lege Football, Rankings Commentary on January 24, 2015 at 4:38 PM
The Broncos were the highest finishers among unranked teams in pre-season.
Iím including the Horned Frogs since most people had them even higher at the end.
I havenít noticed any major media organization that does this. I guess they just want to be able to come out with new preseason rankings in six or seven months and have people accept them. Surely, I suppose they think, people will have forgotten last summer by then; but they might not forget something six months before, so best not to remind them. I think itís fun though, so Iím doing it.
Some of these differences are owing to differing philosophies. I think Sagarin is just based on accumulating recent rankings. Sports Illustrated and the polls are mostly based on predictions; but sometimes there is deference to teams that did well last year even if maybe they shouldnít be expected to do well in the coming year.
What I mostly do is look at who I think will be the best teams right away, so Iím a little more interested in returning starters, and of course I also take into account last season. If a 1-win team has 23 returning starters next season, you wouldnít expect them to finish with a winning record; and if one of the top teams this year had only 10, they might finish in the top 10 again. But when in doubt, Iím going to go with the team that has proven more in the last year or two and has more returning starters. If a team has very few, I count recent seasons for less. Thatís why Oklahoma St., for instance, was not a team I ranked.
Final Top 25
Here are my Preseason Rankings. I also did an SEC West Preview.
The teams are listed in order of how they finished in my final rankings.
Preseason ranks: mine, Sports Illustrated, Sagarin, AP, Coachesí
1. Ohio St. 9, 4, 10, 5, 6
Even when I heard about Braxton Miller, I didnít move the Buckeyes down. I had a feeling this would be a very good team with 12 returning starters and one or two players wouldnít make a difference. So even though I didnít put them very high, I think I used sound reasoning. Also, when I do preseason rankings, I have a skeptical stance toward untested players, and itís not quite as much about potential as how much they have to start the season. The loss came pretty early.
2. Florida St. 1, 1, 3, 1, 1
There just wasnít a compelling case to drop FSU down after last season. None of the other contenders stood out, and there really wasnít an impressive team overall on the field either.
3. Oregon 3, 8, 2, 3, 4
I canít complain about my pick here. The Ducks had the highest number of returning starters among teams that were ranked after 2013, so I was not shocked to see them in the title game.
4. Alabama 4, 2, 1, 2, 2
I didnít have Alabama first in the SEC, I had Auburn. Thatís not how it worked out, but Alabama was actually less dominating in most games than I thought they would be. They just won all but one in conference.
5. Boise St. NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
I thought the Broncos might be done with these seasons given the fact that coaches keep leaving, but few apart from maybe some Marshall fans can argue they werenít the best non-P5 team this year.
6. TCU NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
I thought the Horned Frogs might bounce back, but I was thinking maybe 7-5 or 8-4 instead. Iím not sure whether to give them credit or the rest of the conference blame.
7. UCLA 7, 5, 21, 7, 7
The Bruins finally had the top-10 season weíve been promised a few times in the past. I mostly only put them this high because I couldnít find other teams that were very compelling, but like I said earlier, that turned out to be the case in reality, so thatís why I got this one right.
8. Michigan St. 13, 6, 19, 8, 8
I couldnít tell how much of the preseason buzz was based on the previous year or based on how good they really seemed. Looking back though, none of the results of their games were different than I projected based on my ratings. I did think they might lose to some lesser team, so I guess Iíll give them credit for surpassing my expectations in that regard.
9. Marshall NR, 25, NR, NR, NR
Credit to SI here for ranking them at all. It didnít even occur to me to rank a CUSA team, to be honest.
10. Georgia Tech NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
Like I had started to explain with Ohio St., I think to an extent, you have to look at how good teams likely are relative to one another at that point. Georgia Tech really wasnít that good early in the season. They struggled with Tulane (early on anyway) and Georgia Southern and seemed dead in the water against Virginia Tech, but they kept getting better, and it seemed like they were a much better late-game team than they possibly ever were before under Paul Johnson.
