This last week I was mulling the MWC out of conference schedules and I decided to delve into the murky underworld of statistics and rankings. I did not delve too far because I feared becoming a holed in troglodyte akin to the Morlocks in H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine."
I was seeking truth, I tell you...real truth, tangible truth, and what did I realize? That we all have stepped in puddles deeper than these questions. But no matter. As I set upon compiling the data I came across some interesting nuggets and some misleading numbers which just tickled me and made realize the old adage, "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics." Now on to the good stuff.
I used the Jeff Sagarin NCAAF 2013 Final ratings which go through to 6 January 2014. I also used the home field advantage rating (+3.52 points) for each away game, which only had marginal effects on the schedule difficulties. I was also curious how the MWC stacked up against the AAC, since that will likely be the conference to produce a valid competitor for the Access Bowl game (READ: BCS 2.0).
RATINGS: CURIOSITY AND QUIRKS OF AVERAGES AND MISC TIDBITS
Below are how the respective conferences stack up against each other. The left column is the Team's 2013 Sagarin Rating. The right column is the 2013 Sagarin Rating of the 2014 OOC schedule for each team. As you can see there is a lot of parity between the conferences. I was unpleasantly surprised by both conferences' weakness. HANDBAGS AT HIGH NOON!
The first thing I would like to do is show the comparative ratings between the conferences.
MWC AVG SAGARIN RATING: 94.58 | HIGHEST RATED TEAM: USU 41 | LOWEST RATED: AF 161
AAC AVG SAGARIN RATING: 91.91 | HIGHEST RATED TEAM: UCF 25 | LOWEST RATED: USF 143
HARDEST MWC AWAY GAME: WYOMING at OREGON #1
HARDEST AAC AWAY GAME: UCF at MIZZOU #2
EASIEST MWC AWAY GAME: NEW MEXICO at NMSU #176
EASIEST AAC AWAY GAME: TULANE at RUTGERS #82
HARDEST MWC HOME GAME: NEW MEXICO vs. ARIZONA STATE #19
HARDEST AAC HOME GAME: TULSA vs. OKLAHOMA #12
EASIEST MWC HOME GAME: UNLV vs. N. COLORADO #234
EASIEST AAC HOME GAME: HOUSTON vs. GRAMBLING STATE #247
The thing to note is that both conferences have some terrible games against terrible teams that will make for terrible TV or in-person viewing. Conversely, there are quite a few good games as well, but I prefer not to have the Facts of Life type of scheduling, but that is the reality we live in.
MWC AND AAC OOC SOS THE GOOD: VS #60 AND UP:
The MWC and AAC play almost the same amount of games VS #60 and above teams. The curious thing are the number of teams the AAC will play ranked #4. When I added the home field advantage, that's where they ranked. I must admit that I did not look at the dates when doing the home field advantage adjustments. And admittedly, there may be some overlap in the dates so that their schedules would really be #5 vs #4 but that is really splitting hairs at this point.
MWC AND AAC OOC SOS THE BAD: VS #120 AND BELOW:
As one can see, the MWC plays more bad teams than the AAC.
Shame on you. Games vs. Nicholls St #195, at Army #137 and demonstrating that AF isn't afraid to go into the lions den.... they play at Georgia St. #167. I understand Army is non-negotiable, but holy cow what a bad schedule.
Another thing that caught my attention was how Fresno State only had a marginal increase in difficulty when the home field advantage was factored in. At USC went from #21 to #13 and at Utah shifted up from #34 to #26. But the home schedule of Nebraska #38 really does show that FSU has a really impressive OOC schedule. The thing that dogs the er...Bulldogs, is that they play Southern Utah #171 at home, and I don't blame them for scheduling a cupcake with the strength of the other games but surely a Sun Belt team is better than an FCS school. The numbers are the numbers and the weakness of S. Utah does not help FSU's SoS.
The Warriors have a pretty solid schedule and none against teams below #100. They get UW #11, Oregon St #29, and Northern Iowa #93 at home, and RICE #62 and Colorado #66 away. I will be impressed if they win more than two of these games.
The interesting thing to note is that Wyoming is scheduled to play at Oregon and at MSU. When I took into account the increased difficulty rating for each away game, I noticed that Wyoming's schedule only went from a 51.25 difficulty to a 50.00 difficulty. Oregon went from #2 to #1 and MSU went from #6 to #2. Wyoming's other game are home games vs Montana (FCS) #110 and FAU #87. So the difficulty was equalized by their really weak home schedule.
Plays a really impressive schedule overall. At Baylor #4, at UNT #48, vs. TAMU #22, and VS TCU #48. I will be impressed if they win more than one game in their OOC games.
They only have 3 OOC games in 2014 and they are against solid teams; vs. Penn State #52, at Mizzou #2, and vs BYU #35. No cupcakes here and I applaud them for it.
I tend to do my best proof reading after I hit "SEND"...so if I have made a mistake or overlooked anything, which I am sure I have, please let me know so I can right the wrong.