<> at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.

ESPN: These schools have the most difficult non-conference schedules in 2016

Which teams are playing the most difficult out-of-conference schedules in 2016?

ESPN named the teams with the easiest out-of-conference schedules in 2016, so it is only natural that they also tackled which teams have the most difficult out-of-conference matchups.

Ranking in at No. 1 is USC, who in addition to their annual game against Notre Dame, are playing Alabama in Week 1 of the 2016 season. If the Trojan want to breakthrough as a contender in 2016, they are going to have to clear a lot of good teams to get there.

Speaking of contenders, several of the teams on this list could qualify as just that in 2016. Oklahoma, Florida State, Stanford, and Michigan State were all in contention in 2015, and they hope to continue that in 2016 by playing schedules that will only help their status as a great team.

Funnily enough, Notre Dame makes a lot of appearances on this list as a quality opponent. Of course, since the Fightin Irsh aren't tied to a full-time conference schedule, they have to beef up their schedule with several quality opponents in order to impress the College Football Playoff committee. Of course, all their years of being independent means they have formed rivalries that make this process easier.

The full Top 10 is below. You can check out the full article on ESPN.

1. USC (Alabama, Utah State, Notre Dame)
2. Oklahoma (Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, Ohio State)
3. Florida State (Ole Miss, Charleston Southern, South Florida, Florida)
4. Virginia Tech (Liberty, Tennessee, East Carolina, Notre Dame)
5. Pittsburgh (Villanova, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Marshall)
6. Duke (N.C. Central, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Army)
7. UCLA (Texas A&M, UNLV, BYU)
8. Stanford (Kansas State, Notre Dame, Rice)
9. Michigan State (Furman, Notre Dame, BYU)
10. Colorado (Colorado State, Idaho State, Michigan)


The FanBuzz daily email newsletter keeps you up-to-date on the most important sports news. Sign up here.