Predicting college football's easiest, hardest schedule in 2024

These college football teams have the easiest and hardest schedules in the 2024 season.
What college football team has the hardest schedule this season? And which school has the easiest?
What college football team has the hardest schedule this season? And which school has the easiest? / Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun / USA

It's Talkin' Season around college football looking ahead to a historic 2024 campaign that will include a major round of conference realignment and an expansion of the playoff from four to 12 teams.

Would-be contenders are on notice to make a good first impression this coming season to prove they belong among the class of the sport, especially in the SEC, and playing a good schedule is key.

Related: College Football Strength of Schedule Rankings in 2024

Quality of opponents is an important metric that the College Football Playoff selection committee take into account when creating their rankings for the 12 teams that will play for the title.

But not all schedules are created equal. With the help of ESPN's 134-team preseason college football rankings, let's look at what teams have the hardest and easiest slates this season.

College Football's Easiest Schedule in 2024

That honor belongs to Liberty, which came in dead-last at No. 134 on the Football Power Index strength of schedule rankings.

Playing in Conference USA has something to do with that. A year ago, the Flames weren't really challenged, going 8-0 in league games and winning seven of them by at least 13 points, against a schedule that was also ranked as the weakest in college football.

Related: Ranking 10 first-time College Football Playoff teams in 2024

This time around, they return quarterback Kaidon Salter and the core of a dynamic rushing offense that was able to rip through the conference and is favored to do so again.

Salter posted 2,876 yards passing and threw 31 touchdowns while rushing for 1,064 yards and adding another 12 scores.

Flames tailback Quinton Cooley ran for 1,401 yards and another 16 touchdowns.

Liberty was No. 4 nationally in total offense with a shade under 500 yards per game and was No. 1 in rushing, with an average of 293.3 yards on the ground every week.

While the Flames suffered notable defensive issues, including against the run and in the red zone, they are still favored as the Group of Five's most likely College Football Playoff team in 2024.

Liberty's opponents went a combined 63-84 a year ago, with a 42.9 win percentage, ranking 129th out of 134 teams at the FBS level.

Liberty's schedule: Campbell, at New Mexico State, UTEP, East Carolina, at Appalachian State, FIU, at Kennesaw State, Jacksonville State, at MTSU, at UMass, Western Kentucky, at Sam Houston

College Football's Hardest Schedule in 2024

Good luck, Florida.

Already under enormous pressure after just two seasons, UF head coach Billy Napier finds himself facing what is being called college football's most daunting schedule.

Napier is just 11-14 with the Gators, who haven't had three straight losing seasons since the 1940s, but the team he returns is a mixed bag of experience and key departures.

Graham Mertz is back under center after leading the SEC in completion while scoring 20 touchdowns and throwing just three interceptions a year ago.

Eugene Wilson projects as Florida's top receiver and Montrell Johnson as the primary rushing threat, but the unit lost wideout Ricky Pearsall to the NFL, back Trevor Etienne to rival Georgia, and the line regressed last season in pass protection and struggled to create running lanes.

Incoming transfers should aid a defensive rotation that had a subpar ending to last season, an effort that resulted in the firing of Florida's defensive line and secondary coaches.

While the jury's still out on non-conference opponents like Miami, which brings on key transfer contributors, and Florida State, which lost a ton of last year's production, the back-end of the Gators' schedule is one of the most difficult in the country, at least on paper.

Going by the simple method of adding up wins and losses, Florida faces a slate of opponents that went 106-50 last season, winning 67.9 percent of their games, both ranking No. 1 nationally.

Florida's schedule: Miami, Samford, Texas A&M, at Mississippi State, UCF, at Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, at Texas, LSU, Ole Miss, at Florida State


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James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.