2014 College Football – Week 6 – Letting #50 Glow in being #1

Okay, this was a fun week.  Many unbeaten teams fell, and the projections have been flipped upside down clearly.  However, before we dive into that, wow has Mississippi drawn the short stick in America for so long.  Some of it is well deserved, and some of it is just a result of horrific poverty and desperately bankrupt governance.  It is a long list of things which Mississippi is, if not outright #50, way down there.  (such as this, this and this)  While it is befitting of our noxious jock culture to celebrate the state’s two gigantic football wins as a salve for the other horrors that constitute the actual Mississippi experience – it would be dishonest to not report that I felt good.  Mississippi needed a reason to feel proud, however fleetingly.  College Gameday was in Oxford (even though Desmond Howard’s presence in the same Southern Dandy getup as the others was a notable error in “vintage authenticity”) and even Katy Perry made an appearance despite little knowledge of college or football (which gives her a lot in common with many of the TV commentators, but never mind).  The Lazy Magnolia deserved a shout.

As far as the one-man playoff selection committee?

  • The final 4: Auburn, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and TCU.  Mississippi State is higher than the other two, by a solid margin in fact.  However, it is hard to imagine all three of these teams getting to the final four – especially with Ole Miss and Mississippi State settling its differences in the future.  In any case, while the committee will have some freedom to select teams, I actually think selecting more than 2 teams from a conference (especially with qualified unbeatens out there) seems like a stretch.
  • Other automatic qualifiers:  Florida State from the ACC, Michigan State from the Big Ten, Arizona from the Pac 12, Marshall represents everybody else. This provides eight of the 12 spots.  The other four?  Going down the list, Alabama, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Baylor provide some solid balance here.  Yeah the SEC and Big 12 are hogging the spots – but that’s what happens when every top Pac-12 team bit the dust last week.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.  Note we get a particularly juicy Cotton Bowl.  Nebraska in this projection goes to the Fiesta Bowl with its longtime Big XII old affiliation.  One expects Notre Dame to be able to carry the Atlanta game more.
    • Sugar Bowl: Auburn v TCU
    • Rose Bowl: Ole Miss v Notre Dame
    • Orange Bowl: Florida State v Alabama 
    • Cotton Bowl: Mississippi State v Oklahoma 
    • Peach Bowl: Michigan State v Marshall
    • Fiesta Bowl: Arizona v Baylor

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Auburn 5 0 0.999 (2) 0.964 (2) 0.981
2 Ole Miss 5 0 1 (1) 0.92 (3) 0.96
3 Alabama 4 1 0.862 (10) 1 (1) 0.931
4 Mississippi State 5 0 0.941 (3) 0.866 (4) 0.904
5 Notre Dame 5 0 0.933 (4) 0.797 (9) 0.865
6 TCU 4 0 0.925 (6) 0.755 (12) 0.84
7 Oklahoma 4 1 0.855 (11) 0.813 (6) 0.834
8 Baylor 5 0 0.818 (15) 0.847 (5) 0.833
9 Texas A&M 5 1 0.872 (9) 0.691 (24) 0.782
10 Louisville 5 1 0.783 (17) 0.78 (10) 0.782
11 Florida State 5 0 0.915 (7) 0.64 (32) 0.777
12 Michigan State 4 1 0.765 (21) 0.759 (11) 0.762
13 Florida 3 1 0.827 (13) 0.693 (23) 0.76
14 UCLA 4 1 0.847 (12) 0.65 (29) 0.749
15 Marshall 5 0 0.782 (18) 0.706 (20) 0.744
16 Ohio State 4 1 0.728 (28) 0.753 (13) 0.741
17 Arizona 5 0 0.929 (5) 0.552 (49) 0.741
18 Nebraska 5 1 0.789 (16) 0.689 (26) 0.739
19 Georgia Tech 5 0 0.901 (8) 0.569 (45) 0.735
20 LSU 4 2 0.651 (42) 0.807 (7) 0.729
21 Georgia 4 1 0.746 (24) 0.703 (22) 0.725
22 Arkansas 3 2 0.665 (38) 0.75 (15) 0.707
23 Oregon 4 1 0.769 (20) 0.635 (33) 0.702
24 West Virginia 3 2 0.592 (54) 0.805 (8) 0.698
25 Boise State 4 2 0.731 (27) 0.659 (27) 0.695
26 Clemson 3 2 0.631 (47) 0.752 (14) 0.691
27 USC 3 2 0.633 (46) 0.737 (18) 0.685
28 Memphis 3 2 0.751 (22) 0.607 (40) 0.679
29 Arizona State 4 1 0.746 (25) 0.594 (41) 0.67
30 Stanford 3 2 0.59 (56) 0.744 (16) 0.667
31 Minnesota 4 1 0.772 (19) 0.558 (47) 0.665
32 California 4 1 0.826 (14) 0.496 (64) 0.661
33 Penn State 4 1 0.689 (35) 0.626 (34) 0.658
34 Virginia Tech 4 2 0.592 (55) 0.718 (19) 0.655
35 Kansas State 4 1 0.684 (36) 0.621 (36) 0.652
36 East Carolina 4 1 0.751 (23) 0.549 (51) 0.65
37 BYU 4 1 0.664 (40) 0.625 (35) 0.644
38 Colorado State 4 1 0.719 (31) 0.547 (52) 0.633
39 Missouri 4 1 0.715 (32) 0.55 (50) 0.633
40 Miami-FL 3 3 0.57 (59) 0.689 (25) 0.63
41 Iowa 4 1 0.602 (52) 0.644 (31) 0.623
42 Wisconsin 3 2 0.538 (66) 0.703 (21) 0.621
43 Pittsburgh 3 3 0.485 (75) 0.742 (17) 0.613
44 Kentucky 4 1 0.719 (30) 0.508 (60) 0.613
45 Rutgers 5 1 0.701 (34) 0.513 (58) 0.607
46 Virginia 4 2 0.6 (53) 0.593 (42) 0.596
47 NC State 4 2 0.637 (44) 0.546 (53) 0.592
48 Oregon State 4 1 0.677 (37) 0.497 (62) 0.587
49 Northern Illinois 4 1 0.709 (33) 0.463 (76) 0.586
50 Northwestern 3 2 0.558 (63) 0.609 (39) 0.584
51 Air Force 4 1 0.745 (26) 0.42 (86) 0.583
52 South Carolina 3 3 0.549 (64) 0.614 (38) 0.581
53 Georgia Southern 4 2 0.637 (45) 0.525 (55) 0.581
54 Oklahoma State 4 1 0.663 (41) 0.494 (66) 0.579
55 Utah 4 1 0.724 (29) 0.418 (87) 0.571
56 Tennessee 2 3 0.492 (74) 0.65 (30) 0.571
57 Duke 4 1 0.643 (43) 0.482 (69) 0.563
58 Maryland 4 2 0.615 (51) 0.491 (68) 0.553
59 Boston College 3 2 0.451 (82) 0.651 (28) 0.551
60 Arkansas State 3 2 0.573 (57) 0.525 (56) 0.549
61 UAB 3 2 0.528 (67) 0.568 (46) 0.548
62 Akron 3 2 0.571 (58) 0.521 (57) 0.546
63 MTSU 4 2 0.665 (39) 0.421 (85) 0.543
64 Nevada 3 2 0.623 (50) 0.462 (77) 0.542
65 Louisiana Tech 3 3 0.567 (60) 0.477 (70) 0.522
66 Temple 3 1 0.547 (65) 0.495 (65) 0.521
67 Utah State 3 2 0.627 (48) 0.407 (89) 0.517
68 Washington 4 1 0.563 (62) 0.471 (74) 0.517
69 Indiana 3 2 0.524 (69) 0.506 (61) 0.515
70 Texas 2 3 0.455 (81) 0.574 (44) 0.514
71 South Alabama 3 2 0.525 (68) 0.497 (63) 0.511
72 Navy 2 4 0.429 (88) 0.581 (43) 0.505
73 Washington State 2 4 0.431 (86) 0.552 (48) 0.491
74 Syracuse 2 3 0.439 (85) 0.526 (54) 0.482
75 UCF 2 2 0.522 (70) 0.441 (80) 0.481
76 Michigan 2 4 0.337 (104) 0.618 (37) 0.478
77 Rice 2 3 0.478 (76) 0.469 (75) 0.474
78 Western Kentucky 2 3 0.472 (77) 0.471 (73) 0.472
79 Fresno State 3 3 0.501 (72) 0.422 (84) 0.462
80 Wyoming 3 2 0.626 (49) 0.283 (110) 0.455
81 Toledo 4 2 0.509 (71) 0.399 (91) 0.454
82 Bowling Green 4 2 0.564 (61) 0.343 (102) 0.453
83 Cincinnati 2 2 0.44 (84) 0.428 (83) 0.434
84 Texas State 3 2 0.429 (87) 0.439 (82) 0.434
85 San Jose State 2 3 0.416 (91) 0.448 (79) 0.432
86 North Carolina 2 3 0.369 (100) 0.493 (67) 0.431
87 Texas Tech 2 3 0.462 (80) 0.395 (92) 0.428
88 Colorado 2 4 0.341 (103) 0.512 (59) 0.427
89 LA-Monroe 3 2 0.495 (73) 0.334 (103) 0.415
90 Old Dominion 3 3 0.467 (79) 0.349 (99) 0.408
91 Iowa State 1 4 0.336 (106) 0.475 (71) 0.405
92 Illinois 3 3 0.425 (90) 0.382 (94) 0.403
93 Central Michigan 3 3 0.441 (83) 0.361 (97) 0.401
94 Western Michigan 2 3 0.383 (95) 0.406 (90) 0.395
95 FIU 3 3 0.374 (97) 0.409 (88) 0.392
96 LA-Lafayette 2 3 0.409 (93) 0.362 (96) 0.386
97 Purdue 3 3 0.426 (89) 0.334 (104) 0.38
98 Buffalo 3 3 0.305 (112) 0.449 (78) 0.377
99 Houston 2 3 0.243 (114) 0.473 (72) 0.358
100 Ohio 3 3 0.472 (78) 0.232 (118) 0.352
101 New Mexico 2 3 0.373 (99) 0.304 (106) 0.338
102 UTEP 2 3 0.407 (94) 0.269 (113) 0.338
103 Florida Atlantic 2 4 0.413 (92) 0.244 (116) 0.329
104 New Mexico State 2 4 0.307 (111) 0.344 (101) 0.325
105 UTSA 1 4 0.315 (109) 0.333 (105) 0.324
106 Appalachian State 1 4 0.185 (120) 0.441 (81) 0.313
107 San Diego State 2 3 0.326 (107) 0.297 (109) 0.312
108 Kansas 2 3 0.341 (102) 0.27 (112) 0.305
109 Southern Miss 2 4 0.38 (96) 0.225 (119) 0.303
110 Tulsa 1 4 0.215 (117) 0.378 (95) 0.296
111 Army 2 3 0.336 (105) 0.256 (114) 0.296
112 Tulane 1 4 0.229 (115) 0.351 (98) 0.29
113 North Texas 2 3 0.343 (101) 0.219 (121) 0.281
114 Wake Forest 2 4 0.373 (98) 0.177 (126) 0.275
115 South Florida 2 3 0.312 (110) 0.22 (120) 0.266
116 Hawaii 1 4 0.181 (121) 0.345 (100) 0.263
117 Vanderbilt 1 5 0.245 (113) 0.211 (123) 0.228
118 Connecticut 1 4 0.199 (118) 0.255 (115) 0.227
119 Georgia State 1 4 0.147 (125) 0.302 (107) 0.224
120 Miami-OH 1 5 0.147 (123) 0.301 (108) 0.224
121 Ball State 1 4 0.135 (126) 0.277 (111) 0.206
122 SMU 0 5 0.196 (119) 0.21 (124) 0.203
123 Idaho 0 5 0 (129) 0.387 (93) 0.193
124 Kent State 0 5 0.147 (124) 0.237 (117) 0.192
125 UNLV 1 5 0.172 (122) 0.187 (125) 0.179
126 Eastern Michigan 1 4 0.316 (108) 0 (129) 0.158
127 Non FBS 7 88 0.221 (116) 0.08 (128) 0.15
128 Massachusetts 0 6 0.067 (128) 0.215 (122) 0.141
129 Troy 0 5 0.07 (127) 0.149 (127) 0.109

