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Compare and Contrast

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    By Stuart


    [h=3]Compare and Contrast … Non-conference scheduling in the Pac-12[/h] —
    It was reported this week that four cities – Tucson, Arizona; Little Rock, Arkansas; Austin, Texas; and Orlando, Florida – had applied to the NCAA to add four more bowl games this season.
    If accepted, as expected, there will be 43 bowl games this holiday season, requiring 84 teams to fill all of those slots (with two teams, the winners of the “semi-final” bowls, going on to compete for the national championship). This means that two-thirds of the 127 teams competing in the FBS will go bowling this fall.
    You don’t need background in calculus to figure out that it won’t always*be easy for 66% of all*teams in the FBS to*finish with winning records (or at least a .500 record) every season.
    And yet it happens … at least in the*Power-Five conferences.* In the Power-Five*last year, 48-of-64 of the teams, or 75%, finished the regular season with .500 records or better.
    The breakdown:
    – ACC … 11-of-14 schools finished the regular season at .500 or better
    – Big Ten … 10-of-14
    – Big 12 … 7-of-10
    – SEC … 12-of-14
    – Pac-12 … 8-of-12
    So, no problem getting enough teams qualified for bowl eligibility. Right?
    We’ll see.
    Last year, the Pac-12 met its quota, with eight bowl teams to fill eight bowl slots. Going forward, however, this might not be so easy. Teams are scheduling more games against other Power-Five conference schools (witness the recent announcement that*CU will playing Texas A&M and TCU in the early 2020’s) with the goal that, should their team be in consideration for a playoff position, that their non-conference scheduling won’t count against them (see: Baylor, 2014).
    So, how are teams from the Pac-12 trying to strike*the right balance …*ensuring some easy wins in non-conference play (for bowl eligibility in off years), yet still*enough difficult opponents to ensure proper credit is given (if a playoff spot is a possibility)?
    Let’s take a look at how the Pac-12 schools are addressing the issue.
    Here is a breakdown of the Pac-12’s non-conference schedule over the next five seasons (not all programs have filled every slot … independents Notre Dame and BYU counted as “Power-Five” schools):
    North Division
    – California (all 15 games scheduled) … seven games against Power-Five schools (Texas (2); North Carolina (2); Ole Miss (2); BYU); three games against other FBS schools (San Diego State (2); San Jose State); and five game against FCS opponents (Grambling State; Weber State; South Dakota; Idaho State; UC-Davis);
    – Oregon State (11 games) … four games against Power-Five schools (Michigan; Minnesota (2); Ohio State); five games against other FBS schools (San Jose State; Nevada (2); Boise State; Hawai’i); and two games against FCS opponents (Weber State; Indiana State);
    – Oregon (11 games) …*four games against Power-Five schools (Michigan State; Nebraska (2); Virginia);*four games against other FBS schools (Wyoming; Bowling Green; Nevada; Georgia State); and three games against FCS opponents (Eastern Washington; UC-Davis; Southern Utah);
    – Stanford (13 games) … nine games against Power-Five schools (Notre Dame (5); Northwestern (2); Virginia (2) ); four games against other FBS schools (UCF (2); Rice (2) ); zero games against the FCS;
    – Washington (all 15 games) … three games against Power-Five schools (BYU (2); Rutgers); six games against other FBS schools (Boise State; Utah State; Idaho; Fresno State; Nevada; Hawai’i); and five games against FCS opponents (Sacramento State; Portland State; Montana; North Dakota; and Eastern Washington)
    – Washington State (13 games) … two games against Power-Five schools (BYU; Rutgers); seven games against other FBS schools (Wyoming (2); Boise State (2); Idaho; Nevada; San Jose State); and four games against FCS opponents (Portland State; Eastern Washington (2); Montana State)
    South Division
    – Arizona (13 out of a possible 15 games scheduled) … three games against Power-Five schools (BYU (2); Texas Tech); eight games against other FBS schools (Nevada; UTSA; Hawai’i (2); Houston (2); UTEP (2) ); and two games against FCS opponents (Northern Arizona; Grambling State)
    – Arizona State (13 games) … five games against Power-Five schools (Texas A&M; Texas Tech (2); Michigan State (2) ); six games against other FBS schools (New Mexico; UTSA (2); New Mexico State; San Diego State (2) ); and two games against FCS opponents (Cal Poly; Northern Arizona);
    – Colorado (16 games, counting the Hawai’i game in 2015) … three games against Power-Five schools (Michigan; Nebraska (2) ); nine games against other FBS schools (Colorado State (5); Hawai’i; UMass; San Jose State (2); Fresno State); and three games against FCS opponents (Nicholls State; Idaho State; Northern Colorado);
    – UCLA (13 games) … seven games against Power-Five schools (Virginia; BYU (2); Texas A&M (2); Oklahoma (2) ); six games against other FBS schools (UNLV (2); Hawai’i; Memphis; Fresno State; San Diego State); zero games against the FCS
    – USC (14 games) … nine games against Power-Five schools (Notre Dame (5); Alabama; Texas (2); BYU); five games against other FBS schools (Arkansas State; Idaho; Utah State; Western Michigan; UNLV); zero games against the FCS
    – Utah (14 games) … four games against Power-Five schools (Michigan; BYU (3) ); six games against other FBS schools (Utah State; Fresno State; San Jose State (2); Northern Illinois (2) ); and four games against FCS opponents (Southern Utah; North Dakota; Weber State; Idaho State)

