Final 2012 college football strength of schedule rankings

By Kevin Kelley -

With the close of the 2012 college football season, it’s time to look at the final strength of schedule (SOS) rankings.

National Champion Alabama’s schedule ended up being ranked 33rd by the NCAA. Their highest strength of schedule ranking was from Kenneth Massey, who rated the Tide 3rd.

Notre Dame was rated first in Phil Steele’s preseason rankings. Their schedule was rated 8th by the NCAA and Colley Matrix and 7th by Kenneth Massey.

For comparison purposes, the preseason Top 10 strength of schedule rankings from Phil Steele are listed first. Click the title to view the complete rankings for each source.


Phil Steele

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Ole Miss
  3. Iowa State
  4. Michigan
  5. Florida
  1. Washington
  2. Baylor
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Miami (FL)
  5. Kentucky

Notre Dame’s schedule was ranked preseason number one by Phil Steele primarily due to games against Miami (FL), Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford, and USC. Ole Miss’ schedule finished ranked in the Top 10 only in Kenneth Massey’s poll. Florida’s schedule strength ended up being ranked in the Top 5 of every poll except Anderson & Hester.


NCAA (vs. FBS & FCS)

  1. Florida
  2. Missouri
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Auburn
  5. Kentucky
  1. Arkansas
  2. Ga. Southern
  3. Notre Dame
  4. LSU
  5. Kansas

This NCAA ranking is based solely on the winning percentage of past opponents. Florida’s opponents (109 wins, 44 losses) had 11 more wins than 2nd place Missouri (98-45) and 9 more wins than 3rd place Texas A&M (100-52). National Champion Alabama’s schedule was ranked 33rd. Their opponents had 94 wins and 67 losses.

Anderson & Hester (BCS)

  1. Kansas
  2. Missouri
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Iowa State
  5. Stanford
  1. Texas
  2. Kentucky
  3. Michigan State
  4. California
  5. Oklahoma

Anderson & Hester’s strength of schedule rankings include 5 of the 10 Big 12 teams with Kansas taking the top spot. Missouri, who played their first season in the SEC, comes in at 2nd. Alabama’s schedule is ranked 35th.

Colley Matrix (BCS)

  1. Missouri
  2. Florida
  3. Kentucky
  4. Kansas
  5. Arkansas
  1. Auburn
  2. Stanford
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Michigan
  5. California

The Top 6 of the Colley Matrix is all SEC teams with the exception of the 4th spot which is held by Kansas. Notre Dame’s schedule is ranked 8th, which is the same ranking as the NCAA method. Alabama’s schedule is ranked 21st.

Jeff Sagarin (BCS)

  1. Missouri
  2. Auburn
  3. Kansas
  4. Florida
  5. Oklahoma
  1. Texas A&M
  2. Baylor
  3. Kentucky
  4. Arkansas
  5. California

Continuing a pattern, Big 12 teams occupy the entire Top 10 in Sagarin’s strength of schedule ratings. Kansas is ranked 1st, as they were in Anderson & Hester and the Colley Matrix. The Jayhawks’ non-conference slate included Northern Illinois (MAC Champions) and at Georgia Tech. Alabama’s schedule is ranked 19th.

Kenneth Massey (BCS)

  1. Missouri
  2. Florida
  3. Alabama
  4. Texas A&M
  5. LSU
  1. Georgia
  2. Notre Dame
  3. South Carolina
  4. Stanford
  5. Ole Miss

The SEC dominates strength of schedule in Kenneth Massey’s ratings. SEC teams occupy the Top 6 spots, plus 8th and 10th place. National Champion Alabama is ranked 3rd, while Notre Dame is 7th.

Comments (12)

Its really no softer than most BCS conference schools … nearly everyone but Independents play an FCS opponent now, some play two. And many SEC teams have cross-conference rivals that they play every single year: Florida-FSU, UGA-GT, Carolina-Clemson. Yes, Alabama and LSU (two annual powerhouses) typically play poorer non-conference schedules, but as a whole I wouldn’t say the entire conference does.

