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 2010 College Football OOC

Five years ago the college football regular season expanded to 12 games. Since then, I have monitored the out-of-conference games played by the BCS conference teams.

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 2010 schedule has 259 OOC games

The Basic Facts
Fact 1: Of the 259 OOC games, better than one-fifth (22.4%) are against nonD1 opponents and slightly more than one-third (33.4%) are against BCS teams

Fact 2: 56 of 66 (84.8%) play at least one game against a nonD1 opponent, including two playing two games (Virginia and Arizona State).

Fact 3: 10 of 66 (15.2%) play a full D1 OOC: Cheers to Colorado, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas, UCLA, USC, Washington, and Vanderbilt (even though schedule quality is a different question)

Fact 4: Using the 2010 averages (orange) as a baseline, Big 12 clearly has the highest rating of D1 games and the ACC the lowest; the other conferences cluster around the average.

Fact 5: Six teams fail to play any BCS Conferences opponents in their OOC. Shame to Baylor, Indiana, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, and Va. Tech.

Below are the numbers for yourself. What about the five-year trends? Well, that’s tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

On College Football Problems

No doubt about it, college football is a great game. Yet, whether scheduling of out-of-conference games (OOC), bias in the polls, or no legitimate national champion, the game has its share of issues. Let us keep in mind that dollars are at the center of many debates. With this post, I’m taking an honest stand that will be unpopular with many fans – then again, that’s what I expect.

Let’s start is the ACC, Big 12, and SEC. These are the 12-team BCS conferences whose fans will be excited this weekend with their conference championship game. Wait a minute – why is there a conference championship game? Sure some fans will say because they have 2 divisions. I say what a bunch of crap! This extra game is all about revenue: revenue for the conference, revenue for the host city, revenue for the network, and possibly revenue for the participating schools. Why not play everyone and only 1 OOC game? Why have a conference if all teams don’t play each other? Oh, that’s right – revenue!

So how about the Big Can’t Count, most commonly known as the Big 10? Here’s a group of power elitists who not only forego a conference championship game by passing on a 12th team, each team doesn’t play 2 conference teams. Why not? Oh, that’s right. Playing more conference games would mean less home games – yep, less revenue.

Let us not forget about the BCS ugly stepsister, also known as the Big East. Given a 12-game schedule and an 8-team league, at least these schools play everyone in a season, but 5 OOC games is too many. Sure it is easy to say “expand by 2 teams” (and I wish they would), but pickings are slim (Temple, Army, and Navy) unless there was a major conference reshuffling – but that won’t happen because a conference would lose it’s title game.

So that leaves the PAC-10 – a 10-team conference without a conference title game, but where all teams face each other while playing 3 OOC games. (Interestingly, as a conference, they play the best OOC schedule). In my opinion, at least they serve as a model of what should be.

After next weekend’s games, the committees will announce pairings for all the bowls – and I can guarantee these things:

  • Elitist fans will demean the existence of the nonBCS schools, and the Big East representative.
  • Many fans will complain about the BCS format and call for a playoff.
  • Fans will forget that the conference title game is one of the extra games working against a playoff.

I can also guarantee that money is the root of the entire situation – including the money made by the conference title game. Bowl committees pick (or don’t pick) teams based on a business decision. The BCS lock-in system exists as a business decision. Meanwhile, as the upper division of college football continues to be the only major sport enterprise without a true champion, my hope of a playoff format continues to be nowhere in sight.

On CFB Week 1 OOC

College football’s opening week stretches over the next five days. Although a few teams face conference competition to open the college football season, most start with an out-of-conference (OOC) opponent. Despite 21.7% of BCS team’s OOC are against nonD1 teams and only 35.3% of BCS’s team’s OOC pair BCS teams against each other (source), and 69% of BCS teams OOC are at home (source), there are some interesting OOC matchups in Week 1. Here are ten OOC games that pique my interest.

  • Alabama v. Va. Tech (Atlanta)
  • BYU v. Oklahoma (Arlington)
  • Central Michigan @ Arizona
  • Georgia @ Oklahoma State
  • Maryland @ Cal
  • Mississippi @ Memphis
  • Missouri v. Illinois (St. Louis)
  • Navy @ Ohio State
  • Oregon @ Boise St.
  • South Carolina @ NC State

As a MAC grad I wonder how many games MAC teams will win this weekend? Which team will have the biggest win?