2014 College Football – Week 5 – Starting to Catch Up

One of the maxims I have maintained about this exercise is that each week’s rankings are not a future indicator – but a summary of what we know about the season up to now.  Florida State’s schedule, for instance – had a combined one win against FBS opposition.  However, with a true road win at NC State combined with Clemson, Oklahoma State and even Yale defeating Army, Florida State’s profile made a quantum leap.  Nebraska’s win over Miami-FL looks better now, and the sheer destruction wrought by Michigan State combined with the Oregon loss not being at all bad, and their standing is enhanced.  West Virginia, a 2-2 team has actually played really well – and these rankings reflect that.  After all, speculation about which teams have “tough roads” ahead are well informed perhaps, but not backed by results.  Each week we learn more about the teams – as well as about what their resumes are really.

Anyway, with 5 weeks in the hopper, and our 2nd week of true standings, some of the big boys are starting to catch up.  And this week looks to be particularly massive at the top of the table

  1. THURSDAY: (23) Arizona at (11) Oregon
  2. (31) Miami-FL at (27) Georgia Tech
  3. (13) Texas A&M at (4) Mississippi State
  4. (18) Florida at (37) Tennessee
  5. (1) Alabama at (3) Ole Miss
  6. (5) Oklahoma at (16) TCU
  7. (26) Stanford at (7) Notre Dame
  8. (8) LSU at (2) Auburn
  9. (46) Arizona State at (12) USC
  10. (14) Nebraska at (21) Michigan State
  11. (68) Utah at (6) UCLA

As far as the one-man playoff selection?

  • The final 4: Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma and UCLA still get the top 4 spots.  While UCLA is slightly behind the other two SEC teams, its conference kingpin status elevates them into the Top 4.  This gives you an Alabama-UCLA Sugar Bowl and Auburn-Oklahoma Rose Bowl.
  • The other Big 5 champs (we use losses in conference as first tiebreaker, and rating as the second) are Florida State for the ACC and Nebraska for the Big Ten.  East Carolina is the current “best of the rest” at #25.
  • This speaks for seven of the 12 spots.  That leaves Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Baylor and BYU as the reamining bids.  LSU is ranked above BYU, but it is a small margin – small enough that the undefeated record would probably seduce a selection committee for now.  Based on the Orange Bowl contract, Florida State plays the highest ranked of SEC/Big Ten/ND, so that puts Ole Miss in play.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.  Note we get a particularly juicy Cotton Bowl.  Nebraska in this projection goes to the Fiesta Bowl with its longtime Big XII old affiliation.  One expects Notre Dame to be able to carry the Atlanta game more.
    • Sugar Bowl: Alabama v UCLA
    • Rose Bowl: Auburn v Oklahoma
    • Orange Bowl: Florida State v Ole Miss
    • Cotton Bowl: Mississippi State v Baylor
    • Peach Bowl: Notre Dame v East Carolina
    • Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska v BYU

