College football strength of schedule: 2022 Win/Loss method

By Kevin Kelley -

There are various methods to measure college football strength of schedule, and the win/loss method is commonly used. In fact, this method is used on the NCAA’s official website.

The win/loss method is exactly as it sounds — it’s based on wins and losses. In order to look ahead before any games are played, the win/loss method is based solely on a team’s opponents’ win/loss record from the previous season.

According to this method, the Navy Midshipmen have the toughest 2022 football schedule, while the UMass Minutemen have the easiest 2022 schedule.

The SEC leads with four teams in the Top 10 of the rankings — Vanderbilt (2), Arkansas (3), Auburn (4), and Mississippi State (5). The Big 12 is second with two teams, followed by the ACC, American, Big Ten, and Mountain West with one each.

Listed below are the complete strength of schedule rankings with win/loss record and winning percentage of each team’s 2022 opponents (includes all games played; numbers compiled by Phil Steele).

2022 College Football Strength of Schedule | Win/Loss Method

1. Navy: 100-52, (65.8%)
2. Vanderbilt: 105-55, (65.6%)
3. Arkansas: 102-55, (65.0%)
4. Auburn: 101-55, (64.7%)
5. Mississippi State: 98-58, (62.8%)
5. Boise State: 98-58, (62.8%)
7. Louisville: 96-57, (62.7%)
8. Texas: 99-59, (62.7%)
9. Texas Tech: 95-58, (62.1%)
10. Indiana: 96-59, (61.9%)
11. North Carolina: 94-59, (61.4%)
12. Marshall: 93-59, (61.2%)
13. BYU: 93-60, (60.8%)
14. South Carolina: 92-62, (59.7%)
14. Colorado State: 92-62, (59.7%)
16. Texas A&M: 93-63, (59.6%)
16. Arizona: 93-63, (59.6%)
18. Georgia Tech: 91-62, (59.5%)
19. Georgia Southern: 92-63, (59.4%)
20. Florida State: 89-61, (59.3%)
21. Kansas: 91-63, (59.1%)
22. Iowa: 92-64, (59.0%)
23. Stanford: 89-63, (58.6%)
24. Tennessee: 93-66, (58.5%)
25. West Virginia: 90-64, (58.4%)
26. Rice: 89-65, (57.8%)
27. UNLV: 88-65, (57.5%)
28. Illinois: 87-65, (57.2%)
29. Northwestern: 88-66, (57.1%)
30. LSU: 87-66, (56.9%)
31. Maryland: 86-66, (56.6%)
32. Penn State: 87-67, (56.5%)
33. Syracuse: 85-66, (56.3%)
33. USF: 85-66, (56.3%)
35. Florida: 87-68, (56.1%)
36. ULM: 84-67, (55.6%)
37. Iowa State: 85-68, (55.6%)
37. Old Dominion: 85-68, (55.6%)
39. Ohio State: 86-69, (55.5%)
40. Troy: 83-68, (55.0%)
41. Tulane: 82-68, (54.7%)
42. Nebraska: 83-69, (54.6%)
42. TCU: 83-69, (54.6%)
42. New Mexico: 83-69, (54.6%)
45. Oregon State: 84-70, (54.5%)
45. Hawaii: 90-75, (54.5%)
47. Army: 82-69, (54.3%)
47. Connecticut: 82-69, (54.3%)
49. Oregon: 83-70, (54.2%)
50. Kentucky: 84-71, (54.2%)
51. Oklahoma State: 82-70, (53.9%)
52. Georgia State: 83-71, (53.9%)
53. Wisconsin: 81-70, (53.6%)
53. Alabama: 81-70, (53.6%)
53. Tulsa: 81-70, (53.6%)
56. Kansas State: 82-71, (53.6%)
56. Western Michigan: 82-71, (53.6%)
58. Clemson: 79-69, (53.4%)
59. Wyoming: 80-70, (53.3%)
60. Colorado: 81-71, (53.3%)
60. Rutgers: 81-71, (53.3%)
60. Ole Miss: 81-71, (53.3%)
60. Nevada: 81-71, (53.3%)
64. Michigan State: 81-72, (52.9%)
64. Akron: 81-72, (52.9%)
66. Appalachian State: 78-70, (52.7%)
67. East Carolina: 79-71, (52.7%)
66. Baylor: 80-72, (52.6%)
69. Eastern Michigan: 81-73, (52.6%)
70. Louisiana Tech: 79-72, (52.3%)
71. San Jose State: 80-73, (52.3%)
71. Toledo: 80-73, (52.3%)
73. Oklahoma: 81-74, (52.3%)
74. Boston College: 78-72, (52.0%)
75. USC: 78-73, (51.7%)
75. Middle Tennessee: 78-73, (51.7%)
77. Missouri: 79-74, (51.6%)
78. Florida Atlantic: 78-75, (51.0%)
79. Wake Forest: 75-73, (50.7%)
80. James Madison: 70-69, (50.4%)
81. Washington: 76-75, (50.3%)
81. Air Force: 76-75, (50.3%)
81. Bowling Green: 76-75, (50.3%)
81. Coastal Carolina 76-75, (50.3%)
85. Virginia 75-75, (50.0%)
85. UAB: 75-75, (50.0%)
87. NC State: 74-75, (49.7%)
87. Arkansas State: 74-75, (49.7%)
89. Texas State: 75-77, (49.3%)
90. SMU: 74-76, (49.3%)
91. Buffalo: 75-78, (49.0%)
92. UTSA: 74-77, (49.0%)
93. Notre Dame: 73-76, (49.0%)
94. Georgia: 75-79, (48.7%)
95. Utah State: 73-77, (48.7%)
96. Southern Miss: 72-76, (48.6%)
97. Ball State: St 74-79, (48.4%)
98. Miami OH: 73-78, (48.3%)
98. Charlotte: 73-78, (48.3%)
100. Virginia Tech: 72-77, (48.3%)
101. Temple: 72-78, (48.0%)
101. Arizona State: 72-78, (48.0%)
103. Cincinnati: 71-78, (47.7%)
104. Central Michigan: 72-80, (47.4%)
104. Ohio: 72-80, (47.4%)
106. Kent State: 71-79, (47.3%)
107. Utah: 71-80, (4700%)
108. Purdue 70-79, (47.0%)
108. Pitt: 70-79, (47.0%)
108. Miami FL: 70-79, (47.0%)
108. Memphis: 70-79, (47.0%)
112. Michigan: 71-81, (46.7%)
113. Minnesota: 70-80, (46.7%)
114. California: 69-80, (46.3%)
114. Duke: 69-80, (46.3%)
116. San Diego State: 69-81, (46.0%)
117. North Texas: 68-80, (45.9%)
118. Northern Illinois: 69-82, (45.7%)
119. WKU: 74-88, (45.7%)
120. Washington State: 68-82, (45.3%)
120. FIU: 68-82, (45.3%)
122. UCF: 66-81, (44.9%)
122. South Alabama: 66-81, (44.9%)
124. UTEP: 66-83, (44.3%)
125. Houston: 64-84, (43.2%)
126. Fresno State: 64-85, (43.0%)
126. New Mexico State: 64-85, (43.0%)
128. Liberty: 64-86, (42.7%)
129. UCLA: 63-85, (42.6%)
130. Louisiana: 58-89, (39.5%)
130. UMass: 58-89, (39.5%)