Half the Sec should be considered FCS teams. Also there are 14 teams so it’s a lot easier to pick cupcake conference teams… 6-1-1 is pretty sad imo for how many teams that are in the conference…

I understand how you would be jealous of Alabama and LSU being powerhouses. But you are typically wrong about them playing poorer non-conference schedules. Every team in the SEC plays the same number of either MAC, C-USA, Sunbelt, etc. teams and the same number of FCS teams a year. For FCS teams they play one. LSU played Towson, Alabama played W Carolina, Georgia played Georgia Southern(Alabama played them in 2011), South Carolina played Wofford, Florida played Jacksonville State, and so on and so forth. See the trend. Stop talking if you have no idea what your’e talking about.

Playing in the sec and playing fsu everyday is tougher than amyone’s scheduel .5 or 6 top ten teams almost everyday plus having the national champion for almost the last decade .For anyone to say any team in the sec plays a soft scheduel is just soar grapes.The sec has been and Is now and will always be the toughest conference .Get over it and just try to fight for being second best .Notre dame should what a joke they were when the played a real team in Alabama .Just like Ohio st and Oklahoma did when they played the gators for national championship .If they want to get a real national championship game just put the two best sec teams together for the game every year.Any other game is just a joke .

I don’t think you have a logical thought in that South Eastern brain of yours.Playing FSU every day? Lets combine all 14 teams OOC games together and pick out all the FCS teams the SEC plays. The SEC plays 8 Conference games.. I don’t buy into the SEC grind with a 6-1-1 schedule with only 8 conference games and 14 teams in the conference. It’s to easy for a team to miss out on playing quality in conference teams. Let me think about this hopefully my math is right. The SEC Play 56 OOC games as a conference, 39 of those teams are FCS or below, not to include ND or Boise for they do well each year and hold their own. Lets use the PAC12 as an example for a 9 Conference team. They play 36 OOC games 20 less then the SEC as a whole. Out of those games 21 are FCS or below… This can prove quite shocking to SEC fans if they knew how to read past a balooned BCS rating system. 7 teams for east and 7 for west, and you only have to play 6 of them then one from east/west and a round robin… that to me is padding for a good win/low loss record.. I’m not saying or picking out any single teams here. I’m looking at this as a whole. Let me tell you the numbers do not stack well for the SEC.

Where the heck is your logical thoughts? Since when does the PAC12 have only 9 teams? Do you make the rules as you go along. During the 2012 campaign the SEC played exactly 14 FCS teams total. That’s one for each team for those that use the type of fuzzy math that you have used in your comment. Besides that, 6 SEC teams were in the top 10 of the “strength of schedule” at the end of the 2012 season. Also, each year SEC teams play many in-state rivals that are pretty tough…South Carolina plays Clemson, Georgia vs Georgia Tech, Florida vs Florida State…you see where I’m going with this? So, haters like you gonna hate, but that’s ok, you can make all the excuses you can, but at the end of the day, the SEC is still the best conference in College football. So, get over it!!

62 players were drafted from the SEC.
The next highest conference had 31.
The SEC’s schedule strength is twice as tough as any other conference.

I remember when Florida played FSU and Miami every year in OOC games. Couple that with Ala Aub Ga LSU UT and the rest made a brutal schedule. In those days Mia and FSU were independent and scheduled 2 marquis games a year and set themselves up for National Champ runs. They were the 1st 2 teams considered for SEC expansion from 10 to 12, Both declined because they knew they couldn’t compete with SEC schedules and succeed, Even in ACC they have struggled to dominate. Bottom line for all the complainers from other conferences…win a NC against a SEC power or your incessant whining simply comes across as more (subliminal) SEC envy. Deep inside where your ego fears to go you know you cant win your argument on the field so you are left to conjure up lame excuses and arguments why your sub standard team cant get the accolades you dream of. Well they can, but only inside your own’ Beautiful Mind’ screenplay. Dream on wannabees.

First of all the sec has won alot of NC in the past decade and everytime they play a non sec team they beat them for example ohio st okaklama and notre dame.

Well no matter the SEC strength of schedule, We be seeing them in the outhouse bowl if Florida St and the Buckeyes win out. See ya later SEC, I Guess yall should have won all ya games, and we dont want to hear but our schedule was so so very much tougher, BCS computers dont care about SEC arrogance or OSU tattoo scandals or how many birds got flipped into the crowd, ther not influenced by Mark May and currently they favor OSU and Florida St so quit crying and let another conf have some glory fer once.