The favorite ‘SOS’ ranking is usually the one that rates any one particular fan’s team the toughest. It can be very subjective and we provide our numbers as just another reference point. The SOS numbers we provide are an average strength of each game played in conference versus the odds of losing any game scheduled.
Our methods for calculating the SOS and EOS of every team is very easy to understand. First, we don’t change it throughout the year like the rest of the “computer” models. Why? Because at the beginning of each season, every team has a certain level of talent and size and a fixed home/away schedule. These two factors alone predict nearly 80% of all the AQ teams football games in the last 6 years and will be no different in 2011. For my modeling, the SOS is a simple as how good does the team you are playing recruit over the last 4 years plus the variable for each team if the game on the road or at home.
As in all of the metrics in the site, they are rooted in recruiting but there are some exceptions to scheduling. For example if your team is playing Virginia Tech or LSU on the road, you have a better chance for an upset than at home, thereby tweeking an SOS to reflect the toughness of teams on the road (or at home).
The numbers are the numbers, but from a perspective of a college football fan and reviewing the schedules, I do like the results of what came of the SOS modeling (not like I have a choice in the results). LSU has the #1 ranking for the 2011 season and rightfully so. 10 very challenging games crowd their schedule. Colorado may surprise some but 13 games with 7 on the road (no open dates) and 11 games against AQ schools and the other two are an in-state rival and on the road at Hawaii. All that with the #68 recruiting rank for the last 4 years. Oh my… At the other end of the spectrum is where you can find some ‘contenders’ of interest. Many fans and the media are jumping on Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and West Virginia due to scheduling (and last year’s results) as dark horse surprises. The model agrees on the low SOS idea, but not the thought that these will be national contenders.
Average SOS per game 2011 (OOC and conference games)
#1 SEC – 38.9
*PAC12 and BIG12 play only 3 OOCs in ’11 and thus increases their SOS per game ave.
**Big East teams have 5 OOCS and contributes to a much lower ave SOS per game
#2 PAC12 – 39.2*
#3 BIG 12 – 43.2*
#4 ACC – 44.6
#5 BIG Ten – 49.5
#6 Big East – 56.6**