2017 College Football Rankings #5

Well, Championship Week is here.  With Auburn’s stunning rout of Alabama – things have come into much clearer focus.  Here are the rankings – and some thoughts.

W L Pts Scale SOS Rank
1 Wisconsin 12 0 0.5681 1.000 0.5681 40
2 Clemson 11 1 0.5146 0.954 0.5980 25
3 Oklahoma 11 1 0.5110 0.951 0.5944 26
4 Miami-FL 10 1 0.4720 0.917 0.5630 42
5 Georgia 11 1 0.4709 0.916 0.5542 46
6 Ohio State 10 2 0.4559 0.903 0.6226 12
7 Penn State 10 2 0.4430 0.892 0.6097 17
8 Alabama 11 1 0.4387 0.888 0.5220 59
9 Michigan State 9 3 0.4130 0.866 0.6630 5
10 UCF 11 0 0.4105 0.864 0.4105 91
11 Notre Dame 9 3 0.4060 0.860 0.6560 6
12 TCU 10 2 0.4026 0.857 0.5693 39
13 USC 10 2 0.4008 0.856 0.5675 41
14 Auburn 10 2 0.3855 0.843 0.5521 48
15 Northwestern 9 3 0.3568 0.818 0.6068 18
16 Oklahoma State 9 3 0.3490 0.811 0.5990 23
17 Washington 10 2 0.3257 0.791 0.4923 66
18 Michigan 8 4 0.3177 0.784 0.6510 8
19 Memphis 10 1 0.3173 0.784 0.4082 93
20 Stanford 9 3 0.3092 0.777 0.5592 44
21 Virginia Tech 9 3 0.2872 0.758 0.5372 52
22 NC State 8 4 0.2847 0.756 0.6180 14
23 Washington State 9 3 0.2843 0.755 0.5343 54
24 LSU 9 3 0.2670 0.740 0.5170 61
25 Iowa 7 5 0.2607 0.735 0.6774 4
26 Louisville 8 4 0.2400 0.717 0.5733 36
27 Boston College 7 5 0.2370 0.714 0.6537 7
28 Toledo 10 2 0.2302 0.709 0.3968 97
29 San Diego State 10 2 0.2222 0.702 0.3889 101
30 Boise State 9 3 0.2208 0.700 0.4708 75
31 Wake Forest 7 5 0.2050 0.687 0.6217 13
32 Mississippi State 8 4 0.2025 0.685 0.5358 53
33 Iowa State 7 5 0.1978 0.681 0.6145 15
34 South Carolina 8 4 0.1915 0.675 0.5249 57
35 Fresno State 9 3 0.1665 0.654 0.4165 88
36 West Virginia 7 5 0.1571 0.646 0.5738 35
37 South Florida 9 2 0.1549 0.644 0.3367 114
38 Purdue 6 6 0.1457 0.636 0.6457 9
39 Arizona State 7 5 0.1437 0.634 0.5604 43
40 Florida State 5 6 0.1368 0.628 0.6823 3
41 Kansas State 7 5 0.1348 0.626 0.5515 50
42 Army 8 3 0.1241 0.617 0.3968 98
43 Texas A&M 7 5 0.1169 0.611 0.5336 55
44 North Texas 9 3 0.1155 0.610 0.3655 107
45 Florida Atlantic 9 3 0.1142 0.608 0.3642 108
46 Houston 7 4 0.1122 0.607 0.4758 71
47 Oregon 7 5 0.1111 0.606 0.5277 56
48 Troy 9 2 0.1097 0.605 0.2915 125
49 Texas Tech 6 6 0.1049 0.600 0.6049 21
50 Texas 6 6 0.1041 0.600 0.6041 22
51 Navy 6 5 0.1040 0.600 0.5586 45
52 Kentucky 7 5 0.0971 0.594 0.5137 62
53 UCLA 6 6 0.0876 0.586 0.5876 32
54 Northern Illinois 8 4 0.0846 0.583 0.4179 87
55 Duke 6 6 0.0812 0.580 0.5812 33
56 Virginia 6 6 0.0778 0.577 0.5778 34
57 Missouri 7 5 0.0747 0.574 0.4914 67
58 Central Michigan 8 4 0.0713 0.572 0.4047 94
59 SMU 7 5 0.0620 0.564 0.4787 70
60 Georgia Tech 5 6 0.0602 0.562 0.6057 20
61 Maryland 4 8 0.0597 0.562 0.7264 1
62 Arizona 7 5 0.0556 0.558 0.4723 73
63 Ohio 8 4 0.0518 0.555 0.3851 103
64 Indiana 5 7 0.0434 0.547 0.6267 11
65 Akron 7 5 0.0337 0.539 0.4503 83
