2014 College Football – Week 9 – So This is What the Committee Came Up With

One of the reasons for this exercise has been to discuss the parameters of how to select a Final Four from 128 teams with such small samples.  This year’s innovation as everybody knows is to go with the 12 person selection committee.  How would they choose?  What sort of process and criteria would be used?  Well – the first committee rankings are in, and the early results are not encouraging.  The committee members have a hard job, but they have also proceeded to do it badly.  How so?

Well, just looking at the rankings out of the chute, the Top 10 looks eerily similar to, say, the AP poll.  Now this means one of two things.  1) That the AP poll is smart or 2) THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS READ THE POLLS.  That the committee members seem to be using the polls as a signpost of any kind if very dangerous – as now all of the problems of the polls come into play.  Have the voters watched all 128 teams?  Have the voters truly treated the teams as all starting 0-0 i.e. how much of Florida State’s #2 ranking is driven by them being perceived as #1 in August?  If the answer is “significant”, then somebody is doing it wrong.  Furthermore, if the ranking is just going to be week to week deviations based on wins or losses, then it is also lazy (like the AP poll).  All 128 teams performance each week should inform us on the overall rankings MORE each week.  (in other words, you expect ranking shifts to shrink as the season moves on)  But right now, this does not look like an improvement on the BCS aside from having a 4 team playoff.

I do not claim my ranking is be-all and end-all, and note I do use subjective criteria to rank the Final Four in combination with the numbers.  However, the rankings are not subject to the constipated groupthink of the human rankings, which in this first glance seem AWFULLY coloured by national perception (which the AP poll helps shape).

With LSU’s slugfest over Ole Miss and the hellaciously entertaining South Carolina-Auburn game in the can, some more movements in the rankings.  As far as the one-man playoff selection committee?

  • The final 4: Mississippi State, Alabama,  Michigan State and Florida State.  With Ole Miss going down, this sets us free to pick Alabama as the wild card.  Auburn and Ole Miss are defensible choices too – although their game with Ole Miss will help settle things there.  Even though Mississippi State is #3 in this framework, they do lead the SEC, and so that takes precedent.  So then the task is to pick the other two teams.  You can go by straight rank, but I prefer to use the TotalRank (the raw scores) and then make some judgement.  Michigan State is sort of in a tier of itself clearly, so they get the #3.  For the #4 seed, note that teams #6 through #14 are all rated somewhere between .750 and .800, all fair candidates.  As such, I will go with Florida State as an unbeaten conference leader who have the wins, even though they have not played that well.  TCU, Baylor and Notre Dame are all entirely defensible too.
  • Other automatic qualifiers:  TCU from the Big 12, Oregon from the Pac 12, Marshall from “everybody else”.  With Florida State in the national semifinals, the Orange Bowl by fiat takes Clemson, the next highest ranked ACC team.  The opponent is the highest rated SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame opponent so hooray for Auburna.
  • This leaves just three more spots.  Here Ole Miss get in with monstrous strength ratings.  Baylor and Georgia get the other two slots.  LSU is defensible here too, although it makes good bowl matchups harder.  This leaves us with a Fiesta Bowl which might take 5 hours to play.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.
    • Sugar Bowl: Mississippi State v Florida State
    • Rose Bowl: Alabama v Michigan State
    • Orange Bowl: Clemson v Auburn
    • Cotton Bowl: Baylor v Ole Miss  
    • Peach Bowl: Georgia v Marshall
    • Fiesta Bowl: TCU v Oregon

