Someone explain the incentive for scheduling tough OOC games

Submitted by Maizen on October 20th, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Because as I see it even if Michigan wins out our loss to Utah will likely keep us out of the playoff. The day the comittee votes in a two loss team over a one loss team will be the day I'm convinced scheduling tough OOC opponents makes sense. Otherwise it just gives you more chances to lose and very little to gain.


Mr Miggle

October 20th, 2015 at 4:53 PM ^

A home and home with a tough opponent brings in less money than two home games vs cupcakes. If we're talking season ticket sales, they're driven much more by the success of the team.

Fans want to see those games. Players want to play in them, including when they're still recruits. Strength of schedule does matter, although not as much as it probably should. We're only in year two with a committee. I think there's a good chance they weigh it more than voters in the polls.



October 20th, 2015 at 5:00 PM ^

You seem to have left out media rights.  If you can show me that, for example, the neutral sight game against Alabama brought in less money for the AD than a home game against UConn, then I might buy your argument.


Mr Miggle

October 20th, 2015 at 6:57 PM ^

The financial breakdown for that Alabama game was covered in detail here on the front page.

Away games are much different than neutral site games. We get a much smaller payout and still no media rights. Then we split the media rights on the home game with the rest of the conference.


October 20th, 2015 at 6:11 PM ^

The thing is, they had a bad loss in their first game with a new starter, but after that they mostly won convincingly - three road wins against Minny, MSU, and PSU, with MSU being a pretty substantial win.  Then they beat a ranked Wiscy team by 59(!!) points with a 3rd-string QB.  Honestly, had they beaten Wisconsin by even 20, I'm not sure they are in.  Sadly, UM has one big scalp left on the schedule; had they beaten Utah I'd like their chances more.  But unless they blow out the rest of their schedule AND get some luck to play in the conference title game and win that convincingly, it isn't in the cards this year.

Wolverine Devotee

October 20th, 2015 at 4:42 PM ^

Shutting out #22 BYU > scoring 50 on EMU

B1G teams are now required to play at least one P5 team a year. No more FCS opponents, either.

Next year's non-conf kind of isn't impressive as it was when UCF was good, but after that, look at the future non-conference schedules:

  • 2017- Florida (in Arlington), vs Cincinnati, vs Air Force, at Wisconsin
  • 2018- vs Arkansas, vs SMU, vs Wisconsin
  • 2019- at Arkansas, at Wisconsin
  • 2020- at Washington, vs Virginia Tech
  • 2021- at Virginia Tech, vs Washington
  • 2022- vs UCLA
  • 2023- at UCLA
  • 2024- vs Texas
  • 2025- at Oklahoma
  • 2026- vs Oklahoma
  • 2027- at Texas


October 20th, 2015 at 4:39 PM ^

A 2 loss team might never make it into the playoffs, but 1 loss teams with tough schedules jump 1 loss teams with shit schedules all the time. They even jump undefeated teams some times. 


October 20th, 2015 at 4:46 PM ^

The AP poll is not the committee.

If TCU had lost to Texas Tech (so had 1 loss) and they needed a miracle to win it, and then TCU beats Baylor - Baylor would not get the nod over any 1 loss team into the playoffs this year IMO.  And the Big 12 would be shut out again.

Wolverine Devotee

October 20th, 2015 at 4:57 PM ^

There was zero chance of FSU not getting in seeing as they were undefeated.

OSU didn't deserve to get in which was my opinion at the time. TCU or Baylor deserved to.

OSU wound up playing the games. Still, TCU got screwed as well since they finished 13-1. 

Which is why, IMO, the CFP is still crowning a mythical champion until we get 8 teams. 


October 20th, 2015 at 7:16 PM ^

This (1st round byes) has no place in the CFP for many reasons. Primarily what's stated above (though I'd substitute 'advantage' for 'incentive'). This isn't the NFL (16 game season, only 32 teams, much more parity) where it makes far more sense.

Can you imagine the kerfuffle over which two teams get an inside track to the championship? Plus, maximize the opportunity if you're going to extend the season another week.

There will be a kerfuffle every year regardless, which is why we'll go to 8 teams ASAP. The fewer teams (4 vs 8) the greater the kerfuffle. if that's not already enough, all you MGo-math-majors please chime in to explain how our chances are better making an 8- vs 4-team CFP.


