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Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule

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Posted: 8/12/2014 9:52 AM

Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


I came across this article today and thought it was worth sharing:

Link 

It attempts to dispel the myth that a 9-game conference schedule results in higher SoS ratings vs conferences with 8-game conference schedules. I have to say, it's pretty compelling stuff.  Considering the monetary stakes involved surely the Pac12 & Big12 have mathematical proof that their schedule will not put them at a statistical disadvantage before the season is ever played? noidea
 

--- All Hail The Children of the Checkerboard! ---
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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:02 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


I thought it was trying to say the 9 game conference schedules were not harder, it's not.  It's saying the 9 game conference schedules will not wind up being rated any higher.  It actually points out a flaw in SOS calulations.

The article summed down is that with an 8 game schedule, yes the additional OOC game that Team X plays is probably going to be a garbage team, however, so will all of Team X's conference mates.  So all the teams in their conference have their win total boosted by 1 too.  So what's better to replace one 2-10 team with an 8-4 team, or have every conference opponent have 1 win more.  The findings suggest that the computers would rather you play 8 games against teams with 1 more win than 1 game against a team with 8 more wins, even if those 8 single additional wins are against crappy teams.

Much like the Big East scheduled to manipulate the basketball RPI for years by scheduling bad, but not horrible, and very few good teams.  It seems scheduling 8, not 9, conference games is actually the better way to manipulate the college football SOS rankings.  Much like with basketball, it seems like that's the way to have the computer think you played a tougher schedule, when you actually played the easier one.

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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:05 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



EastLansingAdam wrote: I thought it was trying to say the 9 game conference schedules were not harder, it's not.  It's saying the 9 game conference schedules will not wind up being rated any higher.  It actually points out a flaw in SOS calulations.

The article summed down is that with an 8 game schedule, yes the additional OOC game that Team X plays is probably going to be a garbage team, however, so will all of Team X's conference mates.  So all the teams in their conference have their win total boosted by 1 too.  So what's better to replace one 2-10 team with an 8-4 team, or have every conference opponent have 1 win more.  The findings suggest that the computers would rather you play 8 games against teams with 1 more win than 1 game against a team with 8 more wins, even if those 8 single additional wins are against crappy teams.

Much like the Big East scheduled to manipulate the basketball RPI for years by scheduling bad, but not horrible, and very few good teams.  It seems scheduling 8, not 9, conference games is actually the better way to manipulate the college football SOS rankings.  Much like with basketball, it seems like that's the way to have the computer think you played a tougher schedule, when you actually played the easier one.
Thanks. I was half way through it when the phone rang. You saved me the other half of the article. 

What's most infuriating about this is that with the extra OOC games, the teams are NOT compelled to play someone of stature. So once again, fans lose as Alabama plays a Florida directional U and Ohio State plays Bowling Green. Yay. Yippee.


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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:16 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


but, they are compelled to play someone of statue, because the 9-game schedule is actually the weaker SOS

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:42 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


I hate these SOS calculations anyway.  If you are a good team, whether you play the 70th ranked team or the 120th ranked team is basically the same.  You may lose to the former one time in 500 and the latter one time in 5000.

I would over weight games played against teams ranked 35 or higher who actually have a chance to be competitive.

The games played against pastries just would not count at all for anything (unless you lost of course).

The ADs seem to need a certain number of home games a year to pay the bills, so that means playing pastries.noidea

I hate all over generalizations.

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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:46 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


Actually, the odds of even the #1 team going into a game losing to the 70th or so team are quite a bit likelier than 1 in 500. I would agree that for the very most elite teams, there isn't a huge difference between #70 and #120, but a it's not zilch and a game vs #70 isn't an effective bye (which one vs #120 basically is).
 
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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:47 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



cincydawg4 wrote: I hate these SOS calculations anyway.  If you are a good team, whether you play the 70th ranked team or the 120th ranked team is basically the same.  You may lose to the former one time in 500 and the latter one time in 5000.


That's what Big East basketball has done for years.

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Posted: 8/12/2014 10:58 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


I think the members of the committee understand SOS.

