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)
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