From Baylor to Iowa, these are the 10 easiest nonconference slates in 2016

One of the favorite pastimes of college football fans is accusing everybody else of having a cushy schedule.

Every season, it's the same drill. By the time we get to November, nobody has played anybody, and everybody is overrated because of a supposedly soft schedule.

But the reality is, some teams hardly break a sweat during the nonconference portion of their schedules.

Who are those teams in 2016? Keeping in mind that it's barely February, we take our shot at ranking the 10 easiest nonconference schedules among Power 5 teams for next season.

1. Baylor Bears

Sept. 3: Northwestern State
Sept. 10: SMU
Sept. 17: at Rice

The Bears are looking to upgrade their nonconference schedule in future years, something that needs to happen if they want to gain favor with the College Football Playoff selection committee. But the 2016 slate is once again woefully weak. Baylor is likely to open the season ranked in the top 10 nationally, maybe in the top five, but the Bears won't have any margin for error in the Big 12 -- not with a trip to Rice being the most difficult "test" Baylor will face in the nonconference part of its schedule. The Bears might make a run at 200 points in those first three games.

2. Boston College Eagles

Sept. 10: at UMass
Sept. 24: Wagner
Oct 1: Buffalo
Nov. 19: UConn

Boston College's defense last season was no joke. The Eagles ranked first nationally in total defense and fourth in scoring defense and allowed more than 20 points only three times all season. They also won just three games all season but have a nonconference schedule in 2016 tailor-made to have four built-in wins. Three of the games are at home, and the away game out of conference next season is against UMass at Gillette Stadium. Considering BC had to play Notre Dame last season at home, that's not a bad trade-off.

3. Maryland Terrapins

Sept. 3: Howard
Sept. 10: at Florida International
Sept. 24: at UCF

DJ Durkin takes over a Maryland program that won just three games a year ago and only once in Big Ten play, a season-ending triumph over Rutgers. He has some major rebuilding to do in College Park, but should have an easy enough breezeway into conference play next season. The Terps do have to go on the road twice in September, but none of their three nonconference games is against Power 5 foes, and Howard, Florida International and UCF combined for 29 losses last season.

4. Washington Huskies

Sept. 3: Rutgers
Sept. 10: Idaho
Sept. 17: Portland State

With a strong nucleus returning, including talented sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, Chris Petersen has his best chance yet to elevate the Huskies to a top-25 team next season in his third season at Washington. The Huskies don't leave home to play their first three games, and the most challenging of the bunch may be against FCS opponent Portland State. That's never a ringing endorsement for the quality of your nonconference schedule.

5. Indiana Hoosiers

Sept. 1: at Florida International
Sept. 10: Ball State
Sept. 24: Wake Forest

Kevin Wilson led the Hoosiers to their first bowl appearance in eight years last season, a 44-41 overtime loss to Duke in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Indiana helped itself with a 4-0 record in nonconference play and should be looking at an unbeaten nonconference record again in 2016. The only road game is at Florida International to open the season on a Thursday night followed by home games against Ball State and Wake Forest. The Hoosiers deserve a cushier September because they open the month of October with back-to-back games against Michigan State and Ohio State.

6. Kansas Jayhawks

Sept. 3: Rhode Island
Sept. 17: Ohio U.
Sept. 24: at Memphis

If anybody deserves a soft nonconference schedule, it's Kansas and David Beaty. The Jayhawks went 0-12 a year ago in Beaty's first season on the job and have lost 20 of their last 21 games. He inherited a program that was playing with about 60 scholarship players and is working to beef up those numbers. Even with some of their recent struggles, there's no reason the Jayhawks shouldn't be able to get out of the month of September next season with at least a win or two.

7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Sept. 1: Tulane
Sept. 17: Delaware
Sept. 24: at Indiana
Oct. 29: Army

The ACC plays just eight conference games, and the Demon Deacons will stay at home to play three of their four nonconference contests. Those three foes combined for 26 losses last season. Indiana is the lone Power 5 opponent on the nonconference schedule, and Wake Forest has to go on the road for that game. The Demon Deacons' last winning season came in 2008. If they want to end that drought, they'll need to take advantage of a very manageable nonconference slate in 2016.

8. Purdue Boilermakers

Sept. 3: Eastern Kentucky
Sept. 10: Cincinnati
Sept. 24: Nevada

The Boilermakers struggled to a 2-10 season a year ago, losing three of their four nonconference games along the way. With the Big Ten shifting to nine conference games next season, that means the nonconference slate will be cut from four to three games. All three for Purdue are at home, and none of the three are Power 5 opponents. However, Cincinnati and Nevada both played in bowl games last season.

9. Arizona Wildcats

Sept. 3: vs. BYU in Glendale, Arizona
Sept. 10: Grambling State
Sept. 17: Hawaii

The Wildcats don't leave the state for their three nonconference games in 2016. That's after going on the road to play Nevada a year ago. BYU is always a tough test, but Arizona plays that game at the University of Phoenix Stadium to kick off the season, an easy trip for the Wildcats and their fans. If they can get past the Cougars, there's no reason Arizona shouldn't be 3-0 heading into Pac-12 play.

10. Iowa Hawkeyes

Sept. 3: Miami (Ohio)
Sept. 10: Iowa State
Sept. 17: North Dakota State

Granted, North Dakota State is the defending FCS national champion, and Iowa State is one of those pesky in-state rivals you can never take lightly. But for a team that started out 12-0 last season and came within a game of going to the College Football Playoff, Iowa doesn't exactly face a juggernaut of a nonconference schedule in 2016.