  • Akron @ Penn State
  • North Texas @ Ball State
  • Troy @ Bowling Green
  • Buffalo @ UTEP
  • Central Michigan @ Arizona
  • Army @ Eastern Michigan
  • Coastal Carolina @ Kent State
  • Miami v. Kentucky (Cincinnati)
  • Northern Illinois @ Wisconsin
  • UConn @ Ohio U
  • Villanova @ Temple
  • Toledo @ Purdue
  • Western Michigan @ Michigan

On College Football Trivia: More All-Time

Last week I had a dozen questions about college football’s all-time winning teams. This time let’s take a peak at other all-time team records with a baker’s dozen. Caution – these are tough.  Answers are below the video of Cheer Cincinnati, the UC fight song. Actually, it’s not my favorite of the UC spirit songs. Let us know how you did or what you thought.

Multiple Choice Questions
1 – Excluding South Florida, which member of a BCS conference has won the fewest games? Indiana, Kansas State, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest

2- Michigan, Navy, Nebraska, Penn State, Syracuse, and Virginia have played the most games. Which school has played the most?

3 – Which school with “State” in their name has won the most games? Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State

4 – Which school has lost the most games? Indiana, Iowa State, Northwestern, Tulane, Wake Forest

5 – Which school has the most ties? Georgia, Navy, NC State, Ohio State, TCU

6 – Which school has scored the most points? Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, USC

7 – Which school has allowed the most points? Colorado State, Indiana, Northwestern, Rutgers, Tulane

9 – Which school has the greatest points scored-points allowed differential? (Absolute value: thus positive or negative): Northwester, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, USC

10 – Michigan has won the most games, but which of the following have the highest winning percentage? Boise, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma South Florida

11 – If its school were added together, which of the 50 states has won the most games? Here’s the top 5: California, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas

12 – Better yet, try arranging the states in #10 in order. OK, here’s a hint. The last one listed was the answer to the previous question.

13 – Here’s one on the same line. Since states have a different number of football-playing schools, these 3 states have the highest number of wins to schools ratio: Alabama, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Which has the best ratio?

Answers
1 – Excluding South Florida, which member of a BCS conference has won the fewest games? Indiana, Kansas State, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest – Answer:  Wake Forest (406). Actually 32 fewer than Louisville, who has 1 less win than Indiana but played 211 fewer games.

2- Michigan, Navy, Nebraska, Penn State, Syracuse, and Virginia have played the most games. Which school has played the most?  Answer: Michigan (1207) has played 1 more than Navy.

3 – Which school with “State” in their name has won the most games? Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State – Answer: Ohio State (808) has won 1 more game than Penn State

4 – Which school has lost the most games? Indiana, Iowa State, Northwestern, Tulane, Wake Forest – Answer: Northwestern (614) is the leading loser followed by Indiana (603)

5 – Which school has the most ties? Georgia, Navy, Kansas, Ohio State, TCU – Answer: Tough question, but Kansas (58) with one more tie than Navy and TCU

6 – Which school has scored the most points? Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, USC – Answer: It’s not team with the most wins (Michigan) who would be second (+11 over Nebraska), but the answer is Oklahoma (30493), that’s 807 more points over 66 fewer games

7 – Which school has allowed the most points? Kansas State, Indiana, Northwestern, Rutgers, New Mexico State – Answer: Northwestern (22714) followed by New Mexico State (21819). Interestingly, the Aggies have played 134 fewer games.

9 – Which school has the greatest points scored-points allowed differential? (Absolute value: thus positive or negative): Northwestern, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, USC – Answer: Michigan has the greatest scoring differential (16451) followed by Oklahoma (16225) – a wider margin than the widest negative differential (Northwestern’s -5229).

10 – Michigan has won the most games, but which of the following have the highest winning percentage? Boise, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma South Florida – Answer: It’s still Michigan (.738) followed by Notre Dame (.736)

11 – If its school were added together, which of the 50 states has won the most games? Here’s the top 5: California, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas – Answer: Texas (5113) following by Ohio (4229)

12 – Better yet, try arranging the states in #10 in order. OK, here’s a hint. The last one listed was the answer to the previous question. Answer: Texas, Ohio, California, Michigan, Lousiana

13 – Here’s one on the same line. Since states have a different number of football-playing schools, these 3 states have the highest number of wins to schools ratio: Alabama, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Which has the best ratio? Answer: Alabama (Alabama, Auburn, & Troy) has 2054 wins averaging 684.67 wins per school – which is better than second place Pennsylvania’s (Penn State, Pitt, & Temple) 617.33 wins per school, just bettering Oklahoma’s (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, & Tulsa) 616 wins per school.

Source: College Football Warehouse