Arkansas’ 2014 schedule broke the All Time Record in strength set just last year by Stanford. The Razorbacks played a record 8 teams ranked in the Top 25 in the Billingsley Report and in the AP, 6 of those in ranked in the Top 10. Additionally, only Nicholls St. and UAB ranked outside the Top 42 in the nation in the Billingsley Report at the time the game was played. Arkansas’ strength of schedule in 2014 gained 135.740 points on Billingsley’s scale, eclipsing Stanford’s 130.669 set in 2013. For decades the 1983 Auburn schedule of 123.684 and 1987 Florida’s 124.695 were the benchmarks of schedule comparison, but the addition of conference championship games in the early to mid 1990’s began a rise in schedule points by adding an extra game into the calculations. The addition of games through the semi final and championship games of the new College Football Playoff is sure to do the same thing. It’s amazing that several early seasons still remain on the Top 50 list including 1945 Michigan (# 24), 1973 Kansas (#29), 1970 Alabama (# 30), and two Oklahoma teams, 1975 (# 36) and 1973 (# 44). The 1975 Sooner team won a National Championship.
The 1945 Michigan team played only a 10 game schedule, fewest of all the Top 50 entries. If the Wolverines had played today’s standard 13 game schedule (including a Bowl Game), and had played even reasonable teams, ranked in the #50-75 range, the Wolverines 1945 entry would most likely reach the Top 3 of this current list. Billingsley’s strength of schedule rating is based on an accumulation of points derived from the rating and rank of each opponent on the day the game was played.
Also of note, Oregon’s 2014 strength of schedule ranked # 3 All Time. This is an early indicator of the reflection of the new playoff structure as the Ducks played a 15 game schedule.
Follow the links below to view the Top 50 list and individual team schedules throughout history.
Photo by Stephen B. Thornton