Sports :: College Football – If You Thought SEC Was the Toughest NCAA Conference, Think Again
The facts and statistics say otherwise.
When I add up the strength of schedule for the 12 SEC teams I get an average of 30 compared to an average strength of schedule of 14 for the Pac 10. By comparison, the Big 12 played 10, the ACC and Big Ten played 7 games, the Big East 6, and the Pac 10 only 2.
Sometimes a 1AA school can beat a 1A school (like Appalachian State beating Michigan at home 34-32), not because they are necessarily better but because the 1A school did not take them seriously.. On a scale of 100 the difference is 70/100ths of 1, or close enough to not make a difference in my mind.
It is the same reason why Hawaii is unbeaten at 10-0, having defeated two 1AA schools in fattening up its impressive win record while racking up the 153rd toughest schedule against the other 119 Division 1A schools.
There is so much buzz and hype about the Southeast Conference–better known as the SEC–you would think there are no other NCAA football conferences that can compare.
Ranked 11th among Division 1A conferences is Conference USA at 58.88. Who plays the tougher schedule between the top two dogs? It is easily the Pac 10.
Knowing that the SEC is legion for scheduling Division 1AA teams in its non-conference schedule, I suspect that the SEC’s strength of schedule (the quality of its opponents) may not be as strong. Turns out that I am right.
Another interesting fact of note is this: Since the NCAA established the Division 1A and 1AA separation in 1978, only 5 Division 1A schools have not played a Division 1AA school: Washington, Southern California, UCLA, Michigan State and Notre Dame. 3, California No. 5, so 3 of Top 5 teams in strength of schedule are from the Pac 10.
Even Jeff Sagarin in his Sagarin Ratings lists the SEC as the top conference with a central mean (that is Sagarin math talk) of 79.89 with the Pacific 10–better known as the Pac 10–second at 79.19. 2, Stanford No. 1 among the 242 Division 1A and 1AA schools.
The “tough” SEC played exactly 10 Division 1AA opponents this season, more than any other conference in the country. Sagarin rates all of the 242 individual 1A and 1AA teams and then combines them among conferences to arrive at these figures.
Please, do not give me this garbage about the SEC playing the toughest schedule. 4 and Colorado No. Again 3 of the 5 teams come from the Pac 10.
For the record, Nebraska is No. Three 1AA conferences are then rated above the last 1A conference–the Sun Belt–at 58.26.
The SEC already has 7 of its 12 teams with 7 or more wins and bowl eligible by NCCA standards, and now you know one of the reasons why.
I read other factors into his mathematical formula for deciding which conference is the toughest (best) conference.
If you are wondering, the team that has played the toughest schedule during the first 12 weeks of the 2007 college football season is the Washington Huskies, and that is why they are ranked No