66 Nebraska 4 8 0.0322 0.538 0.6989 2
67 Utah 6 6 0.0247 0.531 0.5247 58
68 Ole Miss 6 6 0.0112 0.520 0.5112 63
69 Minnesota 5 7 0.0080 0.517 0.5913 29
70 Pittsburgh 5 7 0.0053 0.515 0.5887 31
71 Wyoming 7 5 -0.0143 0.498 0.4024 95
72 Arkansas State 7 3 -0.0184 0.494 0.2816 127
73 FIU 7 4 -0.0293 0.485 0.3344 115
74 California 5 7 -0.0296 0.484 0.5537 47
75 Appalachian State 7 4 -0.0323 0.482 0.3313 116
76 Colorado State 7 5 -0.0352 0.480 0.3815 104
77 Rutgers 4 8 -0.0354 0.479 0.6313 10
78 Temple 6 6 -0.0483 0.468 0.4517 82
79 Southern Miss 8 4 -0.0529 0.464 0.2805 128
80 Vanderbilt 5 7 -0.0636 0.455 0.5197 60
81 Florida 4 7 -0.0650 0.454 0.5714 38
82 UAB 8 4 -0.0663 0.453 0.2671 131
83 Syracuse 4 8 -0.0685 0.451 0.5982 24
84 Colorado 5 7 -0.0736 0.447 0.5098 64
85 Western Michigan 6 6 -0.0793 0.442 0.4207 86
86 Utah State 6 6 -0.0881 0.434 0.4119 90
87 Marshall 7 5 -0.0904 0.432 0.3263 120
88 Arkansas 4 8 -0.0938 0.429 0.5728 37
89 Air Force 5 7 -0.1122 0.413 0.4711 74
90 Buffalo 6 6 -0.1127 0.413 0.3873 102
91 Tulane 5 7 -0.1196 0.407 0.4637 79
92 Georgia State 6 4 -0.1267 0.401 0.2733 129
93 Tennessee 4 8 -0.1271 0.400 0.5396 51
94 Eastern Michigan 5 7 -0.1530 0.378 0.4303 85
95 North Carolina 3 9 -0.1586 0.373 0.5914 28
96 MTSU 6 6 -0.1590 0.373 0.3410 113
97 Louisiana Tech 6 6 -0.1732 0.361 0.3268 118
98 UTSA 6 5 -0.1843 0.351 0.2703 130
99 Cincinnati 4 8 -0.1914 0.345 0.4752 72
100 UNLV 5 7 -0.2103 0.329 0.3731 105
101 Miami-OH 5 7 -0.2131 0.326 0.3702 106
102 Western Kentucky 6 6 -0.2174 0.322 0.2826 126
103 New Mexico State 5 6 -0.2189 0.321 0.3265 119
104 Illinois 2 10 -0.2216 0.319 0.6118 16
105 BYU 4 9 -0.2244 0.317 0.4679 77
106 Old Dominion 5 7 -0.2251 0.316 0.3583 110
107 LA-Lafayette 5 6 -0.2381 0.305 0.3074 122
108 Connecticut 3 9 -0.2629 0.283 0.4871 69
109 South Alabama 4 7 -0.2753 0.273 0.3611 109
110 East Carolina 3 9 -0.2821 0.267 0.4679 76
111 LA-Monroe 4 7 -0.2824 0.266 0.3540 112
112 Nevada 3 9 -0.2954 0.255 0.4546 81
113 Massachusetts 4 7 -0.3075 0.245 0.3289 117
114 Kansas 1 11 -0.3110 0.242 0.6057 19
115 New Mexico 3 9 -0.3146 0.239 0.4354 84
116 Oregon State 1 11 -0.3226 0.232 0.5940 27
117 Baylor 1 11 -0.3261 0.229 0.5906 30
118 Tulsa 2 10 -0.3376 0.219 0.4957 65
119 Kent State 2 10 -0.3454 0.212 0.4880 68
120 Hawaii 3 9 -0.3519 0.207 0.3981 96
121 Other 9 89 -0.3564 0.203 0.5518 49
122 Bowling Green 2 10 -0.3705 0.191 0.4629 80
123 San Jose State 2 11 -0.3786 0.183 0.4676 78
124 Ball State 2 10 -0.4203 0.148 0.4131 89
125 Idaho 3 8 -0.4218 0.146 0.3055 124
126 Georgia Southern 2 9 -0.4225 0.146 0.3957 99
127 Coastal Carolina 2 9 -0.5119 0.069 0.3063 123
128 Texas State 2 10 -0.5143 0.066 0.3190 121
129 Rice 1 11 -0.5231 0.059 0.3936 100
130 Charlotte 1 11 -0.5610 0.026 0.3557 111
131 UTEP 0 12 -0.5914 0.000 0.4086 92

