Statistical Strength of Schedule (SSOS) has become a weekly feature of mine, and you can read the rationale and about how it’s calculated here.
I’ve got the final SSOS calculated, but I’m not done with the writeup and charts and all. In the meantime, enjoy these awards I just made up last night on an airplane. They’re based on the final numbers, which should be up sometime before Ragnarok.
The SSOS Champion: Best overall SSOS
WINNERS: Nebraska (team): 48.52 SSOS score; SEC (conference): 29.75 average rank
Huskers, even though you got torched constantly on defense, had a wildly inconsistent offense, and got your coach fired, at least you did it all against the nation’s toughest schedule.
The SEC showed just how tough it is by overcoming 10 games against I-AA opposition to win the conference battle comfortably over the Pac 10. No more whining about the SEC having weak out of conference opponents – the teams still graded out as having played the strongest schedules among the BCS conferences.
The SSOS Goat: Worst overall SSOS
WINNERS: Hawaii (team): 81.44 SSOS score; ACC (conference): 59.33 average rank
Hawaii, you’re a nice story and all with your BCS bid, but I hope you know it’s fraudulent with as easy of a schedule as you played. I know Michigan State pulled out of its game with you, but playing two teams below I-A will get you this award nearly every time. At least you play Florida next year.
ACC, by now you know that no one cares about your conference when FSU and Miami are having bad years. The attendance in Jacksonville a week ago proved that. However, your attempt to look better by playing the weakest overall schedule by far didn’t work because your teams really are that bad and that boring. Please try to play a real slate in the future, which means finding strength in your non-conference games because you sure won’t find it inside your conference.
Mr. Bland Award: For scheduling mediocrity
WINNERS: Wisconsin (team): ranked 60th; Big Ten (conference)
Wisconsin, you finished exactly in the middle. There were 59 teams ahead of you, and 59 teams behind you. That is the perfect embodiment of middle-of-the-road. It makes sense considering your conference.
Big Ten, you finished with all of your teams in the second and third quintiles. No one particularly exerted itself, but no one took it easy either. It’s an interesting strategy, albeit one that gets you ranked second-to-last among the BCS conferences. Ohio State dropping Youngstown State picking up USC certainly helps, but don’t let the Buckeyes’ ambition steer you away from your dream of blandness. It suits you well.
Go Getter Award: Largest gap between the conference’s first and second place
Syracuse, you win this one for having the toughest schedule in your conference and for finishing with the biggest gap between you and the second place team (Pitt) at 16 spots. Way to put the rest of your conference to shame. Perhaps this is why Greg Robinson still has a job.
Deadweight Award: Worst schedules in each conference
WINNERS: Georgia Tech, Kansas, UConn, Northwestern, USC, Arkansas
If not for you all, your conference’s scheduling marks would look a lot better. I hope you’re happy. Readers, please note that there are two teams here that made BCS bowls. I’m just saying.
Anchor Award: Worst schedule for a team in a BCS conference
WINNER: Kansas (112 rank, 74.92 score)
Kansas, you’re the only team in the country that played in a BCS conference and still managed to have a schedule in the bottom 20%. That’s not easy to do. Sure, it just so happened you missed Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech in your conference rotation, but few teams went to the bakery for bigger cupcakes than you did non-conference. Put it this way: throw out your numbers and the Big 12 has the toughest overall schedule for a conference; with them, it drops to third. Of course, that schedule is probably the main reason Kansas is in a BCS bowl, so the Jayhawks will probably make this a habit.
Deposed Nigerian Prince with an Email Account Award: Most fraudulent records
WINNERS: Boise State, Boston College, BYU, Hawaii, Kansas, UCF
These are the teams who won at least 10 games with a schedule in the bottom two quintiles. Try to play some more notable teams in the future, will ya? Readers, please note that there are two teams here that made BCS bowls. I’m just saying.