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2011 Final BCS Poll: Ranking Each Top 25 Team's Strength of Schedule

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2011 Final BCS Poll: Ranking Each Top 25 Team's Strength of Schedule
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I put together this system at the end of the 2010 regular season, and, as I said at the time, I went into it with certain preconceived notions.

This season, I went in with a less biased outlook, which is funny, because I also found the results less surprising. Unlike last season, the non-AQ conference teams along with the Big East team had decidedly underwhelming schedules. On the other hand, while the unquestioned top teams are SEC teams, the disparity between the SEC and the other conferences is not as overwhelming as it was last year.

That said, my ranking system is fairly simple. A team receives or loses points based on the following criteria:

  • Out-of-conference road games: .5 points each
  • Games against top 25 teams (at time of game): One point each
  • Games against bowl eligible teams: Two points each
  • Games against top 25 teams (final BCS poll): Three points each
  • Games against top 10 teams (final BCS poll): Four points each
  • Games at a top conference venue: .25 points each
  • Games against FCS opponent: Minus-one point each

The majority of the system is as objective as it can be. The one subjective area is the games at the top conference venue. In that case, I just didn't think it was fair to say an away game at Florida was equal in difficulty to an away game at Vanderbilt.

However, I also didn't think it was fair for me to be the arbiter of which venues were particularly challenging and which weren't. In effect, the venues that qualified ranked amongst the top 30 in attendance in 2010. I also included non-AQ venues that filled up its stadiums to 90 percent capacity or more.

Again, there is some degree of subjectivity, but not much. Besides, at .25 points, the effect was minimized.

Also, I gave Southern Cal credit for being a top 25 team, though not for being a top 10 team.

As regards to one of the BCS National Championship competitors, the cream rose to the top. As regards to the other one...well, you'll have to judge for yourself.

My opinion is the rightful team was not only 11-1, but also its conference's champion. Still, in terms of strength of schedule, the two teams vying for the right to play in the BCS National Championship Game were pretty close.

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