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NCAAF Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

Updated June 23rd, 2020
Published June 5, 2020
  • See the strength-of-schedule rankings for all 130 FBS teams in 2020
  • The top of the list is dominated by the Big Ten and SEC
  • Only one Pac-12 team ranks in the top 20

The 2020 college football season could be unlike any other thanks to coronavirus and the prospect of empty stadiums. But the on-field product should still look largely the same. The charts and graphs below set out the strength-of-schedule rankings for the season, assuming a modicum of home-field advantage still exists.

Even more so than strength of schedule calculations in the NFL, SOS in college football should not be purely based on last season’s power ratings. There is far too much roster turnover from year to year. The calculations and rankings below factor in opponents’ efficiency ratings from last season plus how much production teams are losing in 2020, recent recruiting rankings, and major incoming transfers.

Use the rankings below in conjunction with the 2020 NCAAF win totals to find soft spots in the underbelly of the college football futures.

Jump to: National Rankings | ACC Rankings | Big Ten Rankings | Big 12 Rankings | Pac-12 Rankings | SEC Rankings

2020 NCAAF Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

TEAM RANK SOS TOTAL
Purdue 1 255.22
Georgia Tech 2 223.97
Michigan 3 211.92
Nebraska 4 210.8
Vanderbilt 5 195.22
Iowa 6 190.39
Michigan State 7 183.86
Colorado 8 179.85
South Carolina 9 179.19
Wisconsin 10 170.24
Arkansas 11 159.38
Northwestern 12 139.78
Houston 13 135.17
Ohio State 14 133.95
Alabama 15 133.05
South Florida 16 132.41
Indiana 17 129.67
Kansas 18 129.51
Maryland 19  128.16
LSU 20 122.13
West Virginia 21 116.39
USC 22 115.12
Notre Dame 23 113.13
TCU 24 109.85
Georgia 25 108.32
Tennessee 26 104.4
Rutgers 27 102.75
Louisville 28 101.62
Stanford 29 100.29
Minnesota 30 97.62
Penn State 31 97.11
Mississippi State 32 95.98
Baylor 33 92.93
Ole Miss 34 92.19
Oregon State 35 86.95
California 36 85.5
Kansas State 37 80.02
Oklahoma 38 78.73
Texas 39 77.19
Tulane 40 70.12
Kentucky 41 61.48
Washington 42 61.37
Illinois 43 61.19
Virginia 44 60.59
East Carolina 45 59.11
Iowa State 46 57.82
Oregon 47 57.09
Tulsa 48 57.09
Oklahoma State 49 55.26
Arizona 50 53.81
Missouri 51 48.24
Texas Tech 52 47.86
Miami (FL) 53 45.65
Pittsburgh 54 42.24
Auburn 55 39.65
Temple 56 37.93
Florida State 57 31.77
Wake Forest 58 23.85
Duke 59 22.97
Navy 60 22.95
BYU 61 22.8
Florida 62 21.01
Virginia Tech 63 19.47
Utah 64 18.63
Arizona State 65 18.51
Memphis 66 16.95
North Carolina 67 14.33
Cincinnati 68 11.75
Boston College 69 11.52
UCLA 70 6.21
Washington State 71 1.26
NC State 72 -4.3
UCF 73 -15.19
UNLV 74 -20.21
Texas A&M 75 -28.97
SMU 76 -30.41
Kent State 77 -42.34
Utah State 78 -47.16
Clemson 79 -59.57
Syracuse 80 -63.22
Marshall 81 -67.86
Arkansas State 82 -75.64
Georgia State 83 -87.24
Wyoming 84 -89.37
Georgia Southern 85 -92.1
Western Kentucky 86 -93.3
UConn 87 -93.67
Louisiana–Monroe 88 -125.36
Boise State 89 -126.82
Texas State 90 -128.15
Air Force 91 -136.44
South Alabama 92 -139.13
Eastern Michigan 93 -141.18
New Mexico 94 -141.96
San Jose State 95 -142.41
FIU 96 -146.83
Ball State 97 -147.26
UTSA 98 -156.97
Miami (OH) 99 -159.15
Western Michigan 100 -159.73
Old Dominion 101 -160.47
North Texas 102 -162.61
Bowling Green 103 -163.62
Buffalo 104 -171.31
Florida Atlantic 105 -173.29
Army 106 -173.39
Middle Tennessee 107 -177.31
Appalachian State 108 -182.23
Southern Miss 109 -188.15
Coastal Carolina 110 -189.01
Charlotte 111 -189.66
Northern Illinois 112 -190.44
Colorado State 113 -192.53
Rice 114 -194.47
Fresno State 115 -197.39
Hawaii 116 -202.44
Akron 117 -214.49
UTEP 118 -215.66
Central Michigan 119 -217.53
Toledo 120 -223.72
Louisiana 121 -228.42
UMass 122 -233.51
Troy 123 -235.51
New Mexico State 124 -240.02
San Diego State 125 -250.42
Louisiana Tech 126 -296.21
Ohio 127 -298.99
Liberty 128 -316.48
Nevada 129 -316.64
UAB 130 -319.64

