One of the dangers of judging a schedule in the preseason is painting a slate of games with a brush when the canvas is unknown. Entering the 2010 season, many projected a good season for the Irish if they could make it through their opening six games, with the schedule lightening drastically in the middle before two hard tests in the final three games.
Well, the Irish went through the season in a fashion just about nobody could have predicted. And that schedule that seemed both top and bottom heavy with a soft midsection? That didn’t turn out to be too true either.
How tough was the Irish’s schedule? Consider that the NCAA just released their rankings and they deemed the Irish’s slate of games as the toughest in the country, with Irish opponents putting together a .650 winning percentage, and all but Purdue winning enough games to qualify for a bowl game. (USC will be sitting the bowl season out instead of playing in the Holiday Bowl because of NCAA sanctions.)
Even if you take out the rudimentary formula the NCAA uses to rank schedules, our friend Anthony Pilcher of ClashmoreMike.com ranks the Irish schedule as the toughest in the country, ahead of Oregon State, UNLV, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Let this be just a small lesson for those that chastise or ordain a schedule before the games are actually played. Not that it’ll matter as the pundits discuss 2011, but just reminding everybody while it’s fresh in our minds.