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Alabama 7 1 0.9 (5) 1 (1) 0.95
2 Auburn 6 1 0.941 (2) 0.884 (3) 0.913
3 Mississippi State 7 0 1 (1) 0.822 (7) 0.911
4 Ole Miss 7 1 0.919 (4) 0.886 (2) 0.903
5 Michigan State 7 1 0.796 (9) 0.844 (4) 0.82
6 Georgia 6 1 0.815 (7) 0.768 (12) 0.792
7 LSU 7 2 0.755 (16) 0.825 (6) 0.79
8 TCU 6 1 0.775 (11) 0.802 (8) 0.788
9 Baylor 6 1 0.738 (21) 0.837 (5) 0.788
10 Notre Dame 6 1 0.853 (6) 0.701 (17) 0.777
11 Clemson 6 2 0.761 (14) 0.774 (11) 0.767
12 Nebraska 7 1 0.812 (8) 0.716 (16) 0.764
13 Florida State 7 0 0.92 (3) 0.601 (31) 0.76
14 Ohio State 6 1 0.738 (20) 0.778 (10) 0.758
15 West Virginia 6 2 0.691 (27) 0.764 (13) 0.728
16 Louisville 6 2 0.69 (28) 0.757 (14) 0.724
17 Marshall 8 0 0.772 (12) 0.662 (22) 0.717
18 Oregon 7 1 0.791 (10) 0.62 (28) 0.706
19 Boise State 6 2 0.726 (22) 0.681 (19) 0.704
20 Oklahoma 5 2 0.703 (25) 0.677 (21) 0.69
21 Kansas State 6 1 0.743 (18) 0.632 (26) 0.688
22 Wisconsin 5 2 0.604 (35) 0.75 (15) 0.677
23 Arizona State 6 1 0.753 (17) 0.582 (34) 0.667
24 Miami-FL 5 3 0.643 (33) 0.683 (18) 0.663
25 UCLA 6 2 0.721 (23) 0.574 (36) 0.648
26 Arizona 6 1 0.757 (15) 0.537 (43) 0.647
27 Colorado State 7 1 0.766 (13) 0.513 (50) 0.639
28 Arkansas 4 4 0.475 (64) 0.799 (9) 0.637
29 Texas A&M 5 3 0.677 (30) 0.594 (33) 0.636
30 USC 5 3 0.644 (32) 0.627 (27) 0.635
31 Georgia Tech 6 2 0.673 (31) 0.58 (35) 0.626
32 Duke 6 1 0.707 (24) 0.531 (45) 0.619
33 Stanford 5 3 0.553 (45) 0.679 (20) 0.616
34 East Carolina 6 1 0.686 (29) 0.503 (52) 0.594
35 Florida 3 3 0.507 (52) 0.66 (24) 0.584
36 Iowa 5 2 0.565 (42) 0.596 (32) 0.58
37 Utah 6 1 0.742 (19) 0.403 (78) 0.572
38 Georgia Southern 6 2 0.578 (38) 0.558 (40) 0.568
39 Penn State 4 3 0.487 (60) 0.646 (25) 0.566
40 Memphis 4 3 0.553 (44) 0.568 (37) 0.561
41 Minnesota 6 2 0.695 (26) 0.418 (74) 0.556
42 Boston College 5 3 0.506 (53) 0.605 (30) 0.556
43 UCF 5 2 0.578 (37) 0.519 (49) 0.548
44 Virginia Tech 4 4 0.476 (62) 0.611 (29) 0.543
45 Pittsburgh 4 4 0.395 (78) 0.662 (23) 0.528
46 Missouri 6 2 0.637 (34) 0.387 (87) 0.512
47 Air Force 5 2 0.597 (36) 0.421 (73) 0.509
48 South Carolina 4 4 0.492 (58) 0.523 (47) 0.507
49 Kentucky 5 3 0.544 (46) 0.466 (60) 0.505
50 Rutgers 5 3 0.57 (41) 0.437 (67) 0.503
51 North Carolina 4 4 0.503 (55) 0.502 (53) 0.502
52 Arkansas State 4 3 0.495 (56) 0.507 (51) 0.501
53 Louisiana Tech 5 3 0.574 (39) 0.428 (68) 0.501
54 Maryland 5 3 0.574 (40) 0.423 (71) 0.498
55 BYU 4 4 0.459 (66) 0.527 (46) 0.493
56 MTSU 5 3 0.561 (43) 0.415 (76) 0.488
57 LA-Lafayette 4 3 0.492 (59) 0.476 (58) 0.484
58 Nevada 4 3 0.523 (49) 0.444 (64) 0.484
59 NC State 4 4 0.444 (70) 0.52 (48) 0.482
60 Houston 4 3 0.378 (84) 0.567 (38) 0.472
61 Northwestern 3 4 0.376 (85) 0.567 (39) 0.471
62 Tennessee 3 5 0.387 (81) 0.554 (41) 0.47
63 South Alabama 5 2 0.482 (61) 0.456 (61) 0.469
64 Oregon State 4 3 0.493 (57) 0.438 (66) 0.466
65 Cincinnati 4 3 0.475 (63) 0.449 (62) 0.462
66 Oklahoma State 5 3 0.528 (48) 0.394 (82) 0.461