Wisconsin ends the regular season as the only 12-0 team in the field. Now, simply winning the games is not enough reason to be #1 – but with Alabama sporting an unusually skimpy resume compared to years past … the Badgers have earned the opportunity. Clemson’s wins are better but their loss at Syracuse looks much worse.  Looking at the standings (and really I think you can only really deal with resume here), the endgame Final 4 is pretty clear.

  • THE SEC champ will make the Final Four – Georgia winning is pretty straightforward.  Despite Auburn’s #14 standing, they beat Georgia and that should push them into the Top 10 somewhere, and there are plenty of non-quantitative things in their favor. (winning the SEC, better wins)
  • The Big Ten champ will make the Final Four – Ohio State, Wisconsin.  This is pretty easy.  Now, I am not sure if Wisconsin would still warrant a Top 4 spot if they lost.  Given Ohio State’s actual ability as a team – I could justify it.
  • The ACC champ will make the Final Four – there are two Top-4 teams.  This was simple.
  • Alabama could make it – but yeah they want some chaos.  With a lot of bad luck with their scheduled opponents, Alabama’s typical excellent season was only against the 57th rated schedule in the country.  Yes, Alabama can only play who is on its schedule – but this year’s slate really played with the team’s margin for error.
  • The Big 12 champ could make it.  If it’s Oklahoma – then it’s obvious.  If it’s TCU – it is dicier, although TCU has had a wonderful season.  TCU does benefit though from what Alabama wishes it had – one more chance to hang a great result.

So, who will win the conferences?  Well – if we turn to the “adjusted scoring margins”- which I think is a better reflection of team quality – here is what we get. (team adjusted scoring margin rank in parentheses)

  • American: UCF (#13) over Memphis (#31)
  • ACC: Clemson (#4) over Miami-FL (#15)
  • Big 12: Oklahoma (#9) over TCU (#11)
  • Big Ten: Ohio State (#2) over Wisconsin (#3)
  • C-USA: Florida Atlantic (#43) over North Texas (#86)
  • MAC: Toledo (#40) over Akron (#88)
  • MWC: Boise State (#34) over Fresno State (#53)
  • Pac-12: Stanford (#18) over USC (#20)
  • SEC: Georgia (#5) over Auburn (#6)

Do I believe Georgia and Stanford win rematches like the numbers say they could?  I am a bit more skeptical.  But we know that winning twice is hard, and Stanford and Georgia are good teams.  For this exercise, I am inclined to pick Auburn and USC though.

Given this, here are the automatic bids to the Bowl Series

  • Clemson (ACC Champ, semifinals)
  • Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ, semifinals)
  • Ohio State (Big Ten Champ, semifinals)
  • Auburn (SEC Champ, semifinals)
  • USC (Pac-12 Champ)
  • UCF (Group of 5 champ)

So this sets up the National Semifinals – it is possible Ohio State and Auburn finish 3/4.  I would imagine though the committee would like to avoid 2 regular season rematches if possible.

  • Sugar Bowl: Clemson v Ohio State
  • Rose Bowl: Oklahoma v Auburn

The other bowls?  The Orange Bowl would take the best ACC team left, Miami, and the highest ranked Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame non-champ.  So, we are deciding between Alabama, Georgia and Wisconsin.  Now, I think the committee will go SEC – but I’d put Wisconsin here.

  • Orange Bowl: Miami-FL v Wisconsin

So this leaves us UCF, USC and four more teams.  Penn State, Alabama, Georgia seem obvious.  The hard one is Notre Dame or TCU.  If Oklahoma beats TCU, I think it might be hard to justify TCU over Notre Dame, given the yawning gaps in schedule strength.  Using this, the rest of the bowls line up thusly:

  • Cotton Bowl: Penn State v Alabama
  • Fiesta Bowl: USC v Georgia
  • Peach Bowl: Notre Dame v UCF
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