Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mark Schlabach: Navy's Schedule Sucks

...From his most recent column over at ESPN.com, in reference to the teams with the easiest schedules in 2007.

6. NAVY: The Midshipmen play only four Division I-A teams that finished with winning records last season: Rutgers, Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Northern Illinois. Five of Navy's 2007 opponents won four games or fewer last season, including Duke (0-12), Temple (1-11), North Texas (3-9), Army (3-9) and Air Force (3-8).
Toughest game: at Rutgers, Sept. 7

Easiest game: vs. Duke, Sept. 22

You'll notice first of all that his list of the easiest schedules makes absolutely no sense to begin with. Since he claims he's going off of 2006 winning percentages, it's interesting to see how he left out just about every team that faced the worst teams in 2006. Ohio, for example, faced opponents with a combined 37.8% winning percentage in 2006, which was the lowest in the country. Navy, in contrast, faced teams with a combined 45.1% winning percentage. Ball St., Akron, Nevada, BOISE ST (!!!), Buffalo, TCU (!!!), Bowling Green, and Miami (Oh) all faced teams with winning percentages lower than 45.1% in 2006, yet none appear on Mr. Schlabach's assessment. Can it be that Mr. Schlabach was only focusing on BCS conference teams? At first it might appear so, but why would Navy and Hawaii be on the list?

I don't believe in baseing schedule strength off of last year's winning percentages anyway, and tend to take the approach that Phil Steele and others recommend with regards to forecasting strength of schedule in the preseason. Translation? Some mathematical formula I don't understand. Needless to say however, a number of teams Navy plays in 2007 look like they'll be much better than last season, if for no other reason that there is no place to go but up for some of these teams!

The last point I'd like to make is that Mr. Schlabach gets Navy's "easiest" and "toughest" games wrong. Duke is not the worst team Navy will face in 2007. I hate to label any team as the "worst," but from where I'm standing (and that is a very attentive and specialized position as a Navy fan) it sure looks like North Texas won't be as good as Duke in 2007. Not to go sour on Coach Dodge and his program, but had the Blue Devils had the luxury of playing within the Sun Belt conference I doubt they'd be performing as poorly as they have been in the ACC. In addition to this, I think Mr. Schlabach overrates Rutgers, as you would expect the World Wide Leader and its Big East contract to do. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Notre Dame is still a better overall team than Rutgers, and it's going to take more than a home upset of Louisville to convince me of that.

As they say, that is all.


phelix said...

Strength of schedule only matters if you care about the BCS formula. If you aren't trying to get an at-large BCS bid, it's meaningless. Maybe Hawaii should be concerned. Navy shouldn't. It's not like the Poinsettia Bowl is going to turn us down if they don't like our schedule.

I also think that the schedule is a little tougher than Schlabach gives it credit for. Other than the 4 teams he mentions, Ball State and Pitt also have a shot to be respectable. It doesn't set the world on fire but it's a plenty challenging schedule for us.

Adam said...

That's what I originally thought. But why include Iniana and UConn? Neither of those team have even a remote shot at a BCS bowl game. It seems to me that Schlabach just picked some random teams and threw them up there.

Ball St and Pitt should be playing .500 ball, and anytime you play a team from the CAA your going to have a fight on your hands. The only team that figures to be down after last season is North Texas, and you can never really tell with a new coaching staff.

phelix said...

If you're strictly talking only as relative to last year, then Air Force, Notre Dame, North Texas, and Northern Illinois will all probably not be as good. Well, I don't know about Northern Illinois, they'll probably be a little better on defense. Nobody knows what like will be like without Garrett Wolfe, though. Temple and Ball State will be improved. Who knows about the rest of them.

Adam said...

Yikes, how could I forget ND. I still don't know about Air Force, although I guess I'd like to think they won't be as good. Which is more influential; new staff (usually down) or new energy (usually up?) I guess we'll see. Wolfe is a huge loss for N. Illinois but Joe Novak is a good coach and they still have a good core of guys coming back. Probably about the same, but who knows. Last season we were all saying that UConn and Stanford had god shots at going Bowling, and look how that turned out.

Eric said...

Ball State is going to be the 3rd best team in the MAC this year. Saying that they won't amount to anything doesn't make any sense.

I made a post about this on my blog. It doesn't make any sense to me. How can you play Auburn, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee and have the 3rd easiest schedule in the nation? That doesn't make any sense at all.

The guy called Central Michigan and Toledo (two 2007 bowl participants) "creampuffs". So.......there you go. Schlabach has no idea about non-BCS schools. The only reason Navy and Hawaii make this list is because they're two of the most popular non-BCS schools. I'm going to go ahead and guess that he didn't check out UL Lafayette's schedule, Buffalo's schedule, etc.

Usually, it's the Sun Belt schools that have the easiest schedules.

phelix said...

Well, to be fair he said he was talking about non-conference schedules.

Adam said...

Most Sun Belt schools actually play very difficult OOC schedules.

Gary said...

While our schedule has some "lower recognition" games we still have a better schedule than RUTGERS!
Last year Rutgers had by far one of the easiest "set-up" schedules I ever saw and it included something called HOWARD?
This year something called NORFOLK STATE" takes their place as the "slaughter-statistic" bump game-toss in U OF BUFFALO and the way its set up they are trying hard to make sure Rutgers gets into a major BCS Bowl game.
Once again the NY media market lure of the ESPN types is too hard to ignore.
Thats funny too because:
1- Despite showing constant shots of the Empire State Building and NYC during the Louisville game last year-the city is nowhere in sight as they tried to make it seem.
2.NY/NYC is NOT interested in college football.
3.WFAN Sports Radio does NOT care or do college football unless it is an EVENT such as Rutgers became last year.
Well it makes for good chatter in the summer heat.

Eric said...

Well, it said this:

"Which teams will fatten their BCS résumés against soft nonconference schedules? Which Heisman Trophy candidates will pad their statistics against the likes of Charleston Southern, Northern Colorado and Tennessee-Chattanooga? ESPN.com takes a look at the least difficult schedules in college football in 2007."

The main header though stated that these were the "easiest schedules". If he was only concentrating on non-conference schedules, then why would he include "toughest games"? Texas A&M isn't an OOC foe for Kansas.

And, about the Sun Belt, they schedule hard. But when you play 7 really, really, really soft opponents, that makes it a very easy schedule.

Eric said...

He wasn't talking about OOC schedules. He mentioned it, but here are some things he also talked about:

"Kansas doesn't play Texas or Oklahoma in Big 12 Conference play, and the Jayhawks will face Nebraska in Lawrence, Kan., and Missouri in Kansas City."

"The Warriors' WAC schedule includes home games against Fresno State and Boise State and road games at San Jose State and Nevada."

"SEC road games at Alabama, Tennessee and LSU prevented this from being the country's easiest schedule."

And, Adam, I wasn't referring to Sun Belt OOC schedules, those are difficult. If you do look at many SOS rankings, the Sun Belt is usually way down there.