I'm OK with the job that the staff did constructing the schedule. It's the execution against that that i have a problem with - and that's only with one game. It was probably the worst loss we could have taken (certainly from an RPI perspective it was). We'd be better off losing to any other team on the schedule.
This is where we really disagree. The execution obviously is very important, and that's why 12-1 would be phenomenal (I'm not the only one who feels losing to Dartmouth is inevitable the way this discussion is unfolding, am I?).
But you're asking for perfection to maximize the formula. That's great that if everything in the world could go right, PSU could have a 30s RPI at 8-10 in the Big Ten. But that's very unlikely to happen in any given year ever. If PSU truly went 13-0 then 8-10, look at how few quality wins we would have. Even South Carolina and Miami potentially could fall out of the top-50, per the RPI, as KenPom doesn't apply here. The most likely scenario for conference play (which would have to be beating Purdue, Michigan, and Nebraska and all 3 vs NW/RUT, right?) at 8 wins could conceivably leave Penn State with just two Top-50 wins, per the RPI. Just TWO!!! When has that ever happened where a power school is so far ahead of the RPI curve without scalps? How can any school from the Big Ten potentially win 21+ more games, with just 2-3 coming against the T50? At that point, I would suspect the committee would say fool's gold and leave us out for sure. Hopefully that scenario would inspire the death of the RPI, which would certainly take the sting out of missing the tournament for me, I don't know your feelings on the RPI.
So the "little margin for error" folks in the scheduling philosophy discussion have a point, one that I overlooked when proclaiming 9-9 is a lock. You still need scalps and the Big Ten's struggles in the non-con are going to prevent some teams from becoming labelled as scalps, even if they are perceived as quality opponents (Nebraska and Michigan apply here). However, the good news (and just another sign of how this schedule is really coming together for us) is that we drew a very challenging Big Ten slate. We get Ohio State, Maryland and Wisconsin twice, the three toughest teams in the league, and Minnesota is not far behind. Those are 8 scalp-worthy games, ones that PSU will need to steal a few from if they're ever going to get to 9 wins anyway.
The Charlotte loss, at the time, was a big deal. But it was week 2 of the season and Cornell was coming off a 330+, 2-28 nightmare of a season and their best player from that team transferred. Common logic would indicate it is very unlikely the Big Red would win double digit games this year and their negative conference affiliation impact was going to be compounded with such a putrid WP% in the NC SOS. But the good news is Cornell is nowhere near as bad as last year and could improve in the win column by up to 10 or so games this year. Their impact is not as damaging as we first feared and was further minimized by the rest of the performance against the schedule.
You honestly think losing to Charlotte would be worse for Penn State's dancing chances than losing today to Dartmouth? The math isn't everything. RPI is just one of many factors when the NCAA Selection Committee is in session.