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

By Kevin Kelley -
Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State had one of the toughest schedules in 2013. (Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

RANK TEAM WINS LOSSES WIN%
1 Mississippi State 111 57 .661
2 Florida 97 55 .638
3 California 99 57 .635
4 Purdue 98 57 .632
5 Texas A&M 108 63 .632
6 Georgia 105 62 .629
7 USF 96 57 .627
8 Kentucky 95 57 .625
9 Virginia 97 59 .622
10 Arkansas 96 59 .619
11 Arizona State 112 70 .615
11 Colorado 96 60 .615
13 Tennessee 94 59 .614
14 Pittsburgh 103 66 .609
15 Utah 96 62 .608
16 Auburn 109 71 .606
17 Stanford 110 72 .604
18 NC State 93 61 .604
19 Georgia State 91 60 .603
20 TCU 92 61 .601
21 South Carolina 101 67 .601
22 Indiana 93 63 .596
23 Idaho 91 62 .595
24 Michigan 98 67 .594
25 North Carolina 99 68 .593
26 Washington State 101 70 .591
27 Missouri 104 73 .588
28 Mississippi 98 69 .587
29 Virginia Tech 99 70 .586
30 Toledo 91 65 .583
30 Tulsa 91 65 .583
32 Wake Forest 89 64 .582
33 Arizona 96 70 .578
34 Clemson 96 71 .575
35 Northwestern 89 66 .574
36 Nevada 88 66 .571
37 Notre Dame 97 73 .571
38 Houston 94 71 .570
39 Iowa 95 72 .569
40 Kansas State 94 72 .566
41 Illinois 86 66 .566
41 Memphis 86 66 .566
43 Oregon State 96 74 .565
44 Iowa State 85 66 .563
45 Hawaii 87 68 .561
46 Kansas 85 67 .559
47 Akron 85 68 .556
47 Baylor 90 72 .556
49 Oklahoma State 91 73 .555
49 Texas 91 73 .555
51 Connecticut 86 69 .555
51 San Jose State 86 69 .555
53 FIU 84 68 .553
53 Kent State 84 68 .553
53 UAB 84 68 .553
56 UMass 85 69 .552
57 UCLA 92 75 .551
58 Syracuse 90 74 .549
59 Alabama 91 75 .548
60 USC 99 82 .547
61 Eastern Michigan 83 69 .546
61 Temple 83 69 .546
63 Boston College 90 75 .545
64 Georgia Tech 91 76 .545
64 Washington 91 76 .545
66 Minnesota 89 75 .543
67 Oklahoma 88 75 .540
68 Tulane 87 75 .537
69 Florida State 96 83 .536
70 BYU 89 77 .536
71 LSU 88 78 .530
72 West Virginia 80 71 .530
72 Western Michigan 80 71 .530
74 Texas Tech 86 77 .528
75 Penn State 80 72 .526
76 Duke 93 84 .525
77 Nebraska 86 79 .521
78 Wisconsin 85 79 .518
79 FCS 727 679 .517
80 ULM 77 72 .517
81 New Mexico State 78 73 .517
82 Ohio State 90 86 .511
83 South Alabama 76 73 .510
84 Miami (FL) 84 81 .509
85 Michigan State 90 87 .508
86 Southern Miss 76 75 .503
87 Air Force 77 76 .503
88 Arkansas State 81 80 .503
89 San Diego State 83 82 .503
90 Maryland 82 82 .500
90 Miami (OH) 76 76 .500
90 Rutgers 81 81 .500
93 Boise State 82 83 .497
94 New Mexico 76 77 .497
94 UTSA 76 77 .497
96 Utah State 88 90 .494
97 Navy 79 82 .491
98 Oregon 80 84 .488
99 SMU 73 77 .487
100 UNLV 79 84 .485
101 Florida Atlantic 74 80 .481
102 Troy 71 79 .473
103 Central Florida 76 85 .472
104 Ohio 77 87 .470
105 UTEP 71 81 .467
106 North Texas 75 89 .457
107 Vanderbilt 74 89 .454
108 Rice 79 96 .451
109 Fresno State 74 90 .451
110 Western Kentucky 65 82 .442
111 Marshall 77 98 .440
112 Buffalo 71 91 .438
113 Central Michigan 67 86 .438
114 Northern Illinois 77 99 .438
115 Army 65 84 .436
116 East Carolina 71 92 .436
117 Texas State 64 83 .435
118 UL Lafayette 69 90 .434
119 Louisville 70 92 .432
120 Wyoming 65 86 .430
121 Middle Tennessee 70 93 .429
122 Bowling Green 74 100 .425
123 Colorado State 70 103 .405
124 Ball State 64 95 .403
125 Cincinnati 59 101 .369
126 Louisiana Tech 54 94 .365
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Categories: NCAA, Strength of Schedule

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

  1. Ben Wiles said....

    Maybe they removed FCS games from opponents’ records too?

    May 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm
    • John in Fraser CO said....

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

      May 3, 2014 at 11:19 am
  2. Kevin Kelley said....

    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.

    May 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm
  3. Woodman said....

    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.

    May 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm
  4. bradleysmith1212 said....

    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.

    May 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm
  5. bradleysmith1212 said....

    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.

    May 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm
  6. Ricky W said....

    “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.

    May 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

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