Playing the strength of schedule card

I see where the “ACC sux, so Clemson can’t really be that good” narrative has emerged again in the comments.  To those of you who swear by that, have you looked at Georgia’s schedule this season.  No, I mean, really lookedBill Connelly has.

2021 Projections

Projected SP+ rank: Sixth

Average projected wins: 9.8 (6.6 in the SEC)

  • Likely wins: Charleston Southern (99.9% win probability), at Vanderbilt (98%), South Carolina (97%), UAB (94%), Missouri (90%), Kentucky (90%), Arkansas (85%), at Tennessee (82%), at Georgia Tech (81%), at Auburn (67%)
  • Relative toss-ups: vs. Florida (57%), vs. Clemson (40%)
  • Likely losses: None

Of the six projected top-50 teams on the Dawgs’ schedule, only one comes to Athens. That’s an issue, but they’ll likely be favored in every non-Clemson game all the same.

Georgia plays Georgia Tech in Atlanta, a place where the Dawgs haven’t lost in two decades.  Georgia Tech is Georgia’s fourth most difficult 2021 opponent, according to Connelly.  Six — count ’em, six — SEC teams are judged weaker than are the Jackets.  (Hell, two SEC teams are judged weaker than UAB!)

Clemson is an experienced, successful opponent.  Dabo and his staff are what Florida fans try to convince themselves Dan Mullen is, elite at identifying and developing talent.  Their starting quarterback got thrown into the fire last season as a true freshman and started two games, one of which was on the road against the number four team in the country.  His stats:  59-85, 781 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs.  Clemson averaged 37 points in those two starts.

In other words, they’re going to be a tough out for Georgia in the opener.  If you want to argue that the worth of a team should be measured by its strength of schedule, be my guest.  Just don’t be offended when that same line of thought gets thrown UGA’s way at season’s end when the discussion turns to which teams should be considered the best in the country.

46 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

46 responses to “Playing the strength of schedule card

  1. dawg100

    All I want is a repeat of the 2003 opener. Is that too much to ask?
    🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. akascuba

    I don’t understand the rationale to want to say Clemson is a bad team. It only hurts Georgia win or lose. I’m more in the Vince Dooley style regarding the next game’s opponent. They are Goliath and we’re David fighting the good fight. Glory be to David shall he emerge victorious.

    That still doesn’t change the fact Clemson sucks!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. jcdawg83

    I hate clemson with a white hot passion but they are good. That said, if any of the SEC teams on Georgia’s schedule, with the exception of Vandy and probably SC, played clemson’s regular season schedule I think they would all win at least 7 games. I will not argue that Georgia’s schedule is a “murderer’s row” but clemson’s schedule is laughable and it is laughable every season.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    I don’t disagree with your post.
    Could you be making the argument for the “super league” of college football? e.g. a world where there would be no daisies.
    I recall reading an article about the “sinister/evil” G.Sankey by Dennis Dodd(i think he is a yankee tool) and his summary of Greg’s fascination with the English Premier League(= SEC) + relegation(goodbye Vandy, hello FSU.) + Champions League (3 SEC + 2 B10 + 1 Pac12 +1 At large +1 B12)formats. I have always wondered if that would be a viable structure for college football? The parallel of the sports structures are eerily similar…passionate fanbases, regional support, top heavy teams, 100+ years of tradition, etc.
    As a passionate UGA/college football and euro soccer fan, in my opinion, if structured correctly, it could work and be very exciting. I am not advocating for that kind of change but if we have to change, it is a format that I could welcome.

    Like

  5. spur21

    I think much of Clemson’s success can be attributed to their weak (ACC) schedule. It allows them to play a lot of guys over the season which keeps the starters fresh and give others game day experience. Hopefully we can do the same this year.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. gurkhadawg

    I say Clemson sucks because I hate them, not because they are a crappy football team. They have elite talent and will be well coached and well prepared. I think it’s going to be a vicious, hard hitting game that will come down to the last play. Just the way it should be.

    Liked by 3 people

    • RangerRuss

      See, this is what happens when you log in late. Some brainiac eloquently posts exactly what I’m thinking. Of course I’d never post anything complimentary about the college football equivalent of gas station sushi.
      Clemson sucks.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. godawgs1701

    With apologies to the stat nerds out there, if you line up Georgia Tech against the six SEC teams that Bill C’s computer thinks are inferior to the Yellow Jackets, Tech isn’t winning more than two of them. This advanced stat stuff is fun, but it isn’t actually real.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. charlottedawg

    If we want to talk SOS, Clemson plays at least one top 4 team at the end of each season (usually 2 top 4 teams depending on how things shake out) and has a better than .500 winning percentage against said top 4 teams, whereas we….do not, if you catch my drift. That’s just a cold hard fact.

