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Comparing Florida State and Oregon's Strength of Schedule

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This article examines the strength of schedule between FSU and Oregon.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

As the Rose Bowl approaches, it has been interesting to study Oregon and examine their season.  In an effort to do this, this article will compare Oregon’s strength of schedule to FSU's.  As a basis for comparing the two schedules, F/+ efficiency values will be used from Football Outsiders (overall team efficiency, offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency).

FSU opponent F/+ values will be compared to Oregon opponent F/+ values using Boxplots.  Here is a quick Stat 101 refresher on Boxplots:

Interquartile range (box) -  Middle 50% of the data

· Top of box - Q3 (third quartile). 75% of the data are less than or equal to this value.

· Middle line - Q2 (median). 50% of the data are less than or equal to this value.

· Bottom of box - Q1 (first quartile). 25% of the data are less than or equal to this value.

Using overall opponent F/+ efficiency values, the Boxplot below compares the schedules between FSU and Oregon.  In general, this data suggests that FSU has indeed faced a more challenging schedule than Oregon.

  • FSU opponents have a larger median F/+ value than Oregon opponents (9.29% > 4.02%).
  • Between the two schedules, FSU has faced the best team (10'th ranked Georgia Tech, F/+ = 25.8%), and Oregon has faced the worst team (119'th ranked Wyoming, F/+ = -20.70%).
  • Oregon has faced 6 teams with F/+ values less than or equal to 5.0% (Washington, California, Oregon State, Colorado, Washington State and Wyoming).
  • FSU has faced only 3 teams with F/+ values less than or equal to 5.0% (Okie State, Syracuse and Wake Forest).

The notion that the Pac 12 is better than the ACC may have been true in years past, but not this year.

FSU vs ORE Opponent F/+

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions that I have seen is that Oregon's schedule has included much more potent offenses than FSU's schedule.  To test this theory, the boxplot below compares opponent Offensive F/+ efficiency values.

  • Oregon opponents do have a larger median offensive F/+ value, but not by much (2.70% > 2.35%).
  • In fact, if you remove the bottom two teams faced by both teams (Syracuse, Wake, Washington and Wyoming), FSU opponents actually have a higher median offensive efficiency than Oregon (5.30% > 5.20%)!
  • FSU has also played (and beaten) the team with the #1 ranked offense according to F/+ (Georgia Tech, Offensive F/+ = 22.80%).

This data debunks the myth that Oregon has faced drastically better offenses than FSU.

FSU vs ORE Offensive F/+

Lastly, it is on the defensive side of the ball that the discrepancy in schedules really becomes evident.  Below is a boxplot comparing the defensive F/+ efficiency values between these two team's opponents.  This graph is also a great example of why boxplots are a useful analysis tool.  They show the entire spread of data.

  • FSU and Oregon have faced opponents with comparable median defensive F/+ values (FSU = 3.90% and Oregon = 3.00%), but this doesn't tell the whole story.  We must examine the interquartile range (the box) to get a more clear picture of the truth:
  • 50% of FSU's opponents had defensive efficiency values between 1.05% and 12.65 (Q1 to Q3).
  • 50% of Oregon's opponents had defensive efficiency values between -6.80% to 8.8% (Q1 to Q3).
  • FSU has also played (and beaten with its backup quarterback) the team with the #1 ranked defense according to F/+ (Clemson, Defensive F/+ = 23.40%).

Oregon State, California, Washington State, Colorado and Wyoming all have worse defenses than Oklahoma State, the worst defense FSU has faced.

FSU vs ORE defensive F/+

While FSU has definitely navigated its way through a more daunting schedule, credit should be given where it is due.  Oregon has absolutely dominated the teams it has played, even if those teams were of lesser quality than the teams FSU played.  It will be fascinating to see how this game plays out on New Year's Day.