A closer look at UF’s schedule

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You’ve got to hand it to Florida coach Billy Donovan for strengthening the team’s non-conference schedule in recent years.

In 2010, it resulted in Florida squeaking into the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence. In 2011, it resulted in Florida earning a No. 2 seed and reaching the Elite Eight for the first time in four years.

Donovan labeled the 2011-12 non-conference schedule UF’s “toughest yet” but there are some soft spots. While Florida plays six teams that finished last season in the top 55 in the Ratings Percentage Index, it also plays three teams with an RPI below 249.

Here’s a look at how UF’s non-conference opponents finished last season in RPI, according to Jerry Palm’s CollegeRPI.com. Palm’s last RPI report came out March 15 and does not reflect how teams performed in the NCAA Tournament (or NIT or CBI).

Ohio State — 2

Syracuse — 18

Arizona — 19

Texas A&M — 29

UAB — 31

Florida State – 55

Rider — 105

Rutgers — 121

Wright State — 124

Jacksonville — 142

North Florida — 148

Yale — 156

Jackson State — 249

Mississippi Valley State — 250

Stetson — 304

Last season, Florida finished with a strength of schedule that ranked fourth in the country. This year’s SOS should be similar, with Kentucky and Vanderbilt projected as preseason top 10 teams in the country.  Arizona lost tstar power forward Derrick Williams to the NBA draft, but is bringing in a top-flight recruiting class to fill some holes. Ohio State lost starters David Lighty and Jon Diebler, but sophomore big man Jared Sullinger. Sullinger scored 26 against the Gators last season to lead Ohio State to a 93-75 win at the O’Connell Center.

Other links:

— Here’s an argument from ESPN.com’s Pat Forde against paying college athletes. I agree with him. Ask any average student who graduates with student loan debt whether a college athlete is exploited or not.

— ESPN.com’s Andy Katz wrote a nice piece on new Miami coach Jim Larranaga. Larranaga, of course, led George Mason to the 2006 Final Four in Indianapolis and a date with Florida. The Gators beat George Mason en route to their first of back-to-back national titles.

4 COMMENTS

  1. While it is true that most college students leave school with a substantial indebtedness, they are not asked to put 90,000 fannies in the seats on Saturday afternoon. They also have to complete their academic work while practicing seven days a week for football.How many non-athletic college students are seriously injured in pursuit of a degree.

  2. How many college students enjoy extracircurlar activities that have all the benefits of playing sports. Some are injured playing sports without such benefits. And of course nobody is forcing them to take a schollarship and paying only say football is not going to be legal.

    Sorry your arguments are trumped by financial considerations, and of course the law.

  3. Players get enough perks and freebies, along with their scholarships, and should not be paid. Paying college athletes would open up a whole new world of sleeziness and cheating and would further separate the haves from the have nots. Nobody forces these kids to play sports, that is their choice. if they want to make money during their four years of college they can not play football, pay their own way to school and get a job at Burrito Brothers. Playing college sports is a privilege, not a right and not mandatory. if you don’t like the way it is structured don’t play.

  4. Vulcan and Bozeman covered this pretty well but I must add my two cents.

    When will this garbage end?

    Players who feel that they are exploited demonstrate two attributes: 1) They place no value on education and there attitude reflects this. 2. They grew up in an entitled environment.

    I could go on and on with all the flawed and outright incorrect info used to defend the other position but you all know all of that.