FanPost

So What’s with the Rankings and Scheduling, Anyway?

Much has been made about Florida State’s ranking in the various polls this season and the ostensible unfairness and biases that exist. As an engineer, I was very interested in the fundamental question of "how do we know that conference A is better than conference B?" By attempting to answer this question, what can be learned and how can we modify our behavior to take advtantage of it? Ranking systems are largely predicated on a large transitivity algorithm. In effect, if A > B and B > C, it follows that A > C. The fundamental flaw in this approach is the sheer number of FBS teams and the limited number of out of conference games available to be played.

The table below is an illustration of which conferences are playing which others. It is meant to be interpreted as the row represents the conference in question and the column represents the number of games played against in the conference in the column. For example, the ACC has played the MAC in two separate games. The Mountain West (MWC) has played the Conference USA (CUSA) in two games. The numbers across the main diagonal are for inter-conference play. Keep in mind this table only involves games played until week 13.

ACC

BEC

BIG10

BIG12

CUSA

INDEP

MAC

MWC

PAC12

SBC

SEC

WAC

FCS

Total

ACC

44

8

2

3

2

6

2

0

1

3

2

2

15

90

BEC

8

21

3

0

2

3

8

1

1

1

3

0

12

63

BIG10

2

3

42

1

5

5

12

3

4

1

2

2

12

94

BIG12

3

0

1

37

6

1

1

3

1

3

1

1

9

67

CUSA

2

2

5

6

42

1

2

2

2

8

7

5

9

93

INDEPENDENT

6

3

5

1

1

2

5

5

4

2

0

5

6

45

MAC

2

8

12

1

2

5

46

2

1

1

5

2

16

103

MWC

0

1

3

3

2

5

2

35

7

0

0

9

12

79

PAC12

1

1

4

1

2

4

1

7

49

1

2

2

8

83

SBC

3

1

1

3

8

2

1

0

1

34

12

1

18

85

SEC

2

3

2

1

7

0

5

0

2

12

54

3

17

108

WAC

2

0

2

1

5

5

2

9

2

1

3

17

16

65

FCS

15

12

12

9

9

6

16

12

8

18

17

16

308

458

When looking at a team’s schedule you often see 8/9 conference games and 3/4 out of conference games and assume the ratio for all teams and the season is roughly 70 – 80% in conference. While this may be true on a conference’s individual participation, in conference games are in effect double counted for a conference. One will get a win, one will get a loss. This emphasizes the importance of the out of conference games for overall conference perception.

Another interesting note is that the "power conferences" (PAC12, ACC, BIG10, BIG12, Big East, SEC) really don’t play each other all that much. Here’s a table of the number of games played by each of the power conferences against each other:

Conference

"Power Conference"

Non-Power

FCS

ACC

16

15

15

BEC

15

15

12

BIG10

12

28

12

BIG12

6

15

9

PAC12

9

17

8

SEC

10

27

17

These stats may be a perhaps bit misleading because the different conferences are playing differing numbers of out of conference games and have different numbers of members. So let’s go for a normalized ratio to see the trend:

Conference

"Power Conference"

Non-Power

FCS

ACC

0.35

0.33

0.33

BEC

0.36

0.36

0.29

BIG10

0.23

0.54

0.23

BIG12

0.20

0.50

0.30

PAC12

0.26

0.50

0.24

SEC

0.19

0.50

0.31

It’s an interesting observation that the two conferences perceived to be the weakest (ACC and Big East) have scheduled the highest ratio of power conference teams in out of conference games.

How have the conferences fared when playing each other?

