FanPost

The Real Story About Strength of Schedule

I wanted to gain a better understanding about our scheduling behavior and to see if what we do varies that much from our competition in the Big 12. 

Afterall, I don't know about you, but scheduling the likes of Florida International doesn't exactly raise expectations for a great football game. It also opens up the program to criticism by our detractors.

Is that criticism deserved?  Is our approach to scheduling really that much different than other programs?

I have put a chart together (I'm getting better) which looks at the Strength of Schedule (SOS) for each Big 12 team from 2003-2008.  The last column shows the average SOS during that period.  I've ranked the teams according to this last column. 

The results speak for themselves.

 

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Average 2003-2008

OU

19

13

22

30

42

1

21.2

UT

17

5

17

26

61

4

21.7

OSU

21

7

60

36

31

5

26.7

TTU

13

16

40

47

57

3

29.3

TAMU

45

1

29

41

38

62

36.0

MU

44

54

59

50

2

12

36.8

NU

29

40

43

27

49

33

36.8

CU

31

18

31

61

48

39

38.0

KSU

3

26

61

59

55

69

45.5

BU

71

21

46

53

65

23

46.5

KU

70

24

47

66

58

20

47.5

ISU

33

38

52

67

59

63

52.0

 

Despite scheduling some lackluster competition in the past, we actually outperform all but three teams in the Big 12.

Do I wish that TTU would schedule opponents more worthy of its stature?  Of course.

However, I would raise a few points to better explain why teams (especially Big 12 teams)  seem to schedule so many non-conference patsies.  The short answer is that it is smart. 

Kansas State and Coach Bill Snyder was one of the first teams to recognize this in the 1990s.

The Big 12 is one of the top 3 conferences in college football.  For about 75% of a season, teams can expect the going to be extremely rough.  The down sides of scheduling tough non-conference opponents early in the year include: 

  • Early losses which could prematurely ruin a national title run or a chance at a high ranking and premier bowl appearance
  • Prematurely exposing a potentially talented team to excessive competition before working out the 'kinks.' The team you start with in September by definition is more immature than the team you end up with in November/December (this makes particular sense for TTU).
  • Losses (whether good or bad) are weighted more than victories. 

Given that Coaches (even the Aggies) are well versed in how the polling system works, the rational thing to do is to schedule weaker teams at the beginning of the year, win all of those games and win as many games as possible in the Big 12. 

This year we play what-is-expected-to-be a very good Houston team and UT in the month of September.  It will be interesting to see how we perform that month, given that it usually seems to take us a few weeks to get the ball rolling on offense and defense. 

Go Red Raiders!!

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors.</em>

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