The Kentucky Game Tomorrow

October 24, 2008

I have not spent time this week breaking down the Kentucky game tomorrow for a couple of reasons.

First, Florida has won the past 21 games in the series, so being a 23-year-old, I am not wired to consider the Wildcats as a threat in football. I know UK has gotten a lot better in the past couple of years under Rich Brooks; last year’s game was a real battle. That’s just the way it is with me.

Second, and more rationally, it’s because Kentucky has been ravaged by injuries as of late while Florida has been getting healthier. Jim Tartt is still going to be out, but Carl Johnson has helped pave the way for the largest two-game rushing count for Florida under Urban Meyer. Emmanuel Moody may get a couple snaps, but Kestahn Moore is listed as the No. 1 running back and of course Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Chris Rainey, and Jeff Demps will get carries.

Meanwhile in Lexington, Dickie Lyons, Jr. and Derrick Locke have been lost for the season in consecutive weeks. DT Myron Pryor will be out for the game, and OT Justin Jeffries will sit out with him. Three linebackers are banged up but will go; the same goes for two defensive backs.

Let’s be honest here. After demolishing LSU and jumping up in the polls, Florida is not just back to being a premier SEC contender but a national title contender as well if Penn State loses. If a newly-healthy Florida team loses to a shorthanded Kentucky team, we’ve got some real issues that run a lot deeper than whether I am taking the Wildcats seriously enough.

UK has enough of a defense this season to give the Gators some fits if it’s healthy. With an important starter missing and five guys not at 100%, it should not be able to do a whole lot of damage. The Kentucky offense should struggle because Mike Hartline is not good enough to beat a powerhouse on the road without his two best skill position players.

Yes, Kentucky gave Alabama a great game in Tuscaloosa in a game that the Tide didn’t fully show up for. They also needed a semi-miraculous comeback to defeat Arkansas just last week. I just don’t see any way that the hurting Wildcats ruin homecoming for Florida.


Statistical Strength of Schedule, Week 8

October 23, 2008

This is a strength of schedule rating based on taking the average of a team’s opponents’ total and scoring offense and defense and then averaging those together. The lower the score, the tougher the schedule. For a detailed explanation of what’s going on here, including its pluses and minuses, try this post.

We’re another week into the season and most teams have added another game to their resumes. Even if they didn’t thanks to a bye week, their opponents did so everyone’s scores are different this week than they were last week. That’s the way it goes with college football; during the season, everything constantly changes.

Here is this week’s top 25 in statistical strength of schedule (SSOS), with the team’s change from last week listed in parenthesis.

  1. Washington (NC)
  2. Texas A&M (+19)
  3. NC State (+9)
  4. Syracuse (+20)
  5. Michigan (+20)
  6. Washington State (+20)
  7. Wake Forest (-5)
  8. Missouri (+42)
  9. Arkansas (+5)
  10. Hawai’i (+35)
  11. Purdue (+12)
  12. Tennessee (-2)
  13. Utah State (-13)
  14. Nebraska (-14)
  15. Wisconsin (+17)
  16. Colorado (-11)
  17. Temple (+2)
  18. FIU (NC)
  19. Middle Tennessee State (+22)
  20. Michigan State (+4)
  21. Stanford (-14)
  22. Vanderbilt (+17)
  23. UCLA (-17)
  24. Colorado State (16)
  25. Toledo (-5)

Last week, there was some considerable consternation about how many Pac-10 schools were near the top of the list. I begged for patience, asking folks to just wait and see how things play out the rest of the season.

This week six of the ten schools fell in the rankings, five of them by more than ten spots. With more games in the system, imbalances tend to work themselves out.

SSOS by Losses

A week ago, the one-loss teams had a considerably more difficult schedule than the two-loss teams. Thanks to a few of the one-loss and two-loss teams losing, that imbalance has evened out at least for now. As games go on, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a W shape return as the chart expands horizontally because there was one on this graph for much of last year.

