Final 2013 NCAA Strength of Schedule Rankings Don’t Add Up

By Kevin Kelley -

Strength of schedule has been a big topic in college football since the playoff was announced. But it really heated up on Sunday when the SEC announced their revised scheduling format.

To aid in the discussion, fans, writers and even the schools have been referencing the final strength of schedule rankings of their team for the 2013 season.

The source of that information comes from the NCAA’s own website, and the Top 35 was tweeted in a graphic Sunday night by the SEC Communications Director.

But a closer look at those numbers has revealed that they don’t add up. Tennessee is listed as number one by the NCAA with their past opposition having a record of 79-42. But the actual number is 94-59, which places them 13th.

Auburn, ranked 2nd, is listed as having opposition with a 94-50 record, but it’s really 109-71, placing them 16th.

So what is the discrepancy? It’s not clear to me. Tennessee is missing 15 wins and 17 losses from their totals. If the NCAA method is omitting FCS games, then 12 losses are accounted for because Austin Peay went 0-12.

That still leaves 15 wins and 5 losses unaccounted for. Conference championship games and bowl games may not be included, but that still isn’t enough.

Can anyone figure this out? While we crowd source, here are what we believe to be the most accurate NCAA method strength of schedule rankings courtesy of KPIsports.net.

Update (2pm ET)

The Playoff Guru has solved the issue here. The information on the NCAA’s site does not include records of teams played that are FCS or that are FBS Transitional. Last season, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Old Dominion were classified as FBS transitional teams.

Also, conference championship games are included, but not bowl games.

RANKTEAMWINSLOSSESWIN%
1Mississippi State11157.661
2Florida9755.638
3California9957.635
4Purdue9857.632
5Texas A&M10863.632
6Georgia10562.629
7USF9657.627
8Kentucky9557.625
9Virginia9759.622
10Arkansas9659.619
11Arizona State11270.615
11Colorado9660.615
13Tennessee9459.614
14Pittsburgh10366.609
15Utah9662.608
16Auburn10971.606
17Stanford11072.604
18NC State9361.604
19Georgia State9160.603
20TCU9261.601
21South Carolina10167.601
22Indiana9363.596
23Idaho9162.595
24Michigan9867.594
25North Carolina9968.593
26Washington State10170.591
27Missouri10473.588
28Mississippi9869.587
29Virginia Tech9970.586
30Toledo9165.583
30Tulsa9165.583
32Wake Forest8964.582
33Arizona9670.578
34Clemson9671.575
35Northwestern8966.574
36Nevada8866.571
37Notre Dame9773.571
38Houston9471.570
39Iowa9572.569
40Kansas State9472.566
41Illinois8666.566
41Memphis8666.566
43Oregon State9674.565
44Iowa State8566.563
45Hawaii8768.561
46Kansas8567.559
47Akron8568.556
47Baylor9072.556
49Oklahoma State9173.555
49Texas9173.555
51Connecticut8669.555
51San Jose State8669.555
53FIU8468.553
53Kent State8468.553
53UAB8468.553
56UMass8569.552
57UCLA9275.551
58Syracuse9074.549
59Alabama9175.548
60USC9982.547
61Eastern Michigan8369.546
61Temple8369.546
63Boston College9075.545
64Georgia Tech9176.545
64Washington9176.545
66Minnesota8975.543
67Oklahoma8875.540
68Tulane8775.537
69Florida State9683.536
70BYU8977.536
71LSU8878.530
72West Virginia8071.530
72Western Michigan8071.530
74Texas Tech8677.528
75Penn State8072.526
76Duke9384.525
77Nebraska8679.521
78Wisconsin8579.518
79FCS727679.517
80ULM7772.517
81New Mexico State7873.517
82Ohio State9086.511
83South Alabama7673.510
84Miami (FL)8481.509
85Michigan State9087.508
86Southern Miss7675.503
87Air Force7776.503
88Arkansas State8180.503
89San Diego State8382.503
90Maryland8282.500
90Miami (OH)7676.500
90Rutgers8181.500
93Boise State8283.497
94New Mexico7677.497
94UTSA7677.497
96Utah State8890.494
97Navy7982.491
98Oregon8084.488
99SMU7377.487
100UNLV7984.485
101Florida Atlantic7480.481
102Troy7179.473
103Central Florida7685.472
104Ohio7787.470
105UTEP7181.467
106North Texas7589.457
107Vanderbilt7489.454
108Rice7996.451
109Fresno State7490.451
110Western Kentucky6582.442
111Marshall7798.440
112Buffalo7191.438
113Central Michigan6786.438
114Northern Illinois7799.438
115Army6584.436
116East Carolina7192.436
117Texas State6483.435
118UL Lafayette6990.434
119Louisville7092.432
120Wyoming6586.430
121Middle Tennessee7093.429
122Bowling Green74100.425
123Colorado State70103.405
124Ball State6495.403
125Cincinnati59101.369
126Louisiana Tech5494.365

Comments (7)

It is all malarky when you have Alabama and our “national Chmpion” FSU beating up on FCS schools in November!!

The Playoff Guru has solved the issue here. The information on the NCAA’s site does not include records of teams played that are FCS or that are FBS Transitional. Last season, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Old Dominion were classified as FBS transitional teams.

Also, conference championship games are included, but not bowl games.

NCAA Strength of schedule also does not include the result of the game played against the opponent. Tennessee went 5-7(4-7 if you do not count Austin Peay) so Tennessee’s opponents went 7-4 vs them so subtract 7 victories and 4 losses. And subtract AP’s 11 other losses. 94-59 becomes 87-44. Now you are missing 8 victories and 2 losses. Is that opponents games vs lower division teams. I think so – since I am pretty sure that bowl games are included.

Ummmm, doesn’t removing FCS and FBS Transitional games unfairly strengthen a team’s schedule in virtually every instance?

For instance, Alabama had the #59 strength of schedule. Not bad, but not great. But, that #59 ranking doesn’t account for the fact that Alabama hosted both Georgia State (FBS transitional – that went 0-12 by the way) and Chattanooga (FCS, 8-4) in 2014? So, Alabama had the #59 SOS, but only if you ignore their TWO weakest cupcake opponents and pretend that the TIde played 10 games against FBS opponents? That is lame.

It’s also interesting to note that Alabama had BYE weeks before Texas A&M and LSU. And the FCS opponent before Auburn.

Another lame culprit is West Virginia. They also played Georgia State (0-12 FBS Transitional) and William & Mary (FCS). So, West Virginia’s lackluster #72 ranking was actually worse, because the strength of schedule ignores its two weakest games.

“doesn’t removing FCS and FBS Transitional games unfairly strengthen a team’s schedule in virtually every instance? ”

Indeed it does. And the value SEC SOS receives, by far, the greatest advantage of this bogus statistic.

I hope the payoff… oops…playoff committee sees through the smoke and mirrors.