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Alabama 4 0 0.96 (2) 1 (1) 0.98
2 Auburn 4 0 0.926 (3) 0.848 (7) 0.887
3 Ole Miss 4 0 0.843 (13) 0.921 (3) 0.882
4 Mississippi State 4 0 0.856 (10) 0.866 (6) 0.861
5 Oklahoma 4 0 0.895 (4) 0.79 (11) 0.842
6 UCLA 4 0 1 (1) 0.659 (31) 0.829
7 Notre Dame 4 0 0.851 (11) 0.767 (16) 0.809
8 LSU 4 1 0.641 (33) 0.963 (2) 0.802
9 Baylor 4 0 0.725 (17) 0.874 (5) 0.8
10 BYU 4 0 0.863 (9) 0.736 (22) 0.799
11 Oregon 4 0 0.873 (6) 0.699 (24) 0.786
12 USC 3 1 0.758 (16) 0.81 (8) 0.784
13 Texas A&M 5 0 0.872 (7) 0.694 (26) 0.783
14 Nebraska 5 0 0.849 (12) 0.66 (29) 0.754
15 Florida State 4 0 0.893 (5) 0.6 (43) 0.747
16 TCU 3 0 0.791 (15) 0.695 (25) 0.743
17 Louisville 4 1 0.678 (25) 0.798 (10) 0.738
18 Florida 2 1 0.686 (24) 0.776 (15) 0.731
19 Georgia 3 1 0.708 (22) 0.74 (21) 0.724
20 West Virginia 2 2 0.567 (52) 0.88 (4) 0.724
21 Michigan State 3 1 0.659 (28) 0.777 (14) 0.718
22 Arkansas 3 2 0.622 (36) 0.788 (12) 0.705
23 Arizona 4 0 0.871 (8) 0.528 (58) 0.7
24 Wisconsin 3 1 0.571 (50) 0.806 (9) 0.689
25 East Carolina 3 1 0.718 (18) 0.652 (34) 0.685
26 Stanford 3 1 0.582 (48) 0.783 (13) 0.682
27 Georgia Tech 4 0 0.799 (14) 0.559 (52) 0.679
28 Marshall 4 0 0.714 (20) 0.637 (35) 0.676
29 Ohio State 3 1 0.593 (45) 0.747 (18) 0.67
30 NC State 4 1 0.655 (30) 0.657 (33) 0.656
31 Miami-FL 3 2 0.563 (54) 0.741 (20) 0.652
32 Minnesota 4 1 0.693 (23) 0.583 (45) 0.638
33 Boise State 3 2 0.578 (49) 0.69 (27) 0.634
34 Northern Illinois 3 1 0.674 (26) 0.571 (46) 0.623
35 Virginia Tech 3 2 0.483 (71) 0.762 (17) 0.623
36 Penn State 4 1 0.617 (37) 0.616 (39) 0.616
37 Tennessee 2 2 0.521 (63) 0.703 (23) 0.612
38 Kansas State 3 1 0.609 (39) 0.612 (41) 0.611
39 Iowa 4 1 0.548 (59) 0.661 (28) 0.604
40 Missouri 4 1 0.648 (32) 0.556 (54) 0.602
41 Pittsburgh 3 2 0.459 (74) 0.742 (19) 0.601
42 Colorado State 3 1 0.657 (29) 0.539 (55) 0.598
43 Memphis 2 2 0.589 (47) 0.603 (42) 0.596
44 California 3 1 0.712 (21) 0.478 (73) 0.595
45 South Carolina 3 2 0.568 (51) 0.62 (38) 0.594
46 Arizona State 3 1 0.608 (40) 0.566 (48) 0.587
47 Nevada 3 1 0.717 (19) 0.449 (80) 0.583
48 Maryland 4 1 0.666 (27) 0.496 (66) 0.581
49 Kentucky 3 1 0.601 (44) 0.561 (50) 0.581
50 Georgia Southern 3 2 0.561 (55) 0.599 (44) 0.58
51 Rutgers 4 1 0.628 (34) 0.524 (59) 0.576
52 Oregon State 3 1 0.627 (35) 0.52 (60) 0.574
53 Clemson 2 2 0.511 (65) 0.623 (37) 0.567
54 Texas 2 2 0.566 (53) 0.561 (51) 0.563
55 Duke 4 1 0.603 (42) 0.507 (63) 0.555
56 Oklahoma State 3 1 0.61 (38) 0.499 (65) 0.555
57 Virginia 3 2 0.536 (60) 0.565 (49) 0.55
58 Boston College 3 2 0.438 (79) 0.659 (30) 0.549
59 MTSU 3 2 0.602 (43) 0.491 (68) 0.547
60 Washington 4 1 0.56 (56) 0.503 (64) 0.532
61 Air Force 3 1 0.653 (31) 0.409 (90) 0.531
62 Akron 2 2 0.493 (69) 0.559 (53) 0.526
63 Navy 2 3 0.422 (86) 0.628 (36) 0.525
64 Washington State 2 3 0.434 (82) 0.614 (40) 0.524
65 Western Kentucky 2 2 0.59 (46) 0.447 (82) 0.519
66 Cincinnati 2 1 0.534 (61) 0.475 (74) 0.504
67 Temple 3 1 0.504 (67) 0.496 (67) 0.5
68 Utah 3 1 0.531 (62) 0.453 (78) 0.492
69 Illinois 3 2 0.551 (58) 0.423 (86) 0.487
70 Northwestern 2 2 0.437 (81) 0.534 (56) 0.485
71 LA-Monroe 3 1 0.558 (57) 0.407 (91) 0.482
72 Syracuse 2 2 0.429 (84) 0.519 (61) 0.474
73 Indiana 2 2 0.454 (75) 0.491 (69) 0.472
74 Michigan 2 3 0.283 (108) 0.658 (32) 0.471
75 Arkansas State 2 2 0.451 (76) 0.48 (72) 0.465
76 Wyoming 3 2 0.605 (41) 0.317 (107) 0.461
77 Rice 1 3 0.429 (85) 0.488 (70) 0.459
78 Texas Tech 2 2 0.481 (72) 0.429 (85) 0.455
79 UAB 2 2 0.327 (101) 0.568 (47) 0.447
80 Texas State 2 2 0.408 (88) 0.485 (71) 0.446
81 Louisiana Tech 2 3 0.487 (70) 0.394 (92) 0.441
82 North Carolina 2 2 0.416 (87) 0.465 (76) 0.44
83 Old Dominion 3 2 0.496 (68) 0.382 (93) 0.439
84 Colorado 2 3 0.36 (94) 0.517 (62) 0.439
85 South Alabama 2 2 0.445 (77) 0.431 (84) 0.438
86 Fresno State 2 3 0.437 (80) 0.421 (89) 0.429
87 Iowa State 1 3 0.314 (104) 0.534 (57) 0.424
88 Bowling Green 3 2 0.513 (64) 0.335 (100) 0.424
89 Western Michigan 2 2 0.433 (83) 0.376 (95) 0.404
90 Florida Atlantic 2 3 0.51 (66) 0.296 (111) 0.403
91 Houston 2 2 0.342 (97) 0.458 (77) 0.4
92 UTSA 1 3 0.444 (78) 0.354 (99) 0.399
93 UCF 1 2 0.316 (103) 0.453 (79) 0.385
94 UTEP 2 2 0.4 (89) 0.368 (97) 0.384
95 Ohio 3 2 0.469 (73) 0.293 (113) 0.381
96 San Jose State 1 3 0.334 (99) 0.422 (87) 0.378
97 Toledo 3 2 0.371 (92) 0.378 (94) 0.375
98 Buffalo 3 2 0.285 (107) 0.448 (81) 0.367
99 Utah State 2 2 0.385 (90) 0.328 (103) 0.357
100 FIU 2 3 0.272 (110) 0.422 (88) 0.347
101 Appalachian State 1 3 0.21 (116) 0.472 (75) 0.341
102 New Mexico State 2 3 0.332 (100) 0.324 (104) 0.328
103 San Diego State 2 2 0.358 (95) 0.295 (112) 0.327
104 Tulsa 1 3 0.219 (113) 0.434 (83) 0.326
105 Kansas 2 2 0.341 (98) 0.282 (115) 0.311
106 LA-Lafayette 1 3 0.28 (109) 0.335 (101) 0.308
107 Central Michigan 2 3 0.344 (96) 0.268 (117) 0.306
108 South Florida 2 3 0.318 (102) 0.286 (114) 0.302
109 Southern Miss 2 3 0.385 (91) 0.195 (124) 0.29
110 Purdue 2 3 0.237 (112) 0.323 (105) 0.28
111 Tulane 1 4 0.197 (118) 0.36 (98) 0.278
112 Hawaii 1 3 0.179 (121) 0.375 (96) 0.277
113 New Mexico 1 3 0.239 (111) 0.296 (110) 0.268
114 North Texas 2 2 0.362 (93) 0.144 (126) 0.253
115 Wake Forest 2 3 0.301 (106) 0.198 (123) 0.249
116 Connecticut 1 4 0.201 (117) 0.281 (116) 0.241
117 Ball State 1 3 0.146 (124) 0.32 (106) 0.233
118 Georgia State 1 3 0.149 (123) 0.315 (108) 0.232
119 Army 1 3 0.214 (115) 0.231 (119) 0.222
120 Vanderbilt 1 4 0.217 (114) 0.211 (121) 0.214
121 UNLV 1 4 0.189 (120) 0.219 (120) 0.204
122 SMU 0 4 0.153 (122) 0.247 (118) 0.2
123 Miami-OH 0 5 0.07 (127) 0.307 (109) 0.189
124 Idaho 0 4 0 (129) 0.328 (102) 0.164
125 Eastern Michigan 1 3 0.301 (105) 0 (129) 0.15
126 Massachusetts 0 5 0.075 (126) 0.21 (122) 0.143
127 Non FBS 7 88 0.191 (119) 0.09 (128) 0.141
128 Kent State 0 4 0.114 (125) 0.132 (127) 0.123
129 Troy 0 5 0.056 (128) 0.169 (125) 0.112

2014 College Football – Week 4 – Fully Official

As a preamble, the recent business in the NFL creates a lot of questions about exactly what people ask from football – and the role football plays in creating many of these circumstances.  Obviously there is some nature vs nurture – football does not spawn wife beaters per se, although given the head injuries and the need, the demand from fans for this nth degree level of machismo and ferocity, that the programming spills over into real life is not a surprise.  We see it with soldiers returning home, and fans after upsets.  Louisa Thomas in particular covers this well.  I could note other things on how the football culture fosters much of what is not so savory about culture generally, but that’s another show.  I still like the games, but I am also sick.

For my heart, the most satisfying of the matches was Georgia Tech’s unlikely victory over Virginia Tech.  Now, (putting on my college football fan hat here) Paul Johnson has been more or less totally unjustly maligned over his 6+ seasons at the helm – and with a new AD, calling his position “embattled” seems fair.  I know fans who certainly are ready to move on – although their reasons seem specious, and the nostalgia for previous eras of football a bit misplaced.  Calvin Johnson, hero of Georgia Tech football and my own fantasy league, was great at Georgia Tech, but also played in a deadly boring offense – the equivalent of a using McDonald’s fried for your moules frites.  The program is immeasurably better now – and as a football fan it is fun to watch the flexbone offense.  What the first four games this season has shown is how important a good quarterback is (duh).  Last year’s quarterback Vad Lee had more throwing talent (though from his numbers you would not notice it) but he was a raised pocket passer who could not run the option.  What Justin Thomas had brought to the table is the best skillset since Josh Nesbitt.  I am not predicting a 10 win season, but there is no reason not to be happy.  Now the game itself was a comedy of errors – but Thomas pounced on the opportunities and helmed a stirring comeback, not the usual terrain for an option team.

With Cincinnati getting its second win, now all of the teams have 2 games played, so a real SoS metric can be derived. As such, the rankings are clean. Obviously, results now have huge marginal impacts – that is how the #2 team last week can drop to #20.  Not only did Florida lose at Alabama, but Eastern Michigan got demolished by Michigan State which punctured the Gators’ schedule ratings.  At the same time. last week’s #5 (LSU) only dropped to #9 by losing to a good team and their best win (Wisconsin) looking better and better.  So how does this show in the bowl projections?

  • The final 4: Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma and UCLA get the top 4 spots.  While UCLA is slightly behind the other two SEC teams, its conference kingpin status elevates them into the Top 4.  This gives you an Alabama-UCLA Sugar Bowl and Auburn-Oklahoma Rose Bowl.
  • The other Big 5 champs (we use losses in conference as first tiebreaker, and rating as the second) are NC State for the ACC and Penn State for the Big Ten.  East Carolina is the current “best of the rest” at #21.
  • This speaks for seven of the 12 spots.  That leaves Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Baylor and BYU as the reamining bids.  LSU is ranked above BYU, but it is a small margin – small enough that the undefeated record would probably seduce a selection committee for now.  Based on the Orange Bowl contract, NC State plays the highest ranked of SEC/Big Ten/ND, so that puts Mississippi State in play.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.  Note we get a particularly juicy Cotton Bowl, and if you are into things like Crusades and Jihads, it is quite the Fiesta Bowl.
    • Sugar Bowl: Alabama v UCLA
    • Rose Bowl: Auburn v Oklahoma
    • Orange Bowl: NC State v Mississippi State
    • Cotton Bowl: Ole Miss v Baylor
    • Peach Bowl: Penn State v East Carolina
    • Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame v BYU