It gets a little choppy from four losses on, but the graph indicates that those teams have played the toughest schedules. That’s what you would expect. Right now there still is some kind of circular effect, where the top teams’ success depresses the stats of their opponents, but it’s not as strong as you think and it fades over the course of the year.

Average SSOS Rank by Losses

Here is the average SSOS rank of each group of teams for each number of losses. So, the undefeated teams have an average SSOS rank of 93. That’s pretty remarkable considering Alabama is ranked 38th and Texas is ranked 60th. Oklahoma State is 89th, Penn State is ranked 99th, and Texas Tech and all the guys from the non-BCS leagues are in the triple digits.

Ball State brings up the rear this week at 119th, with Tulsa nudging up to 115th. Texas Tech is 111th, the third lowest of all BCS-conference teams. The final two unbeaten teams, Utah and Boise State, clock in at 105th and 101st, respectively.

Biggest Movers

This week’s top gainers:

  1. Missouri, +42, played Texas last week
  2. Virginia Tech, +37, Boston College
  3. Hawai’i, +35, Boise State
  4. UL-Lafayette, +33, Arkansas State
  5. Kansas, +30, Oklahoma
  6. New Mexico State, +29, San Jose State
  7. California, +25, Arizona
  8. Middle Tennessee State, +22, Louisville
  9. Michigan, +20, Penn State
  10. Syracuse, +20, USF

Keep in mind as I mentioned in the overall explanation that who you play is not the only thing that determines your movement. In the case of Missouri, playing Texas certainly made a huge difference. In the case of New Mexico State, playing San Jose State might have hurt more than it helped, but the combined effect of its other opponents’ movements as well as those around them allowed the Aggies to jump a few spots.

The week’s biggest fallers:

  1. FAU, -43, Western Kentucky
  2. Louisiana Tech, -40, Idaho
  3. USC, -34, Washington State
  4. Oregon State, -28, Washington
  5. New Mexico, -25, San Diego State
  6. Nevada, -25, Utah State
  7. Louisville, -24, MTSU
  8. Illinois, -22, Indiana
  9. Marshall, -20, UAB
  10. UL-Monroe, -18, North Texas

FAU plummets because WKU still counts as I-AA for this year and thereby gives 120 in all categories. The Pacific Northwest seems particularly toxic thanks to Idaho, Washington, and Washington State helping to drag down opponents.

We can see what kind of dynamic can exist in one case here. Louisville helped bump Middle Tennessee State up 22 spots, but the Blue Raiders helped cause the Cardinals fall 24 spots. Again, they didn’t do that to each other alone, but it’s always interesting to see pairs show up on these lists.

SSOS by Conference

Total Average SSOS for all 119 Teams: 66.98

Best Schedule: Washington, 1st overall, score of 36.92

Worst Schedule: Arizona, 107th, 80.14

Average SSOS Rank: 43.00

Average SSOS Score: 60.86

Best Schedule: Arkansas, 9th overall, score of 53.96

Worst Schedule: Kentucky, 93rd, 74.86

Average SSOS Rank: 43.50

Average SSOS Score: 62.70

Best Schedule: Michigan, 5th overall, score of 50.71

Worst Schedule: Penn State, 99th, 76.28

Average SSOS Rank: 48.64

Average SSOS Score: 63.69

Best Schedule: Texas A&M, 2nd overall, score of 48.07

Worst Schedule: Texas Tech, 111th, 82.61

Average SSOS Rank: 50.83

Average SSOS Score: 64.25

Best Schedule: NC State, 3rd overall, score of 49.46

Worst Schedule: FSU, 118th, 89.75

Average SSOS Rank: 67.00

Average SSOS Score: 68.96

Best Schedule: Syracuse, 4th overall, score of 50.50

Worst Schedule: West Virginia, 117th, 88.75

Average SSOS Rank: 70.59

Average SSOS Score: 70.88

The SEC has closed in and nearly overtaken the Pac-10 in the conference rankings. The Big 12 improved, but so did the Big Ten. As a result the Big 12 edged closer to third place but was not able to pass up the fellas up north. The only change in the order was the ACC jumping over the Big East.