11. Missouri NR, 22, 13, 24, NR
12. Baylor 22, 10, 15, 10, 10
These two are pretty much the same for me, so Iíll cover them together. I just thought they had one-off seasons in 2013. I didnít anticipate that the two coaches would be able to ďreloadĒ so well. Missouri did lose the early game to Indiana and got blown out by Georgia, but they matured in a hurry after those setbacks. Baylor didnít have early losses like that, but they did only have 9 returning starters, so 22 was high in light of that, at least from my perspective. Usually teams like that donít come anywhere close to the successes of the previous version even though they get preseason rankings elsewhere.
13. Georgia 6. 12, 16, 12. 12
All the people who had them #12 did pretty well. I was right about how good they could be but wrong about how bad they could be. I would have never expected them to lose to South Carolina and Florida knowing about those two teams what I know now. Even though I had Auburn so high, I mentioned in the preseason that this was one of the games that might cause Auburn to have trouble winning the SEC West. I mentioned the Missouri game, but Auburn was an even more impressive big win at the time.
14. Wisconsin NR, 15, 9, 14, 14
I was surprised that Wisconsin ended up so high. I thought they would be more similar to last yearís team. But in my defense, they didnít start out so well. On paper, they didnít have much to start the season, which I think was an accurate understanding.
15. Ole Miss 16, 18, NR, 18, 19
I did a good job on this one. I didnít expect them to make an appearance in the top 5 in the first place. This is an improving program though, so I donít expect them to be an easy win in the SEC very often going forward either.
16. Mississippi St. NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
They were too mediocre in 2013 for me to seriously consider them for the top 25, but as I had mentioned in my SEC West preview, I thought they could beat some of the better SEC teams, which they did. So I wouldnít say I was shocked here, I was just more reserved in the preseason.
17. Arizona NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
I honestly didnít even consider the Wildcats. They had a number of teams with potential in the recent past and they all tended to fizzle, so I was most surprised to see them in the top 20.
18. Clemson 12, 16, 17, 16, 16
I thought there would be a second ACC team in or near the top 10, but I was wrong about which one.
19. Arizona St. NR, 19, 14, 19, 18
I remained skeptical about the Sun Devils based on so many seasons where they were supposed to have a good team and either didnít at all or were wildly inconsistent. They were among the last teams I eliminated though.
20. USC 11, 17, 12, 15, 15
Where I picked them was a little ambitious, but where I dismissed teams with potential before, I thought USC would be more immediately good. This was not a good team to start the year though.
21. Auburn 2, 7, 24, 6, 5
Auburn was a disappointment in the end, but they were one of the best teams in the early going. They really should have beaten Alabama and Wisconsin later in the year. I think sometimes what happens is a team goes from competing for a national title to just trying to make a decent bowl and itís deflating. Whereas another team that was mediocre the previous season would be excited to be ranked and so forth.
22. Colorado St. NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
Like Marshall, this wasnít a team I looked at or considered.
23. Kansas St. NR, 21, 18, 20, 21
I think I was justifiably cautious about the Wildcats. Had the Big XII been more than a couple of teams deep, I donít think they would have finished this high.
24. Northern Illinois 25, NR, NR, NR, NR
For some reason, you get a bunch of flak for picking a small-conference team to perform similarly as in recent years, whereas other teams who have very little coming back are ranked with no one batting an eye. I have to admit I feel somewhat vindicated here.
25. Memphis NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
See Marshall and Colorado St.
Top 5 Unranked Busts
36. Oklahoma 5, 3, 6, 4, 3
The Sooners made the cover of Sports Illustrated for the preview issue and received 4 first-place votes between the two major polls. They did look a little bit better early, but they just didnít seem to improve from how good they were in September.
49. South Carolina 8, 11, 8, 9, 9
They only showed a glimpse of the team they were supposed to be when they beat Georgia. This is a reminder going into next season that if you donít have leadership (they lost their top defensive and offensive players after 2013), you donít have much.
32. Stanford 15, 9, 4, 11, 11
Maybe I should have been more pessimistic here, but they didnít finish that far outside the top 25. Still, Iím glad I wasnít tempted to rank the Cardinal in the top 10. I looked at them as a similar team to Baylor, and for whatever reason, Baylor had a great season and Stanford didnít.