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Alabama 4 0 0.978 (2) 1 (1) 0.989
2 Auburn 3 0 0.971 (3) 0.932 (4) 0.951
3 Oklahoma 4 0 0.923 (4) 0.881 (9) 0.902
4 Mississippi State 4 0 0.912 (5) 0.873 (11) 0.893
5 Ole Miss 3 0 0.831 (9) 0.913 (5) 0.872
6 UCLA 3 0 1 (1) 0.736 (32) 0.868
7 Notre Dame 3 0 0.864 (7) 0.805 (17) 0.835
8 Baylor 3 0 0.66 (32) 0.992 (2) 0.826
9 LSU 3 1 0.649 (36) 0.984 (3) 0.817
10 BYU 4 0 0.859 (8) 0.747 (29) 0.803
11 TCU 2 0 0.775 (16) 0.823 (15) 0.799
12 NC State 4 0 0.795 (14) 0.8 (18) 0.797
13 Arkansas 3 1 0.797 (13) 0.794 (19) 0.796
14 Oregon 4 0 0.812 (10) 0.762 (23) 0.787
15 USC 2 1 0.682 (27) 0.876 (10) 0.779
16 Penn State 4 0 0.806 (12) 0.752 (27) 0.779
17 Texas A&M 4 0 0.811 (11) 0.728 (34) 0.769
18 West Virginia 2 2 0.589 (47) 0.91 (6) 0.749
19 Arizona 4 0 0.881 (6) 0.591 (54) 0.736
20 Florida 2 1 0.676 (29) 0.794 (20) 0.735
21 East Carolina 3 1 0.749 (20) 0.697 (37) 0.723
22 Louisville 3 1 0.618 (40) 0.817 (16) 0.718
23 Georgia 2 1 0.591 (45) 0.841 (14) 0.716
24 Pittsburgh 3 1 0.529 (62) 0.9 (7) 0.714
25 Tennessee 2 1 0.672 (30) 0.753 (25) 0.713
26 Boise State 3 1 0.669 (31) 0.733 (33) 0.701
27 South Carolina 3 1 0.65 (34) 0.75 (28) 0.7
28 Georgia Tech 4 0 0.778 (15) 0.598 (52) 0.688
29 Marshall 4 0 0.701 (25) 0.673 (39) 0.687
30 Nebraska 4 0 0.774 (17) 0.595 (53) 0.684
31 Florida State 3 0 0.768 (18) 0.599 (51) 0.683
32 Arizona State 3 0 0.751 (19) 0.61 (46) 0.681
33 Memphis 2 1 0.612 (42) 0.743 (31) 0.677
34 Oregon State 3 0 0.694 (26) 0.636 (42) 0.665
35 Wisconsin 2 1 0.486 (67) 0.844 (13) 0.665
36 Duke 4 0 0.709 (24) 0.601 (50) 0.655
37 Boston College 3 1 0.538 (59) 0.761 (24) 0.649
38 Michigan State 2 1 0.542 (56) 0.743 (30) 0.643
39 Cincinnati 2 0 0.73 (23) 0.552 (60) 0.641
40 Utah 3 0 0.746 (21) 0.532 (67) 0.639
41 Michigan 2 2 0.374 (92) 0.882 (8) 0.628
42 Washington 4 0 0.74 (22) 0.514 (75) 0.627
43 Stanford 2 1 0.389 (87) 0.849 (12) 0.619
44 Navy 2 2 0.47 (71) 0.763 (22) 0.616
45 Northern Illinois 3 1 0.653 (33) 0.577 (57) 0.615
46 Minnesota 3 1 0.633 (38) 0.578 (56) 0.605
47 Virginia Tech 2 2 0.452 (74) 0.752 (26) 0.602
48 Georgia Southern 2 2 0.588 (48) 0.614 (44) 0.601
49 Ohio State 2 1 0.434 (80) 0.768 (21) 0.601
50 California 2 1 0.65 (35) 0.523 (71) 0.586
51 Kansas State 2 1 0.578 (50) 0.586 (55) 0.582
52 Rutgers 3 1 0.616 (41) 0.533 (66) 0.575
53 Miami-FL 2 2 0.43 (81) 0.716 (35) 0.573
54 Missouri 3 1 0.52 (64) 0.621 (43) 0.57
55 Maryland 3 1 0.62 (39) 0.52 (72) 0.57
56 Virginia 2 2 0.493 (66) 0.646 (40) 0.569
57 Indiana 2 1 0.568 (52) 0.567 (59) 0.567
58 Oklahoma State 2 1 0.526 (63) 0.602 (49) 0.564
59 Iowa 3 1 0.449 (75) 0.677 (38) 0.563
60 Illinois 3 1 0.586 (49) 0.527 (69) 0.556
61 LA-Monroe 2 1 0.552 (54) 0.547 (63) 0.549
62 Colorado State 2 1 0.601 (43) 0.495 (80) 0.548
63 Nevada 2 1 0.589 (46) 0.502 (78) 0.546
64 Kentucky 2 1 0.544 (55) 0.545 (65) 0.545
65 Syracuse 2 1 0.475 (70) 0.608 (48) 0.541
66 UAB 2 1 0.552 (53) 0.526 (70) 0.539
67 Old Dominion 3 1 0.647 (37) 0.414 (101) 0.531
68 Clemson 1 2 0.339 (97) 0.698 (36) 0.518
69 Wyoming 3 1 0.68 (28) 0.356 (111) 0.518
70 Air Force 2 1 0.574 (51) 0.458 (88) 0.516
71 UTSA 1 2 0.517 (65) 0.512 (76) 0.514
72 Texas Tech 2 1 0.594 (44) 0.432 (95) 0.513
73 UTEP 2 1 0.538 (58) 0.48 (84) 0.509
74 Texas 1 2 0.403 (86) 0.611 (45) 0.507
75 MTSU 2 2 0.454 (73) 0.546 (64) 0.5
76 North Carolina 2 1 0.538 (60) 0.46 (87) 0.499
77 Temple 2 1 0.437 (78) 0.55 (61) 0.494
78 Western Michigan 2 1 0.478 (69) 0.495 (81) 0.487
79 Arkansas State 2 2 0.449 (76) 0.514 (74) 0.481
80 Colorado 2 2 0.411 (82) 0.519 (73) 0.465
81 Louisiana Tech 2 2 0.484 (68) 0.443 (91) 0.464
82 Kansas 2 1 0.537 (61) 0.375 (109) 0.456
83 Rice 0 3 0.227 (117) 0.645 (41) 0.436
84 Texas State 1 2 0.259 (112) 0.609 (47) 0.434
85 Akron 1 2 0.317 (100) 0.55 (62) 0.434
86 New Mexico 1 2 0.388 (88) 0.479 (85) 0.434
87 UCF 1 2 0.325 (99) 0.53 (68) 0.427
88 Washington State 1 3 0.271 (110) 0.574 (58) 0.423
89 Western Kentucky 1 2 0.351 (94) 0.483 (83) 0.417
90 San Jose State 1 2 0.458 (72) 0.376 (108) 0.417
91 Houston 2 2 0.35 (95) 0.476 (86) 0.413
92 Appalachian State 1 2 0.299 (105) 0.506 (77) 0.402
93 New Mexico State 2 2 0.379 (90) 0.424 (97) 0.402
94 Utah State 2 2 0.411 (83) 0.386 (104) 0.398
95 South Alabama 1 2 0.381 (89) 0.406 (103) 0.393
96 Bowling Green 2 2 0.406 (85) 0.38 (106) 0.393
97 Southern Miss 2 2 0.539 (57) 0.242 (122) 0.391
98 Central Michigan 2 2 0.446 (77) 0.318 (114) 0.382
99 Iowa State 1 2 0.329 (98) 0.429 (96) 0.379
100 Purdue 2 2 0.308 (102) 0.438 (92) 0.373
101 Toledo 2 2 0.306 (103) 0.438 (93) 0.372
102 Ohio 2 2 0.41 (84) 0.315 (116) 0.362
103 Buffalo 2 2 0.233 (115) 0.485 (82) 0.359
104 Fresno State 1 3 0.297 (107) 0.421 (98) 0.359
105 Florida Atlantic 1 3 0.437 (79) 0.274 (118) 0.355
106 Tulsa 1 2 0.374 (91) 0.327 (112) 0.351
107 Hawaii 1 3 0.229 (116) 0.458 (89) 0.343
108 San Diego State 1 2 0.298 (106) 0.377 (107) 0.338
109 Tulane 1 3 0.225 (118) 0.45 (90) 0.337
110 LA-Lafayette 1 3 0.301 (104) 0.369 (110) 0.335
111 South Florida 2 2 0.348 (96) 0.317 (115) 0.332
112 Army 1 2 0.257 (114) 0.382 (105) 0.32
113 FIU 1 3 0.135 (125) 0.5 (79) 0.317
114 Northwestern 1 2 0.193 (120) 0.437 (94) 0.315
115 Georgia State 1 3 0.152 (122) 0.415 (99) 0.283
116 Miami-OH 0 4 0.154 (121) 0.41 (102) 0.282
117 Wake Forest 2 2 0.366 (93) 0.18 (124) 0.273
118 Connecticut 1 3 0.276 (109) 0.261 (119) 0.268
119 Vanderbilt 1 3 0.267 (111) 0.249 (121) 0.258
120 UNLV 1 3 0.258 (113) 0.214 (123) 0.236
121 Ball State 1 3 0.14 (124) 0.322 (113) 0.231
122 North Texas 2 2 0.31 (101) 0.138 (126) 0.224
123 Idaho 0 3 0.027 (128) 0.414 (100) 0.22
124 Massachusetts 0 4 0.149 (123) 0.251 (120) 0.2
125 SMU 0 3 0.092 (127) 0.303 (117) 0.198
126 Non FBS 6 87 0.202 (119) 0.114 (127) 0.158
127 Eastern Michigan 1 3 0.288 (108) 0 (129) 0.144
128 Troy 0 4 0.094 (126) 0.14 (125) 0.117
129 Kent State 0 3 0 (129) 0.034 (128) 0.017

2014 College Football – Week 3: Almost Clean Data

OK, we are almost there – with Cincinnati opening its schedule, we are one Bearcat game away from all teams having 2 games under their belt. This will allow the Strength of Schedule metrics (how a team does against “everybody else”) to kick in credibly (since of course each team will have an “everybody else”).  As one can imagine, the SEC dominates the rankings early.  Indeed, 7 of the top 10 positions are SEC Teams – although data is limited and I personally don’t think Eastern Michigan and Kentucky are great wins in the context of football, but who knows?  Auburn has been the most versatile team so far (6th on offense, 3rd on defense) while Florida has carried the mantle on defense so far (with LSU 2nd).  BYU, as longtime observers probably might expect, is tops offensively – although doing it as a running team certainly not a normal MO.  But anyway, the rankings are acceptable enough – how does this fit into the new college football playoff?  If we take it literally:

  • Six automatic qualifiers: The big five champs – using loss column standings and rankings, that would be Auburn, Oklahoma, UCLA, NC State and Penn State.  The best of the non-power conference teams is Boise State at #26.  So we populate the rest of the field:
  • The top 4.  Auburn, Oklahoma, Florida and UCLA … clearly we can go very deep into the SEC this year.  However, the committee is charged with providing some preference to conference champs.  UCLA more than fits the bill in this limited framework.  So, Auburn-UCLA is your Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma-Florida is the Rose Bowl.
  • What of the rest?  We have the Orange, Cotton, Peach and Fiesta Bowls.  The Orange Bowl gets the ACC champion against the highest ranked SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame opponent.  This clearly leads to NC State vs Alabama.  Good luck there, Wolfpack.
  • The rest of the bowls involve the displaced automatic qualifiers: Penn State and Boise State for the sake of argument.  We also get to four other teams for the sake of geography, competition and what have you.  This is all boogedy-boogedy right now, but I’ll take a stab.  Given the rankings – LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Notre Dame are your big 4.  Now I expect the SEC will diffuse itself as the season evolves and they start playing each other, but whatever for now.  So, controlling for geography and matchup:
    • Cotton Bowl: LSU v Notre Dame
    • Peach Bowl: Ole Miss v Penn State
    • Fiesta Bowl: Mississippi State v Boise State
  • Obviously this will change a lot – and I don’t like projections, so much as trying to systematically do the committee’s job if the season were to end.  Complete rankings below.

