Friday, July 15, 2011

Strength of Schedule Calculation

Aaron Barnett, Head Coach at
SM Northwest, is fielding one
of his more youthful squads at just
the right time.  On paper the Coug-
ars have the easiest SOS in the SL.
Using a simple mathematical formula, I calculated the strength of schedule of each of the Sunflower League teams' upcoming 2011 slate.  The main flaw of the formula is that it is based on my Preseason Power Rankings, which will never be 100% accurate. 

Here's how the formula worked:  I allocated points to each team based on their preseason ranking.  Olathe North, the first place team, received 12 points, Olathe East 11, SM East 10, and so on until I reached Leavenworth who received one point.  If a team played a home game against Olathe North, for instance, I would add 12 points to that team's strength of schedule.  If they played a home game against Leavenworth I added one point.

To factor in games in which a team played an away game, I took the team's base points and multiplied it by 1.5.  So if a school played at Olathe North their strength of schedule would have 18 points added to it, and if they played at Leavenworth 1.5 points would be added.  This basis for away game was only factored in if it was an actual "away" game. So SM West's away game against SM East, at SM South District Stadium (the home stadium for both teams) did not count as an away game.

Also, SL teams play four out-of-conference schools during the season--Blue Valley North, who I slotted Olathe Northwest's point scale, Blue Valley West, who I slotted Olathe South's point scale, Wyandotte, who I slotted Leavenworth's point scale, and Blue Valley Northwest, who I slotted Free State's point scale.  Those figures we're all estimations based on my rough guess of how well those squads will perform in 2011.

Overall the formula seemed to work pretty well.  The more points a team has equates to the harder the strength of schedule, based on my preseason rankings and estimates of out-of-conference teams.  Here was how the strength of schedules ranked.

Strength of Schedule Totals

1. Lawrence: 81.5
2. Olathe East: 79
3. Olathe South: 74
4. Leavenworth: 70
5. SM West: 69
6. Olathe North: 67.5
7. SM East: 66
t8. Olathe Northwest: 65.5
t8. SM North: 65.5
10. SM South: 65
11. Lawrence Free State: 64
12. SM Northwest: 54

*As a side note, the most away games I've seen a team play in the SL was six.  If a team played six away games against the top six teams in the league, then played their three home games against the next three best teams, their strength of schedule would equate to a 100.5, which would essentially be the maximum score any team could achieve.

Anthony Buffalomeat, above, and his Lawrence
High teammates will face one of the toughest
SL schedules in 2011.
As you can see, based on my figures Lawrence has the strongest preseason strength of schedule, and they sit some 27.5 points higher than SM Northwest who has the easiest strength of schedule.

The Chesty Lions begin the season at home against SM West (Tim Callaghan and SM West have won six of their last seven season openers) before spending three consecutive weeks on the road at Olathe South, Olathe East and Leavenworth.  They then return home to face SM East and SM South.  Their district play begins the following week when they travel to Olathe North, followed by a home game against Olathe Northwest, then an away game at their crosstown rival Lawrence Free State. 

Based on my preseason rankings they face the league's top six teams, excluding themselves. 

SM Northwest on the other hand may have found a good season to have very few returning starters.  Their depletion of talent should only affect them in the first few weeks of the season when they play homes games against SM East and SM West.

Of SM Northwest's remaining seven games, only one against Olathe East seems like an uphill challenge at this point.  The other six games include Olathe Northwest, Free State, SM South, SM North, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte.  The Cougars could easily go 6-3 if their new starters improve like they should as the season goes along.


Anonymous said...

are you gonna reveal all of the schedules?

Anonymous said...

I think you are giving WAY to much credit for home and away when doing your calculations. When teams like ON, OE, SMNW, SME never really play a home game. The lawrence schools may have the only real home field advantage. I would say SMN and Leavenworth also but they are to bad.

Eli Underwood said...

All team schedules for the 2011 season are now posted under the "Schedules" tab.

Anonymous said...

Great point about the home schedules not meaning that much to Shawnee Mission and Olathe schools. Since the only real change of the field is which side you run on to. Home field plays really no factor in most of these games. The talent of the teams is what counts. Sad to say it, but the Olathe schools should and will dominate the league this year. As for SM East fan. All the talking you are doing, I hope they don't lay an egg. You might not want to come back on this sight and read all the stuff that will be directed at you.

Anonymous said...

oh, my bad Eli lol