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Monday, 19 December 2011 23:25

Strength of Schedule Analysis: UGA Strongest in 2012

Georgia has the strongest schedule when compared to the Top 10 teams in 2012, according to our annual analysis.   Each year, we've calculated the relative strength of the schedule (relative schedule difficulty) for the Top 10 Teams, as determined by the Preseason Coaches' Poll.  Read on to find out how the rest of the teams fared. 

As we did in 2011, we calculated the schedule difficulty index (strength of schedule) by awarding 12 points for scheduling the number one team in the Preseason Coaches' poll, 11 points for scheduling number two, and so on, continuing down to one point for number 12.  No points are awarded for scheduling teams ranked below 12.  In Table 1, we've only included those teams that are currently ranked in the Top Ten. 

 

Table 1:  Relative Schedule Difficulty for the Top 10 Ranked Teams

Difficulty Rank

Team

Poll Rank

Schedule Difficulty Index
(SDI)

1

UGA

9

71

2

Utah

5

70

3

Oregon State

7

59

4

Stanford

8

52

5(tie)

Florida

3

51

5(tie)

UCLA

1

51

7

Bama

2

43

8

OU

4

41

9(tie)

Michigan

10

35

9(tie)

Nebraska

6

35

You see that UGA narrowly edges out Utah in our ranking.  Teams that are members of either the SEC or the new Pac-12 fare very well in this rankings.  Our ranking methodology is admittedly biased to teams that hold strong conference affiliations and schedule meets with more than one opponent.  The conference affiliation is a double edge sword -- although it means the teams will meet in the conference meet, it also means annual obligations to meet other conference opponents on a regular basis.  Thus in the past, Utah has not done as well in this ranking as they did not have a conference.  However, with the new Pac-12 Conference boasting five of the top eight teams in the country, Utah now rises to near the top of the standings.  However, Georgia still claims the top spot by not only meeting with their SEC conference rivals, but by scheduling tough out of conference opponents like UCLA and Utah. 

Unlike some sports, in which competing against a physically stronger team can increase the likelihood of injuries, there are few reasons for a gymnastics team to not want to develop the strongest schedule available.  Attendance, in general, is related to strength of schedule, and the national rankings are not based on won-loss records.  But as it relates to scores, the results can be mixed.  The extra pressure on the athletes combined with a potentially higher level of scrutiny may produce lower scores.  We've noticed anecdotally that high caliber meets, (in addition to those in large population centers) tend to draw a higher percentage of Brevet and National rated judges.  But all in all, the pros outweigh the cons.  Competing in front of large, vocal crowds or in large multi-round conference meets with a high caliber of judging helps prepare those teams for the National Championship and Regional meets.

The ranking in Table 1 just focused on the relative position of the Top 10 teams.  What happens when we extend the analysis to the Top 25 teams?  Well the two big conferences dominate, with the lower rated teams from the Pac-12 and SEC entering into the top ten standings.  Arkansas, Kentucky and Washington rise into the top five.

 Table 2:  Strength of Schedule for the Top 25 Teams

Difficulty Rank

Team

Poll Rank

Schedule Difficulty Index
(SDI)

1

UGA

9

71

2

Utah

5

70

3

Arkansas

11

68

4(tie)

Kentucky

23

65

4(tie)

Washington

16

65

6

Oregon State

7

59

7

AU

17

57

8

LSU

12

54

9

Stanford

8

52

10(t)

Florida

3

51

10(t)

UCLA

1

51

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 22:52
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