2010 Opponent’s Win %
In Monday’s Blog, I analyzed which method of determining who plays the toughest schedule is more accurate; mine or the NCAA. I compared the preseason predictions of both and concluded that my method is superior because it takes two major factors into account. The first is my 9 sets of Power Ratings. This ensures that an FCS team like William & Mary who was 11-3 last year is rated much lower than Oklahoma which was 8-5 in 2009. The second factor is the amount of home and away games played. As an example, this year some teams will have as many as 8 home games, while others play as many as 8 on the road.
Today’s blog will take a closer look at the toughest schedule debate by looking at this year’s opponents’ win/loss record from the 2009 season.
At the beginning of the season, the NCAA usually releases a rating of each team’s schedule based on their opponents’ win/loss record from the previous season. This is a good method but it does have its obvious flaws.
The first flaw is basing the ratings on opponents’ records from the previous season. Let’s look at a couple of examples. At the start of 2007 I had Illinois rated as one of the top teams in the Big Ten and they went on to knock off #1 Ohio St and play in the ROSE BOWL. My ratings had them as an above avg opponent at the start of the year and they finished the regular season #13 (AP). Using 2006’s record as the criteria for determining the strength of an opps’ schedule, however you would count them as a 2-10 team!
The second flaw is basing it on pure overall records. If a team plays a FCS (IAA) school that was 11-1 in 2007, that would have counted as a MUCH tougher game in the NCAA ratings than facing a team like Alabama who was 7-6 in ‘07 but #1 at the end of ‘08 regular season! My ratings had Bama ranked as a much tougher team than an FCS foe.
Below is a chart of all 120 teams and the combined 2009 opponents’ records from last year. It is ranked in order of highest % of opponent wins (or toughest schedule) to lowest % of opponent wins (or easiest schedule). This is the same chart that will be printed in this year’s college preview magazine.
2010′s Opponent Winning %
(Based on 2009 Records)
|Rank||Foe Wins||Foe Losses||Foe Win %||Tms W/Win Rec|
|9||San Jose St||100||65||60.61%||8|
|79||San Diego St||75||75||50.00%||6|
|104||New Mexico St||68||82||45.33%||4|
Using last year’s records for their opponents, LSU plays the toughest schedule this year with their opponents having 63.64 win % last year. Overall LSU faces 9 teams that had a winning record in ’09. The Tigers open up in the Georgia Dome against North Carolina and also play West Virginia in non-conf play. In SEC play they have to travel to Auburn, Florida and Arkansas who all won at least 8 games in ’09.
Minnesota’s 2010 opponents had a combined 63.58% win % in ’09. The Gophers hsave to travel to Middle Tennessee (10-3 in ’09) in the opener and also play USC in non-conferennce action. In conference play Minnesota gets Penn St, Ohio St and Iowa at home with road games at Wisconsin and Michigan St. The Gophers avoid Indiana and Michigan who were a combined 2-14 in conference play last year.
South Carolina plays 11 teams that had a winning record in 2009 while Middle Tennessee only plays two teams. According to their opponents win/loss record Purdue plays the easiest schedule (#106) among BCS schools while San Jose St (#9) plays the toughest schedule among non-BCS schools.
Again these are not my toughest schedule rankings so let’s pick out some teams to show you the flaws of just using last year’s overall opponent records. Based on 2009’s opponent records San Jose St plays the 9th toughest schedule. While they do play at Alabama, Wisconsin and Utah in non-conference, they also play two FCS foes in Southern Utah and UC Davis who were a combined 11-11 last year. The Spartans also play in the WAC conference, which will only have one Top 25 team at the start of the year. Does this sound like the #9 toughest schedule to you? Despite the three tough non-conference road games, I know a few BCS schools that would like to play 10 non-BCS teams this season.
According to their opponents win/loss record from 2009 Temple plays the 37th toughest schedule while Oregon takes on an easy #104 slate. Oregon’s cupcake schedule has them facing all 9 Pac-10 foes including road games at Cal, USC and Oregon St and an early non-conf road game at Tennessee. Meanwhile the Owls in addition to their MAC schedule get Villanova and Connecticut at home in non-conference with road games at Army and Penn St. Do you think Temple’s schedule is 67 spots tougher than Oregon’s?
Here are some other interesting tidbits when looking at who plays the toughest schedule…
Teams that faced the most ranked opponents in 2009 (ranked when played)
6-Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon
5-Georgia Tech, Miami, Fl, Vanderbilt, Mississippi St, Michigan, Nebraska, Virginia, Oregon St, USC, Arkansas, South Carolina, Washington St, Indiana and USF
Teams that faced the fewest ranked opponents in 2009 (ranked when played)
1-Akron, Toledo, North Texas, Hawaii, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Kansas St, Florida Atlantic, ULM, Marshall, Houston, Pittsburgh and Idaho
0-Buffalo, Ohio, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, UAB, Army, Ball St, Kent St, Middle Tennessee and WKU
Teams that faced the most ranked opponents in 2009 (ranked at season’s end)
5-Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia Tech. Michigan St and Mississippi St
Teams that faced the fewest ranked opponents in 2009 (ranked at season’s end)
1-Eastern Michigan, Temple, Florida Atlantic, ULM, Houston, Ohio, Idaho and North Texas
0-UAB, Army, Ball St, Central Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Kent St, Western Michigan, WKU and Southern Miss
There were three teams did not face a ranked opponent either at the time the game was played or at season’s end. (Army, Central Michigan and WKU)
Southern Miss faced two opponents (Kansas #20 and Houston #15) that were ranked when the game was played but none at season’s end.
Florida St played just three opponents that were ranked at the time of the game (BYU #7, Georgia Tech #22 and Florida #1) but ended up playing six teams that finished in the AP Top 25 (Florida #3, BYU #12, Georgia Tech #13, Miami, Fl #19, Clemson #24 and West Virginia #25).