The truth about Strength of Schedule in College Football.
It seems like every day I notice fans arguing before the season starts about who has the toughest strength of schedule. I have said this on the show before...none of it matters until the entire season has been played. This is the only way to know if your team played a tough schedule...or a schedule of cupcakes. The only thing you can really bash a schedule for in the preseason is if a team schedules small schools from conferences like the Southern/Big South Etc.If you are in a power 5 conference you can't help who your conference opponents are. You also can't help who your rotational opponents are.The trick is to wait until the end of the season and see where it all shakes out.I write this because I have seen a lot of gamecock fans running mouths about the Clemson schedule for next season. These same fans are under the illusion that they played a tough schedule last season.
Look at the South Carolina schedule from last season. The gamecocks at the beginning of the season looked to have a tough schedule. They had games on the road at Tennessee as well as Clemson and at Texas A&M and Georgia. The home schedule included a game with Florida. The AP Poll had Clemson ranked 5th,Georgia 15th,Florida 17th and Tennessee 25th in week 1. That looks like a tough schedule! Then...as my podcast hero Bruce Prichard would say...the bell rang.Here is how the opponents on the gamecock conference schedule finished up the season.
First the bad...
Florida ended the season 4-7 overall 3-5 in conference play..they fired their coach.
Tennessee finished 4-8 overall and did not win a conference game....they fired their coach.
Texas A&M finished 7-6 overall 4-4 in conference play...they fired their coach.
Arkansas finished 4-8 overall 1-7 in conference play....they fired their coach.
The gamecocks picked up 3 wins from these teams who by the time they got to the gamecocks pretty much knew the season was shot.
Now for the good.
Georgia finished 13-2 overall 7-1 in conference play.
Outside of Conference play the gamecocks got a good win over NC State the wolfpack finished 9-4 overall and 6-2 in ACC play. They lost the rivalry game to Clemson for the 4th straight season 34-10.
The Tigers finished the year 12-2 overall 7-1 in conference play.
This is 2 of the gamecocks losses on the season.
The gamecocks also picked up wins over LA Tech who finished 7-6 overall and 4-4 in Conference USA.
The gamecocks other wins on the season came over Vandy <5-7 1-7> Mizzou <7-6 4-4> Wofford <FCS>
They also lost to Kentucky at home.
The final win is over Michigan in the Outback bowl.
It wraps up like this...2 good wins? Michigan and NC State.
2 losses that were blowouts to teams that the gamecocks were completely overmatched.
1 loss to Texas A&M who had more depth and pulled away late.
1 loss to Kentucky who is once again going for the thumb this season.
1 win over Wofford an FCS School.
1 win over Vandy...who won just 1 conference game.
1 win over a mid tier Conference USA team.
1 win over Mizzou.
3 wins over dumpster fires that changed coaches.
Those 9 wins look paper thin to me.
Once you break it down like that..it makes you wonder how gamecock fans can run mouths about schedules.
The trick is to look as the season ends. https://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/ranking/schedule-strength-by-other has the SOS at the end of the year.
Here is the rundown since 2014
Clemson is 29th
South Carolina is 30th
Clemson is 4th
South Carolina is 41st
Clemson is 3rd
South Carolina is 59th
Clemson is 4th
South Carolina is 48th
With all of this said..I think both schools should move away from scheduling teams like LA Tech and Georgia Southern. Why should athletic programs pay for these teams to come in...take a beating and leave? I have a better idea...
If you are in the power 5 and you play a 12 game schedule. It should break down like this.
8 games against teams in conference.
1 game against an in state opponent. This will be for teams like Coastal Carolina/Wofford etc.
3 games against other power 5 conference teams.
This would force schools to schedule tougher games.
Finally...let teams schedule a spring game against another team. These games will be exhibitions. Think about it...would you not go to a spring game if you were actually playing a team from another school?
Am I crazy? Tweet me @robsoundsgood or find me on facebook.