A-State has completed the non-conference portion of the schedule and, as expected, has a record of 1-3. According to the Sagarin Ratings, A-State’s strength of schedule is the 17th toughest in the nation, but only the 3rd toughest in the Sun Belt. At this juncture, ULM has the toughest schedule in the nation at this point, having played on the road at Alabama and adfasdfasdfjs, while Troy has the 10th toughest schedule in the nation based on road games at NC State and Wisconsin. Troy’s home FCS opponent was considerably tougher, according to Sagarin, than those that ULM and A-State faced. Troy and ULM each have another non-conference game to play. ULM will play at Tulsa and Troy plays at Mississippi State. That will probably make A-State’s non-conference strength of schedule the 2nd toughest in the Sun Belt behind Troy’s.
Many view Sagarain as useless when it comes to college football – primarily because it dares to rank FBS and FCS in one list, and invariably there are some FCS teams that end up being ranked higher than some FBS programs. Some of those are clearly wrong. But I believe this is within the normal variation of the rankings in general, and that those FCS outliers are no more incorrectly ranked than some overrated FBS teams that don’t happen stand out so much because of that evil FCS label. Case in point – Appalachian State and Georgia Southern were clearly better than some FBS programs and promptly proved it upon entering the Sun Belt.
In reality, Sagarin is a useful indicator of relative team strength based on an objective, numbers based approach to rating college football teams. The limitation is obvious – there is just not enough data for Sagarin to be good enough to be the definitive rank. But as one indicator it isn’t bad.
Here is how the Sagarin Ratings see A-State finishing up the season, using the predictor rating and its 3.37 home field point adjustment, ranked in order of difficulty:
@ App St L by 9
@ ULM W by 1 (stAte by 0.41-call it a 1 pt OT W on a blocked PAT)
v ULL W by 9
@ USA W by 11
v TXST W by 14
@ NUSU W by 17
v Idaho W by 19
v Georgia St W by 22
Hard to argue with those results based on what we’ve seen. 8-4 would be a great 2015 season after the rough start.