If you look in terms of average SSOS rank, the gap from one to four is not all that significant and is almost as big as the gap between fourth and fifth. If you go by average rank instead, then three somewhat distinct tiers appear: the Pac-10 and SEC at the top, the Big 12 and Big Ten in the middle, and the ACC and Big East at the bottom. Incidentally, those same exact three tiers formed last season; it will be interesting to see if they remain true all year.

Another Saturday of great games will help shape these rankings even more. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked to see Oklahoma State on the biggest risers list.


The Gators’ Rooting Guide, Inaugural BCS Poll Edition

October 22, 2008

The BCS standings have just come out, and Florida is 10th. As I mentioned earlier, the Gators are only a hair out of fifth place if you look at the scores, so it’s pretty tight so far.

The overall sentiment this season is that, if no one goes undefeated and these are available, the one-loss Big 12 champion and the one-loss SEC champion will play for the title. These two are clearly the best conferences in the land, and the conventional wisdom goes that their champions should be rewarded for it.

Now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: the champion of the toughest conference may not automatically be the best team. A better team could exist in a weaker conference. However the past two seasons have shown that the “most deserving team” argument is going to win over the “best team” in today’s climate, and coming out of the toughest conference with the same number of losses than someone from a weaker conference makes you more deserving.

Because the SEC is one of those top two in the perception ranks, the Gators really just need to win out and have Penn State lose and most everything will take care of itself. Even so, if you want to leave no doubt of Florida’s chances to make the title game, here’s your rooting guide for the rest of the season arranged by conference.

Non-BCS Teams

With BYU’s loss, there isn’t a non-BCS team that can plausibly make the title game. In theory BYU might have been able to sneak in because they began the year relatively high in the polls, they have wins over two Pac-10 schools, and they’ve won a national title in the past.

TCU made that unlikely scenario moot.

ACC and Big East

None of these teams have a shot, so continue to root for or against teams as you normally should. Some have tried to make the case that the Gators need to root for Miami and FSU to prop up their resume, but being from the SEC means they don’t really mean anything.

And really, root for Miami or FSU? Unless they are playing a team ahead of Florida in the polls at the end of the season only, there’s no reason ever to. Please.

Big 12

It doesn’t really matter what goes on here, because there’s no way that both title game slots end up with Big 12 teams. Honestly I don’t think anyone left on Texas’ schedule plays enough defense to beat them, so worrying about this league is more or less a waste of time.

If you want to be absolutely sure, then root for every team to have at least two losses. That’s not very likely, of course. If you have a mischievous streak, then root for Oklahoma to win out and Texas to somehow lose to Baylor. OU would finish higher in the polls, but they will not have even won their division.

Big Ten

It’s very simple: root for Ohio State to beat Penn State. A one-loss Big Ten champ will not be ahead of a one-loss Big 12 or SEC champ at the end, so as long as the Nittany Lions lose to someone (Ohio State? At Iowa? Michigan State?), then we’re set.

After this weekend though, root for Ohio State to lose to Northwestern and/or Illinois. They’re by far the best win on USC’s resume, so if the Buckeyes fall they will tug down on USC too.

Pac-10

USC obviously is the only title contender from this conference, and quite simply another loss will do them in. The computer formulas already hate them, and none of their wins the rest of the way will gain them any favor with the algorithms. A sinking Ohio State would also hurt.

Something Lisa Horne brought up is that if both USC and Oregon State win out, then the Beavers will win the tiebreaker and get the Rose Bowl berth as Pac-10 champion. Technically USC and OSU will be recognized as co-champions by the conference, but human voters look at tiebreakers and will recognize the guys from Corvallis as the sole champ. Then, the Trojans will have the “didn’t win their conference” argument working against them.

SEC

The only concern within the conference is hoping that the heavyweights (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and LSU) don’t get upset a lot by weaker teams and bring down the perception of the league some. I don’t know how much that will happen, and it would take an awful lot for people to come to the conclusion that the Pac-10 or Big Ten are better conferences.

