FPI says B1G schools have five easiest schedules among P5 teams in 2016
The B1G finished with four teams in the top 12 in the last Associated Press poll of the 2015 season. No other conference could claim such a feat.
But according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), which is meant to measure how above or below average a team is, the conference is not pushing itself like other Power Five teams.
ESPN released its preseason strength of schedule rankings, based on FPI, and the B1G had the five last spots among Power Five teams. Amazingly, no B1G team was in the top 30 in strength of schedule.
In other words, FPI doesn’t believe the B1G is very strong and with a nine-game conference schedule this year, some teams took a hit.
Here are the B1G teams that found themselves at the bottom of the strength of schedule rankings (based on FPI):
In ESPN’s preseason FPI rankings, the B1G has six teams that are outside of the top 50. That, perhaps, is the biggest reason why so many B1G teams wound up on this list.
It’s interesting that Minnesota, after having the toughest schedule among B1G teams in 2015, wound up first on this list. But the Gophers’ toughest non-conference game is at home against Colorado and they miss playing against Michigan, Michigan State an Ohio State in 2016.
Michigan’s toughest non-conference game is also at home against Colorado. The Wolverines do have to go to Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State, all of whom are likely in the preseason top 25.
It was surprising to see Michigan rated with a weaker strength of schedule than Purdue, which doesn’t leave West Lafayette in non-conference play, and it misses Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Also surprising was the fact that Wisconsin, which faces Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State in the first two months of the season, didn’t end up in the top five for toughest schedules in FBS:
Toughest schedules in FBS:
- Ole Miss
- Florida State
Wisconsin and Ohio State can both make arguments for being in the preseason top five in this category. Both teams travel for headliner non-conference showdowns and both have to face the top three teams in the B1G.
Still, California made it on to the list despite the fact that it doesn’t play a Power Five bowl team in non-conference play while OSU and Wisconsin were outside of the top 30. That’s strange.
FPI hss Syracuse sched ranked 10th, Wisconsin 38. Cuse plays 4 preseason Top 25 (according to ESPN Schlabach) rankings. Wis plays 5 TOP 16!
— Jon Miller (@HawkeyeNation) April 7, 2016
These rankings are obviously not the end-all, be-all that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee would look at throughout the season. And it’s worth noting that these will all likely change quickly in non-conference play.
But if the B1G was looking for a disrespect card heading into 2016, it just got it.