USC Football

College Football Playoff: SoS Not Fair to USC or Schools with Hard Schedules

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu #14 of the Oregon Ducks goes up in a vain attempt to knock down a pass intended for wide receiver Marqise Lee #9 of the USC Trojans during the  third quarter at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. USC won the game 38-35. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Michael TierneyAnalyst IJuly 3, 2012

It isn't who you played—it's who you didn't play!

Most top Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams take a big chunk of the season off by playing very lousy teams

You would be surprised how many teams do this.

It's like a heavyweight male boxer scheduling a few fights with lightweight disabled girls to pad their win-loss record.

We let CFB teams pad their schedule with lightweights and call them tough.

For instance, let's take a look at the Top-10 of ESPN's Early Top-25:

1. LSU  2. USC  3. Alabama  4. Oregon  5. Georgia  6. Oklahoma  

7. Florida State  8. West Virginia  9. Michigan  10. South Carolina

Let's look at each of these teams and check out their non-conference schedule.

Let's start with the SEC? Say, Alabama for instance. What is their schedule like?

 

Alabama: Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, Michigan and Western Carolina

Alabama scheduled three easy opponents.

I can understand the not-so-tough team in Western Kentucky, but Florida Atlantic only went 1-11 last year. Sure they have Michigan, but this article is about the breaks teams take.

The Tide even added non-FBS (lower division) Western Carolina who only won one game last year.

This increases their odds of lasting through a season by eluding tough teams.

The FBS has 120 teams, but 'Bama choose to find teams beneath the 120-team FBS and scheduled lower division FCS teams (the FCS is a nice way to say Division II).

 

LSU: North Texas, Idaho, and Towson

Are you kidding me? Towson! Really? Is that a college?

As if North Texas (5-7 playing in the Sun Belt last year), and Idaho (2-10 playing in the WAC last year), weren't easy enough!

LSU guaranteed a three week rest by scheduling lower division Towson.

 

Oregon: Arkansas State, Fresno State, and Tennessee Tech

Oregon has always played tough opponents, but they had a few FBS teams back out of their 2012 schedule.

Oregon has two FBS teams this year in Fresno State (4-9), and Arkansas State (10-3). However, non-FBS Tennessee Tech should be a cake walk, even if they went (7-4) in the lower division.

Oregon's opponents are still a notch above the SEC's weak schedule.

 

USC:  Hawaii, Syracuse, and Notre Dame

Finally, a decent schedule in the top-10.

NO non-FBS teams and a Top-25 team in Notre Dame!

Make a note: This is how you do it SEC!

 

Georgia: Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern

Once again, an SEC three cupcake schedule. Georgia Southern - wow.

They also have that same Florida Atlantic team Alabama plays (who went 1-11 last year).

The SEC should be ashamed of itself but this approach will improves their record.

 

Oklahoma: UTEP, Florida A&M, and Notre Dame.

 

Here is a mixed bag. UTEP is easy but Florida A&M is a non-FBS.

Oklahoma took a week off, but then added a top-25 team in Notre Dame.

Still, these non-FBS teams have got to go.

 

Florida State: Murray State, Savannah State, and South Florida

Did I spell Murray State correctly? Is there an "a" in Murray? I really wouldn't know since I don't really follow the Murray State Racers, a non-FBS school.

How about Savannah State? What state are they in? Oh, Georgia.

Savannah State is another non-FBS school who went 1-10. Wow, there's a challenge!

 

West Virginia: Marshall, James Madison, and Maryland.

James Madison is a non-FBS school!

West Virginia plays mixed bag like Oklahoma considering Marshall and Maryland.

But still, two decent opponents, and one non-FBS!

 

 

Michigan: Alabama, Air Force, UMass, and Notre Dame

Michigan has bigger footballs than USC.

NO non-FBS teams and four non-conference FBS teams.

Two Top-25 teams in Alabama and Notre Dame.

Make a note: This is REALLY how you do it SEC!

 

South Carolina: East Carolina, UAB, and Wofford

Let me guess—an SEC school, so, three cupcakes.

Isn't Wofford that new show on TV about some guy dressed up in a dog's suit?

As fate would have it, this non-FBS school's players are called the "Terriers!"

Although UAB and East Carolina are FBS, the SEC still shouldn't schedule the little dogs. 

 

Summing up

USC and Michigan are the only teams in ESPN's top-10 that play a legitimate schedule. 

 

A legitimate 4-team-playoff demands commissioners ensure equivalent Strength of Schedule (SOS).

The CFB Playoff Selection Committee must also insist on equivalent scheduling.

Otherwise, this new "playoff" will quickly go the way of the BCS.

All conferences really need to step up and stop being elusive. 

The oversight committee of university presidents and chancellors realize that Strength of Schedule will be factored in, but the real question is: Will the possible playoff teams be penalized 10% for every non-FBS opponent on their schedule?

If ignored, teams could take the SEC approach one step further by scheduling two or three non-FBS cupcakes to cruise to a 12-win season each and every year.

Why? Well, if you have the time, I can give you billions of reasons why.

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