Breaking down ACC schedules: Who has the toughest stretch, month, year?

Now that we have had time to sift through and digest the ACC schedules, we break it all down. Who has the toughest stretch? The toughest month? The toughest overall slate?

All your burning questions answered right here:

Toughest September: Florida State, Pitt. Let's cheat and extend this out to Oct. 1, because both teams play high-quality FBS opponents in the first five games. Florida State gets Ole Miss (10-3), goes to Louisville (8-5), at vastly improved USF (8-5) and then opens October against defending Coastal Division champion North Carolina (11-3). The next game at Miami (8-5) is not cake, either, giving the Seminoles one of the most front-loaded schedules in the ACC. Pitt, meanwhile, plays Penn State (7-6), at Oklahoma State (10-3), at North Carolina (11-3) and then opens October against Marshall (10-3).

Toughest October: Miami. Nobody said Mark Richt was going to have it easy in Coral Gables. He gets a warm welcome from the ACC with this October schedule:

  • Oct. 1 at Georgia Tech

  • Oct. 8 Florida State

  • Oct. 15 North Carolina

  • Oct. 20 at Virginia Tech (five days' rest!)

  • Oct. 29 at Notre Dame

So that's three games against 10-win teams in 2015 and five days rest against its biggest rival in the Coastal at Lane Stadium. Georgia Tech should be better, but at least Miami gets a bye to prepare for the Jackets. Good luck!

Toughest November: Duke. We send good luck wishes to the Blue Devils, too. November is not looking very pretty.

  • Nov. 5: Virginia Tech

  • Nov. 10 North Carolina (five days' rest!)

  • Nov. 19 at Pitt

  • Nov. 26 at Miami

All teams made bowl games a year ago; the Tar Heels have blown Duke out the last two seasons; and Miami is going to be looking for big-time revenge after their heavily-disputed game from a year ago.

Most front-loaded ACC schedule: Louisville. We already discussed the first six games of the season for the Seminoles. Louisville has to play Florida State on Sept. 17, then at Clemson two weeks later. No other Atlantic team has to play both within the first five weeks of the season. The Cards will in all likelihood know their Atlantic destiny before midnight hits on Oct. 1.

Toughest three-game-stretch: NC State. For the second time in three seasons, NC State has a doozy of a conference schedule. In 2014, the Wolfpack had to play Florida State, Clemson and Louisville over a four-week span -- all before the bye week. In 2016, the same scenario plays out after the bye. Oh, and add Notre Dame into the mix! So the toughest three-game stretch goes: Notre Dame-at Clemson-at Louisville between Oct. 8-22. After a game against BC, the Wolfpack get Florida State to open November. Wake Forest, Boston College and Syracuse don't have it as hard in the Atlantic.

Toughest overall schedule, by win percentage: Georgia Tech and Pitt. Both teams play FBS opponents that went a combined 86-57 in 2015 for a win percentage of .601. Florida State is next by a smidge. Its FBS opponents went 86-58 (.597).

Easiest overall schedule, by win percentage: Clemson. That's right. The Tigers' schedule is weighed down because its SEC opponents weren't great in 2015 (a combined 10 wins) and neither was Georgia Tech (3-9). Trading Appalachian State (11-2) for Troy (4-8) also brings down the overall SOS. Six teams with losing records in 2015 are on the schedule. It all adds up to a 60-77 combined record from FBS opponents (.438). Only one other ACC team plays FBS opponents that combined to go under .500 last year. Wake Forest (.493).

Most bowl opponents: Virginia and Syracuse. Each plays nine.

Honorary NC State nonconference scheduling award: NC State has gotten plenty of guffaws over its nonconference scheduling in recent years. But at least the Wolfpack get East Carolina and Notre Dame in 2016. Boston College? Let's check out this tantalizing slate of games: at UMass (3-9), FCS Wagner, Buffalo (5-7) and UConn (6-7). The Eagles are the only ACC team without a Power 5 nonconference opponent on the schedule.