While strength of schedule is certainly a valid metric useful in evaluating how good a team is, it’s not a be all and end all. By that, I mean you shouldn’t confuse a team playing a weaker schedule in and of itself with being lesser.
The perfect example of that this season is (duh) Alabama. Allow Bill Connelly to explain.
Alabama is an easy 11-0 so far, having won its games by an average margin of 35.6 points (35.2 with a 50-point cap on each game). Per their statistical profile, they have finished each game with a 100 percent post-game win expectancy, which is either unprecedented or nearly so.
Have the Crimson Tide played a rigorous schedule? Not really. If the average top-five team — by which, I mean literally the average of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, and Oklahoma, the top five teams per S&P+ — played Alabama’s 11 opponents a countless number of times, it would have won about 89 percent of those games.
In other words, 100% > 89%.
Regardless, Bama continues to have done more with its ain’t-played-nobody schedule than anyone else. Even with the 50-point cap, and even with a lackluster performance against The Citadel, the Crimson Tide have still defeated their opponents by an average scoring margin that is 10.3 points per game higher than the nameless, faceless top-fiver would expect.
Notwithstanding the schedule, Alabama is not just good, but better. Granted, come playoff field time, that likely won’t matter if the Tide run the table all the way through the SECCG, but it’ll be interesting to see if folks try to throw shade on Alabama’s SOS if Georgia finds a way to win the conference title again. (You know Danny Kannell will.)