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Don't Blame Big East Lacrosse For Syracuse's RPI Ranking

I haz the confuzedz.

Zach Brown at the Daily Orange tells me the Big East is to blame for why Syracuse is No. 4 in the latest lacrosse RPI despite being 11-1 and their only loss coming to No. 1 Virginia.

Dave Rahme tells me joining the Big East had no overall effect and Syracuse would probably be in the same situation even if they were still independent.


Probably the easiest way to figure this out is to look at the RPI of Syracuse's current schedule and compare it to the schedule SU would have likely had if they had not joined the Big East.

Non-Big East Schedule RPI 2010 Schedule RPI
Binghamton 46 Denver 13
Army 22 Army 22
Virginia 1 Virginia 1
Georgetown 11 Georgetown 11
Johns Slopkins 14 Johns Slopkins 14
Hobart 43 Hobart 43
Loyola 7 Villanova 12
Albany 41 Albany 41
Princeton 6 Princeton 6
Cornell 8 Cornell 8
Rutgers 38 Rutgers 38
Providence 54 Providence 54
UMass 28 Notre Dame 15
Colgate 53 St. John's 44


So basically, Syracuse swapped out Loyola (7), UMass (28), Binghamton (46) and Colgate (53) for Villanova (12), Denver (13), Notre Dame (15) and St. John's (44).  Call me crazy but just by looking at that, Syracuse actually IMPROVED its strength of schedule by joining the Big East. 

I threw in Providence to the non-Big East schedule because we played them last year.  I suppose I could have also plugged Villanova in there, whom we played in 2008, but that would have just proven the point further since the Cats are having a great year.

The more likely reason Syracuse has a lower RPI than expected?  Their usual opponents are having down years.  Even at a 14 RPI, Hopkins is way under-performing.  Longtime rival Albany fell off the map recently.  Georgetown and Notre Dame could be doing even better than they are.

And so, in closing:

1. Syracuse didn't drop from No. 1 to No. 2 because of playing Providence, they dropped because Virginia beat up on No. 5 Duke and No. 3 Maryland the same weekend.

2. Syracuse's No. 4 RPI spot has more to do with the "bogus" ACC Conference, an RPI ranking system that doesn't really act in the sports' best interest and some of SU's opponents not playing up to potential.

3. Syracuse will still get the No. 2 seed if they win-out based on their overall record, quality wins and the fact that they only lost to Virginia by 1.