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Comment (1)

I apologize for the length but I have several comments.

First, the numbers listed include games against FBS and FCS teams If you are going to count games vs FCS then include FCS teams in the list above as they too play FCS and FBS opponents.

Second, using this W/L method a team that played 12 opponents that all had 7-5 records (1 game over 0.500) would end-up with a combined record of 84-60 (58.3%). This would rank them between West Virginia and Rice or the new #26 toughest SOS! In addition this method lists Mississippi State and Boise State as having equally tough schedules (98-58). Here are their 2022 schedules (the #’s in front of the opponents are their final 2021 ranking in the Massey Composite).
MSU: BSU;
1 Georgia (0-0) 26 San Diego State (0-0)
2 Alabama (0-0) 27 Brigham Young (0-0)
12 Mississippi (0-0) 32 Air Force (0-0)
16 Arkansas (0-0) 36 Utah State (0-0)
19 Kentucky (0-0) 38 Fresno State (0-0)
24 Texas A&M (0-0) 54 Nevada (0-0)
40 Auburn (0-0) 59 Oregon State (0-0)
51 Louisiana St (0-0) 79 Wyoming (0-0)
77 Memphis (0-0) 93 Texas-El Paso (0-0)
117 Arizona (0-0) 105 Colorado State (0-0)
118 Bowling Green (0-0) 121 New Mexico (0-0)
NR East Tennessee State NR Tennessee-Martin

Third, computer generated SOS are also problematic. Most use an imaginary “average team” to play each of the 130 actual schedules. The schedule that produces the lowest probability of winning is deemed the “best” SOS. On the surface this seems ok but upon deeper inspection it too is highly flawed. There are currently 130 FBS teams and therefore the “average team” is #65.5. Consider two schedules: A) where the opponents are teams #60-71 and B) where the opponents are #1-6 and #125-130. because of the symmetry of the “bell curve” the odds of the “average team” beating the teams on the right side of the curve are equal to the odds of this team losing to the teams on the left side of the curve. Thus, in both cases the “average team” would be expected to end-up 6-6 so the schedules would be rated as equals. However, lets consider team #11 playing the two schedules. Against schedule A, team #11 would be highly favored against all of the teams #60-71. They would likely end-up 12-0 or 11-1 (it is doubtful that a team would end-up ranked #11 if it lost 2 games against such inferior teams). Against schedule B team #11 would be 6-0 against teams #125-130 but would be lucky to win 1 games vs teams #1-6 or 2 games max. Thus the expected outcome for schedule B would be 6-6, 7-5, or max of 8-4. Thus, for “good” teams these schedules are vastly different! Also, consider this: the odds of team #11 beating team # 120 are ~99%; the odds of team #11 beating an FCS team might be 99.9%; and the odds of team #11 beating a high school team might be 99.999%. Thus, for team #11 there is less than 1% difference between those three opponents. or team #11 any difference is simply cosmetic! Conversely, the odds of team #11 beating team #1 might 40% less than team #11 beating team #21. This point out that the “strength” of a teams schedule is at the TOP of the schedule and not at the bottom! In this light one can see there is no comparison between the two schedules above.