Sagarin Ratings Rigged?

Sagarin Ratings Rigged?

Submitted by NOLA Blue on December 7th, 2010 at 7:42 PM


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.