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Auburn 2 0 1 (1) 1 (1) 1
2 Oklahoma 3 0 0.971 (3) 0.805 (11) 0.888
3 Florida 2 0 0.863 (10) 0.907 (2) 0.885
4 Alabama 3 0 0.949 (4) 0.816 (10) 0.882
5 LSU 3 0 0.822 (14) 0.9 (4) 0.861
6 UCLA 3 0 0.98 (2) 0.722 (20) 0.851
7 Ole Miss 3 0 0.855 (12) 0.818 (9) 0.837
8 Mississippi State 3 0 0.889 (7) 0.749 (17) 0.819
9 NC State 3 0 0.863 (10) 0.763 (14) 0.813
10 Notre Dame 3 0 0.941 (5) 0.678 (28) 0.81
11 Pittsburgh 3 0 0.762 (19) 0.855 (8) 0.808
12 Penn State 3 0 0.921 (6) 0.69 (26) 0.805
13 BYU 3 0 0.799 (16) 0.771 (13) 0.785
14 Oregon 3 0 0.855 (13) 0.674 (29) 0.764
15 TCU 2 0 0.804 (15) 0.714 (22) 0.759
16 West Virginia 2 1 0.64 (42) 0.872 (6) 0.756
17 Michigan 2 1 0.606 (51) 0.905 (3) 0.756
18 Navy 2 1 0.704 (34) 0.794 (12) 0.749
19 Baylor 3 0 0.611 (48) 0.887 (5) 0.749
20 Texas A&M 3 0 0.876 (9) 0.607 (36) 0.741
21 Arkansas 2 1 0.793 (18) 0.66 (32) 0.727
22 Georgia 1 1 0.591 (53) 0.856 (7) 0.723
23 Tennessee 2 1 0.71 (30) 0.722 (21) 0.716
24 Arizona 3 0 0.889 (7) 0.534 (58) 0.711
25 USC 2 1 0.739 (26) 0.669 (31) 0.704
26 Boise State 2 1 0.71 (30) 0.656 (33) 0.683
27 North Carolina 2 0 0.762 (20) 0.604 (38) 0.683
28 South Carolina 2 1 0.658 (40) 0.696 (24) 0.677
29 Syracuse 2 0 0.759 (22) 0.591 (41) 0.675
30 Northern Illinois 3 0 0.76 (21) 0.583 (44) 0.672
31 Louisville 2 1 0.584 (55) 0.741 (18) 0.662
32 East Carolina 2 1 0.733 (27) 0.567 (49) 0.65
33 Duke 3 0 0.705 (33) 0.593 (40) 0.649
34 Kentucky 2 1 0.622 (44) 0.67 (30) 0.646
35 Boston College 2 1 0.54 (67) 0.739 (19) 0.639
36 Georgia Tech 3 0 0.704 (35) 0.567 (48) 0.636
37 Cincinnati 1 0 0.683 (37) 0.587 (43) 0.635
38 Washington 3 0 0.794 (17) 0.47 (79) 0.632
39 Florida State 2 0 0.759 (22) 0.484 (74) 0.622
40 Arizona State 3 0 0.682 (38) 0.558 (53) 0.62
41 Nebraska 3 0 0.756 (24) 0.472 (77) 0.614
42 Virginia Tech 2 1 0.534 (71) 0.69 (25) 0.612
43 Wisconsin 1 1 0.457 (85) 0.757 (15) 0.607
44 Memphis 1 1 0.574 (59) 0.639 (35) 0.606
45 Missouri 3 0 0.7 (36) 0.511 (65) 0.606
46 Ohio State 2 1 0.506 (77) 0.702 (23) 0.604
47 Stanford 2 1 0.451 (86) 0.754 (16) 0.603
48 Louisiana Tech 2 1 0.74 (25) 0.462 (81) 0.601
49 Kansas State 2 0 0.713 (29) 0.484 (72) 0.599
50 Marshall 3 0 0.64 (43) 0.553 (56) 0.596
51 Minnesota 2 1 0.616 (46) 0.554 (55) 0.585
52 California 2 0 0.709 (32) 0.452 (84) 0.58
53 Oregon State 2 0 0.714 (28) 0.432 (90) 0.573
54 UAB 2 1 0.58 (58) 0.563 (52) 0.572
55 Miami-FL 2 1 0.495 (79) 0.64 (34) 0.567
56 Michigan State 1 1 0.535 (70) 0.577 (47) 0.556
57 Virginia 2 1 0.574 (60) 0.529 (61) 0.551
58 Old Dominion 2 1 0.611 (48) 0.489 (70) 0.55
59 Oklahoma State 2 1 0.536 (69) 0.563 (51) 0.549
60 San Diego State 1 1 0.493 (81) 0.605 (37) 0.549
61 LA-Monroe 2 1 0.545 (66) 0.538 (57) 0.541
62 Nevada 2 1 0.581 (56) 0.495 (68) 0.538
63 MTSU 2 1 0.581 (57) 0.494 (69) 0.537
64 Wyoming 2 1 0.644 (41) 0.413 (96) 0.529
65 San Jose State 1 1 0.619 (45) 0.435 (88) 0.527
66 Utah 2 0 0.664 (39) 0.385 (105) 0.524
67 Georgia Southern 1 2 0.461 (82) 0.581 (45) 0.521
68 Colorado State 2 1 0.615 (47) 0.427 (93) 0.521
69 Appalachian State 1 1 0.44 (90) 0.589 (42) 0.514
70 Air Force 2 1 0.588 (54) 0.437 (86) 0.512
71 Illinois 2 1 0.611 (48) 0.408 (99) 0.509
72 Bowling Green 2 1 0.508 (75) 0.506 (67) 0.507
73 Rutgers 2 1 0.534 (71) 0.473 (76) 0.503
74 Akron 1 1 0.529 (73) 0.476 (75) 0.503
75 UTEP 2 1 0.558 (62) 0.436 (87) 0.497
76 UTSA 1 2 0.517 (74) 0.47 (78) 0.494
77 New Mexico State 2 1 0.554 (63) 0.429 (91) 0.492
78 Texas Tech 2 1 0.564 (61) 0.411 (98) 0.487
79 Texas 1 2 0.442 (89) 0.532 (60) 0.487
80 Texas State 1 1 0.364 (101) 0.599 (39) 0.481
81 Western Kentucky 1 2 0.414 (93) 0.534 (59) 0.474
82 Maryland 2 1 0.508 (76) 0.427 (92) 0.467
83 Central Michigan 2 1 0.596 (52) 0.334 (116) 0.465
84 Rice 0 2 0.364 (98) 0.563 (50) 0.464
85 Clemson 1 1 0.372 (95) 0.554 (54) 0.463
86 Utah State 2 1 0.551 (64) 0.362 (111) 0.456
87 Temple 1 1 0.538 (68) 0.365 (110) 0.451
88 South Alabama 1 1 0.493 (80) 0.406 (100) 0.449
89 Iowa 2 1 0.31 (108) 0.578 (46) 0.444
90 UCF 0 2 0.364 (98) 0.513 (64) 0.438
91 Indiana 1 1 0.356 (104) 0.521 (62) 0.438
92 Northwestern 0 2 0.193 (121) 0.682 (27) 0.438
93 Iowa State 1 2 0.361 (102) 0.508 (66) 0.434
94 Arkansas State 1 2 0.371 (96) 0.485 (71) 0.428
95 Western Michigan 1 1 0.457 (84) 0.388 (104) 0.422
96 Army 1 1 0.459 (83) 0.367 (109) 0.413
97 Connecticut 1 2 0.364 (100) 0.445 (85) 0.405
98 Florida Atlantic 1 2 0.497 (78) 0.308 (118) 0.403
99 LA-Lafayette 1 2 0.394 (94) 0.406 (101) 0.4
100 Kansas 1 1 0.445 (88) 0.348 (113) 0.397
101 Tulsa 1 2 0.434 (91) 0.349 (112) 0.391
102 Colorado 1 2 0.282 (112) 0.484 (73) 0.383
103 Hawaii 1 2 0.328 (105) 0.435 (89) 0.382
104 Houston 1 2 0.305 (110) 0.456 (83) 0.38
105 Purdue 1 2 0.356 (103) 0.404 (102) 0.38
106 Southern Miss 1 2 0.547 (65) 0.211 (123) 0.379
107 FIU 1 2 0.24 (115) 0.514 (63) 0.377
108 Washington State 1 2 0.282 (111) 0.46 (82) 0.371
109 Ohio 1 2 0.418 (92) 0.303 (119) 0.36
110 UNLV 1 2 0.368 (97) 0.341 (115) 0.355
111 New Mexico 0 2 0.23 (116) 0.463 (80) 0.346
112 Eastern Michigan 1 2 0.446 (87) 0.212 (122) 0.329
113 Toledo 1 2 0.219 (118) 0.423 (95) 0.321
114 Tulane 1 2 0.249 (113) 0.37 (108) 0.309
115 Georgia State 1 2 0.192 (122) 0.425 (94) 0.308
116 Fresno State 0 3 0.203 (120) 0.412 (97) 0.308
117 Buffalo 1 2 0.219 (118) 0.383 (106) 0.301
118 Miami-OH 0 3 0.191 (123) 0.376 (107) 0.283
119 Ball State 1 2 0.15 (125) 0.346 (114) 0.248
120 South Florida 1 2 0.308 (109) 0.185 (125) 0.247
121 Wake Forest 1 2 0.312 (106) 0.176 (126) 0.244
122 Troy 0 3 0.165 (124) 0.31 (117) 0.237
123 Vanderbilt 1 2 0.22 (117) 0.217 (121) 0.219
124 Non FBS 5 77 0.24 (114) 0.17 (127) 0.205
125 Idaho 0 2 0 (129) 0.391 (103) 0.195
126 North Texas 1 2 0.31 (107) 0 (129) 0.155
127 Massachusetts 0 3 0.105 (127) 0.19 (124) 0.147
128 SMU 0 2 0.05 (128) 0.231 (120) 0.141
129 Kent State 0 3 0.105 (126) 0.08 (128) 0.092