October 20th, 2015 at 4:43 PM ^

Baylor needs to step their game up as they play no one OOC......I think the committee mainly looks at how impressive your wins are as far as point spread goes, your record, and lastly what you did in the last few games (osu last year). Eventually I could see a one loss team from the Big ten, sec, or Pac 12 jumping an undefeated team like Baylor some year because of a close road loss to a good team early in the year. I have a hard time ever seeing a 2 loss team jump a power 5 one loss team though.

turd ferguson

October 20th, 2015 at 4:45 PM ^

I think it's a good question.  I don't think we'll know what the incentives are until we've seen what the committee does for the first few years.  If the committee turns out to be reluctant to rank a one-loss team ahead of an undefeated team with a weaker schedule (or a two-loss team ahead of a one-loss team with a weaker schedule), then I think there's a serious incentive to schedule so-so opponents instead of very good ones.

Hopefully the committee will be cool about this and it won't be an issue.  But if the CFP were using the AP poll or coaches' poll, I'd be very careful about scheduling peer programs (especially on the road) if I were an AD thinking about making national title runs.

Wolverine Devotee

October 20th, 2015 at 4:59 PM ^

Look at this slate of games we get to open the 2016 season on September 3, 2016-

  • Michigan vs Hawaii
  • Clemson at Auburn
  • Alabama vs USC at Jerryworld
  • LSU vs Wisconsin at Lambeau
  • UCLA at Texas A&M
  • Notre Dame at Texas
  • Arizona vs BYU at Glendale
  • Oklahoma at Houston at NRG Stadium

That's a masterpiece of an opening weekend. And then you have Florida State vs Ole Miss on Labor Day in the new Orlando kickoff classic.


October 20th, 2015 at 4:45 PM ^

Helps with Strength of Schedule, keeps the schools profile higher and the bigger games are much more fun for everyone involved as long as your team is good.  

Finally this isn't the BCS system anymore, one loss is no longer the crippling factor that it used to be, will be even less so when the field inevitably expands to 8.

Unless of course you want to keep watch OOC schedules full of MACrifices every year.


October 20th, 2015 at 5:03 PM ^

Is SOS even an input into the playoff selection? on ESPN, I heard the commentators saying that Baylor has rolled over everybody they play, even though they have played nobody, but that's not their fault. SOS may be a factor in human voting, I guess.

Higher profile games are nice, but 12-0 is much nicer. Look at OSU. Who have they beaten so far OOC? VT? They are #1.

I'll believe that 1 loss isn't crippling when a 1 loss team is choosen over an undefeated team because the 1 loss team played a tougher schedule. It may happen, but I doubt it.


October 20th, 2015 at 4:50 PM ^

I think the Big 12 may be able to answer that one for you.

The CFP committee decides the final rankings, not the polls. Someone from a power5 conference will be left out. Try to do everything you can to make sure it isn't you.


October 21st, 2015 at 8:45 AM ^

Because the Big Ten opted to go to a nine-game conference schedule and Notre Dame cancelled its series with Michigan, the Wolverines will be playing Hawaii, Colorado and Central Florida all at home next season.  To date, these three teams have win-loss records of 2-5, 3-4 and 0-7 respectively.  I doubt they're going to be a Murderer's Row when 2016 rolls around.

The rest of Michigan's schedule includes five home games (Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, Maryland, Indiana) and four on the road (at Rutgers, at Michigan State, at Iowa, at Ohio State).   All this means that Michigan will have eight games in Ann Arbor next season.

So is Michigan's 2016 non-conference schedule "too weak"?  If the team goes undefeated or has one regular season loss, but wins the conference title game, do the Wolverines get eliminated from the four team playoff with that line up of games?  If the answer is no, then perhaps U-M shouldn't play any major Power 5 teams on its schedule and just have three "pay for play" opponents to ensure the maximum number of home games along with the attendant ticket revenue.

Analysts and some college football fans might think otherwise, but take a look at this year's Ohio State football schedule.  Their four non-conference games were at Virginia Tech, Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.  Those teams are 3-4, 2-5, 4-3 and 3-3 so far this season.  OSU is the #1 ranked team in the country in most polls, but are they being penalized in any way because of their non-conference schedule.  The CFB playoff committee will be making their rankings in a couple of weeks and we may know more than, but my guess is that the answer would be no.  

My assessment is that any team that wins out from a major conference or has a one loss season but wins its conference championship game is very highly likely to be among the four teams chosen by that committee.  A Big XII program or major independent with one loss is a different story because I imagine the committee will look a bit more closely at their overall and non-conference schedules.