ACC

BEC

BIG10

BIG12

CUSA

INDEPENDENT

MAC

MWC

PAC12

SBC

SEC

WAC

FCS

ACC

44-44

4-4

1-1

0-3

2-0

1-5

2-0

0-0

0-1

2-1

1-1

1-1

16-0

BEC

4-4

21-21

0-3

0-0

2-0

2-1

4-4

1-0

0-1

1-0

3-0

0-0

11-1

BIG10

1-1

3-0

42-42

0-1

5-0

1-4

9-3

3-0

1-3

1-0

1-1

1-1

12-0

BIG12

3-0

0-0

1-0

37-37

5-1

0-1

0-1

3-0

0-1

3-0

1-0

1-0

10-0

CUSA

0-2

0-2

0-5

1-5

42-42

0-1

1-1

1-1

0-2

2-6

0-7

2-3

6-3

INDEPENDENT

5-1

1-2

4-1

1-0

1-0

2-2

1-4

3-2

2-2

1-1

0-0

3-2

5-1

MAC

0-2

4-4

3-9

1-0

1-1

4-1

46-46

1-1

0-1

0-1

0-5

2-0

15-1

MWC

0-0

0-1

0-3

0-3

1-1

2-3

1-1

35-35

3-4

0-0

0-0

4-5

10-2

PAC12

1-0

1-0

3-1

1-0

2-0

2-2

1-0

4-3

49-49

1-0

0-2

1-1

8-0

SBC

0-3

0-1

0-1

0-3

6-2

1-1

1-0

0-0

0-1

34-34

2-10

0-1

16-2

SEC

1-1

0-3

1-1

0-1

7-0

0-0

5-0

0-0

2-0

10-2

51-51

3-0

17-0

WAC

1-1

0-0

1-1

0-1

3-2

2-3

0-2

5-4

1-1

1-0

0-3

17-17

13-3

FCS

0-16

1-11

0-12

0-10

3-6

1-5

1-15

2-10

0-8

2-16

0-17

3-13

317-317

Interesting to see the data at this granularity, but let’s aggregate the out of conference records:

Conference

Wins

Losses

ACC

30

17

BEC

28

14

BIG10

38

14

BIG12

27

4

CUSA

13

38

INDEPENDENT

27

16

MAC

31

26

MWC

21

23

PAC12

25

9

SBC

26

25

SEC

46

8

WAC

27

21

FCS

13

139

Translating this into percentages and the conference hierarchy becomes:

Rank

Conference

Wins

Losses

Win PCT

1

BIG12

27

4

0.8709677

2

SEC

46

8

0.8518519

3

PAC12

25

9

0.7352941

4

BIG10

38

14

0.7307692

5

BEC

28

14

0.6666667

6

ACC

30

17

0.6382979

7

INDEPENDENT

27

16

0.627907

8

WAC

27

21

0.5625

9

MAC

31

26

0.5438596

10

SBC

26

25

0.5098039

11

MWC

21

23

0.4772727

12

CUSA

13

38

0.254902

13

FCS

13

139

0.0855263

What do the specific losses look like? (FCS excluded because there are just too many)

Conference

Lost

Winner

By

ACC

Miami-Florida

Kansas State

39

ACC

Wake Forest

Notre Dame

38

ACC

Miami-Florida

Notre Dame

38

ACC

Duke

Stanford

37

ACC

Georgia Tech

Brigham Young

24

ACC

Georgia Tech

Middle Tennessee

21

ACC

Virginia

Texas Christian

20

ACC

Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh

18

ACC

Boston College

Notre Dame

15

ACC

N. C. State

Tennessee

14

ACC

Maryland

West Virginia

10

ACC

Boston College

Northwestern

9

ACC

Virginia

Louisiana Tech

6

ACC

North Carolina

Louisville

5

ACC

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

3

ACC

Boston College

Army

3

ACC

Maryland

Connecticut

3

BEC

South Florida

Miami-Florida

31

BEC

Pittsburgh

Youngstown St.

14

BEC

Syracuse

Southern Cal

13

BEC

South Florida

Florida State

13

BEC

Rutgers

Kent State

12

BEC

Temple

Penn State

11

BEC

Temple

Maryland

9

BEC

Syracuse

Minnesota

7

BEC

Connecticut

Western Michigan

6

BEC

Cincinnati

Toledo

6

BEC

South Florida

Ball State

4

BEC

Pittsburgh

Notre Dame

3

BEC

Connecticut

N. C. State

3

BEC

Syracuse

Northwestern

1

BIG10

Illinois

Arizona State

31

BIG10

Illinois

Louisiana Tech

28

BIG10

Michigan

Alabama

27

BIG10

Michigan State

Notre Dame

17

BIG10

Penn State

Ohio

10

BIG10

Michigan

Notre Dame

7

BIG10

Nebraska

UCLA

6

BIG10

Iowa

Iowa State

3

BIG10

Purdue

Notre Dame

3

BIG10

Wisconsin

Oregon State

3

BIG10

Indiana

Ball State

2

BIG10

Iowa

Central Michigan

1

BIG10

Indiana

Navy

1

BIG10

Penn State

Virginia

1

BIG12

Oklahoma State

Arizona

21

BIG12

Oklahoma

Notre Dame

17

BIG12

Kansas

Northern Illinois

7

BIG12

Kansas

Rice

1

CUSA

Tulane

UL-Monroe

53

CUSA

SMU

Texas A&M

45

CUSA

UAB

South Carolina

43

CUSA

Tulane

Mississippi

39

CUSA

East Carolina

South Carolina

38

CUSA

Marshall

West Virginia

35

CUSA

SMU

Baylor

35

CUSA

Houston

UCLA

31

CUSA

Southern Miss.

