Does Nebraska Have A Football Gamf Scheduled With Notre Dame College Football – If You Thought SEC Was the Toughest NCAA Conference, Think Again

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College Football – If You Thought SEC Was the Toughest NCAA Conference, Think Again

There is so much talk and hype about the Southeastern Conference—known as the SEC—that you’d think there were no other NCAA football conferences that could compare.

Jeff Sagarin in his Sagarin Ratings lists the SEC as the top conference with a central mean (that’s Sagarin math talk) of 79.89, and the Pacific 10—known as the Pac 10—second at 79.19. The difference is 70/100ths of 1 on a scale of 100, or close enough to make no difference to my mind.

Conference USA ranks 11th in Division 1A conferences at 58.88. After three 1AA conferences are rated above the last 1A conference—the Sun Belt at 58.26.

Sagarin rates all 242 individual 1A and 1AA teams and then aggregates them into conferences to arrive at these statistics.

I read the other factors in his mathematical formula to determine which conference is the hardest (best) conference.

Knowing that the SEC has an army of scheduling Division 1AA teams in its non-conference schedule, I suspect the SEC’s strength of schedule (the quality of its opponents) may not be as strong. Turns out I was right.

The “tough” SEC played exactly 10 Division 1AA opponents this season, more than any other conference in the country. By comparison, the Big 12 played 10, the ACC and Big Ten 7, the Big East 6 and the Pac 10 just 2.

When I add the strength of schedule for the 12 SEC teams I get an average of 30 compared to an average strength of schedule of 14 for the Pac 10. Who plays the toughest schedule between the top two dogs? It’s easily the Pac 10.

In case you’re wondering, the Washington Huskies are the team that played the toughest schedule through the first 12 weeks of the 2007 college football season, and that’s why they’re ranked No. 1 out of 242 Division 1A and 1AA schools.

For the record, Nebraska is No. 2, Stanford is No. 3, California is No. 4 and Colorado is No. 5, so 3 of the top 5 teams by schedule are from the Pac 10.

Please, don’t give me this garbage about the SEC playing the toughest schedule. Facts and figures say otherwise.

Another interesting fact to note is this: Since the NCAA established Division 1A and 1AA separation in 1978, only 5 Division 1A schools have not played Division 1AA schools: Washington, Southern California, UCLA, Michigan State and Notre Dame. Again 3 of the 5 teams come from the Pac 10.

The SEC already has 7 of 12 teams with 7 or more wins and bowlers eligible by NCCA standards, and now you know one reason why.

That’s the reason Hawai’i is undefeated at 10-0, stretching the impressive winning record to two 1AA schools while completing the 153rd toughest schedule against 119 other Division 1A schools.

Sometimes a 1AA school can beat a 1A school (like Appalachian State beating Michigan 34-32 at home), not because it has to, but because the 1A school doesn’t take them seriously.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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