Justin Shotwell

Notre Dame Football Season Comparison

Here is a scatterplot that compares each Notre Dame football season. The x-axis represents Notre Dame's opponent's winning percentage and the y-axis represents Notre Dame's winning percentage. Naturally, teams in the upper right-hand quadrant had better records and played against tougher opponents.


For calculating opponent's winning percentage, I ran into a problem with some of the earlier games being played against opponents of lesser size levels. These would now be known as FCS opponents, but were then called DIV 2A opponents. Think of when Alabama schedules Chattanooga in today's game. Mose people don't realize that Notre Dame legend-extraordinaire Knute Rockne coached against these teams in 33 of his 122 games, a full quarter of his games coached.


Because there are no records for these teams, I had to estimate their impact on the opponents's winning percentage. Even if I did know that one of these opponents had a 9-1 record, I certainly wouldn't give Notre Dame credit for beating a .900 team. To estimate the percentage, I examined the last three years of games between FCS teams and FBS teams and used the resulting average of games that FCS schools won. It was .088. I rounded up to .100 and gave these teams a 1-9 record for the calculations.


You can hover over a data point to get some additional information about the season. I am interested in how head coaches fared amongst each other in ND's history, so a hover will also highlight seasons with the same head coach.