30. LSU 10, 14, 7, 13, 13
In my defense, I had LSU fifth in the conference. I had trouble judging which SEC teams would be better than which other teams. I was very disappointed with both coordinators overall. I donít want to be sour grapes about former DC Chavis, but I expected better based on his very good years at LSU, especially before 2013. I think OC Cam Cameron may have forgotten how to develop a teenage quarterback rather than one well into his 20s as NFL starting quarterbacks typically are. LSU could have very easily won 11 games this year based on talent, but they also could have missed out on a bowl game entirely due to failures to close out games. I said the winner of LSU/Alabama would be the most likely SEC champion, so at least that part was true. Had LSU closed out that one and beaten Arkansas, they would have at least tied for the West title.
33. Notre Dame NR, 13, 20, 17, 17
I havenít addressed the Music City Bowl in depth yet, but people who think that justified a top-25 ranking for the Irish are insane. Arkansas beat LSU 17-0 late in the season and since then beat up on Ole Miss and Texas, losing only to Missouri in a close game. Arkansas didnít have a defensive stop over a touchdown gifted to them against LSU, and LSUís defense didnít just roll over on third downs time and time again. Also, somehow, Notre Dame made LSU look like a point-scoring machine at times. Anyway, I feel very justified in not ranking the Irish in preseason and in recognizing them as a bust now.
Mine: (14) Central Florida, (19) Texas, (20) Michigan, (21) Louisville, (23) Florida, (24) Duke
Michigan was the only bad team of the group, but they shouldnít have been a bad team at all. I think Texas is improving but will take another year. Florida and Duke were good teams at times but inconsistent. Central Florida nearly beat Penn St. for the second consecutive season but somehow lost to Connecticut for their only conference loss. Louisville may have been about right had they won the bowl game.
SI: (20) Texas A&M, (23) Oregon St., (24) Nebraska
Nebraska and Texas A&M were by no means horrible and might have been a couple of bounces of the ball from being ranked, but I donít know where Oregon St. came from. I know they beat Arizona St., but that was one bright spot in dismal year. In fact, it was the Beaversí only win of their last 7 games. Their BEST win was at home over San Diego St. I still donít understand Nebraskaís hiring of Mike Riley, by the way.
Sagarin: (5) Oklahoma St., (11) Texas A&M, (22) Washington, (23) Texas, (25) Florida
Iím not sure how Saraginís preseason rankings work, but I think itís mostly based on performances in recent years. Texas and Florida in particular would not have been surprising had the finished with those rankings. Oklahoma St. of course is ridiculous looking back, but it wasnít too long ago that the Cowboys nearly made the title game, and in 2013 they were again one of the best teams in the country before dropping the last two games (Bedlam and the Cotton against Missouri). Like I said above, having A&M ranked wasnít far-fetched, but of course #11 was a bit high to say the least. Washington never really clicked, but there was no shame in having them near the bottom of the top 25 in preseason. They made a bowl at least and played some competitive games against good teams. In fact, their only regular-season losses were to teams that were ranked at the time. Among those, only Stanford finished unranked.
Polls: (21, 20) Texas A&M, (22, 22) Nebraska, (23, 23) North Carolina, (25, 25) Washington, (NR, 24) Texas
I covered everyone but North Carolina above. I have no idea why they were ranked.
For the record, here are my final rankings of the teams in this section:
31. Texas A&M
58. Oklahoma St.
59. Central Florida
70. North Carolina
89. Oregon St.
Anyway, Iím sure Iíll have upcoming posts about other sports and sporadically football, but like I referenced above, weíre about halfway to the next preseason rankings, so I plan to have a lot to say then.
Just as a reminder, my blog homepage †(where I first post my blogs) can be found above and I'm also on Facebook†and Twitter @TheBayouBlogger.
