We've pulled our trusty magnifying glass back out to examine nonconference schedules in college football, this time eyeing the easiest ones for Power 5 teams in 2019. Just as everyone agreed with our ranking of the toughest nonconference schedules, surely there won't be any debate over those nonconference slates we deem to be the easiest for the upcoming season!
It's a list dominated by Big Ten and SEC teams. In fact, those two conferences are responsible for nine of the 10 easiest nonconference slates for Power 5 teams in 2019. Absent from this list are any ACC or Pac-12 teams.
Challenging nonconference schedules (probably more precisely, challenging schedules) are supposed to matter in this era of the College Football Playoff. But Alabama was on this list a year ago and went to the College Football Playoff. And in 2016, Washington made it to the CFP despite a nonconference schedule that featured Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State, all at home.
The Bears are accustomed to swimming in these gentle out-of-conference waters. Their 2019 nonconference slate looks even easier than their 2018 one, which featured a home game against Abilene Christian, an away game against UTSA and a home game against Duke -- which did beat the Bears 40-27. If they aren't 3-0 this season going into the Big 12 opener against Iowa State at home on Sept. 28, there's going to be some explaining to do.