Performance Range: What a Team’s Schedule Really Says
I am tired of the SOS talk. Football doesn’t have an equitable distribution of schedule like in college basketball, so using strength of schedule against a team is problematic. There are a couple reasons why;
- Opportunity: Team A has 3 top 25 wins; If Team B only plays 1 top 25 team it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t beat the 3 Team A played. In this situation, Team A lucked out and just faced more. You aren’t allowed to make the argument that Team B would not have the same success.
- Years ahead scheduling: When you schedule these games years in advance it is a crap shoot already. Who knows what can happen to a team. For instance, pre-season top 10 Michigan State would have been a great team to look forward to playing, until they went straight down the crapper. Whose fault is that?
- Intra-year dynamics: Pre-season top 15 Houston is a great team to have on the schedule. Could Louisville have planned for Coach Strong’s failure in Texas – starting up a “Houston Coach is leaving for Texas” media storm which sucked the air out of the Houston tires mid-season? Whose fault is that?
- Success Cycles: Many teams have cyclical success. Good luck predicting that 5 years in advance.
We can see how SOS can present some challenges. A team plays it’s conference and 3-4 teams from OOC. These teams are generally locked into contracts from 5 years ago. Hopefully we will see a trend of teams buying out games in order to play more “today relevant” teams. However, this hurts smaller football programs who need the revenue…but that’s how you survive in today’s playoff landscape.
How about looking from another angle? I am proposing another way to look at team’s performance within the schedule they have. I call it “Performance Range”; this is something a team can show you WITH the schedule they play. That is, take the team’s best win (Team B is capable of beating a team “at least” as good as X) add that to their worst loss (Team B is capable of losing to a team “at least” as bad as X). Teams get hit with a penalty for a 2nd loss, or a bonus for going undefeated. This shows you what a team is capable of – without hypotheticals. The closer to zero is the more predictable you are to win when you hit the field vs an opponent.
“Performance Range” Rules
- I use Sagarin, because CFP stops at 25.
- Close wins don’t add or subtract. A win is a win.
- Bad losses do reflect numerically by the teams Sagarin rank.
- I measure teams up to 1 loss, or 2 loss teams in CFP top 10.
- Undefeated Western Michigan’s best win is over Northwestern who doesn’t have a winning record, throwing them out as the outlier.
- Bonus: Undefeated gives you 10 points “towards zero”.
- Multi-loss Penalty: “Was against a team in the..”
- Top 25 = at home 25 pts away from 0, on road 20 pts away from 0
- Top 50 = at home 50 pts away from 0, on road 45 pts away from 0
“Performance Range” Rankings
- Alabama: Best win (#7 LSU) +Worst Loss (undefeated bonus, -10) = (-3)
- Louisville: Best Win (#15 Florida State) + Worst Loss (#5 Clemson) + (No Bonus) =20
- Ohio State: Best Win (#8 Wisconsin) + Worst Loss (#17 Penn State) + (No Bonus) =25
- Wisconsin: Best Win (#7 LSU) + Worst Loss (#3 Michigan) + (Multi loss + 25, Home: #2OSU) =35
- Michigan: Best Win (#8 Wisconsin) + Worst Loss (#31 Iowa) + (No Bonus) =39
- Clemson: Best Win (#4 Louisville) + Worst Loss (#35 Pitt) + (No Bonus) =39
- Washington: Best Win (#28 Utah) + Worst Loss (#12 Southern California) + (No Bonus) =40
- Colorado: Best Win (#16 Stanford) + Worst Loss (#12 USC) + (Multi loss + 20, Away: #3MICH) =48
- West Virginia: Best Win (#27 TCU) + Worst Loss (#25 OK State) + (No Bonus) =52
- Penn State: Best Win (#2 Ohio State) + Worst Loss (#35 Pitt) + (Multi loss + 20, Away: #3MICH) =57
- Oklahoma: Best Win (#27 TCU) + Worst Loss (#33 Houston) + (Multi loss + 25, Home: #2OSU) =85
Only Wisconsin really breaks the mold, and it is not hard to see how based on Sagarin rankings.
PS: What do I think of Louisville’s 5 spot? Who cares. Nobody goes to the playoff this week. They are in striking range and now go to Houston with a chip on their shoulder, I hope we are 5th ahead of the Kentucky game as well.
Go Cards, Beat Houston. CrumsRevenge Out
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