    The Pac-12 non-conference 2015-19*schedules, by the numbers:
    – 60 games*are currently scheduled against fellow Power-Five conference schools (38%); 69 against other schools from the FBS (43%); and 30*games against schools from the FCS (19%);
    – USC and Stanford, locked into long*term contracts with Notre*Dame, lead the conference with nine games apiece against Power-Five schools (with ten of their combined 18 Power-Five games coming against the Irish);
    – BYU has all-but earned an honorary membership in the Pac-12, with 11 games scheduled against the Pac-12 in the next five seasons;
    – Only three Pac-12 schools do not have a game scheduled against an FCS opponent in the next five years: Stanford; USC; and UCLA; and
    – The state of Washington gets the “run and hide” award for the conference. Between Washington and Washington State, there are only five games in the next five seasons against Power-Five conference schools. Four Pac-12 schools: Stanford (9); USC (9); UCLA (7); and Cal (7) will all play more Power-Five non-conference opponents than the Huskies and Cougars combined.

    As for Colorado …
    Colorado, counting the extra game against Hawai’i this season, has more games (9) against other FBS schools than any other Pac-12 school over the next five seasons. The Buffs are balanced between the Power-Five games and the FCS games with three games against the Power-Five (at Michigan in 2016; a home-and-home with Nebraska in 2018 and 2019) and three games against teams from the FCS (Nicholls State this fall; Idaho State in 2016; Northern Colorado in 2017).
    Looking at*2020 and beyond, though, the road gets tougher for the Buffs. Of the ten games currently scheduled between 2020 and 2024, CU has eight games scheduled against Power-Five schools, with only two games against the rest of the FBS (CSU in 2020; UMass in 2021). Chances are, of course, that most of the five remaining openings will be filled with “easier” opponents.
    Neill Woelk penned a good column earlier this week after the home-and-home series against Texas A&M and TCU were announced. Entitled, “Buffs signal they’re all in with football schedule“, Woelk notes that taking on schools like Nebraska, Texas A&M and TCU may not work out well for Colorado if the Buffs continue to struggle on the field.
    “But,”*Woelk concludes, “the risk is one worth taking if the Buffs believe they’re ready to become a top 25 program again. If Colorado wants to play at the big-money table, the Buffs will have to be ready to push all their chips to the center”.
    Colorado’s non-conference scheduling, should the Buffs continue to improve, seems tailor-made for success. The Buffs have only one Power-Five opponent in the next three seasons (at Michigan next fall), with*one FCS opponent in each of the next three campaigns. Then the schedule is upgraded, with home-and-home series against Nebraska, Texas A&M and running from 2018 through 2023.
    If the Buffs can improve their win totals, and get themselves into playoff discussions down the road (and, who knows, there may be a 16-team playoff before we know it), CU’s schedule will allow the Buffs to play their way into a bid.
    … All CU needs to do now is win …
    ——








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