Strength of schedule is by far one of our favorite topics to discuss here at HLS. With conference’s becoming more insular in their scheduling, the need to trumpet the gauntlet of a schedule that Notre Dame plays in becomes incredibly important to break the conference narrative.
Enter Brian Freamau, member of the advanced statistics site, Football Outsiders, who came up with the efficiency rating, FEI, that is an essential competent of the F/+ rating, which is another favorite of ours to use (and has been in every opponent preview this season). As a part of the FEI rating, Brian has calculated his own strength of schedule rating on his personal site, BCF Toys.
But that’s a hell of a lot of sports math on a single page right? And truthfully, data visualization is so crucial to make such huge tables of data easily digestible. Well, thanks to his friends at Chartball.com, Brian has managed to do just that. Behold the SOS of all of college football:
And the SOS for ND:
Here’s a better look at the ND SOS when the chart is organized by FEI rank:
How about the SOS for each conference?
And that view just might be my favorite.
We always hear how the SEC has the toughest schedules in all of college football. In fact, we heard this ad nauseum when Notre Dame was about to take on Alabama in the championship game two seasons ago. However, that big gray dot in the “others” section shows Notre Dame with schedule that is right in the thick of it when compared to the SEC. Hilariously enough, Alabama has the weakest SEC schedule.
Even more interesting to me is how the Pac-12 stacks right up there with the SEC. In fact, their schedules are collectively tougher on average than the SEC. With Oregon and Stanford holding down the fort with consistently great seasons, teams like UCLA and Arizona State on the rise, and the persistent threat that is Southern Cal, this really shouldn’t be a surprise to us.
Also not surprising: the B1G having the worst SOS out of the “power 5” conferences. That dot all the way to the left side of shame? That’s Iowa.
Other fun notes:
- Utah just edges out Auburn for top SOS pre-season
- The worst SOS by quite a bit: Marshall
- That huge outlying dot on the left side of shame in the Big XII? Oklahoma.
- The two teams taking it easy this season in the ACC: Duke and Pitt.
I’ve asked Brian if this will be updated throughout the season and he stated it will update along with his weekly FEI ratings (which in turn give him new SOS ratings). I can’t wait to play with this all season and see how this chart moves throughout 2014, especially when the playoff debate heats up.
Be sure to head over to BCF Toys and give it a spin. It’s a great waste of time.
Texan by birth, Irish by choice.
Born and raised in the great state of Texas, Tex is a first-generation Domer and a former student manager. After graduation, he left the cold winters of South Bend behind and returned back to his home state with a computer engineering degree in tow. Missing the daily grind of working football practices and talking football with fellow Irish fans every day, he took to blogging, a path which eventually led him to Her Loyal Sons. Continuously diving into stats and game film, Tex strives to break down every aspect of Fighting Irish football--even though it's determined to kill him.
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