SOS is more about playing the top 25 or top 50 or top 10 programs

the bottom 50 teams don't mean much

much more impressive for the committee to schedule a top 25 team non-con.  Hopefully the committee rewards those programs for non-con scheduling regardless of 8 or 9-team conference schedules

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/12/2014 11:41 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



MrPacTen wrote: Actually, the odds of even the #1 team going into a game losing to the 70th or so team are quite a bit likelier than 1 in 500. I would agree that for the very most elite teams, there isn't a huge difference between #70 and #120, but a it's not zilch and a game vs #70 isn't an effective bye (which one vs #120 basically is).
OK, 1 in 100, whatever.  it rarely is relevant.

I hate all over generalizations.

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Posted: 8/12/2014 1:49 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


Interesting article and concept.  

I believe that SoS is one of the least understood and most subjective things in sports.  As ELA has pointed out in the past any set formula is subject to being gamed.  The brief debate here about the relative difficulty of playing #70, #120, or #50 team illustrates this point.  

It is just really tough to compare schedules:
  • Suppose that a mid-major like scheduled an SEC team that ended up winning the SEC at 12-1 and won then played eleven #70-#105 teams and went 10-1 against them for a total of 11-1.  
  • Now suppose another team had a particularly weak schedule and played a bunch of teams ranked #35-#70 and also went 11-1.  
The first team has a MUCH better "signature win" but all the rest of their games are weaker than the second team.  Also, the second team's loss is not as embarrassingly bad.  

Another part of it is the home/away split.  This is true even within the conference even when the conference has a balanced (Home/Away) schedule.  

Example, would you prefer your team to have:
  1. Their four toughest conference games at home and their four easiest conference games on the road, or
  2. Their four easiest conference games at home and their four toughest conference games on the road?  

I would submit that the answer depends on how good your team is.  If your team is a likely conference title contender then you are better off with schedule #1 because you get home-field advantage in the tough games against the other contenders.  However, if your team is likely to struggle to obtain bowl eligibility then you are better off with schedule #2 because you get home-field advantage in the winnable games against the other also-rans.  

The point of that aside is that home-field advantage only matters when the teams are relatively evenly matched.  Does anyone know if they plan to explicitly consider home-field advantage in determining SoS?
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Posted: 8/12/2014 2:10 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



EastLansingAdam wrote:
cincydawg4 wrote: I hate these SOS calculations anyway.  If you are a good team, whether you play the 70th ranked team or the 120th ranked team is basically the same.  You may lose to the former one time in 500 and the latter one time in 5000.


That's what Big East basketball has done for years.
Yep.  Pitt's AD/scheduling guru was a god at it for years.
-------------------------------------------------------
Colts and Boilermakers fan to the core
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Posted: 8/12/2014 2:31 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


After giving the article some thought, I think I'm more inclined to stay with the current (SEC) 8-game model, where you play everyone in your devision, 1 permanent cross division rival, and one rotating rival.

(Actually I prefer the setup prior to ATM & Mizzou b/c it means the Vols would see AUB/LSU/Miss/etc more often but at this point there's no going back.)

For me, ideally the other 3 games would be Big5 teams and the final game could be Directional State U.  The Big5 could agree to kick things up a notch by having the 3 good ooc games come from 3 different Big5 conferences.  With more cross-pollination SoS might actually mean something.  This would also increase ticket revenue and lead to much more compelling tv.  I'd watch MSU/Wisconsin play OklahomaSt/UNC but I'm not watching them play Miami (OH) or C.Mich. At this point I'd settle for the babystep of mandating that at least of the ooc games be a team with a pulse. 

I concede that this setup would probably spell the end of undefeated seasons but there's a playoff now so I'm ok with that.
 

--- All Hail The Children of the Checkerboard! ---
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Posted: 8/12/2014 2:59 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


The 9 game schedule will in fact be a myth before too much longer.

The B1G will be at 10 very soon.
U-Rah-Rah   Wis-Con-Sin
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Posted: 8/12/2014 3:23 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



847badgerfan wrote: The 9 game schedule will in fact be a myth before too much longer.

The B1G will be at 10 very soon.