2014 College Football – A Datapoint!

I know nothing. And neither does the model. The first real results won’t come in until Week 4 (with Cincinnati not even starting yet), but with a week of football marked by the revelation that Ray Rice is well versed in stuff that his fans are all too familiar with, a chance to enjoy the football I didn’t sleep through seemed like a useful respite.  Now, how does the magic happen?  It involves spreadsheets but is largely fairly straightforward:

  • The RPI Scale is a SOS adjusted winning percentage.  This is 50% record (with a road bonus), 33% opponents record (in games not involving you), 17% opponents opponents record.  The team with the highest RPI gets 1.000 and the worst gets 0,
  • The DSR scale is more complicated.  This is a schedule adjusted DSR, the drive success rate on offense compared to the opponents DSR against everybody else. This is done for both offense and defense and then subtracted.  This means, for example – if a team was 5% more successful in drives than their opponents normally allow, and a team allows 2% fewer successful drives then their opponents usually get, that is a total DSR of (5% – (-2%) = 7%).  This also gets scaled to a 0 – 1.000 rank.
  • The final rank is the average of the two.
  • To simplify calculations, all FCS teams are treated as one.  The road bonus is based on season long home win/loss percentages.
  • Potential sources of inaccuracy
    • Drive calcs – I used drive stats on ESPN.com, and then other sites as needed.  I try to take out drives which don’t count (like kneel downs) although the application is inexact.
    • Asymmetric schedules.  A number of teams do not have enough SoS data for the strength of schedules to reveal much.  Indeed, teams who have played two FBS opponents have a huge edge.
  • In any case, teams who have played two legitimate opponents have an edge – the rankings below are exactly reflective of the first two weeks we have sat through (or neglected), no more no less.  As more information comes in, the results will show.
  • I’d have more intelligent to say – but it’s Week 2!  Virginia Tech was very impressive – but let’s be honest, we know nothing about whether Ohio State is any good.  I can say the same about BYU’s win over Texas, although that is enough to keep them at the top rather justly.

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 BYU 2 0 1 (1) 0.754 (4) 0.877
2 Georgia 1 0 0.695 (42) 1 (1) 0.848
3 Auburn 2 0 0.901 (5) 0.787 (3) 0.844
4 Oklahoma 2 0 0.996 (3) 0.619 (22) 0.807
5 Mississippi State 2 0 0.897 (9) 0.696 (8) 0.796
6 Tennessee 2 0 0.901 (5) 0.687 (10) 0.794
7 UCLA 2 0 0.901 (5) 0.686 (11) 0.794
8 NC State 2 0 0.901 (5) 0.647 (16) 0.774
9 Alabama 2 0 0.863 (10) 0.671 (14) 0.767
10 Florida 1 0 0.695 (42) 0.838 (2) 0.766
11 Notre Dame 2 0 0.961 (4) 0.55 (32) 0.756
12 Arizona 2 0 1 (1) 0.503 (45) 0.751
13 USC 2 0 0.863 (10) 0.636 (20) 0.749
14 Pittsburgh 2 0 0.746 (30) 0.74 (5) 0.743
15 LA-Monroe 2 0 0.863 (10) 0.619 (21) 0.741
16 Penn State 2 0 0.863 (10) 0.582 (28) 0.722
17 Louisville 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.693 (9) 0.722
18 Ole Miss 2 0 0.858 (14) 0.576 (29) 0.717
19 Texas A&M 2 0 0.849 (15) 0.549 (33) 0.699
20 LSU 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.615 (23) 0.682
21 Iowa 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.586 (27) 0.668
22 UTSA 1 1 0.691 (45) 0.638 (19) 0.664
23 Louisiana Tech 1 1 0.796 (18) 0.515 (42) 0.656
24 Virginia Tech 2 0 0.849 (15) 0.458 (61) 0.654
25 Illinois 2 0 0.849 (15) 0.441 (63) 0.645
26 Oregon 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.532 (37) 0.641
27 Baylor 2 0 0.609 (61) 0.673 (13) 0.641
28 Michigan 1 1 0.588 (72) 0.685 (12) 0.636
29 Northern Illinois 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.53 (38) 0.621
30 Minnesota 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.487 (49) 0.619
31 North Carolina 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.485 (53) 0.618
32 Missouri 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.482 (55) 0.616
33 Boise State 1 1 0.616 (58) 0.604 (25) 0.61
34 Kentucky 2 0 0.746 (30) 0.462 (59) 0.604
35 South Carolina 1 1 0.487 (94) 0.706 (7) 0.596
36 UAB 1 1 0.652 (46) 0.533 (36) 0.593
37 Army 1 0 0.695 (42) 0.485 (54) 0.59
38 New Mexico State 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.424 (69) 0.587
39 Texas State 1 0 0.599 (65) 0.574 (30) 0.586
40 Marshall 2 0 0.611 (59) 0.561 (31) 0.586
41 Ohio State 1 1 0.649 (47) 0.517 (41) 0.583
42 Boston College 1 1 0.451 (101) 0.715 (6) 0.583
43 Maryland 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.413 (73) 0.581
44 Central Michigan 2 0 0.746 (30) 0.403 (79) 0.574
45 Arkansas 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.505 (43) 0.574
46 Arkansas State 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.503 (44) 0.573
47 TCU 1 0 0.599 (65) 0.538 (35) 0.569
48 Memphis 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.486 (50) 0.565
49 Wyoming 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.379 (88) 0.565
50 Idaho 0 1 0.481 (95) 0.645 (18) 0.563
51 Florida State 2 0 0.75 (19) 0.37 (92) 0.56
52 West Virginia 1 1 0.469 (100) 0.646 (17) 0.558
53 Texas 1 1 0.582 (73) 0.528 (39) 0.555
54 Arizona State 2 0 0.609 (61) 0.496 (46) 0.552
55 California 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.386 (85) 0.549
56 Oregon State 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.382 (86) 0.547
57 Western Kentucky 1 1 0.592 (70) 0.496 (47) 0.544
58 Texas Tech 2 0 0.746 (30) 0.333 (103) 0.54
59 Georgia Southern 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.434 (64) 0.538
60 Indiana 1 0 0.599 (65) 0.477 (56) 0.538
61 Nevada 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.359 (98) 0.535
62 Miami-FL 1 1 0.544 (77) 0.525 (40) 0.535
63 Wisconsin 1 1 0.474 (98) 0.588 (26) 0.531
64 Rutgers 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.345 (101) 0.528
65 Clemson 1 1 0.506 (88) 0.546 (34) 0.526
66 Stanford 1 1 0.435 (105) 0.61 (24) 0.522
67 Utah 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.326 (106) 0.519
68 Old Dominion 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.393 (83) 0.518
69 Nebraska 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.32 (108) 0.516
70 San Diego State 1 1 0.544 (77) 0.486 (51) 0.515
71 Michigan State 1 1 0.544 (77) 0.485 (52) 0.515
72 Navy 1 1 0.591 (71) 0.432 (66) 0.512
73 San Jose State 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.375 (90) 0.509
74 MTSU 1 1 0.544 (77) 0.464 (58) 0.504
75 Kansas State 2 0 0.611 (59) 0.391 (84) 0.501
76 Washington 2 0 0.712 (34) 0.279 (115) 0.495
77 Colorado State 1 1 0.62 (57) 0.369 (94) 0.495
78 Georgia Tech 2 0 0.609 (61) 0.379 (89) 0.494
79 Duke 2 0 0.609 (61) 0.368 (95) 0.488
80 Air Force 1 1 0.544 (77) 0.41 (74) 0.477
81 Connecticut 1 1 0.538 (85) 0.415 (71) 0.476
82 Tulsa 1 1 0.547 (76) 0.405 (76) 0.476
83 Ball State 1 1 0.544 (77) 0.405 (77) 0.474
84 Northwestern 0 2 0.283 (116) 0.663 (15) 0.473
85 Virginia 1 1 0.538 (85) 0.406 (75) 0.472
86 Akron 1 1 0.54 (83) 0.401 (80) 0.471
87 UCF 0 1 0.481 (95) 0.459 (60) 0.47
88 East Carolina 1 1 0.506 (88) 0.42 (70) 0.463
89 Utah State 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.27 (116) 0.457
90 Rice 0 1 0.481 (95) 0.425 (68) 0.453
91 Ohio 1 1 0.556 (74) 0.346 (100) 0.451
92 Appalachian State 1 1 0.506 (88) 0.381 (87) 0.443
93 UTEP 1 1 0.554 (75) 0.33 (105) 0.442
94 Southern Miss 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.236 (121) 0.44
95 Buffalo 1 1 0.506 (88) 0.355 (99) 0.431
96 Kansas 1 0 0.599 (65) 0.261 (118) 0.43
97 South Alabama 1 0 0.412 (106) 0.444 (62) 0.428
98 Oklahoma State 1 1 0.474 (98) 0.37 (93) 0.422
99 UNLV 1 1 0.643 (48) 0.196 (125) 0.419
100 Eastern Michigan 1 1 0.506 (88) 0.332 (104) 0.419

2014 College Football Preview: Experiments with DSR

Well, pointy football teams not named Rough Riders (or Roughriders, or Eskimos, or Blue Bombers) are starting soon. Indeed, the uncompensated labor force edition of the sport started last night, with Georgia State eeking out a win in a mostly barren Georgia Dome against Wheeler High School. My own beloved Georgia Tech opens up Saturday hosting Central Gwinnett High school.

