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Analyzing the 2011 B1G schedule, both OOC and IC

[Ed note--We're talking schedules anyway, and this is a well done look at schedule strength.  And I love graphs and charts--Ted]

The Season is almost here … thank goodness.  According to my formulas (developed by whosewhatzits and magic, /sarc) I have ranked the B1G schedules for the 2011 season (I have all of the other conferences as well if any cares).  My formula actually is formulaic by conference strength (which is a combination of record and OOC) and takes into account road and neutral games versus home games. Then, those schools are ranked 1 through 120 and a based on where a school falls within that 120 a positive, neutral or negative would be added to the win total.

Now these rankings are based off of last year’s records which obviously will not duplicate themselves this year, but it is the most recent data we have to go on. This does not reflect any graduations, injuries, etc. for this season. It only forecasts what the schedules look like in comparison to last years records.

Anyway, enough rambling, and onto the rankings. First off will be the out of conference (OOC) based on road/home opponents (in order of difficulty):

Wisconsin

0.367

@Northern Illinois, Ore St, UNLV, South Dakota

Michigan

0.106

Notre Dame, San Diego St, West Mich, East Mich

Ohio St

-0.048

@Miami FL, Toledo, Colorado, Akron

Purdue

-0.083

Notre Dame, Mid Tenn St, @Rice, SE Missouri St

Minnesota

-0.188

@USC, Miami OH, New Mex St, ND State

Penn St

-0.225

@Temple, Alabama, East Mich, Indiana St

Nebraska

-0.247

@Wyoming, Fresno St, Washington, Chattanooga

Iowa

-0.312

@Iowa St, Pitt, LA_Monroe, Tenn Tech

Michigan St

-0.339

@Notre Dame, FAU, Cent Mich, Youngstown St

Indiana

-0.389

v Ball St, @North Texas, Virginia, SC State

Illinois

-0.489

West Mich, Ark St, AZ St, SD State

Northwestern

-0.556

@Boston College, @Army, Rice, E Illinois

 

Even with the FCS game, Wisconsin ekes out the top spot, mainly because they are playing a road game at the top MAC school from last season. Michigan and Ohio St finish fairly high due to the lack of FCS opponents. Even though Northwestern has two road games, the combination of a terrible FCS school and Rice really hurts the total. Overall, the B1G ended up with second easiest OOC schedule with (-0.262 average). And yes, you got it, the Esss Eeee Seee, finishing with the easiest, -0.416. In fact, only the Sun Belt, WAC and CUSA finished with positive scores for OOC scheduling.


As for the B1G in-conference (IC) schedule, they finished like this:

Indiana

1.332

Nebraska

1.202

Penn St

1.064

Minnesota

1.027

Michigan St

1.011

Purdue

0.974

Michigan

0.956

Ohio St

0.954

Wisconsin

0.850

Northwestern

0.783

Illinois

0.570

Iowa

0.400

 

Typically, one would expect to see the worst teams from the previous season on top and best teams at the bottom, but there are definitely a few outliers here. Nebraska gets hosed quite a bit with roadies at Wisconsin and Penn St and home games against Ohio St, Mich St, and Iowa. They get to play the top 5 teams from last year.  Welcome to the club boys! Indiana also has the worst road schedule this season, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio St and Mich St. Good luck Hoosiers, you are definitely going to need it.

Iowa is the outlier on the other end of the stick, playing the worst 5 schools from last season. Toughest roadie is at Nebraska and/or Penn St, and they miss Ohio St and Wisconsin this year while getting Mich St at home. If Ohio St stumbles this year, Illinois could benefit since they have one tough roadie, Penn St and miss both Mich St and Nebraska this year.

Combining the OOC and IC gets this result for road and neutral versus home games:

Michigan

1.062

Nebraska

0.955

Indiana

0.943

Ohio St

0.906

Purdue

0.891

Minnesota

0.839

Penn St

0.838

Michigan St

0.672

Wisconsin

0.483

Northwestern

0.227

Iowa

0.089

Illinois

0.080

 

So talk of Michigan getting to eight/nine wins means they will have earned it. And if Ohio St has any ramifications from the suspensions, the schedule isn’t overly kind either. Iowa looks like they could rebound nicely and Northwestern has a good chance to move up a notch or two as well.

At this point the factors above would be added or subtracted from each team’s win total and a full re-ranking of all 120 teams would occur. I haven’t re-ranked all 120 teams for this season yet, because there aren’t any results to calculate of course. But we can use last year’s final post bowl rankings as a reference point. The final total would look like this for toughest SOS for 2012:

Michigan

0.63

17

Minnesota

0.31

30

Nebraska

0.27

32

Ohio St

0.21

36T

Penn St

0.15

40

Purdue

-0.01

45

Wisconsin

-0.12

49

Michigan St

-0.15

50

Indiana

-0.28

56

Illinois

-0.60

69

Iowa

-0.63

71T

Northwestern

-0.71

75T

 

The column on the right is the final ranking 1-120. Clemson finished #1 overall at 1.51 and Notre Dame was #4 at 1.28. It should be interesting to see how the Domers do this year as their schedule looks tougher than in years past, 10 FBS schools (only Air Force and Navy are not) with 6 road games, Stanford, Maryland, Pitt and Michigan are the tough ones. Again, the final rankings are a bit skewed right now due to some of the movement of schools from one conference to another (or independent in BYU’s case). This will gain some more traction as the season progresses.

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