Strength of Schedule Rankings 2016

August 31, 2016

In my Preseason Preview, I talked a bit about how the WIAC is the best conference in DIII. It would stand to reason then, that WIAC teams probably play some of the toughest schedules in the country, and they do. There have been several years since 1999 for which my model thinks the schools in the WIAC hold all eight of the top spots for SoS during the regular season (there are only eight teams in the WIAC). This year is hardly an exception.


The WIAC team with the "weakest" strength of schedule this season is UW-Whitewater, at #8. But wait you say! Whitewater actually plays Morningside--a national title-contender in the NAIA--in their non-conference schedule, and NAIA games aren't counted in my model! Yes, I know this. The Warhawks may actually have the toughest schedule in the country. The cause of WIAC teams' high SoS numbers isn't solely due to their conference games, either. Both Eau Claire and Stout rank among the Top 25 in terms of Non-Conference SoS, and every other WIAC team but La Crosse plays an above-average non-conference schedule (and if you know who La Crosse has played the last few years, you would cut them some slack).


Among everyone else, as you might expect, some of the teams with the highest and lowest non-conference SoS numbers are teams who only play one non-conference opponent. TCNJ comes out on top, with their lone non-conference game coming against UW-Whitewater. The team that plays two DIII non-conference opponents with the highest non-conference SoS is UW-Stout, with game against Simpson and St. Thomas. Among teams with three DIII non-conference opponents, Mary Hardin-Baylor's slate of Ohio Wesleyan, Texas Lutheran, and Linfield is tops in the country.


You can explore the rest of the Strength of Schedule numbers below, and click here to read about why the NCAA's Strength of Schedule metric is terrible:



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