Since Florida controls its destiny, all the Gators must do is win out. That begins this weekend with Kentucky.


SEC Power Poll, Week 8 Released

October 22, 2008

The poll looks a lot like it did last week. The numbers are a team’s average number of points in Week 1, Week 4, and Week 8 so you can see how everyone has moved. Florida: holding steady.

Not sure about South Carolina being ahead of Vandy; the Gamecocks have three losses to the Commodores’ two and Vandy won the head-to-head. Oh well. Full poll with comments here.


SEC Power Poll Ballot, Week 8

October 21, 2008

1. Alabama

The default No. 1 team until they lose, though they easily could have lost to Ole Miss this past weekend.

2. Florida

The win over LSU stands next to Alabama’s win over Georgia as one of the two most impressive of the season so far.

3. Georgia

The Bulldogs have at least beaten a couple of decent teams, something LSU has only done once in beating South Carolina.

4. LSU

The defense will never be at its full potential without Ricky Jean-Francois, kinda like how last year it was never itself after the chop block on Glenn Dorsey until the title game.

5. Vanderbilt

What happens when your 5-7 all lose to better teams? They stay in the same order, that’s what.

6. South Carolina

Once again, so close and yet so far. It pains me a little bit to see Spurrier struggle, but at the same time, what caused the man to lose his recruiting touch with QBs and receivers?

7. Ole Miss

The best 3-4 team in America.

8. Kentucky

A last-minute escape over the admittedly suddenly-frisky Razorbacks doesn’t move you up in my poll.

9. Auburn

If any team needed a bye week, it was this one. You would think with the extra time they could pick something on offense and stick with it, but we’ll see.

10. Arkansas

I remember some Arkansas fans in the offseason saying not to worry about the running game because of Michael Smith, just worry about the rest of the team. They were dead right.

11. Tennessee

They didn’t get Croom‘d or anything, but Wyoming seems like the only sure win left on the schedule. Going bowling is not guaranteed.

12. Mississippi State

The game against Tennessee was a lot closer than the score indicates, but this team is still hopeless. I would not be shocked if they lost to MTSU this weekend.


Tuesday Morning Miscellany

October 21, 2008

Tim Tebow believes Colt McCoy is the front runner of the Heisman Trophy race. Not sure why this is news since everyone else on the planet does too. He’s the quarterback of the No. 1 team and he’s completing 81% of his passes.

Despite this not being “news” in most senses of the word, the AP decided to write an article longer than most game recaps about it. Go figure.

Brandon Spikes has been named a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker. He’s definitely earned that in every game except one this season. For some reason he looked like he was running in sand all day against Arkansas, but he’s been a force in every other game.

I’m not sure when the cut from semifinalist to finalist is, but I don’t know if it’s a sure thing that he’ll be one of them. There are 12 guys on the current list, and it gets winnowed down to four in the finalist stage.

There are guys with more national hype than Spikes probably has on the list like Ohio State’s James Laurenaitis, USC’s Rey Maualuga, Ole MIss’ Michael Oher (a near-consensus top-5 pick in next year’s draft), USF’s George Selvie, and now, thanks to the past two weeks, Texas’ Brian Orakpo.

Meanwhile at Kentucky, the injuries are mounting. Perhaps their two best offensive players have fallen out in consecutive weeks, with Derrick Locke joining Dickie Lyons, Jr. in the “gone for the season” club. A couple of key defenders are hurting too.

With UK being borderline decent to begin with and now this, Florida shouldn’t have too much trouble Saturday. The Wildcats barely squeaked by Arkansas, for crying out loud. Still, they play some defense so don’t expect free-flowing offense from the Gators all game long.


UF No. 10 in First BCS Standings

October 20, 2008

The Gators premiere at 10 in the first BCS standings of the year, in large part because the computers hate us. They’ve got the Gators at No. 12, and two of the formulas don’t even have us in their top 15.

