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Does Schedule Strength Really Matter in College Football?

As the college football season heats up arguments over strength of schedule are coming into play. Watch football on Fubo all season.

Strength of schedule has long been a hot topic argument in college football, but how much does it really matter?

Unlike the NFL, which has 32 teams, the landscape of college football is much more broad with over 130 teams now in FBS. Taking into account that rankings decide who plays in the playoffs, a team’s schedule can become a full-on argument.

Schedules are nowhere near the same for the top teams in college football each year and it is obviously a huge talking point, especially on message boards.

Georgia and Michigan are getting raked over the coals this year due to their lack of schedule strength. They are both undefeated and have proven to be two of the best teams in the country in the last few years, but people still want them to prove it.

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While that is a very valid argument, they can only control their non-conference games and those schedules are usually made years in advance. Admittedly, even that argument doesn’t hold much weight for those two teams’ lack of competition outside of their conferences this year.

Big games are fun for the fans and there should be more of them in the non-conference, but are they worth it to teams? Florida State got a huge win over LSU earlier this year and Ohio State went to Notre Dame and got a win in South Bend. They have helped them stay in the top five in the AP poll but would it have been worth it if they lost?

The teams in the power-five conferences know that if they go undefeated, they are probably headed to the college football playoff. It doesn’t matter who they played during the season, they are going to be one of the top four teams, plain and simple.

The question that comes into play is if they lose. If Michigan, for example, loses a close game to Ohio State or Penn State and that team goes undefeated, would they get in? In that case, would schedule strength really matter?

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They say it will, but TCU made it into the college football playoff last year and the Horned Frogs’ non-conference games were Colorado (pre-Deion Sanders), Tarleton and SMU – not exactly a tough stretch of games. The Horned Frogs also didn’t win the Big 12 as they lost to Kansas State in the conference title game but still made it in.

They want to say that schedule strength matters, but it didn’t hold back the Horned Frogs last year.

The top is more jumbled this year, so it could come into play, but it doesn’t seem like it matters as much as everyone wants to talk about. It is a great argument and it will get fan bases fired up, but let’s be honest: If a team wins all their games, it doesn’t matter at all.

It definitely could change next year when the playoffs expand to 12 teams, but for right now it seems like more of a non-factor than people want to admit.

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