Nebraska

29

CUSA

East Carolina

Navy

28

CUSA

Tulane

Louisiana

28

CUSA

Southern Miss.

Boise State

26

CUSA

Southern Miss.

Western Kentucky

25

CUSA

Rice

UCLA

25

CUSA

Memphis

Duke

24

CUSA

East Carolina

North Carolina

21

CUSA

Rice

Louisiana Tech

19

CUSA

Memphis

Middle Tennessee

18

CUSA

Texas - El Paso

Mississippi

18

CUSA

Houston

Texas State

17

CUSA

Houston

Texas State

17

CUSA

Houston

Texas State

17

CUSA

Texas - El Paso

Oklahoma

17

CUSA

Central Florida

Ohio State

15

CUSA

Tulsa

Iowa State

15

CUSA

UAB

Ohio State

14

CUSA

Tulane

Rutgers

12

CUSA

Texas - El Paso

Wisconsin

11

CUSA

UAB

Troy

10

CUSA

Marshall

Purdue

10

CUSA

SMU

Texas Christian

8

CUSA

Houston

Louisiana Tech

7

CUSA

Memphis

Arkansas State

5

CUSA

Central Florida

Missouri

5

CUSA

Southern Miss.

Louisville

4

CUSA

Tulsa

Arkansas

4

CUSA

Memphis

UT-Martin

3

CUSA

Marshall

Ohio

3

INDEPENDENT

Army

San Diego State

35

INDEPENDENT

Army

Temple

31

INDEPENDENT

Navy

Penn State

27

INDEPENDENT

Army

Wake Forest

22

INDEPENDENT

Army

Rutgers

21

INDEPENDENT

Army

Stony Brook

20

INDEPENDENT

Brigham Young

Oregon State

18

INDEPENDENT

Army

Kent State

14

INDEPENDENT

Navy

San Jose State

12

INDEPENDENT

Navy

Troy

10

INDEPENDENT

Army

Eastern Michigan

10

INDEPENDENT

Army

Ball State

8

INDEPENDENT

Brigham Young

San Jose State

6

INDEPENDENT

Brigham Young

Utah

3

INDEPENDENT

Army

Northern Illinois

1

INDEPENDENT

Brigham Young

Boise State

1

MAC

Massachusetts

Michigan

50

MAC

Miami-Ohio

Ohio State

46

MAC

Akron

Central Florida

42

MAC

Massachusetts

Vanderbilt

42

MAC

Massachusetts

Indiana

39

MAC

Miami-Ohio

Cincinnati

38

MAC

Eastern Michigan

Purdue

38

MAC

Bowling Green

Virginia Tech

37

MAC

Massachusetts

Connecticut

37

MAC

Central Michigan

Michigan State

34

MAC

Kent State

Kentucky

33

MAC

Miami-Ohio

Boise State

27

MAC

Ball State

Clemson

25

MAC

Buffalo

Georgia

22

MAC

Akron

Tennessee

21

MAC

Central Michigan

Navy

18

MAC

Western Michigan

Illinois

17

MAC

Eastern Michigan

Michigan State

16

MAC

Buffalo

Pittsburgh

14

MAC

Bowling Green

Florida

13

MAC

Akron

Massachusetts

8

MAC

Buffalo

Connecticut

7

MAC

Toledo

Arizona

7

MAC

Western Michigan

Minnesota

5

MAC

Akron

Florida Int'l

3

MAC

Northern Illinois

Iowa

1

MWC

Hawai'i

Brigham Young

47

MWC

New Mexico

Texas

45

MWC

Hawai'i

Southern Cal

39

MWC

New Mexico

Texas Tech

35

MWC

UNLV

Louisiana Tech

27

MWC

UNLV

Utah State

22

MWC

Air Force

Army

20

MWC

Colorado State

San Jose State

20

MWC

Wyoming

Texas

20

MWC

Fresno State

Oregon

17

MWC

Colorado State

Utah State

12

MWC

San Diego State

Washington

9

MWC

UNLV

Washington State

8

MWC

Air Force

Navy

7

MWC

Air Force

Michigan

6

MWC

Boise State

Michigan State

4

MWC

San Diego State

San Jose State

4

MWC

UNLV

Minnesota

3

MWC

Wyoming

Toledo

3

MWC

Wyoming

Cal Poly

2

MWC

Wyoming

Cal Poly

2

MWC

Nevada

South Florida

1

MWC

Fresno State

Tulsa

1

PAC12

Colorado

Fresno State

55

PAC12

Washington

LSU

38

PAC12

Washington State

Brigham Young

24

PAC12

California

Ohio State

7

PAC12

California

Nevada

7

PAC12

Stanford

Notre Dame

7

PAC12

Utah

Utah State

7

PAC12

Colorado

Colorado State

5

PAC12

Arizona State

Missouri

4

SBC

Middle Tennessee

Mississippi St.