Losing to a 3-4 at home will do that, but beating Georgia and having the Big 12 schedule play itself out will help immensely. After all, the Gators still play in what is perceived by the human voters to be the toughest conference in America. Should Florida manage to make it through the rest of the season unscathed, there’s nothing to worry about.

Full analysis of what the BCS standings mean for the SEC over at Team Speed Kills.


A Eulogy for Defense in the Big 12

October 20, 2008

I have been saying for a while that defense is dead in the Big 12, but after this past weekend, I think we can say it is really and truly gone.

Seven of the twelve member schools hit the 30-point mark, six of them surpassing 450 yards of total offense. The two showdowns between ranked schools produced 76 and 87 points, respectively. Kansas and Oklahoma surpassed 1,000 yards between them before the third quarter was even over.

Now look, as a Gator fan who grew up in the Steve Spurrier era, I love to watch teams play pitch and catch all over the field. At some point though, you have to stop someone. After all, Spurrer didn’t win his national title until he got Bob Stoops as his defensive coordinator.

How did this happen? The old Big Eight and Southwest Conferences used to be havens of defense and running, not this wide open passing stuff with defenders helplessly waving their arms at receivers as they run by.

Part of it has to do with the pass happy spread offenses that have flourished across the Big 12′s recruiting grounds. To adapt Bill Parcells’ old line, you want to cook recipes designed for the ingredients that you shop for. If all the best high school guys are coming from spread systems, it would make sense to run an offense that fits them so you can get peak production from them.

Ironically enough, on the coaching side it may have actually come to the Big 12 from the SEC. When he took over at Oklahoma, Stoops came back to the Big 12 after being the defensive coordinator under passing game genius Steve Spurrier. He saw how well pass-heavy schemes can work with top players. He also imported Mike Leach from Kentucky to run Leach’s variant of Hal Mumme’s Air Raid offense.

After one season Leach left to take over Texas Tech and Stoops got Mark Mangino as an offensive coordinator to run something similar. That combination resulted in a national championship in 2000.

Even after Mangino left to coach at Kansas, Stoops kept an offensive identity that favored lots of passing. It should be noted that Stoops and Mangino originated from the Bill Snyder coaching tree, and Snyder had some prolific offenses of his own led by guys like Michael Bishop, Ell Roberson, and Darren Sproles.

After OU’s national title, more and more guys with pass-friendly offenses found their way into the Big12, from Gary Pinkel in 2001 to Bill Callahan in 2004 to Mike Sherman in 2008. Now we stand with only three head coaches of the 12 that were not offensive coordinators or offensive assistants before becoming head coaches: Stoops, Gene Chizik, and Bo Pelini. Chizik is of course in the wastelands of Iowa State and Pelini hasn’t had enough time to turn around the disaster that Callahan left him.

Today, the highest-ranked team in total defense from the Big 12 is Oklahoma at No. 34 with 315 yards allowed per game. Only the Sun Belt Conference doesn’t have a team higher than that, and the Sooners just gave up 491 and 438 yards in back-to-back weekends.

The highest-ranked team in scoring defense from the Big 12 is Texas at No. 25 with 17 points allowed per game. Only the Sun Belt Conference and CUSA don’t have a team higher than that, and the Longhorns just gave up 31 and 35 points in back-to-back weekends. That ranking is built on things like giving up 10 points to FAU (116th in scoring offense), 10 to Arkansas (100th), and 14 to Colorado (87th).

Sure, Texas’ defensive line looked great against Mizzou. Brian Orakpo probably is unblockable against any offensive line in the country. We also must consider that the Tigers’ O-line had serious trouble against Oklahoma State, who is 108th in the country in sacks.

I don’t mean to make this out like the Big 12 is the only conference with a problem. The ACC and Big East are mired in general mediocrity all around. The Big Ten is a two-team conference thanks to the meltdowns at Michigan and Wisconsin. The Pac-10 is currently owned by the Mountain West, and despite the Trojans’ loss it looks like USC and the Nine Dwarfs again. The SEC is undergoing a lot of offensive transition, with seven schools having had a quarterback controversy at some point.

