I heard some guy talking about how Boise State in recent years wasn't that good because they didn't play anyone. I thought, "Pish-posh, Boise's played at least 50 teams in the past 4 years, and they're good because they win", but it led me to think about the flaws with strength of schedule. I asked my friend, Bruce, if strength of schedule is a good argument, and this is what he said:
Bruce OH NO (via vega4481)
Hmm.... I concur, Bruce. Lets examine why! Also, I still haven't mowed the lawn, and this is an easy way to blow it off.
Theoretically, you need to have a strong schedule to prove you're a good team. So, to prove you're good, you need to improve your schedule. I'll show how it is impossible to do so, and how much of it is luck, by examining ways schools improve their schedule. Also, if you don't want to read the whole thing, just read the stuff in bold and you'll get the point. But you'll miss out on the jokes and will be very confused on what Jackie Chan has to do with all this.
#1. Move to a conference with better teams.
Okay, makes sense, because the majority of your schedule is from your conference, therefore, more good teams. Lets use Boise for an example. They move to the Mountain West, which had BYU, Utah, and TCU, all good programs. Good move, right? Well, we all know what happened, symbolized by this video. Imagine the trolls are Boise State, the thing they're eating is the WAC, and the amazing actor are those 3 teams.
A Scene From Troll 2 (via Veovisjohn)
That's right, former Mountain West teams, we would eat you! And props to the kid for not screwing up with the fly on this forehead at the 13 second mark.
Those teams all ran away! Utah got adopted by the conference formerly known as the PAC-10, TCU lived with the Big East (kinda), before being adopted by the Big 12. BYU, sadly, is still in the foster home with the Army, Navy, and Notre Dame. It could be worse though, right? At least Boise found a conference. Wouldn't that be bad to not have a conference to play in? I couldn't even imagine an Idaho team with no conference....
In conclusion, switching conferences can't guarantee a stronger schedule.
#2: Schedule tougher non-conference teams.
Okay, makes sense: you have more control over who you play, non-conference wins are typically more impressive and get better T.V. ratings, which somehow matters according to what's-his-face on ESPN.
To talk about this point, lets go back to March 2011, shall we? (Time travel sounds) Ahh... 2011. Seems like it was only yesterday! White kids everywhere learning this new dance called "shuffling", craziness in Libya, and an aspiring football team managed to schedule some good non-conference games. Three of them were ranked in the top 25 in the preseason, at #9, #16, and #20. The 4th non-conference opponent finished 7-6 the year before, because they can't ALL be good! Nice schedule, right? My friend here, Dr. Cox, will answer for you:
Dr Cox - Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong (via playityourway)
In case you didn't catch that, or are too lazy to watch it, you would be wrong! You know who those teams were? #9 was Texas A&M, who finished 7-6. #16 was Ohio State, who went 6-7. #20 was Mississippi St., finishing 7-6. None were ranked in the final polls, or even got any votes. That aspiring team? Well, as far as I know, no one actually did set up those teams. But lets say someone did. They hypothetically set up a decent schedule. But, how were they supposed to know that any of those teams would do that bad? As far as I remember, Texas A&M was a preseason title contender, and ended up firing their head coach.
As for that 4th team that didn't seem that good? That was Baylor. You know, that team that finished #12 overall, and one of their players named Bobby Griffin won something called the Heisman? But that only proves my point even more. No one has control over how good other teams do, so how should they get credit? Alabama isn't winning LSU's games for them, and neither did Boise cause Michigan St. to lose 2 games. (That was Robert Griffin III, for those of you who didn't catch that)
Even when you look at this year, if Boise set up teams that were #8, #10, and #12 in the preseason., their strength of schedule would already be terrible, because those teams are Michigan, Arkansas, and Wisconsin, respectively. None are currently ranked, only Michigan has received any votes, and their combined record is 6-8. So basically, it is a guessing game when trying to set up a tough non-conference schedule. You can never be sure those opponents will be good at all.
It gets even more complex when you think about it. When looking at #2 Oregon, who have they played? Arizona? They're now 2-2, their other loss to Oregon State, but who have the Beaver's played? UCLA? Alright, but who have they played? Nebraska? They did beat Wisconsin, but didn't Wisconsin struggle against Northern Iowa and Utah St? Utah St. is doing good, but who have they played? Utah? They're 2-2, beat BYU out of complete luck, and got crushed last week versus Arizona St. This is making Jackie Chan very confused.
Confused on why he's here? Yes? If you've been reading this, you wouldn't be!
See how this goes? It goes off into a large circle, with no beginning to base it off of. When you base it off of other teams, it becomes so complex. And everyone looks at it differently. Is strength of schedule based off quantity, or quality? Because last year, Alabama played 2 teams ranked higher than any of Boise State's opponents, yet Boise played more teams with winning records (it's true!).
I understand analysts using strength of schedule to help with analysis, predictions, and even Vegas using them for odds. But for a championship game, it's unfair, because the ones who are effected most are the ones who have no control over the schedule at all: the players. They can't ask teams to play them, or make conference changes. In regards to strength of schedule, they hurt their schedule by beating teams, adding a loss to their column (making them look worse), and often exposing their weaknesses in the process, potentially leading to even more losses.
Basically, what I'm saying is the strength of schedule argument isn't about how good you do, only that you play good teams. Winning isn't enough. The amazing thing is that even though Boise plays in a flawed playoff system, they've still managed to crack it, and had a chance to potentially ruin the whole system. I'll stop right there, before you get even more mad about field goals.
So that's my analysis for now. I'm pretty sure you already thought the strength of schedule argument was hogwash, but now you have some fun facts to use in your next debate with someone who brings up the whole "who have they played?" argument. And yes, I learned how to upload videos, and I thought of a couple of ideas very quickly.
Have anything else to add? Such as tasty smoothie recipes?