Strength of schedule: 2017 mid-season rankings

By Kevin Kelley -

We’ve reached the mid-point of the 2017 college football season, which means it’s time to review the strength of schedule rankings (SOS) as they stand now.

There are several sources for strength of schedule, including several computer components. Note that these rankings are for strength of schedule to date and will differ from preseason rankings.

For comparison purposes, we will use Phil Steele’s preseason strength of schedule rankings. Click the title to view the complete rankings for each source.

Preseason Strength of Schedule Rankings

Phil Steele

  1. LSU
  2. California
  3. UCLA
  4. Syracuse
  5. Mississippi State
  6. Oregon State
  7. South Carolina
  8. Stanford
  9. Georgia Tech
  10. Arizona State

The LSU Tigers, currently 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, topped Phil Steele’s preseason list. The Tigers have remaining games at home vs. Auburn, Arkansas, and Texas A&M and on the road at Ole Miss, Alabama, and Tennessee.

Mid-Season Strength of Schedule Rankings

Anderson & Hester

Anderson & Hester’s strength of schedule rankings are led by the Pac-12 with four teams. The Big Ten follows with three. Florida State has played the toughest schedule according to this computer index.

  1. Florida State
  2. Florida
  3. Boston College
  4. Arizona State
  5. Iowa
  6. USC
  7. Stanford
  8. Michigan
  9. Oregon State
  10. Michigan State

Colley Matrix

Florida State tops the strength of schedule rankings in the Colley Matrix and was also first in Anderson & Hester. FSU is followed by Boston College and Arizona State. See Colley’s site for an explanation of FCS Groupings.

  1. Florida State
  2. Boston College
  3. Arizona State
  4. Florida
  5. FCS Group 4
  6. Iowa
  7. Michigan State
  8. Stanford
  9. Oregon State
  10. FCS Group 8

Jeff Sagarin

Jeff Sagarin also has the Florida State Seminoles ranked first. Oregon State comes in second and is actually ranked in the Top 5 of each computer ranking except Massey.

  1. Florida State
  2. Oregon State
  3. Boston College
  4. Maryland
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. Arizona State
  7. Mississippi State
  8. California
  9. Michigan State
  10. Pittsburgh

Kenneth Massey

Florida State tops the strength of schedule rankings in the Massey Ratings, followed by Boston College and Michigan State. Boston College’s 2017 schedule ranking has been in the top three of each index except Billingsley.

  1. Florida State
  2. Boston College
  3. Michigan State
  4. Clemson
  5. North Carolina
  6. Florida
  7. California
  8. USC
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Texas

Billingsley Rankings

Billingsley is the only computer ranking that ranks Vanderbilt first, and only the second that ranks them in the Top 10. This index also ranks Georgia 5th and Clemson 8th, team that are ranked 4th and 2nd in the AP Poll, respectively.

  1. Vanderbilt
  2. Oregon State
  3. California
  4. Stanford
  5. Georgia
  6. Florida
  7. Mississippi State
  8. Clemson
  9. North Carolina
  10. USC

Just looking at each of the rankings, Florida State has played the toughest schedule in the eyes of the computer indexes. The 2017 FSU football schedule is first in all of the rankings except Billingsley (18th). FSU’s 2017 schedule was ranked 16th in Phil Steele’s preseason rankings.

According to the Sagarin ratings, here are the top 10 divisions in schedule strength:

  1. SEC West
  2. Big Ten East
  3. ACC Atlantic
  4. Pac-12 North
  5. ACC Coastal
  6. Big 12
  7. Pac-12 South
  8. Big Ten West
  9. SEC East
  10. AAC West

Comments (6)

This is a JOKE !!! B1G Conference teams have the toughest schedules with most having 2 – 4 Top 10 Teams on their regular schedules !!!
Alabama and Clemson play 1 or no Top 10 teams… sail into 12 – 0 seasons…


The same day you say Clemson sails into 12-0 season, they lose. This just shows me these rankings are no joke.

Day, it just shows that Clemson is no good without their QB from last year… they couldn’t even get past unranked Syracuse… Syracuse EXPOSED them…

The SECupcake ‘Top 10 Auburn’ that EbbTide was to play in last game, EbbTide’s only ‘Top 10 opponent’, has also just been exposed as NOT Top 10 level by unranked LSU… Just another SECupcake…

Leaving out the Big 12 is political biased hogwash. Especially TCU !!!! The powers that be in the network TV business ABSOLUTELY hate the middle initial of TCU !!! BEGINNING AND END OF STORY. no doubt


I see, you’re one of these SEC cupcake haters that likes to call names (Ebbtide) & bash the SEC. You sound just like a lot of others on here that was the same person yet used many different names to make it sound like there were so many people out there that felt the same.
You clearly don’t keep up with Clemson, the Tigers have been doing great this season minus Waston from last year but NOW they’re on their 3rd string QB so NO, they were NOT EXPOSED, they keep losing their quarterbacks to injuries so a loss was bound to happen sooner or later, good luck to Clemson the rest of the way.
As for the top 10, teams are losing every week in the top 10, it’s just not SEC Auburn. Does this mean that teams like USC, Washington, Oklahoma, & FSU are exposed as well? FSU got their QB knocked out of the game vs Bama & has not been the same since, they’re struggling to win games but they’re still a great team that was #3 at the 1st of the season but I am sure you’re the same person that does not believe in preseason ranks yet you’re the one that brought it up.
As for the the BIG, I have nothing against them at all, the east is one of the best division’s in college but even they have lost games, Michigan St got crushed by ND, a team that Georgia beat. The Ohio St got beat by Oklahoma then the Sooners lose to Iowa St (does not mean it’s just another BIG-12 cupcake?). Last night Washington loses to Zona St, loss’s are going to happen. Has absolutely nothing to do with cupcakes or being exposed. Just has to do with people whining about what a JOKE a ranking system is because THEY ONLY feel that their conference plays harder teams & should be in the top 10 of everything.
And don’t think Bama is going to sail to 12-0 either, they’ve been hurting on defense & all it take is one game to not be on your guard, the players don’t listen to you & think they got this. That’S one great thing about Magic Nick, he stays in their ear about not getting over confident, plus Bama is just LOADED!
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