North Carolina head coach Coleman Scott (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
One of the key, underrated components for a program's success and a fanbase's interest is its schedule. The growth and improvement of wrestlers are largely tied to their opposition. The old "iron sharpens iron" theory. The schedule is important for fans because, while they love their own team, it's fun to see them compete against other high-quality squads. Getting a solid schedule helps keep a fanbase interested and coming back.
We have monitored schedules as they have been released in order to compare and contrast them and maybe make a determination on which is the toughest.
One of the metrics we used to weigh which school's had the toughest schedules was the 2021-22 winning percentage of all of their DI opponents. Now, this is not without its flaws. There are some schools (mainly in the Big Ten) without great-looking records, that were actually really good. Nebraska (6-5) and Minnesota (4-6) are the two most glaring examples of this. On the other hand, there are plenty of schools that amassed plenty of wins and a nice-looking record, however, pale in comparison to Nebraska and Minnesota. At the end of the day, they generally cancel each other out, though.
Below we have a total of 14 schools with loaded schedules. These teams were initially sorted out due to our winning percentage exercise. They have been grouped into two sections; one for non-Big Ten Schools and another for the Big Ten. The Big Ten schools generally tended to have higher winning percentages for their opponents because of the quality of teams in the conference and a certain number of duals against them.
Another factor that is difficult to quantify in weighing schedules is tournaments. Especially in late October, we have no idea who will wrestle in open tournaments. Even invitational tournaments sometimes have half-squads or don't end up as loaded as they appear at this time of year.
Underneath each school is its DI dual opponent's winning percentage and how it ranks in the nation. Along with that are their home and away matches, plus neutral site duals. For teams at the Collegiate Duals, they will have one more dual added after day one of the competition. In most instances, that will only make their percentages rise.
We've also listed how many duals each school has against top-10 and top-20 schools from InterMat's Preseason rankings. Of course, by the time these matches take place, a team may be stronger or weaker than they appear now. Finally, there's a list of tournaments the team is expected to enter.
Non-Big Ten Schools
DI Dual Opponents 2021-22 Winning Percentage: (.6848 - 1st in nation)
Home: #4 Ohio State, #8 Michigan, #12 NC State, #15 Virginia Tech, Appalachian State, Virginia
Away: #16 Penn, #17 Pittsburgh, Brown, Duke, Harvard
Neutral Site: #1 Penn State, #29 Campbell, Central Michigan, 3rd Collegiate Dual
Top 10 Teams: 3
Top 20 Teams: 7
Tournament(s): Southeast Open, F&M Open
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