On College Football Scheduling Trends

I started tracking out-of-conferences games of BCS conference teams five years ago when the NCAA expanded the regular season to 12 games. The statistics show the following:

  • Number of games against BCS conference teams is relatively constant.
  • Number of games played against nonD1 teams is increasing.
  • Number of games played against D1 teams is decreasing.

The table below displays cumulative statistics, while the graph below illustrates percent games against nonD1 teams yearly by conferences. Note: In 2007, the Big 12 value is the same as the SEC (thus hidden).

On College Football Scheduling Trends

I started this study 4 years ago as I wondered about two questions:
Why are the BCS schools playing Nunchaku Poly A&M? Why aren’t the BCS schools playing each other in OOC games?

Of course to answer those answers I had to first determine who was playing who; although the answer always comes down to money.

I question if 4 years is long enough to see trends and patterns, but that’s the life of the 12-game format. With that in mind, I will leave it to the readers to draw conclusions. Just one reminder, this is about scheduling, not strength of conference.


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On BSC Teams 2009 OOC

College football is in the air. The start of the season is around the corner, so fans and pundits are already barking about their favorites and why someone should or shouldn’t be #1. Of course all of us know that even the BCS Championship Game is still a mythical national championship.

In 2006 top-division college football expanded to a 12-game season. Of course the expansion is all about money, of course in what light is a debate in itself. For the fourth consecutive year, I have crunched a few numbers concerning out-of-conference (OOC) games of the 66 teams comprising the BSC conferences. The numbers are at the end of this post, and a related post tomorrow.

Some points about the study

  • Only out-of-conference (OOC) games are counted
  • It has nothing to do with determining “the better” conference nor designed to favor one conference over another
  • I classify teams as Division 1 (D1) and nonD1
  • D1 teams are subdivided into BCS and nonBSC
  • Quality of teams is not a factor; thus playing Indiana counts the same as playing Ohio State; thus equally count as a Big 10 opponent
  • The 2009 schedule has 258 OOC games

The Basic Facts
Fact 1: Of the 258 OOC games, about one-fifth are against nonD1 opponents and slightly more than one-third are against BCS teams

Fact 2: 51 of 66 (77.3%) play at least one game against a nonD1 opponent

Fact 3: 7 of 66 (10.6%) play TWO games against nonD1 opponents; SHAME to Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, NC State, Rutgers, & South Florida

Fact 4: 15 of 66 (22.7%) play a full D1 OOC: Cheers to Colorado, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Purdue, Va Tech, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State (even though schedule quality is a different question)

Fact 5: Using the 2009 average (78%) as a baseline, PAC 10 clearly has the highest percentage of D1 games; the Big 12 Big 10, and SEC cluster around the average; while the Big East and ACC have the lowest rating.

Fact 6: When examining the percentage of games against BCS teams, a shuffling occurs: The PAC 10 still has the highest, followed by the ACC and Big East … all clearly above the 35.3% average, with the Big 10 slightly below the average and the Big 12 and SEC clearly below.

The Numbers … see for yourself


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