Football: Myth destruction
Sports post; political/transportation readers feel free to skip.
Once again, all over the stupider parts of the PSU sports internet, apologists are claiming that the Big Ten schedule is still stronger than what we'd have ended up with had we stayed the course with our old eastern independent pals plus intersectional games, or that Pitt is equivalent to Temple and should thus not warrant a 1-1 long-term deal, or whatnot. A particularly odious thread at BWI included an attempt to talk about the old schedules as "playing Temple and Syracuse every year". This is a really useful way to look at it, as it turns out! Thanks, homer!
Below, you find a table (old school HTML is all I know) comparing the current Sagarin rankings (using his combined rating of the brain-dead BCS formula and the far better predictor) for the teams contained within our 1982 MNC schedule (regarded as quite strong in retrospect), our 1986 MNC schedule (regarded as quite weak at the time and in retrospect), and our current year schedule. Sorted by Sagarin rank, so you can see strength against strength.
What this shows you, in a way, is what this year would have looked like if, instead of being in the Big Ten, we had played the same teams we did in 1982 and 1986.
|Rank||1982 opponent (rank)||1986 opponent (rank)||2009 opponent (rank)|
|1||Alabama (3)||Alabama (3)||Iowa (8)|
|2||Pittsburgh (17)||Cincinatti (7)||Ohio State (19)|
|3||Notre Dame (22)||Pittsburgh (17)||Michigan State (51)|
|4||Boston College (28)||Notre Dame (22)||Minnesota (56)|
|5||West Virginia (40)||Boston College (28)||Temple (61)|
|6||Nebraska (43)||West Virginia (40)||Michigan (67)|
|7||Rutgers (55)||Rutgers (55)||Northwestern (93)|
|8||Temple (61)||Temple (61)||Syracuse (94)|
|9||NC State (80)||East Carolina (71)||Indiana (95)|
|10||Syracuse (94)||Syracuse (94)||Illinois (102)|
|11||Maryland (103)||Maryland (103)||Eastern Illinois (124**)|
** - 1-AA team (FCS); ranking likely inflated due to problems with the algorithm on non-1A teams.
Observe what I'm going to call the Temple/Syracuse line. In the 1982 schedule (with current rankings), 3 of the other 10 opponents have ratings this year worse than Temple's (and remember, 2009 has been a very strong year for Temple!). In the 1986 schedule, also, 3 of the 10 other teams are worse than Temple; 7 are better. In the 2009 schedule, however, 7 of the remaining 11 teams are worse than Temple.
With Syracuse, it's even worse. 1982 schedule? One team worse than SU. 1986 schedule? Ditto; only one team worse than the Orange. In the 2009 schedule, however, 4 teams are worse than SU, and one is only one spot better.
And those who would bitch about putting Pitt back on the schedule? Pittsburgh would be the second strongest team on the 2009 schedule.
Hey, you're welcome.