You think?
 

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Posted: 8/12/2014 3:26 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


Yes. Many of the coaches have already said as much.

It's good for fans/ticket holders, and ultimately good for the BTN, which is all the wonks really care about anyway.

It will happen during the next round of TV negotiations.
U-Rah-Rah   Wis-Con-Sin
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Posted: 8/12/2014 5:20 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



Voldemonium wrote:

 The Big5 could agree to kick things up a notch by having the 3 good ooc games come from 3 different Big5 conferences.  
This would be sexy as hell.

He fixes the cable?

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Posted: 8/12/2014 6:08 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


The PAC 12 doesn't play 9 conference games to improve their SOS. They play 9 conference games because its difficult to find 4 OOC opponents that will allow them to have 6-7 sold out home games every year for many of the schools in the PAC. 

Its a business move, not a competitive one. 
Voldemonium wrote: I came across this article today and thought it was worth sharing:

Link 

It attempts to dispel the myth that a 9-game conference schedule results in higher SoS ratings vs conferences with 8-game conference schedules. I have to say, it's pretty compelling stuff.  Considering the monetary stakes involved surely the Pac12 & Big12 have mathematical proof that their schedule will not put them at a statistical disadvantage before the season is ever played? noidea
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Posted: 8/12/2014 7:54 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



OrangeAfroMan wrote:
Voldemonium wrote:

 The Big5 could agree to kick things up a notch by having the 3 good ooc games come from 3 different Big5 conferences.  
This would be sexy as hell.
agreed

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/12/2014 11:55 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



847badgerfan wrote: Yes. Many of the coaches have already said as much.

It's good for fans/ticket holders, and ultimately good for the BTN, which is all the wonks really care about anyway.

It will happen during the next round of TV negotiations.
I certainly hope you are wrong on this.  Nine is bad enough but 10 would absolutely be the end of intriguing OOC matchups.
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Posted: 8/13/2014 6:57 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


The "lesser schools" also need the money.  Look at Georgia Southern for example.  I doubt they would have had the resources to make the jump to 1-A or FBS or whatever it is these days without playing a lot of chump games elsewhere for paychecks (and winning one last season of course).  It's expensive and they certainly are not in a "monied part" of the country.

Teams like my Dawgs would struggle to manage 9 conference games unless they drop the annual series with GaTech, and they likely could not play the "Notre Dames" of the world in addition to 9 conference and 1 rivalry game, leaving only one pastry to play.

Of course, this would not be such an issue of the conferences had stayed at 12 instead of this unwieldly 14 number.

Remember when the message boards were on fire with who was adding who to get to 16?

If you go to 20 teams in a conference, I think it becomes de facto two conferences with a paired "bowl game" post season.

I don't like the NFL, so I don't care for the general concept of having every conference the same.  I enjoy confusion and entropy and silliness and differences.

I hate all over generalizations.

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Posted: 8/13/2014 7:00 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


I have been proposing for years that each big conference team play 2 games against other big conferences each year. You'd actually get better data on how the conferences rank against the others. Then you can use that data more reliably. Right now head-to-head data is diluted by other factors including the inability to rank lesser conferences and reputation versus reality. If the big 5 conferences did that they could have 7 games versus the other 4 conference (14 x 2 = 28/4 = 7). 7 games would provide a more reliable intraconference index as opposed to 1-3 games played each year currently. In the SEC team, only 1 team has scheduled 2 OOC teams from the major conferences, 8 have scheduled 1 and 5 have scheduled 0. That's against mid-tier teams for the most part. Wisconsin-LSU and Fl-FSU are the only 2 games of note. The teams OOC largely are against the lowest teams in football (Lamar, Presbyterian, Louisiana Monroe, etc.). That reveals nothing but pumps up the wins. Those games should be counted as negatives against the rankings.
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Posted: 8/13/2014 10:29 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



medinabuckeye1 wrote:
 
I certainly hope you are wrong on this.  Nine is bad enough but 10 would absolutely be the end of intriguing OOC matchups.
Nebraska, Rutgers, and Maryland are intriguing OOC matchups

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/13/2014 10:32 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