Of course – this year comes the College Football Playoff where the final four will be determined by a select committee. While a Final Four is an improvement over the Bowl Championship Series – going to a committee is still relatively weak sauce. Given the general snail-like pace of college football games, I am not sure how people with real jobs (even if the real job is uttering platitudes for five figures per reading) and families have that sort of time. In any case, the data analysis exercise that was the BCS rankings is still interesting, and honestly that this system does not include some sort of computer ranking is a failing – even to identify the 8 teams which will be considered for the Final 4.

Needless to say, the data analysis exercise still interests me.  We’ve experimented with Pairwise Rankings (like the college hockey system) and applying the Analytic Hierarchical Process.  This year, we go to Football Outsiders for some inspiration, and the notion of Drive Success Rate (DSR).  What is interesting about DSR is that it is a bit of a spiritual cousin to offensive efficiency in the NBA (which I have covered before).  On a very basic level, what is the object of football?  Like soccer or field hockey, the goal is to get the ball from one end of the field to the other.  So we want to know how successful a team is at doing that.  However, football has a couple of wrinkles.  First, the teams take turns with the ball – and you have 4 downs to move the ball 10 yards.  So the goal of traversing 100 yards is more manageable.  What DSR does is measure how successfully you turn 1st and 10 into a first down or a touchdown.  That’s it.  This does not mean that field goals are not important – they are, but except in very specific circumstances, most of the time a field goal is a failure.

So how is DSR calculated?  It is easy enough to be calculated intutively:

  • Numerator: Every first down a team gets is a successful series of downs.  Every touchdown is also a success.  So success = first down + offensive TD
  • Denominator: Start with the number of drives – add first downs (since each first down begets another).  attempt = drives + first downs – kneeldowns.  We remove kneel downs since there the offense is not attempting to convert a first down.  Of course since I am doing a lot of games and a lot of drive charts, I am not guaranteeing perfection here, but that is the goal.

Since we have a game on record, we can show it as an example:

Abilene Christian: 26 first downs, 4 passing TDs, 0 rushing TDs = 30 … 26 first downs + 13 drives = 39 … drive success rate = 76.9%

Georgia State: 33 first downs, 4 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD = 38 first downs … 36 first downs + 13 drives = 49 … drive success rate = 77.6%

Needless to say, this was not a defensive struggle.  In one analysis of NFL results, it seemed that teams with above average DSRs for both offense and defense (the latter meaning low percentage) tended to win a LOT.  So this year’s experiment will use net DSR as a metric to determine team strength.

This inspires an obvious questions – aren’t special teams important?  Of course they are!  But good special teams results will make drives harder, and score points.  That comes out in the winning.  Turnovers will be baked into the winning too – and there is considerable debate as to whether recovering fumbles are an actual skill or not.

So we will use Net DSR (Offensive DSR – Defensive DSR) normalized by schedule (the opponents offensive and defense DSR against other teams) to identify team strength, and use it to normalize win/loss record.  By week 4 we’ll have some ideas on how it will look.

College Football Rankings Experiment 2013 – Final Standings

(As always, we lay out the process here)

Championship Week is always funny in college football.  Only a few games, but all high impact on the final standings – and this year was no different.  Indeed, this time we had Florida State completing its coronation with another quality win, Michigan State and Baylor showing frankly that they are a lot better than perception.  Indeed, the day of Connor Cook’s life shattered Ohio State’s dream.  Now, we KNOW Auburn will make the National Title game to join Florida State.  Much of that is driven by human voters who are just moving teams up and down from preseason rankings.  We have had the chance to not worry about perception, or preseason ranks here.  We wanted to see how a systematic decision science process would choose the teams.  Here are the final results:

  1. (1) Florida State
  2. (2) Baylor
  3. (7) Auburn
  4. (6) Alabama
  5. (3) Ohio State
  6. (8) Michigan State
  7. (9) Fresno State
  8. (13) Stanford
  9. (10) Oregon
  10. (5) Northern Illinois
  11. (12) South Carolina
  12. (4) Oklahoma State
  13. (17) Louisville
  14. (16) Central Florida
  15. (21) Oklahoma
  16. (14) Missouri
  17. (18) Ball State
  18. (19) Clemson
  19. (11) Arizona State
  20. (–) Bowling Green
  21. (22) LSU
  22. (24) Wisconsin
  23. (25) UCLA
  24. (–) East Carolina
  25. (–) BYU

Basically it’s Florida State and a bunch of teams with legitimate claims.  Baylor at 2 is as sensible as the others.  Both Baylor and Auburn got manhandled in conference road games (Baylor against a much better opponent), and Baylor did not have the beneficiary of two miracles to win games.  Alabama, Ohio State have cases if you want to move out of the champion range, although this year there is no need to – Michigan State even would be an honorable choice for #2 if you want it.  So to the BCS:

  1. Florida State v Baylor – Ohio State made this uncomplicated by becoming a 1-loss team.  Baylor’s metrics have been strong all season, they won their conference and their loss was not as bad as Auburn’s.  I have no guilt here.
  2. Auburn, Stanford, Central Florida and Michigan State as the other 4
  3. From my perspective, Fresno State deserves a BCS bid.  As a practical matter, this is not going to be the case.
  4. Notre Dame is a non-issue this year.  However, Alabama is an at-large in the Top 4, so they get automatically into the BCS in this framework.
  5. This leaves either 2 or 3 more at-large bids.  I’d give Fresno a bid – but reality will not.  Ohio State, Oregon and either Fresno State or Oklahoma State get the remaining at-large bids.  Just to mirror the decision set of the BCS lords, I’ll go without Fresno for deliberations.
  6. Orange, Fiesta get the first cracks at non-tied teams.  Alabama is a natural for the Orange Bowl here while Oklahoma State to the Fiesta Bowl keeps the Big 12 tie alive.
  7. Stanford-Michigan State in Pasadena.  Period.
  8. So who does Alabama face?  The straight numbers say Ohio State.  This is an economically viable and really good matchup so why not?
  9. Sugar Bowl: Auburn is on one side, and clearly Central Florida is not the preferred option.  So, it comes down to Oregon, which is a 2010 title game rematch.  Hooray.
  10. Fiesta takes Central Florida, thus:
  • BCS Title: Florida State v Baylor
  • Rose: Michigan State v Stanford
  • Orange: Alabama v Ohio State
  • Sugar: Auburn v Oregon
  • Fiesta: Oklahoma State v Central Florida

Using the rankings to model is interesting too.  Florida State, Baylor, Auburn are fairly obvious semifinalists.  But Alabama vs Michigan State is interesting too.  How much do you weight the conference championship in a case where the performance disparity is significant?  Alabama is #4 in the raw, Michigan State is #6.  It does not feel far enough apart for me to not give the conference titlist a little extra love.  So amazingly, Alabama is shut out of the playoffs.

  • Sugar Bowl (Semifinal 1): Florida State v Michigan State
  • Rose Bowl (Semifinal 2): Baylor v Auburn
  • Orange Bowl: Clemson v Ohio State (Clemson’s ACC pedigree helps here)
  • Cotton Bowl: Alabama v Oklahoma State (we get the Big 12-SEC match which is the future for this bowl)
  • Fiesta Bowl: Stanford v Fresno State (Fresno gets in as the best of the rest here)
  • Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Michigan State v South Carolina (can’t believe I am shutting out Oregon here, but there you go)

College Football Rankings Experiment 2013 – Standings #11

(As always, we lay out the process here) You saw the Auburn game.  Championship Week has already kicked off.  Northern Illinois clearly won’t be joining us in the BCS, and Fresno State’s case is in peril with its loss.  In any case, projections below take that into account – so enjoy.  Rankings are through last week

  1. (1) Florida State
  2. (2) Baylor
  3. (3) Ohio State
  4. (5) Oklahoma State
  5. (6) Northern Illinois
  6. (4) Alabama
  7. (8) Auburn
  8. (10) Michigan State
  9. (7) Fresno State
  10. (9) Oregon
  11. (13) Arizona State
  12. (14) South Carolina
  13. (11) Stanford
  14. (12) Missouri
  15. (19) Cincinnati
  16. (18) Central Florida
  17. (21) Louisville
  18. (22) Ball State
  19. (16) Clemson
  20. (25) Marshall
  21. (23) Oklahoma
  22. (24) LSU
  23. (–) Duke
  24. (15) Wisconsin
  25. (–) UCLA

Bowl projections – right now rankings keep Fresno State there, although as a matter of realism, I doubt this holds up

  1. Florida State v Ohio State – the National Title Game
  2. Arizona State, Auburn, UCF and Oklahoma State round out the BCS league champs.  All automatic.
  3. Any non-AQ champ in the Top 12 would go here.  Fresno State
  4. Notre Dame not in Final 8 – no worries about them
  5. No other automatic at-larges
  6. This leaves 7 of the 10 spots filled – so 3 at-larges left.  This week they go to Baylor, Alabama and Michigan State.  Fresno State is tempting, but from a BCS perspective (especially considering last year’s bowl result) the other two schools win out.

So projecting bowls with this lot?

  • BCS Title Game: Florida State v Ohio State
  • Rose Bowl:  Arizona State v Michigan State
  • Orange Bowl: Alabama v Baylor
  • Sugar Bowl: Auburn v UCF
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State v Fresno State

But next year, there won’t be a BCS to kick around, so what would we do then?  Using next year’s alignment – I use a combination of ranking, geographic preference and what would be good on TV:

  • Sugar Bowl (National Semifinal 1): Florida State v Oklahoma State
  • Rose Bowl (National Semifinal 2): Ohio State v Baylor
  • Orange Bowl:  Alabama v Clemson
  • Cotton Bowl: Auburn v Michigan State
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oregon v Fresno State
  • Chik-Fil-A Bowl:  South Carolina v Stanford

So near the end, stick with the elements.

