The strength of schedule factor is one of the most crucial aspects of NCAA Football, and many bookmakers offer odds on how challenging a team’s schedule is. For instance, the number of points scored by a team is usually used to compare the difficulty of their schedule to other teams. In order to figure out how to calculate these odds, let’s take a closer look at how the strength of schedule is determined in NCAA Football and what it actually means to the bookmakers and the public.
How Is The Strength Of Schedule Calculated In NCAA Football?
The general formula for calculating the strength of schedule is:
(Opponent Weight x Opponent Average Ht/wt Ratio x 3) – (Games vs. Div II teams)
Here, we’ll discuss the three components that make up the strength of schedule:
1. Opponent Weight
This factor is based on the winning percentage of an opponent. In general, heavier the better when it comes to this category as it determines how challenging an opponent is. For example, the average opponent weight for Division I teams is around 270 pounds while the average opponent weight for Division II teams is 210 pounds. The difference is 60 pounds, which is a significant amount. If we were to take this factor into consideration when making a $10 wager, we would have to pay more as the odds for a Division I school would be 1.6 times greater than the odds for a Division II school.
2. Ratio Of Height To Weight (Ht/wt Ratio)
The height to weight (Ht/wt) ratio is often used as a key indicator of an athlete’s build and weight. When used in combination with the opponent’s weight, we can get an idea of how well a team will do relative to their body-weight. For example, a team with a 5’10” and 210-pound average Ht/wt ratio would weigh in at a body-weight of 42.8 pounds, which is on the lighter side for a football team. This means that they would be at a distinct disadvantage when playing other teams with the same average Ht/wt ratio.
3. Games Vs. Div II Teams
This category counts the number of games played versus lower-level teams. For instance, playing six games against lower-level teams would count as one game vs. a Division II team, three games vs. a Division III team and four games vs. a Division I team. In general, playing more games against lower-level teams makes a schedule more difficult. Every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision plays at least four games against lower-level teams.
As discussed above, these factors are crucial in determining the strength of schedule in NCAA Football. It’s important to note that a team’s strength of schedule is not solely based on these numbers but is in fact a combination of various indicators. Generally, the stronger the schedule, the greater the odds will be in favor of a winning outcome. When taking a closer look at how these numbers are determined, we can see that playing lower-level teams makes a schedule more difficult as it requires more physicality on the field. This is important to keep in mind when wagering on games vs. lower-level teams as it may not be what the bookmaker had in mind when setting the odds for these games.
What Does The Strength Of Schedule Mean?
Generally, the strength of schedule factor is used to compare the difficulty of a team’s schedule to other teams in order to figure out which team has the hardest schedule. This factor is also important in figuring out a team’s ranking when comparing them to other schools within the same division. If we were to compare the strength of schedule of the Michigan Wolverines to the Michigan State Spartans, we would have to take into consideration that Michigan has more difficult schedule. This is because they play more games against higher-ranked teams compared to the number of games played against lower-level teams. In addition, they have a neutral-site game each year which is always a challenge. For instance, playing at Northwestern University on a Thursday night is more difficult compared to playing at home.
In most cases, the higher the strength of schedule, the greater the odds will be in favor of a winning outcome for that team. However, this is not always the case as there are exceptions where this factor is not as relevant.
There are a few instances where this factor does not necessarily mean that a team will have a hard time winning. For example, a team with a very weak schedule would have an easier time winning as there’s no measure of physicality or how well a team plays besides winning and losing. An upcoming season that will be especially telling is the 2020 NCAA Football season as it will feature a brand-new format where all the teams are placed in the same group and play a round-robin schedule at the end of the season. This will give us the opportunity to see how teams performed based on their body-weight and not on the number of games they played (which is generally the case).
As discussed above, the strength of schedule is one of the most crucial elements of NCAA Football. Many bookmakers offer odds on how challenging a team’s schedule is and how it compares to other teams’. For instance, the number of points scored by a team is usually used to compare the difficulty of their schedule to other teams. If we were to take this into consideration when making a $10 wager, we would have to pay more as the odds for a Division I school would be 1.6 times greater than the odds for a Division II school.