Tjl630 wrote: I have been proposing for years that each big conference team play 2 games against other big conferences each year. You'd actually get better data on how the conferences rank against the others. Then you can use that data more reliably. Right now head-to-head data is diluted by other factors including the inability to rank lesser conferences and reputation versus reality. If the big 5 conferences did that they could have 7 games versus the other 4 conference (14 x 2 = 28/4 = 7). 7 games would provide a more reliable intraconference index as opposed to 1-3 games played each year currently. In the SEC team, only 1 team has scheduled 2 OOC teams from the major conferences, 8 have scheduled 1 and 5 have scheduled 0. That's against mid-tier teams for the most part. Wisconsin-LSU and Fl-FSU are the only 2 games of note. The teams OOC largely are against the lowest teams in football (Lamar, Presbyterian, Louisiana Monroe, etc.). That reveals nothing but pumps up the wins. Those games should be counted as negatives against the rankings.
I agree with this 100%.  If we go to 10 conference games each team will play those and two directional-U games.  
I'd much rather see us each play:
  • 4 conference home games
  • 4 conference road games
  • 1 big-5 OOC home game
  • 1 big-5 OOC road game
  • 2 directional-U games 
With that schedule you would get decent comparability between conferences because of all of the OOC matches.  You would also enable each team to get their seven home games and quality would be just as good as 10 conference games because you would have 10 big-5 opponents.  Actually competition/quality could be better because high-end big-5 teams could schedule their OOC games against other high-end big-5 teams while mid-tier big-5 teams could schedule other mid-tier big-5 teams and lower end big-5 teams could schedule other lower end big-5 teams.
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Posted: 8/13/2014 10:34 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



Tjl630 wrote: I have been proposing for years that each big conference team play 2 games against other big conferences each year. 
I agree, but are you proposing this to the right people?

get Big Jim on the horn!

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/13/2014 10:45 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



Tjl630 wrote:
. Wisconsin-LSU and Fl-FSU are the only 2 games of note.
lol, you really hate Clemson, don't you? 

S.Carolina-Clemson
Georgia-GA Tech
Clemson-Georgia

Pretty harsh from a fan of Rutgers:  Washington St, Howard, Navy, Tulane
I GUESS you want credit for playing Wazzou, although I'm not sure why.  If Rutgers is "Mr. NYC Market", why do the Scarlet Knights feel the need to play @ Fresno (last year) and @ Wazzou (this year)????  SOS?  LOL

Now Florida plays 2 directional schools, Idaho, and @FSU.  But last year we played Miami and FSU, along with 'top 70' Toledo. 

But back to my question, why do you hate Clemson?

He fixes the cable?

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Posted: 8/13/2014 10:56 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 



medinabuckeye1 wrote:
847badgerfan wrote: Yes. Many of the coaches have already said as much.

It's good for fans/ticket holders, and ultimately good for the BTN, which is all the wonks really care about anyway.

It will happen during the next round of TV negotiations.
I certainly hope you are wrong on this.  Nine is bad enough but 10 would absolutely be the end of intriguing OOC matchups.
I'd rather see intriguing matchups within the conference, or just cease being a conference.
U-Rah-Rah   Wis-Con-Sin
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Posted: 8/13/2014 11:09 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


As I've said before, I would like 10 conference games and no CCG, but there needs to be a 13th game to make that possible. This way, schools still get 7 home games and can schedule a big non-con series each year.

When your team is winning be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing

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Posted: 8/13/2014 11:16 AM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


The number of home games won't matter when people start not coming.

Think in terms of TV revenue only. Until that dries up, of course.
U-Rah-Rah   Wis-Con-Sin
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Posted: 8/13/2014 12:15 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


That math is interesting, though I wonder about the metric they're using for SOS. All it is is two parts opponents record, one part their opponents record. This strikes me as not having quite that much nuance, and possibly the logical holes of something like RPI.

Maybe not.
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Posted: 8/13/2014 12:25 PM

Re: Myth of the 9-Game Conference Schedule 


I would hope the committee would use good common sense and their eye ball tests for the SOS calculation

not some formula

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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