Still, for all the great quarterbacks the Big 12 has, they alone are not the reason why the Big 12 has had exploding offenses lately. There has been plenty of bad defense going around too, and it’s been that way for a couple of years now.

Say hello to the new WAC-y conference, the league that assumes the Pac-10′s old stereotype of all offense and no defense. Big 12, you’ve earned it.


Statistical Strength of Schedule

October 16, 2008

Something I cooked up last year that I think is worth doing again this year is my Statistical Strength of Schedule (SSOS) rankings. They are simpler to understand than some of the fancier ones out there, while also respecting the fact that seeing who won a game doesn’t tell the entire story. This contrasts with the NCAA’s schedule strength rankings, which only looks at opponents’ wins and losses.

It uses teams’ national rankings in total offense, scoring offense, total defense, and scoring defense. I get the average rank of a team’s opponents in those four categories, then average those four figures together. That is the SSOS score. The lower the score, the tougher the schedule. Here is an example of one team’s calculation, using Florida:

The Gators’ score is 64 points, good enough for the 47th-ranked schedule right now.

This formula downplays outliers by using the teams’ national ranks in the four categories. It adjusts for strange/unlikely game outcomes by using stat categories, since the better team doesn’t always win a game.

There is some noise, like when someone racks up huge numbers while blowing out cupcakes, but those tend to get evened out by the teams that don’t do much thanks to tough opponents. There will be some noise in any SOS rank as long as there’s not a balanced schedule across the board, which is to say there will always be noise.

The rank for any I-AA team in any category is 120. I am using the official NCAA stats, and they include games against I-AA teams. I do not have the time to go through everyone’s games to subtract out all I-AA games from the stats and recalculate the categories.

I also didn’t want to just lump all of Division I together like Jeff Sagarin does because I-AA teams play other I-AA teams almost exclusively, and the better I-AA teams would end up a lot higher than they should be. Instead, I just gave a blanket penalty to I-A teams for playing I-AA teams because they should know better. Western Kentucky counts as I-AA because the Hilltoppers are still reclassifying and not a full I-A member.

I held off until now to calculate the list so that teams can get a fair number of games under their belts. It’s a little weird right now because of the extra week in this season giving everyone an additional bye week. Most everyone has played six games, but there are a few overachievers who have reached seven already and a couple of slackers who have just played five.

Here is the opening top 25. Keep in mind that this can change wildly from week to week; last season, there would be a few teams that would move in excess of 30 spots in a single week. Keep in mind also that since a team’s opponents stats keep changing, more than just who you play in a week factors into movement; FAU once jumped 26 spots after a bye week last season.

  1. Washington, 34.75 points
  2. Wake Forest, 45.15
  3. Nebraska, 47.50
  4. New Mexico, 48.11
  5. Colorado, 51.67
  6. UCLA, 52.63
  7. Stanford, 52.71
  8. Utah State, 53.92
  9. Oregon State, 54.08
  10. Tennessee, 54.13
  11. USC, 54.85
  12. NC State 55.67
  13. FAU, 55.75
  14. Arkansas, 55.96
  15. Washington State, 56.50
  16. Michigan State, 56.61
  17. Arizona State, 57.04
  18. FIU, 57.33
  19. Temple, 57.46
  20. Toledo, 57.67
  21. Texas A&M, 57.83
  22. Ole Miss, 58.13
  23. Purdue, 58.38
  24. Syracuse, 59.17
  25. Michigan, 59.17

SSOS by Losses

When making charts, I group teams by losses rather than wins. People are generally more concerned about losses than wins when it comes to schedule strengthanyway, and it makes the imbalances in number of games played easier to deal with.

As you can see, the undefeated teams collectively have had the easiest schedules so far. The only unbeaten team with an SSOS in the top 40% is Alabama, with the 38th-ranked schedule and 62.42 points. Texas is the only other undefeated team even in the top 60%, with the 72nd-ranked schedule and 70.17 points. Penn State, if you’re curious, has the 89th-ranked schedule and 74.50 points.

