2010′s Toughest Schedules
Who Faced the Toughest Schedule in 2010?
What makes my Toughest Opponents Faced rankings far superior to the NCAA method is that ours takes into account 9 sets of power ratings, combines them and factors in every team’s schedule this year. I did this not only for the bowl teams, but for all the NCAA teams & found out which teams played the toughest schedules this year.
2010′s Toughest Schedules
*Bowl Teams are in Bold
|1||Oregon St||41||Texas Tech||81||Marshall|
|2||Washington St||42||San Jose St||82||Navy|
|8||Iowa St||48||Georgia Tech||88||Wisconsin|
|9||Arizona St||49||New Mexico||89||Idaho|
|14||Florida St||54||Boston College||94||Houston|
|15||Miami, Fl||55||Maryland||95||Boise St|
|18||Oklahoma||58||East Carolina||98||Miami, Oh|
|21||Arizona||61||BYU||101||San Diego St|
|24||North Carolina||64||Virginia Tech||104||Akron|
|26||LSU||66||Utah St||106||Kent St|
|30||Tennessee||70||New Mexico St||110||Hawaii|
|31||Baylor||71||Ohio St||111||Southern Miss|
|34||Wake Forest||74||West Virginia||114||UCF|
|35||Oklahoma St||75||Rutgers||115||Ball St|
|39||NC State||79||E Michigan||119||N Illinois|
|40||Purdue||80||Fresno St||120||Middle Tennessee|
According to my ratings Oregon St faced the toughest schedule. The Beavers played 7 bowl teams not counting (Arizona St 6-6 and USC 8-5) and faced 3 probably the toughest non-conference schedule of any team with TCU, Boise St and Louisville. According to the NCAA, Notre Dame finished with the nation’s toughest schedule as their opponents went 89-42 (67.9%) but they did face 5 non-BCS teams which naturally was more than any other BCS team. Middle Tennessee faced the easiest schedule this year and the also NCAA had them ranked #120 so it was much deserved. However, that is where the similarities between the NCAA and my rankings ended. Iowa ranked #34 in the NCAA rankings with an opp W/L % of 57.3% playing 7 gms vs teams with winning records but played my #65 toughest schedule including games against 2-9 Eastern Illinois, 4-8 Ball St and 3-9 Minnesota. Per the NCAA, Kentucky faced the #103 toughest schedule with an opp W/L % of 45.9% facing 4 teams with winning records but took on my #57 schedule facing 6-6 Louisville, 6-6 Georgia, 4-8 Mississippi and 6-6 Tennessee that were all better than their records indicate.
Of the 70 bowl teams, Washington faced the toughest schedule, playing 8 teams with 6-6 records or above and the PAC-10 has a whole had the top 4 toughest schedules and 7 in the top 10 which goes to show their strength in playing 9 conference games and usually scheduling difficult games in non-conference play. Wisconsin had the easiest schedule for BCS teams coming in at #88. Despite playing in the Big Ten, the Badgers faced just five bowl teams and their non-conference schedule consisted of Austin Peay (FBS), UNLV, San Jose St and Arizona St.
When looking at the bowl match-ups, one of my considerations in picking who will win the game is taking a look at the schedule strength each opponent has faced and I look for the biggest discrepancies between the two teams.
Here are the Top 10 differences between schedule strength for the 2008 bowl games. (Schedule Strength)
1. St. Petersburg Bowl: USF (58) vs Memphis (117) Schedule Difference: 59 Final: USF 41-14 Win
2. Papajohns.com Bowl: NC St (16) vs Rutgers (66) Schedule Difference: 50 Final: Rutgers 29-28 Loss
3. Insight Bowl: Kansas (18) vs Minnesota (65) Schedule Difference: 47 Final: Kansas 42-21 Win
4. Outback Bowl: South Carolina (10) vs Iowa (51) Schedule Difference: 41 Final: Iowa 31-17 Loss
5. Rose Bowl: USC (24) vs Penn St (64) Schedule Difference: 40 Final: USC 38-24 Win
6. International Bowl: Connecticut (48) vs Buffalo (87) Schedule Difference: 39 Final: UConn 38-20 Win
7. Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt (14) vs Boston College (52) Schedule Difference: 38 Final: Vandy 16-14 Win
7. Alamo Bowl: Missouri (32) vs Northwestern (70) Schedule Difference: 38 Final: Missouri 30-23 OT Win
7. Eagle Bank Bowl: Wake Forest (43) vs Navy (81) Schedule Difference: 38 Final: Wake Forest 29-19 Win
10. Sugar Bowl: Alabama (40) vs Utah (76) Schedule Difference: 36 Final: Utah 31-17 Loss
As expected the team that played the tougher schedule went 7-3. The largest difference was the St. Petersburg Bowl which saw USF dominate Memphis 41-14. NC St who had faced the #16 schedule played well despite the 29-28 loss to Rutgers who had the #66 ranked schedule. Kansas who had a much tougher schedule than Minnesota won convincingly 42-21. The Rose Bowl had USC with the largest difference in schedule strength among BCS matchups crush Penn St 38-24 after racing out to a 31-7 halftime lead. Vanderbilt who played a much tougher schedule than Boston College got the upset. Despite the large difference in schedule strength, Alabama lost to Utah 31-17 as the Tide did not give their best effort after having their national title hopes evaporate in the loss to Florida in the SEC championship games.
