Ranking Oregon Football’s Strength Of Schedule for 2024

The Oregon Ducks Football team is ranked second, behind only Georgia, in the ESPN College Football Power Index (FPI). However, their strength of schedule (SOS) checks in at number 30 nationally and 11th hardest in the Big Ten Conference.
Oct 21, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks mascot The Duck leads the team entrance against the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks mascot The Duck leads the team entrance against the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports / Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks Football team is ranked second, behind only Georgia, in the ESPN College Football Power Index (FPI). However, their strength of schedule (SOS) checks in at number 30 nationally and 11th hardest in the Big Ten Conference. While Ducks football has always been measured by wins and losses, the changes to college football (i.e., NIL, transfer portal, expanded playoffs, etc.) add a whole different level of detail to the ratings and rankings.

FPI is a predictive rating system created to measure team strength and project performance going forward. This is not a ranking of teams, but rather a way to correctly predict games and season outcomes.

So, let’s see what this all means for the Ducks. Per the FPI, Oregon’s win/loss record is projected to be 10.8-11.8. The estimated percentage of winning all remaining games is 15.7; winning the Big Ten is 37.5 percent; making the College Football Playoff is 76 percent; the likelihood of reaching the national championship game is 24.4 percent and winning the national championship is 12.8 percent.

Oregon Ducks wide receiver Tez Johnson (15) celebrates scoring a touchdown with defensive lineman Tevita Pome'e
Jan 1, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Tez Johnson (15) celebrates scoring a touchdown with defensive lineman Tevita Pome'e (59) during the second half against the Liberty Flames in the 2024 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Counting wins and losses is simple, but the bigger question is what defines a quality schedule. While the expansion of the College Football Playoffs will offer more chances for a team to be selected, playing a quality schedule is just as important as ever. Keep in mind that not all wins are created equal. A team might play an opponent that has a relatively small number of wins, but those victories were against highly ranked teams. The reverse is also true. A team can play a school with more wins, but they came against substandard competition. That is a significant reason to use a tool such as SOS (strength of schedule).

We have established that Oregon is highly likely to be competitive in their inaugural season in the Big Ten. So, how does the SOS help and/or hurt the Ducks. Aside from the non-conference schedule which is likely to hurt the SOS numbers, Oregon will play 10 conference teams all with higher SOS rankings. The Ducks will play Purdue (11), UCLA (12), Washington (13), Illinois (15), Ohio State (16), Michigan (18), Michigan State (19), Wisconsin (24), Maryland (25), and USC (27). Victories over these teams, especially road games) could drive the Ducks' SOS higher.

While Duck fans could make an argument that the SOS is too low, consider that the opportunity presented in the conference schedule could very well be to Oregon’s benefit when it comes time to pick the 12 best teams in the country. To that end, the FPI predicts this could very well be a great year for Ducks football.  


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Mark Lantz

MARK LANTZ