67 Virginia 4 4 0.375 (86) 0.546 (42) 0.461
68 Western Michigan 5 3 0.504 (54) 0.416 (75) 0.46
69 Utah State 5 3 0.536 (47) 0.383 (89) 0.459
70 Northern Illinois 6 2 0.522 (50) 0.393 (84) 0.458
71 California 4 4 0.467 (65) 0.446 (63) 0.456
72 Washington 5 3 0.508 (51) 0.403 (77) 0.456
73 UAB 4 4 0.391 (80) 0.495 (54) 0.443
74 Navy 4 4 0.394 (79) 0.492 (56) 0.443
75 Rice 4 3 0.445 (69) 0.427 (69) 0.436
76 Michigan 3 5 0.331 (94) 0.535 (44) 0.433
77 UTEP 4 3 0.456 (67) 0.402 (79) 0.429
78 San Jose State 3 4 0.411 (74) 0.44 (65) 0.426
79 Central Michigan 5 4 0.404 (76) 0.424 (70) 0.414
80 Toledo 5 3 0.443 (71) 0.375 (90) 0.409
81 Texas 3 5 0.343 (92) 0.47 (59) 0.406
82 Illinois 4 4 0.42 (73) 0.383 (88) 0.402
83 Syracuse 3 5 0.403 (77) 0.392 (85) 0.398
84 Washington State 2 6 0.29 (99) 0.495 (55) 0.393
85 Akron 4 4 0.355 (89) 0.422 (72) 0.388
86 San Diego State 4 3 0.431 (72) 0.342 (96) 0.386
87 Texas Tech 3 5 0.373 (87) 0.4 (81) 0.386
88 Western Kentucky 3 4 0.379 (82) 0.393 (83) 0.386
89 Colorado 2 6 0.259 (102) 0.49 (57) 0.374
90 Bowling Green 5 3 0.455 (68) 0.285 (105) 0.37
91 Temple 4 3 0.408 (75) 0.327 (97) 0.367
92 Texas State 4 3 0.378 (83) 0.35 (94) 0.364
93 Fresno State 3 5 0.373 (88) 0.35 (92) 0.362
94 Indiana 3 4 0.349 (91) 0.35 (93) 0.349
95 Purdue 3 5 0.337 (93) 0.343 (95) 0.34
96 Iowa State 2 5 0.277 (100) 0.388 (86) 0.333
97 Florida Atlantic 3 5 0.352 (90) 0.279 (107) 0.316
98 Old Dominion 3 5 0.296 (98) 0.304 (103) 0.3
99 LA-Monroe 3 4 0.27 (101) 0.318 (99) 0.294
100 FIU 3 5 0.222 (104) 0.361 (91) 0.291
101 Ohio 4 5 0.331 (95) 0.246 (111) 0.288
102 Southern Miss 3 5 0.328 (96) 0.223 (116) 0.276
103 Wyoming 3 5 0.314 (97) 0.22 (117) 0.267
104 Ball State 3 5 0.208 (106) 0.306 (102) 0.257
105 Tulane 2 5 0.181 (110) 0.31 (101) 0.245
106 Appalachian State 2 5 0.152 (113) 0.325 (98) 0.239
107 New Mexico 2 5 0.207 (107) 0.262 (110) 0.234
108 South Florida 3 5 0.248 (103) 0.19 (119) 0.219
109 Buffalo 3 5 0.116 (116) 0.316 (100) 0.216
110 Kansas 2 5 0.206 (108) 0.224 (115) 0.215
111 Idaho 1 6 0.018 (127) 0.4 (80) 0.209
112 Hawaii 2 5 0.133 (114) 0.28 (106) 0.207
113 UTSA 2 6 0.213 (105) 0.183 (120) 0.198
114 Massachusetts 2 7 0.106 (119) 0.275 (108) 0.191
115 Miami-OH 2 7 0.071 (122) 0.292 (104) 0.182
116 New Mexico State 2 6 0.121 (115) 0.235 (113) 0.178
117 Tulsa 1 6 0.063 (123) 0.274 (109) 0.169
118 UNLV 2 6 0.158 (112) 0.162 (122) 0.16
119 Wake Forest 2 6 0.164 (111) 0.15 (124) 0.157
120 Vanderbilt 2 6 0.197 (109) 0.083 (126) 0.14
121 Georgia State 1 7 0.023 (126) 0.238 (112) 0.13
122 North Texas 2 6 0.097 (120) 0.154 (123) 0.126
123 Army 2 5 0.087 (121) 0.164 (121) 0.125
124 Connecticut 1 6 0.034 (125) 0.204 (118) 0.119
125 Kent State 1 7 0.004 (128) 0.231 (114) 0.117
126 Eastern Michigan 2 6 0.113 (117) 0.05 (127) 0.081
127 Troy 1 7 0 (129) 0.12 (125) 0.06
128 Non FBS 8 92 0.111 (118) 0.002 (128) 0.056
129 SMU 0 7 0.043 (124) 0 (129) 0.021
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