6 Toughest College Football Schedules According to Preseason Top-25 Rankings Ahead of 2019 Seasonso

Texas A&M v Auburn
Texas A&M v Auburn

Even though we're still roughly three weeks away from the first preseason AP Top-25 college football poll, some programs don't have to wait until late August to understand the scheduling challenges that await them in 2019.

However, using NCAA.com's 2019 preseason Top-25 rankings as a quantifiable reference, here's a look at which six programs arguably have the hardest college football schedules of the upcoming season.

6. Wisconsin Badgers

MADISON, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 03:   Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball in the third quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Camp Randall Stadium on November 03, 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Preseason Top-25 Opponents: 6
Preseason Top-25 Road Opponents: 2
Average Top-25 Opponent Rank: 15.5
Top-3 Opponents' Average Rank: 9

Wisconsin makes the list at No. 6, but the Badgers were in close contention with Northwestern and Iowa for this sixth spot. The Badgers got the nod with six 2019 preseason top-25 opponents on the schedule (tied for the most among Big Ten teams), and also due to the strength of their top competition. Wisconsin has to face two top-10 teams in No. 3 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan and the Badgers will have to hit the road for that battle against the Buckeyes.

5. LSU Tigers

Preseason Top-25 Opponents: 5
Preseason Top-25 Road Opponents: 2
Average Top-25 Opponent Rank: 9.4
Top-3 Opponents' Average Rank: 6.33

On top of facing some of the toughest opponents the SEC has to offer, including a road bout with No. 2 Alabama and a home game against No. 8 Florida, the LSU Tigers also have to head down to Austin for one of most anticipated non-conference battles of the 2019 season in a Week 2 matchup against No. 9 Texas.

4. Michigan Wolverines

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 29:  Shea Patterson #2 and head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate the first quarter touchdown against the Florida Gators during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Preseason Top-25 Opponents: 6
Preseason Top-25 Road Opponents: 2
Average Top-25 Opponent Rank: 11.71
Top-3 Opponents' Average Rank: 8.67

While Michigan's average top-25 opponent ranking is noticeably lacking compared to every other program on this list, don't let that deceive you. The Wolverines are tied for the highest number of top-25 opponents that a Big Ten team has on its schedule, including what should be a much tougher matchup than most are expecting against Army in Week 2.

3. South Carolina Gamecocks

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Will Muschamp of the South Carolina Gamecocks  directs his team against the Virginia Cavaliers during the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Virginia won 28-0. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Preseason Top-25 Opponents: 6
Preseason Top-25 Road Opponents: 3
Average Top-25 Opponent Rank: 8.17
Top-3 Opponents' Average Rank: 4.33

South Carolina has matchups against three of the top four teams in the nation, headlined by its brutal in-state rivalry game against No. 1 Clemson to end the season. The Gamecocks are tied with Texas A&M for the highest-average-ranked top-3 opponents (4.33), however, play a slightly lighter top-25 field overall (8.17 average top-25 opponent rank). South Carolina also plays North Carolina to open the year, with infamous Power-5 giant killer Appalachian State visiting Columbia in early November.

2. Auburn Tigers

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Preseason Top-25 Opponents: 6
Preseason Top-25 Road Opponents: 3
Average Top-25 Opponent Rank: 7.33
Top-3 Opponents' Average Rank: 4.33

It's a tough season to reportedly find yourself on the hot seat in Auburn if you're Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn is scheduled to face an SEC-leading six top-25 opponents in 2019, starting with a non-conference Week 1 opener against No. 12 Oregon in Dallas, Tex. The Tigers are currently staring at three top-15 opponents on the road (No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Florida and No. 11 Texas A&M) as well as a three-week stretch to close out the season against two top-5 opponents (No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Georgia).

1. Texas A&M Aggies

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 10: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies participates in the Aggie War Hymn after defeating the Mississippi Rebels at Kyle Field on November 10, 2018 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Preseason Top-25 Opponents: 5
Preseason Top-25 Road Opponents: 3
Average Top-25 Opponent Rank: 6.2
Top-3 Opponents' Average Rank: 2.33

The Aggies have to play both No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama in 2019, but Texas A&M takes the cake on this list, largely thanks to one key differentiator – the Aggies have to face the top-ranked Tigers on the road. Texas A&M also has sole ownership of the highest average top-25 opponent rank on this list and, perhaps, the toughest end to the 2019 season in the country with back-to-back road games against No. 4 Georgia and No. 7 LSU, respectively.

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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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