    There are teams whose record is a by product of a weak schedule and great teams that happen to play weak schedules, Clemson is the latter. We know this because they play well against elite competition too.

    I too do not understand this meme that Clemson is somehow overrated. 1) why are we dawgrading our own schedule and 2) Clemson is a certified member of the perennial CFP club along with Ohio State and Alabama. Unless Clemson goes on to have an unexpectedly bad year, beating these guys labor day weekend is nothing less than a very tangible sign that our program is moving towards the elite tier of college football programs.

    Like

    • jcdawg83

      The difference is; where clemson plays 2 (at most) very good teams a season, the SEC team that gets in the CFP will most likely play 4 very good teams over the course of the season and will play another 4 “good” teams that can beat them on a given day. Being able to sit starters for the second half of most games and not risking injury while building experienced depth because of a total cakewalk schedule helps clemson tremendously.

      I’m not saying clemson isn’t talented or well coached but a weak as water schedule helps them. FSU enjoyed the same thing in the 90s playing in the ACC.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Down Island Way

      UGA football QB room should be the answer for the next 3-5 years….all things staying equal…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I ain’t saying jack shit until 9/5/21…then I hope to be bragging and lying that Clemson was weak sauce all along. Until 9/4, Klempzen is Bad Bad Leroy Brown

    Liked by 4 people

  10. theotherdoug

    Just my 2 cents…

    The soft ACC costs Clemson when they enter the playoffs without really being tested. That whole iron shaping iron thing. First game of the season? They’ll be just as experienced as us.

    Like

  11. stoopnagle

    Clemson has played an early season non-conference game to a power 5 team every year (Auburn, A&M, Irish) and hasn’t lost since… 2014 21-45 to YOU KNOW WHO.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. originaluglydawg

    Bluto, you cherry picked one year’s SOS to make a point.
    Georgia has a favorable schedule this year.
    So what? The “Clemson has enjoyed a cakewalk” narrative still holds water.
    Just as I’ve said it’s not Clemson’s fault the ACC sucks, it’s not Georgia’s fault the SECE is down.
    Yep, this year’s Georgia’s schedule is very doable, but still there’s that bear of the SECCG.
    And Clemson’s schedule is more than very doable and then there’s that mouse in the ACCCG.

    Like

  13. mg4life0331

    My argument isn’t that they are weak because they’ve played weak teams. Mine is that they wouldn’t be sleep walking to the playoffs if they had to play teams that had a pulse more often than twice a year.

    They have at least 10 spring games a year. It’s a joke.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You have to admit their schedule is weak leading into our game.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ASEF

    Clemson got humiliated last time out, and that tends to focus an off-season. They won’t come in cocky after a string of ACC blowouts. Every Clemson player woke every day the last 8 months remembering getting run over or run past by OSU. They got waxed across the board.

    Given that it wasn’t a fluke, I do wonder how they got really better. But it will be an angry, hungry team wanting some national redemption at Georgia’s expense, and they’ve got a lot of future NFL guys on their roster.

    Liked by 2 people

    • miltondawg

      Including the most important future NFL guy on their roster at QB.

      Like

    • akascuba

      ASEF,
      Totally agree they’ve been reminded at every opportunity how bad they looked last time out. They’ll be totally focused on redemption.

      Like

  16. Serious question here…

    Does anyone on the interwebs keep track of SOS rankings prior to season starts versus SOS rankings at the end of the season? I’d love to see the spreads over the last 10 years or so.

    I seem to remember one or two years when Georgia was assumed to have a “weak” schedule before the season started, but by season’s end their SOS ranking had moved up considerably because key opponents out-performed expectations.

    Then again, maybe it’s my mushy brain remember things that never actually happened.

    I’m not asking because I think this season’s SOS will prove to be better than expectations… just wondering in general.

    Like

  17. practicaldawg

    I want Clemson to be really good. And favored to win. And then I want Butler to kick a long one.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Bulldawg Bill

    Practical, careful what you wish for, my man!!!!

    Like