College Football Rankings Experiment 2013 – Standings #10

(As always, we lay out the process here) First of all, Happy Thanksgiving.  Obviously, the holiday (and me being in transit) has impacted the weekly missive.  But clearly Baylor’s loss to Okie State changes things – but how much?  Their resume was very strong coming in – and the results are a little surprising, even to me.  I hesitate to use intervention to the numbers as much as possible when projecting but I think it can be fair.  But first the numbers, and Okie State vaults into solid Top 5 territory.  The win was better for them than the loss was bad for Baylor.

  1. (2) Florida State
  2. (1) Baylor
  3. (3) Ohio State
  4. (4) Alabama
  5. (8) Oklahoma State
  6. (6) Northern Illinois
  7. (7) Fresno State
  8. (9) Auburn
  9. (5) Oregon
  10. (11) Michigan State
  11. (10) Stanford
  12. (13) Missouri
  13. (15) Arizona State
  14. (12) South Carolina
  15. (17) Wisconsin
  16. (14) Clemson
  17. (16) LA-Lafayette
  18. (18) Central Florida
  19. (21) Cincinnati
  20. (23) East Carolina
  21. (20) Louisville
  22. (22) Ball State
  23. (–) Oklahoma
  24. (–) LSU
  25. (–) Marshall

The Iron Bowl with #4 Alabama v #8 Auburn top the charts for this week’s matches.  That said, the matchup to me feels more on paper than in reality.  There is a class dropoff after number 6 to me anyway.  But I digress.  More importantly, Baylor is no longer in the drivers seat for the Big 12.  How much should that impact their fate, given the numbers are still super strong?  Personally, the question comes down to whether any of its peers are relatively close.  I say Ohio State qualifies. :

  1. Florida State v Ohio State – the National Title Game
  2. Stanford, Alabama, UCF and Oklahoma State round out the BCS league champs.  All automatic.
  3. Any non-AQ champ in the Top 12 would go here.  Northern Illinois still leads.
  4. Notre Dame not in Final 8 – no worries about them
  5. No other automatic at-larges
  6. This leaves 7 of the 10 spots filled – so 3 at-larges left.  This week they go to Baylor, Auburn and Oregon.  Fresno State is tempting, but from a BCS perspective (especially considering last year’s bowl result) the other two schools win out.

So projecting bowls with this lot?

  • BCS Title Game: Florida State v Ohio State
  • Rose Bowl:  Stanford v Auburn
  • Orange Bowl: Oregon v Baylor
  • Sugar Bowl: Alabama v UCF
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State v Northern Illinois

But next year, there won’t be a BCS to kick around, so what would we do then?  Using next year’s alignment – I use a combination of ranking, geographic preference and what would be good on TV:

  • Sugar Bowl (National Semifinal 1): Florida State v Oklahoma State
  • Rose Bowl (National Semifinal 2): Ohio State v Alabama
  • Orange Bowl:  Clemson v Michigan State
  • Cotton Bowl: Baylor v Oregon
  • Fiesta Bowl: Stanford v Missouri
  • Chik-Fil-A Bowl:  Auburn v Northern Illinois

One final bit of component rankings – for those interested in some of the details of the experiment.  Offense/Defense is based on yards/pts/turnovers and related to the opponent.  So a team which gets 300 yards against a great defense (or great against others) gets more credit than one that gets 300 yards against an opponent who usually engages in track meets. Top 20 offenses

  1. Baylor
  2. Florida State
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Ohio State
  5. Oregon
  6. Arizona State
  7. Clemson
  8. Georgia
  9. Indiana
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. East Carolina
  12. Northern Illinois
  13. Missouri
  14. Fresno State
  15. Washington
  16. Alabama
  17. Marshall
  18. Auburn
  19. LSU
  20. UCF

Top 20 defenses

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Stanford
  6. Michigan State
  7. Utah State
  8. Louisville
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Florida
  11. USC
  12. Missouri
  13. Iowa
  14. Houston
  15. North Texas
  16. BYU
  17. Ohio State
  18. Memphis
  19. Washington
  20. Oregon

Top 20 Toughest Schedules

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. Indiana
  3. Purdue
  4. Tennessee
  5. Utah
  6. Arizona State
  7. Virginia
  8. Mississippi State
  9. Georgia
  10. Ole Miss
  11. Pittsburgh
  12. North Carolina
  13. Idaho
  14. Stanford
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Texas A&M
  17. Memphis
  18. California
  19. BYU
  20. Auburn

Conferences Ratings

  1. SEC (9.36)
  2. Pac-12 (9.25)
  3. ACC (8.91)
  4. Big 12 (8.71)
  5. Big Ten (8.63)
  6. Sun Belt (7.29)
  7. American (7.19)
  8. Independent (6.92)
  9. Conference USA (6.72)
  10. MAC (6.69)
  11. Mountain West (6.63)

College Football Rankings Experiment 2013 – Standings #9

(As always, we lay out the process here)

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing – yeah Macbeth said it, but it might as well have described the weekend.  With the Georgia-Auburn classic (Georgia clearly the TV entertainment champeens of 2013), the Stanford-USC classic, and Andre Williams making ACC history – there was a lot to absorb.  But, the Top 5 did not change, and if anything the picture has gotten clearer.  In fact, the Big Ten title game is basically set at this point, and fortunately for TV fans Ohio State will face an actual opponent.  And finally, Baylor in their 2nd varsity-level win in a row solidifies their #1 position.  Their game at #8 Oklahoma State this weekend will say a lot.  And now, the breakdown:

  1. (1) Baylor
  2. (2) Florida State
  3. (3) Ohio State
  4. (4) Alabama
  5. (5) Oregon
  6. (8) Northern Illinois
  7. (7) Fresno State
  8. (9) Oklahoma State
  9. (10) Auburn
  10. (6) Stanford
  11. (12) Michigan State
  12. (13) South Carolina
  13. (11) Missouri
  14. (16) Clemson
  15. (15) Arizona State
  16. (17) LA-Lafayette
  17. (20) Wisconsin
  18. (18) Central Florida
  19. (19) UCLA
  20. (21) Louisville
  21. (–) Cincinnati
  22. (14) Ball State
  23. (–) East Carolina
  24. (23) Texas A&M
  25. (24) BYU

I will pause at this point before going to the projections – to note that Alabama at #4 seems rather low.  Obviously they are #1, and the world (including yours truly).  12th on offense, tops in defense, etc.  However, how much of the ranking is colored by our own presuppositions?  Is it really fair to credit Alabama’s reputation (which has not been sullied clearly) without really seriously examining the resume?  After all, they missed virtually all of the decent SEC East teams – and their best win to date has been, what – #24 Texas A&M.  Honestly, they beat Auburn and Missouri (presumably), those are probably their best wins – and it still might not be enough to pass Baylor who’d beat basically all of the good Big 12 teams down the stretch if they go unbeaten.  That said, Alabama has beaten a lot of “decent”, enough to be 3rd overall in total win quality, behind Oklahoma State and Florida State.  But at the same time, if you look at the entire body of work, Alabama’s #1-ness is not at all obvious.  Baylor has smashed every team they’ve played – for what that’s worth – and now the quality is picking up.  Saturday will tell quite a bit.  As for the projections:

  1. Baylor v Florida State – the National Title Game
  2. Oregon, Alabama, UCF and Ohio State round out the BCS league champs.  All automatic.
  3. Any non-AQ champ in the Top 12 would go here.  Northern Illinois inches past Fresno this week.
  4. Notre Dame not in Final 8 – no worries about them
  5. No other automatic at-larges
  6. This leaves 7 of the 10 spots filled – so 3 at-larges left.  This week they go to Stanford, Oklahoma State, Auburn.  Fresno State is tempting, but from a BCS perspective (especially considering last year’s bowl result) the other two schools win out.

So projecting bowls with this lot?

  • BCS Title Game: Baylor v Florida State
  • Rose Bowl:  Oregon v Ohio State
  • Orange Bowl: Auburn v Stanford
  • Sugar Bowl: Alabama v Central Florida
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State v Fresno State

But next year, there won’t be a BCS to kick around, so what would we do then?  Using next year’s alignment – I use a combination of ranking, geographic preference and what would be good on TV:

  • Sugar Bowl (National Semifinal 1): Baylor v Alabama
  • Rose Bowl (National Semifinal 2): Florida State v Ohio State
  • Orange Bowl:  Clemson v Michigan State
  • Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State v Stanford
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oregon v Missouri
  • Chik-Fil-A Bowl:  South Carolina v Northern Illinois

One final bit of component rankings – for those interested in some of the details of the experiment.  Offense/Defense is based on yards/pts/turnovers and related to the opponent.  So a team which gets 300 yards against a great defense (or great against others) gets more credit than one that gets 300 yards against an opponent who usually engages in track meets. Top 20 offenses

  1. Baylor
  2. Florida State
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Oregon
  5. Ohio State
  6. Arizona State
  7. Indiana
  8. Clemson
  9. Missouri
  10. Northern Illinois
  11. East Carolina
  12. Alabama
  13. Houston
  14. Central Florida
  15. LSU
  16. Wisconsin
  17. Marshall
  18. Miami-FL
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. Auburn

Top 20 defenses

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Stanford
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Michigan State
  7. Louisville
  8. Florida
  9. USC
  10. BYU
  11. Iowa
  12. North Texas
  13. Missouri
  14. Oregon
  15. Houston
  16. Utah State
  17. Baylor
  18. Washington
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Memphis

Top 20 Toughest Schedules

  1. Purdue
  2. Utah
  3. Stanford
  4. Mississippi State
  5. Tennessee
  6. Virginia Tech
  7. Georgia
  8. Indiana
  9. Virginia
  10. Pittsburgh
  11. Arizona State
  12. Ole Miss
  13. Arkansas
  14. Florida
  15. North Carolina
  16. Georgia Tech
  17. Idaho
  18. Washington State
  19. Kansas
  20. Notre Dame

Conferences Ratings

  1. Pac 12 (9.39)
  2. SEC (9.34)
  3. ACC (8.79)
  4. Big 12 (8.79)
  5. Big Ten (8.78)
  6. Sun Belt (7.33)
  7. American (7.14)
  8. Independent (6.91)
  9. MAC (6.67)
  10. Mountain West (6.64)
  11. Conference USA (6.56)