Notes on the SOS ratings:

  • The toughest hypothetical schedule (12 road games vs Clemson) would score 752.4.
  • The toughest schedule a team could play against 12 different opponents would score 693.11.
  • The toughest real schedule (Purdue) scores 255.2, which is 33.9% as tough as the toughest hypothetically schedule.
  • The easiest hypothetical schedule against an FBS opponent (12 home games vs UTEP) would score -648
  • The easiest real schedule scores -319.64, which is 46% as easiest hypothetical schedule.
  • In theory, if FBS teams only played other FBS teams, the cumulative total of all the SOS scores would be zero. The team scores are a certain percentage above or below average. But in reality, the cumulative total of all the SOS scores is well below zero, because of dozens of games against FCS competition.

ACC Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

TEAM CONF. RANK NAT’L RANK SOS TOTAL
Georgia Tech 1 2 223.97
Louisville 2 28 101.62
Virginia 3 44 60.59
Miami (FL) 4 53 45.65
Pittsburgh 5 54 42.24
Florida State 6 57 31.77
Wake Forest 7 58 23.85
Duke 8 59 22.97
Virginia Tech 9 63 19.47
North Carolina 10 67 14.33
Boston College 11 69 11.52
NC State 12 72 -4.3
Clemson 13 79 -59.57
Syracuse 14 80 -63.22

Big Ten Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

TEAM CONF. RANK NAT’L RANK SOS TOTAL
Purdue 1 1 255.22
Michigan 2 3 211.92
Nebraska 3 4 210.8
Iowa 4 6 190.39
Michigan State 5 7 183.86
Wisconsin 6 10 170.24
Northwestern 7 12 139.78
Ohio State 8 14 133.95
Indiana 9 17 129.67
Maryland 10 19 128.16
Rutgers 11 27 102.75
Minnesota 12 30 97.62
Penn State 13 31 97.11
Illinois 14 43 61.19

Big 12 Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

TEAM CONF. RANK NAT’L RANK SOS TOTAL
Kansas 1 18 129.51
West Virginia 2 21 116.39
TCU 3 24 109.85
Baylor 4 33 92.93
Kansas State 5 37 80.02
Oklahoma 6 38 78.73
Texas 7 39 77.19
Iowa State 8 46 57.82
Oklahoma State 9 49 55.26
Texas Tech 10 52 47.86

Pac-12 Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

TEAM CONF. RANK  NAT’L RANK  SOS TOTAL
Colorado 1 8 179.85
USC 2 22 115.12
Stanford 3 29 100.29
Oregon State 4 35 86.95
California 5 36 85.5
Washington 6 42 61.37
Oregon 7 47 57.09
Arizona 8 50 53.81
Utah 9 64 18.63
Arizona State 10 65 18.51
UCLA 11 70 6.21
Washington State 12 71 1.26

SEC Strength-of-Schedule Rankings

TEAM CONF. RANK NAT’L RANK SOS TOTAL
Vanderbilt 1 5 195.22
South Carolina 2 9 179.19
Arkansas 3 11 159.38
Alabama 4 15 133.05
LSU 5 20 122.13
Georgia 6 25 108.32
Tennessee 7 26 104.4
Mississippi State 8 32 95.98
Ole Miss 9 34 92.19
Kentucky 10 41 61.48
Missouri 11 51 48.24
Auburn 12 55 39.65
Florida 13 62 21.01
Texas A&M 14 75 -28.97

 

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