UPDATE: The strengths of schedule below are based on Sagarin’s numbers. According to the NCAA, ASU has the #9 toughest schedule, UCF is at #83, and NIU is at #117 (the NCAA stats do not include DI-AA schedules like Sagarin’s do).
NIU just won’t lose. I’m starting to get annoyed. I’m rooting for Bowling Green to beat Buffalo next week. The Falcons have a lot better chance of beating NIU than the Bulls do.
I’m not an NIU hater, I just don’t think they are better than some of the teams they are ranked ahead of. I find it difficult to swallow that the voters think the NIU Huskies (with the 137th strongest schedule in the nation) are better than Arizona State (8-2 against the sixth strongest schedule) and UCF (8-1 against the #73 schedule). In case you were wondering, yes, there are only 125 teams in Division I-A (FBS). So, yes, there are 12 Division I-AA (FCS) teams that have a more difficult schedule than NIU. I understand that the quality of their conference opponents is out of their control. But here are their non-conference games this year: Iowa (an average Big Ten team who has been average for several years now), Idaho (arguable the worst team in Division I-A football), Eastern Illinois (a decent Division I-AA team that the Huskies only managed to beat by four points), and Purdue (hands-down the worst Big Ten team in existence). I don’t know when those four games were scheduled, but Iowa was last “good” in 2009, Purdue in 2003, and Idaho…well they’re Idaho.
Dear NIU, If you have a weak conference and you want people to respect you as a team (and not just a team with a really good quarterback), you have to schedule some better non-conference games. Love, Stephen