If you have no idea what this is about, then start here.
I actually posted this as a comment in the original thread. But apparently people don’t read the comments because even when I explicitly asked that if people wanted to take shots, fire away, but try to come up with arguments a little more credible than: “You hate us, you’re an idiot,” or, “Your blog name is stupid, you’re an idiot,” I still got comments and emails like that almost verbatim.
Also, people, there was a entire list. Ten teams worth. There were even links at the bottom of every post. Still, someone came back with “Well what about Texas? Their schedule sucks.”
What about them? And yes it does. That’s why they made the Bottom 10.
Additionally, I’m incredibly happy for Louisville and West Virginia for whatever teams they’ve got on their schedules in the future. Great, if I do this next year (probably won’t) those teams won’t be on the list. This is about schedules this year. And I don’t care who you once had who backed out. My heart bleeds. Really. But this isn’t about the inner workings of your AD or how you ended up with an easy schedule. It’s just about how your schedule is relatively weak in 2006.
Believe or not, I actually put some time and thought into the list. And it wasn’t just piling on for the sake of piling on. Collectively, the Big East’s schedules just aren’t that rigorous.
To that point: Let’s look at the strongest non-conference opponents in the Big East teams’ schedule this year. As a proxy, I’ll use the teams from BCS conferences. Here are the Big East’s BCS opponents this year: Oregon State, Duke, Virginia (x2), Kentucky, NC State, Michigan State, Maryland (x2), Auburn, North Carolina, Washington, Iowa, Illinois, and Mississippi State.
Those teams combined to go 65-88 in 2006 for a winning percentage of .425. Additionally only four of the teams had winning records (one was at .500).
Compare that to, say, the SEC. I’m picking the SEC for no reason other than it seems to be the popular held conception that it is the strongest of the BCS conferences.
The SEC teams’ BCS opponents this year are FSU (x2), Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, California, Clemson, North Carolina, Louisville, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Kansas State, South Florida, Missouri, West Virginia. Those teams combined to go 105-51 last year for a winning percentage of .673. Only one of those teams had a losing record last year (two were at .500).
I’m no SEC flag-waver, but even I was surprised at how gaudy those numbers were.
You could argue that there are three Big East teams propping up those SEC numbers, but that runs the other way. To wit: if you pull Auburn from the Big East’s list, they lose about 15% of their wins (if you go the other way, the SEC’s opponent winning percentage is still almost .630)
Granted last year’s performance is no guarantee of this year’s. But it does provide a decent baseline for indicating talent level. Additionally, just think about this qualitatively. Good teams and good programs generally just don’t fall off the map from one year to the next, and really bad teams don’t go from doormats to world beaters. Teams that win 9 or 10 games one year, usually win 9 or 10 the next. It might be 8 or it might be 11.
Same thing with teams that win 2 games in a year. They might win 2 or 3 the next, or they might win none. But from year to year you generally don’t see teams going from 2-10 to 9-3. So, using last year’s numbers as a general indication of what’s reasonale to expect this year, is, well, pretty reasonable.
Seriously, Big East people. This isn’t personal. Your schedules are easier. You should be happy about that. It gives one of your teams an excellent chance to run the table and show it “belongs” by winning the BCS title game. As I said in the Texas post, the BCS rewards wins not nads.