42

SBC

Louisiana

Oklahoma State

41

SBC

Florida Atlantic

Georgia

36

SBC

Western Kentucky

Alabama

35

SBC

Florida Atlantic

Alabama

33

SBC

Arkansas State

Nebraska

29

SBC

North Texas

LSU

27

SBC

South Alabama

N. C. State

24

SBC

Arkansas State

Oregon

23

SBC

North Texas

Houston

23

SBC

Middle Tennessee

Georgia Tech

21

SBC

Florida Int'l

Duke

20

SBC

South Alabama

Mississippi St.

20

SBC

North Texas

Kansas State

14

SBC

Florida Int'l

Central Florida

13

SBC

Florida Atlantic

Navy

7

SBC

Florida Int'l

Louisville

7

SBC

Louisiana

Florida

7

SBC

Troy

Tennessee

7

SBC

Troy

Mississippi St.

6

SBC

UL-Monroe

Baylor

5

SBC

Florida Atlantic

South Alabama

3

SBC

Florida Atlantic

South Alabama

3

SBC

UL-Monroe

Auburn

3

SBC

South Alabama

UT - San Antonio

2

SEC

Mississippi

Texas

35

SEC

Kentucky

Louisville

18

SEC

Vanderbilt

Northwestern

10

SEC

Arkansas

Rutgers

9

SEC

Auburn

Clemson

7

SEC

Missouri

Syracuse

4

SEC

Arkansas

UL-Monroe

3

SEC

Kentucky

Western Kentucky

1

WAC

Idaho

North Carolina

66

WAC

Idaho

LSU

49

WAC

Texas State

Texas Tech

48

WAC

Idaho

Brigham Young

39

WAC

New Mexico State

Auburn

35

WAC

Idaho

Texas State

31

WAC

Idaho

Texas State

31

WAC

New Mexico State

Ohio

27

WAC

Texas State

New Mexico

21

WAC

UT - San Antonio

Rice

20

WAC

Idaho

E. Washington

17

WAC

New Mexico State

Texas - El Paso

13

WAC

New Mexico State

New Mexico

13

WAC

Texas State

Nevada

13

WAC

Texas State

Navy

11

WAC

Idaho

Bowling Green

8

WAC

Idaho

Wyoming

3

WAC

Utah State

Brigham Young

3

WAC

San Jose State

Stanford

3

WAC

Louisiana Tech

Texas A&M

2

WAC

Utah State

Wisconsin

2

And to call out our ACC brethren,

Conference

Lost

Winner

By

ACC

Boston College

Notre Dame

15

ACC

Boston College

Northwestern

9

ACC

Boston College

Army

3

ACC

Duke

Stanford

37

ACC

Georgia Tech

Brigham Young

24

ACC

Georgia Tech

Middle Tennessee

21

ACC

Maryland

West Virginia

10

ACC

Maryland

Connecticut

3

ACC

Miami-Florida

Kansas State

39

ACC

Miami-Florida

Notre Dame

38

ACC

N. C. State

Tennessee

14

ACC

North Carolina

Louisville

5

ACC

Virginia

Texas Christian

20

ACC

Virginia

Louisiana Tech

6

ACC

Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh

18

ACC

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

3

ACC

Wake Forest

Notre Dame

38

BC has 3, GT has 2, Maryland has 2 (buh-bye), Miami of Florida has 2, Virginia has 2, VT has 2. Frustrating.

What are your thoughts on this? Should looking at how the other conferences schedule out of conference affect how we schedule? If so, based off this data, how should we schedule differently? I realize this didn't look at the timing of scheduling these out of conference games, but what role do you surmise that plays (i.e, early in season to keep more teams "in it" or later so you get the losses out of the way and can define frontrunners early)?

I hope all of you enjoyed this because I spent the better part of today programming in Matlab to cull all of this data together. I have some future articles planned based off this work so any feedback is appreciated.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Tomahawk Nation

You must be a member of Tomahawk Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tomahawk Nation. You should read them.

Join Tomahawk Nation

You must be a member of Tomahawk Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tomahawk Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker