Wanna play smashmouth football? Ready to pound it against the best? Possibly endure a beatdown? Most conference teams don't want to take that chance in the first three weeks. For them, "preseason" college football whimpered to an end after Week 3.
Corporate conference football should be ashamed for sacrificing competition for a fat, lazy lifestyle. Yeah, the slouch potato fan puffs out his chest as his team wins 69-0 over perennial powerhouse Western Carolina. You're just giving him what he wants - an ego boost over 25 percent of the season in exchange for gate receipts, conference TV contracts, shares of team sporting goods and bowl contracts for 8-9 conference schools.
The worst offenders are in the Big 12. After three weeks, any strength of schedule greater than 60 is poor, over a 100 is worth putting your head in the sand. Missouri's SOS is 170th, Texas—142nd, Oklahoma State—139th, Texas Tech—133rd, Kansas—105th. Congrats, Oklahoma, because your 94th SOS is second toughest in the conference only to Texas A&M's 69th.
It's rumored the Aggies are being sent to Big 12 remedial scheduling school. Stephan F. Austin must not have had enough slots for them this year.
Can you believe Florida State's SOS is 201st or that Indiana's is 199th?
Slouch Potato gets to crow his conference is better than yours. Look at how many 3-0 teams his has, how big winning margins are, and how many bowls his conference goes to.
The Pac-8 has the huevos to start college football with the first week. Washington (1), UCLA (4), Stanford (13), USC (17), Washington State (23), California (24), Oregon State (26) are ready to play anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Oregon (84) has politely ducked out of confrontations this year. Arizona State (111) and Arizona (121) are applying for membership in the Big 12.
Remember when the Big 10 took on all comers? Back then, the Big 10 was a conference to be feared. Three or four teams usually ranked in the top ten in strength of schedule. In 2008 after three weeks, only two teams are ranked less than 60 - Michigan (post-ND game) - 39 and Ohio State (post-USC) - 52. Wisconsin (75), Michigan State (93), Northwestern (117), Purdue (118), Minnesota (124), Penn State (131) and shame-on-youssers Indiana (199).
Want to see how SOS divides a conference into contenders and also-rans? In the SEC, Mississippi (140), Arkansas (153), Kentucky (136) and Mississippi State (107) are in one corner. Florida (62), Georgia (66), Auburn (71), Vanderbilt (73), Tennessee (87), Alabama (88) and South Carolina (post-Georgia) (21) are in the other corner. LSU is the only exception (145) to this Mason-Dixon line of demarcation.
Imagine the Chattanooga (1) football coach discussing his last schedule opening. "Joe (Paterno), I'd love to come play at State College. But Bobby Bowden has offered me a sweetheart deal to visit Tallahassee and he's on line two. No way could we compete with your Lions. I hear the roars of 100,000 white-out fans as you guys cream us and storm to a national title. Can you do a little better? By the way, weren't the Trojans asking for that date?"
(Strength of Schedule rankings from Jeff Sagarin)
Sagarin's football ratings: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbc08.htm See "Schedule" under "Rank".
Strength of Schedule Rankings for 2000-2007http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/rankings/decade_team_sched_rankings.php?period=2000-2007