Oh… hello there. Yeah, my name/avatar has been up there for about three weeks so I figured it was time I added to the collective “we”. This has been eating away at me us for a little while after we looked at the schedules. Non-conference schedules in college sports tend to take quite a beating. Outside of traditional out of conference rivals, which typically reside in-state, there isn’t much meat when it comes to non-conference scheduling. This is most evident in the teams that are ranked in the top 25 preseason.
We took a look at the schedules of some of these teams to determine who has more, to borrow a famous Bill Raftery college basketball-ism, ONIONS! Hoops or the gridiron?
In football, there’s only four non-conference opponents for each squad. In basketball it can range from nine to twelve. It can even go beyond twelve depending on non-conference tournaments that aren’t round robins. The guys playing pigskin have to be concerned with going undefeated in order to play for the convoluted BCS title. In basketball though? There’s the tournament. The best post-season in sports… well, the Stanley Cup Playoffs give it a run.
That’s right. We said it… (well, me and Fetch)
Here’s what the top five in football had. Pick out the ones that don’t belong. Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida State, Florida International, San Jose State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, LA-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP, UCF, BYU, Idaho State, Tulsa, and Miami(FL), Virginia Tech, North Texas and Chattanooga. A grand total of two of those teams are currently ranked. Four of them are bowl eligible. Four.
The SEC has the weakest non-conference strength of schedule in football with a current winning percentage among its opponents at a whopping .305. Still, the ACC only had a .481 winning percentage among it’s non-conference opponents. Alabama is carrying that awfully high with an undefeated record, too.
In basketball, it doesn’t get much better.
Kansas plays Memphis and UCLA. Two teams that looked awful to start the season. Texas and North Carolina play each other, but outside of that game on their non-conference schedule, they play only 3 major conference teams. Each of them plays Michigan State and Carolina plays Kentucky. No, the Iowa game on Texas’ schedule doesn’t count. They couldn’t beat a high school team this year.
With the tournament at the end of the season and teams actually getting credit from the committee for “quality losses”, wouldn’t you rather see more clashes of top teams as a fan? What good does seeing Kansas blow out Hofstra do for you as a fan and their resume as a tournament team? A few years ago, Bruce Pearl scheduled a ridiculous non-conference schedule and his Vols made it to the elite eight against Ohio State.
We still give the nod to the football teams for being less inclined to schedule bigger games. But the hoops squads don’t exactly have a double order of ONIONS!