarters) got bowl bids. Those schools included La.-Monroe, Boise State, Kent State, Utah State, Rice, Central Michigan, Nevada, Air Force, Bowling Green, Ohio and Northern Illinois (the Huskies earned an Orange Bowl bid with the nation’s easiest schedule).

The seven schools with Top 15 most-difficult schedules that didn’t make a bowl game – Kansas, Missouri, Cal, Kentucky, Auburn, Arkansas and Colorado – combined for a record of 19-65. Interestingly, Kansas and Missouri were the only schools on that list which didn’t make a coaching change this off-season.

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