Here are the Top 10 differences between schedule strength for the 2009 bowl games. (Schedule Strength)
1. Eagle Bank Bowl: UCLA (17) vs Temple (115) Schedule Difference: 97 Final: UCLA 30-21 Win
2. Outback Bowl: Auburn (8) vs Northwestern (100) Schedule Difference: 92 Final: Auburn 38-35 OT Win
3. Insight Bowl: Minnesota (11) vs Iowa St (73) Schedule Difference: 62 Final: Iowa St 14-13 Loss
4. Poinsettia Bowl: California (30) vs Utah (90) Schedule Difference: 60 Final: Utah 37-27 Loss
5. Liberty Bowl: Arkansas (6) vs East Carolina (61) Schedule Difference: 55 Final: Arkansas 20-17 OT Win
5. Rose Bowl: Oregon (9) vs Ohio St (64) Schedule Difference: 55 Final: Ohio St 26-17 Loss
7. Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon St (36) vs BYU (87) Schedule Difference: 51 Final: BYU 44-20 Loss
8. International Bowl: USF (68) vs N Illinois (117) Schedule Difference: 49 Final: USF 27-3 Win
9. Emerald Bowl: USC (17) vs Boston College (65) Schedule Difference: 48 Final: USC 24-13 Win
9. Little Ceasar’s Pizza Bowl: Marshall (66) vs Ohio (114) Schedule Difference: 48 Final: Marshall 21-17 Win
As expected the team that played the tougher schedule went 6-4. The largest difference was the Eagle Bank Bowl which saw UCLA win 30-21 and next in line was Auburn beating Northwestern 38-35.
Here are the Top 10 differences between schedule strength for the 2010 bowl games. (Schedule Strength)
1. Liberty Bowl: Georgia (43) vs UCF (114) Schedule Difference: 71
2. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (18) vs Connecticut (78) Schedule Difference: 60
3. New Mexico Bowl: BYU (61) vs UTEP (117) Schedule Difference: 56
4. Orange Bowl: Stanford (10) vs Virginia Tech (64) Schedule Difference: 54
5. Holiday Bowl: Washington (3) vs Nebraska (50) Schedule Difference: 47
6. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College (54) vs Nevada (97) Schedule Difference: 43
6. Armed Forces Bowl: SMU (69) vs Army (112) Schedule Difference: 43
8. Sugar Bowl: Arkansas (29) vs Ohio St (71) Schedule Difference: 42
9. BCs National Championship: Auburn (12) vs Oregon (53) Schedule Difference: 41
10. Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno St (80) vs Northern Illinois (119) Schedule Difference: 39
This year we will again have a “Bowl Confidence Contest” and I hope there will be many more participants! Like the last couple of years I will update two categories after each bowl game. The first category is total points. If you picked a team and they won their bowl you receive the points that you risked. Sometimes the early leaders are the ones that risked the most on the early bowls and they fall by the wayside as the contest goes on. Sometimes the early leaders in this category will remain at the top through it all it all. I will also keep track of those that have the best win percentage of their points. The morning after each bowl game I will list the current leaders in two categories on the website. Like last year we will have great prizes with 1st place getting $250 and a set of 2011 magazines!! 2nd place receives $100 and a set of magazines and 3rd place $50 and a set of magazines!!
You can enter the contest by simply clicking here. To enter, just go to the sign up page and log in your information. Then after that go to your picksheet page and simply pick who you think will win each of the 35 bowl games. You then award your confidence points to each. The team you think will definitely win their game would get 35 points and the team who you picked at the bottom which was very tough for you to call would get 1 point. For each team that wins their bowl game that you picked correctly, you get the confidence points you assigned to them. Those with the highest points are the winners. The first bowl game takes place on December 18th at 2:00 PM EST and Good Luck!!
One Bowl Entry Per Person Please!! For more contest rules click here and if you have any questions or concerns please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also make sure to check PhilSteele.com everyday for complete information and coverage on all the bowl matchups. Later this week on the homepage click on the Bowl Matchups link, where you will find all 35 bowl games. Click on the bowl logo for each game to get all the information you need to become an expert! Start doing your homework now and get your 35 bowl predictions done.