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Immediately, Arkansas fans protested fiercely.
It started as soon as Florida and Georgia popped up on the SEC Network as two additional opponents of Razorbacks in 10 games, conference-only media for 2020, and drew only when national media was interested. .
Big Ten correspondent Rainer Sabin wrote on Twitter: “Arkansas is about to execute SMU’s death penalty without the death penalty. “It could take years for the Hogs to recover.”
“In looking at the whole puzzle – that̵7;s what the federation wants you to do! – We do not see the fairness of this decision, ”wrote Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated. “Arkansas has a pivot.”
“Poor Sam Pittman,” wrote AL.com editor John Talty. “Yes sir!” Head coach received nothing but a complaint from commissioner Greg Sankey on Friday. “
The SEC claims it is working towards fairness. Sankey said in a statement that the conference was to “create as competitive a schedule as possible” and the SEC Network team urged viewers to “look at the whole puzzle” and “think about it in total. can ”.
It’s important to note that the stronger teams will have weaker strengths on schedule and vice versa – LSU doesn’t have to play LSU and Arkansas doesn’t get to play Arkansas, but that can be dismissed from just looking at intersections. Each game.
Two – one fixed, one alternate – are included in each team’s schedule. Looking at the entire puzzle and thinking about it holistically means looking at those puzzles, as well as two additional puzzles revealed on Friday night.
On the surface, Arkansas and Missouri add two top teams from other divisions that appear to be the conference blatantly trying, as Dellenger said, giving them “pivots”, while Alabama, LSU and Georgia appear to be favorable treatment from the conference. .
However, after further examination, the Tigers were scheduled to play against Mississippi State and Arkansas. Those two schools took 5th and last in the group and combined only 3-13 in the conference match last year, making it the easiest match of the previously scheduled cross games in SEC.
Even after adding LSU and Alabama to its schedule, Missouri’s four SEC West rivals’ composite conference record was just 17-15.
On the other hand, Crimson Tide has had matches against Kentucky and Missouri, two of the three SEC East teams that won 3-5 in the conference match last season. However, it’s important to note that they already had Georgia and Tennessee – first and third place in the East last year – on their schedule. The SEC’s combined record of four times overtaking the Alabama rival is really tough 18-14.
A job as good as the SEC has balanced those schedules, it has completely surpassed some others.
Razorbacks are scheduled to go to Missouri and Tennessee, and then pick up Georgia and Florida. Those four teams had a 21-11 result in a SEC game last season, making it the toughest cross-game schedule to date. Those are two games that are harder than South Carolina’s interceptor (19-13) and three more difficult games than Alabama and Auburn’s stop (18-14).
By adding Missouri and Vanderbilt to previously scheduled matches with Florida and South Carolina, LSU cross-rivals have a combined record of just 13-19 – combine with the State of Mississippi for an easy schedule Best.
There is an eight match difference between the toughest cross schedule (Arkansas’ at 21-11) and the easiest (LSU and Mississippi state 13-19). As seen in the chart below, there are also differences in the five games between the second and next most difficult groups of difficulty.
With the addition of two other cross-contenders, Arkansas becomes the only school to have all six SEC teams in its scheduled pre-season coaches poll. Not only that, all six schools are among the top 13.
“We already have the nation’s strongest 2020 soccer fixtures and with these additions to the only SEC schedule, we now have the most challenging fixtures in college football history. , ”Arkansas sports director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement.
Assuming the entire schedule was played, that might not be an exaggeration from Arkansas AD. But is it like that?
Despite the SEC’s (alleged) wish for a balanced schedule, it failed to achieve that (alleged) goal. In just a few hours and without the help of computer algorithms or fancy metrics, HawgBeat came up with a much more balanced schedule.
In fact, our schedule below only makes three matches difference between the “hardest” and “easiest” individual groups.
Razorbacks will still have one of the tougher schedules, but instead of Georgia, they’ll play South Carolina. However, their SEC rivals’ aggregate conference record from 2019 will be just 17-15, matching Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
Auburn, Florida and Mississippi State will have the easiest rankings, with their cross rivals having 14-18 matching conference profiles matching.
Here’s what will look like …
The only tool we have while creating this is a blank Excel spreadsheet that we fill in each team’s previously scheduled cross games and then use to match the rest of the puzzle.
Obviously using last season’s conference profiles isn’t the best way to determine the strength of the schedule as teams change from year to year. For example, will the LSU prevail without the Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow?
Just for fun, we also used Bill Connelly’s pre-season SP + rating to bring out the difficulty level of the projected 2020 schedule. We won’t bother you with all the kids. numbers, but we’ve reduced the standard deviation – how much schedules change with difficulty – by about 4 percent.
And that was our first attempt to rework the schedule. With the benefit of more time and resources, it would not be surprising if it could be adjusted further to further balance the means of intersection.