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)

College Football Rankings Experiment 2013 – Standings #8

(As always, we lay out the process here)

Happy Thursday indeed – well not yesterday for Georgia Tech, but never mind.  But with Stanford beating Oregon in a true good vs evil sort of standoff, that with Alabama’s beat down of LSU starts to make things a bit clearer.  That said, until Baylor starts losing – and they began their hell stretch with a great performance over Oklahoma – there is probably not room for a 1-loss team at the top for the near future.  Where do we stand (this week’s games not included):

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

Stanford’s dominant win over Oregon grabbed the headlines, as well it should.  Even if our standings put Oregon as the highest rated Pac-12 team by a smidge (after all Stanford still a better loss than Utah), Stanford is in the Pac-12 drivers seat now, and if they win out – you probably do not have to worry about them not being recognized.  What has happened in that program has been miraculous.  How is the bowl lineup affected?

  1. Baylor v Florida State – the National Title Game
  2. Stanford, 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.  Fresno rings the bell.
  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 Oregon, Oklahoma State, Auburn.  Northern Illinois 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:  Stanford v Ohio State
  • Orange Bowl: Auburn v Oregon
  • 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: Auburn v Michigan State
  • Cotton Bowl: Oregon v Missouri
  • Fiesta Bowl: Stanford v Fresno State
  • Chik-Fil-A Bowl:  Oklahoma State v South Carolina

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

Top 20 defenses

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

Top 20 Toughest Schedules

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

Conferences Ratings

  1. Pac 12 (9.53)
  2. SEC (9.42)
  3. Big 12 (8.97)
  4. Big Ten (8.90)
  5. ACC (8.79)
  6. Sun Belt (7.49)
  7. American (7.05)
  8. Independent (6.77)
  9. MAC (6.63)
  10. Mountain West (6.45)
  11. Conference USA (6.39)

College Football Rankings Experiment 2013 – Standings #7

(As always, we lay out the process here) Well, we don’t have to worry about Miami now, do we?  So we are down to 7, with a couple of fascinating Thursday night games involving two of them – #1 Baylor faces down #17 Oklahoma,  who has already played dream shatterer to Texas Tech, while Oregon tries to avenge its loss to #8 Stanford from a year ago.  Similarly Alabama has their “should not be a big deal on paper” game against #21 LSU.  But we also know LSU has the chops to pull off the upset.  I’d also note #12 Michigan State’s trip to Lincoln as another big game for the shape of the non-Buckeye Big Ten.  The rankings???

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

Stanford continues their move up with a solid win on the road against a good Oregon State side – they remain first in line for now among the 1-lossers.  How does this impact the BCS projections?  With the top 3 staying the same, not that much.

  1. Baylor v Florida State – the National Title Game
  2. Oregon, Alabama, Houston and Ohio State round out the BCS league champs.  All automatic.
  3. Any non-AQ champ in the Top 12 would go here.  Fresno rings the bell.
  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

So projecting bowls with this lot?

  • BCS Title Game: Baylor v Florida State
  • Rose Bowl:  Oregon v Ohio State
  • Orange Bowl:  Auburn v Oklahoma State
  • Sugar Bowl: Alabama v Houston
  • Fiesta Bowl: Stanford 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 Ohio State
  • Rose Bowl (National Semifinal 2): Florida State v Oregon
  • Orange Bowl: Miami-FL v Michigan State
  • Cotton Bowl: Alabama v Oklahoma State
  • Fiesta Bowl: Stanford v Fresno State
  • Chik-Fil-A Bowl:  South Carolina v  Auburn

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. Oregon
  4. Arizona State
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Ohio State
  7. Indiana
  8. Alabama
  9. Clemson
  10. Missouri
  11. Houston
  12. LSU
  13. UCF
  14. Louisville
  15. Miami-FL
  16. Wisconsin
  17. Oklahoma State
  18. Georgia
  19. Northern Illinois
  20. Marshall

Top 20 defenses

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

Top 20 Toughest Schedules

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

Conferences Ratings

  1. Pac 12 (9.82)
  2. SEC (9.49)
  3. Big 12 (8.95)
  4. Big Ten (8.90)
  5. ACC (8,79)
  6. Sun Belt (7.38)
  7. American (6.98)
  8. Independent (6.86)
  9. MAC (6.53)
  10. Mountain West (6.44)
  11. Conference USA (6.25)