This chart actually continues a trend I noticed last season. Among the teams that finished the regular season above .500, those with one or fewer losses unsurprisingly had the easiest collective schedules. However, after that it was the four-loss teams that had the next easiest combined schedules, followed by the five-loss teams.

If you project that everyone this season will repeat their first half performance or add an extra loss, that means that those teams with one or zero losses will have the easiest schedules. After that though, those projected to get four or five losses (who have two losses now) project to have the next easiest.

I don’t know why exactly teams with two losses (and last season four or five) buck the overall and expected trend. If anyone has any thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Quick Evaluations

This is normally where I would discuss the biggest gainers and fallers, but I can’t because it’s the first release. Instead, I am going to list some quick hits on a few teams in segments of the list.

Well Done: Michigan State. The Spartans are the only 6-1 team in the top quintile (20%) of the rankings. Also kudos to Wake Forest and USC for being the only other one-loss teams in the top quintile as both are 4-1.

Cheer Up: Washington. You may be winless, injury-ravaged, and perhaps soon to be without your head coach, but at least your futility has come against the toughest schedule by a significant margin.

For Shame: Clemson. Not only have the Tigers massively underachieved to the point that their coach has stepped down, they did it all against the 108th-ranked schedule so far.

Prove It: Oklahoma State, Penn State, Northwestern, UConn, Georgia Tech, Cal. These teams all have either zero losses or one loss and are currently in the fourth quintile (second from the bottom). They are doing well so far, but haven’t exactly faced the stiffest of competition on the whole yet.

Even after playing Missouri, Oklahoma State is solidly in this category with the 85th-ranked schedule.

Pretender Alert: BYU, Tulsa, Ball State, Texas Tech, Boise State, Utah. These teams are all undefeated, but they are also all in the bottom quintile. BYU is dead last at 100.42 points, followed by Tulsa at 92.79 points. Utah is right on the verge of being in the fourth quintile, a mere 0.37 points away from being there.

These teams may be victims of their own success to a degree, as big wins would depress the stats of their opponents, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. They all have simply played one of the 23 easiest schedules statistically.

Their brethren in the bottom quintile with one loss: FSU, Boston College, TCU, Kansas, USF, Western Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Cincinnati. Don’t get too excited on any of these guys quite yet either.

By Conference

Total Average SSOS for All 119 Teams: 67.92

Best Schedule: Washington, 1st overall, score of 34.75

Worst Schedule: Arizona, 115th, 91.25

Average SOS Rank: 36.90

Average SOS Score: 60.64

Best Schedule: Tennessee, 10th overall, score of 54.13

Worst Schedule: Kentucky, 76th, 71.83

Average SOS Rank: 48.00

Average SOS Score: 64.22

Best Schedule: Michigan State, 16th overall, score of 56.61

Worst Schedule: Penn State, 89th, 74.50

Average SOS Rank: 51.10

Average SOS Score: 65.22

Best Schedule: Nebraska, 3rd overall, score of 47.50

Worst Schedule: Texas Tech, 111th, 85.54

Average SOS Rank: 57.55

Average SOS Score: 66.77

Best Schedule: Syracuse, 24th overall, score of 59.17

Worst Schedule: USF, 106th, 79.17

Average SOS Rank: 63.00

Average SOS Score: 68.43

Best Schedule: Wake Forest, 2nd overall, score of 45.15

Worst Schedule: FSU, 113th, 85.90

Average SOS Rank: 69.58

Average SOS Score: 70.38

Closing Note

It’s still just half way through the season, so there’s no reason to get offended over your team’s schedule just yet. Those teams that played two I-AA teams (i.e. Texas Tech, FSU) have some work to do to get out of the basements of their conferences, but tougher teams lay ahead.


SEC Power Poll Week 7 Released

October 15, 2008

Well, looks like Florida got a first place vote after all, though I can’t say from who right now. Full poll with comments is here.


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