here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
strength of schedule
I'm sure this makes sense to someone, but after just playing 4 top-20 teams (3 top 10) within 10 days, our strength of schedule is #25 in the country. Who has played a "tougher" schedule so far (with SOS rank in parentheses):
-New Mexico (#4): played 0 (currently) ranked teams
-Miami (#1): played 4 ranked teams
-Oklahoma (#7); played 5 ranked teams
-Arizona (#10): played 2 ranked teams
-Florida (#16): played 5 ranked teams
In short, WTF? In a world where NMU is considered to have the 4th toughest schedule and #3 RPI, I wonder what the point is of any of these numbers. Of course, they make for conversation, but clearly something is massively out of whack. Maybe this is a reason that the B1G fairs not as well as expected come tourney time. Thoughts? Am I just looking at these ranking incorrectly?
No, I don't believe Sagarin rigged his schedule ratings to help Oregon and prevent TCU from miraculously slipping by Oregon. But it is interesting to note that while I have heard plenty of talk about TCU and Boise St. lacking schedule strength, I hadn't really heard much regarding Oregon's.
Step in unnamed MGoBlogger* (**edit** named Drakeep) who pointed out that the Big Ten teams' schedules included an average of 7 winning opponents (while each SEC team faced an average of 5.8, and the PAC-10 something like 4...) This savvy blogger also pointed out that Oregon had only faced 3 teams with a winning record. I could barely believe it, and checked the stats myself. Such is true.
So I head over to Sagarin to see where exactly a schedule against 3 winning teams and a very much non-winning FCS school would rank. 20th. What was U of M's against 7 winning teams and a winning FCS school? 40th. Hmmm....
Next, I give Sagarin the benefit of the doubt and assume that although Oregon's opponents didn't all win a lot of games, the games they did win must have been meaningful. (In other words, Oregon's opponents must have combined to beat a lot of winning teams... as beating crappy teams and losing to good ones should not build a team's own strength.)
Oregon - Played 3 teams with winning records (out of 11, plus one losing FCS team.) The 12 teams Oreg played, combined to achieve 12 victories over "winning FBS opponents" and 7 victories over "winning FCS opponents." That equates to Oregon's opponents each beating ONE winning team.
Mich - Played 7 teams with winning records (out of 11, plus one winning FCS team.) The 12 teams Mich played, combined to achieve 32 victories over "winning FBS opponents" and 7 victories over "winning FCS opponents." That equates to Michigan's opponents each beating 2.67 winning teams.
These statistics are not even close, on either the primary or secondary level. Yet, there it is: Oregon's SOS at 20 and Michigan's SOS at 40.
For another reference point: Mich St. played 5 teams with a winning record, and MSU's opponents combined to haul in 19 wins against "winning FBS opponents." They lie between Michigan and Oregon on both the primary and secondary levels, and have a SOS rated 65th.
In conclusion, based on the ranking of Michigan and MSU schedules, Oregon's schedule should probably rate somewhere between 70 and 80. This has placed me in the odd position of questioning the legitimacy of Sagarin's rankings... if any mathematician out there can point out how strength of schedule might use something more meaningful and direct than opponent's wins and opponents' wins against winning teams to rank schedules, let me know. Until then, I'm going to have to believe that Sagarin is off his rocker.
*Unnamed MGoBlogger - my apologies, but I went in search of your forum and could no longer find it. If you (or anyone else) would care to link to your post, I will gladly edit the above content to include your name and a link.
The BCS caliber team thread below got me wondering: is there a 2010 end of season strength of schedule ranking?
I suppose it doesn't really matter, but I think Michigan faced some pretty good teams this year. Truly, our defense lost several games for us. In particular, our decimated defensive secondary, caused several losses. If you add Warren & Woolfolk to this year's team, we end up at least 9 - 3, and there aren't so many calls for RR & Gerg's head on a platter.
In a way, I'm fine with 7 - 5, given the circumstances. Not happy, but fine. I'm just a broken record, but 2011 is the year that will tell us a lot about RR & Michigan.
There’s been a debate on this board whether UM had a tougher schedule during the second part of the season.
No, based on the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings for B10 plus ND games only. Our strength of schedule (SOS) has NOT been tougher in the second part of the season, even when the games are corrected for 3-point home-road advantage-disadvantate.* Our schedule during the second half of the season was about 2 points easier on average.
However. If we include ALL of the games, the second half of the season WAS tougher overall. They were only mildly tougher. However, statisticians often seek to improve the reliability of the data by throwing out the highest and lowest ratings (here, IA and DSU). If you do that, there is a significant trend toward tougher games throughout the season (r-.47) —making each successive game almost 2 points tougher than the next, on average.
When we add OSU (87.1) next week, our second-half season ratings will seem even tougher.
*Summary (for comparison purposes, note that UM’s current ratings is 69.0).
IA 80.8 < PSU 83.2 Actually 83.8>80.2 with Home-Road (+3,-3)
ND 79.8 > WI 77.7 actually 76.9 <80.7 with H-R (-3,+3)
MSU 76.6> Purdue 69.0 actually even more so 79.6>66.0 (+3,-3)
Ind 64.9 > IL 63.9 actually 61.9<66.9 (-3,+3)
Total ratings for 1st vs 2nd half of B10 and ND games only: 302.1>293.8 actually with the same corrected ratings (H-R balances out)
WMU 59.3 actually 56.3
EMU 56.5 actually 53.5
DSU 38.6 actually 35.6
**** Based on the current rating, UM should have lost to ND, beaten Purdue and Il. We beat ND , lost to Purdue and Il. The other five major games (Ind, IA, PSU, WI,MSU) went as expected, when you make adjustments for H-A. Note that to really make a fair test, however, we should recomputed the sagarin rating for all the games except the one we are considering (ie to determine whether we should have won or lost it). I don’t have the software to make those corrections, however.