My Top 25
1 Ohio St. 3
2 Florida St. 1
3 Oregon 4
4 Alabama 2
5 Boise St. 6
6 TCU 5
7 UCLA 11
8 Mich. St. 13
9 Marshall 12
10 Ga. Tech 14
11 Missouri 16
12 Baylor 7
13 Georgia 17
14 Wisconsin 15
15 Ole Miss 8
16 Miss. St. 9
17 Arizona 10
18 Clemson 21
19 Arizona St. 23
20 USC Ė
21 Auburn 18
22 Colo. St. 20
23 Kansas St. 19
24 N. Illinois 24
25 Memphis Ė
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (22) Nebraska, (25) Louisville
Earlier top-25 blogs:
I guess Iíll start with some good news. I like how the top four stayed in place. If after theAlabama game anyone still believed Ohio St. didnít belong in the top four, Iím sure they do now. Other than that, pretty much everyone agreed with the other three teams.
Why does the fact that teams won these games mean that suddenly some of them arenít in the top four? It doesnít. If we made 5-8 play each other and then the winners of those games play each other, that would leave three teams in that group with one more loss than they had before the bowls as well.
I am also pleased with my rankings before the bowls. Eleven of my top 17 (including Oregon) won their bowl games. All of the top 19 either won their bowl game or lost to another top-19 team. Colorado St. andNebraska were the only top-25 teams to lose bowl games to other teams.
Obviously, some people will criticize whereTCU is, but only one team they played all year won a bowl game, and the Horned Frogs donít get a lot of points fromOklahoma St.ís win over Washington. The margin of victory over Ole Miss doesnít help in my ratings, but like most fans, I would have liked to have seen TCU play one of the top four. (I still donít want another round of playoffs though, at least not without a major overhaul.)
I know Boise St. lost to Ole Miss, but losing to Baylor doesnít hurt that much less. Boise St. also played an extra game. The Broncos were one of four 10-win teams in the Mountain West (all in the same division), while only two teams in the Big XII won 10 or more.
This might be boring, but it might also be a way of explaining my rankings, so bear with me. On 11/23, TCU led Boise St. by about 0.12 (which was the approximate distance from Ohio St. to Oregon before the bowls). Boise St. won three games between 11/23 and the bowls (Wyoming, Utah St., andFresno St.) while TCU only won two (Texas and Iowa St.). This cut TCUís lead to 0.006.
All things being equal, the TCU lead should have increased to 0.017 because Ole Miss counts for more points than Arizona does. So the 1-6 performance in bowl games by TCU opponents cost the Horned Frogs 0.021 by comparison since they ended up 0.004 behind the Broncos. Only three of Boise St.ís, but of the 13 games they played, 10 were against teams that went to bowl games (they played Fresno St. twice, Ole Miss, Colorado St., ULL, Air Force, Nevada, BYU, San Diego St., and Utah St.).
For a non-mathematical argument, a lot of people thought I had Boise St. way too high and they shouldnít have been ahead of Arizona. I think they corrected that perception.
This is the fifth time since 2008 (when I started my current system) that Boise St. has finished in the top 6. By comparison, this is only Alabamaís fourth time in that time frame. Florida, Ohio St., and Oregon have finished in that group three times apiece. Not apropos of anything, but every time Ohio St. has been in that group, so has Oregon.
I would have liked to have seen Marshall play a P5 team, but they did about as well against then-11-2 Northern Illinois asArkansas had back in September.
I do think Georgia Tech would have likely beaten them, but remember the point of my formula is so that teams with few losses end up near the top. Georgia Tech obviously had a much better schedule, but you have to have a much better schedule to account for two extra losses.
Iím sure most of you remember when LSUhad two losses and made the BCS Championship ahead of one-loss Kansas. That was a huge difference in schedule, but if LSU had three losses or Kansas had no losses, LSU would not have gone ahead of Kansas. I first started working on my current formula after the 2007 season, so thatís probably something I considered when I decided how much winning percentage counts and how much strength of schedule counts. I also think LSU would have beaten Kansas even if the Jayhawks had gone undefeated in 2007, but that doesnít mean LSU would have deserved to play in the game ahead of them.
Anyway, Marshall is in the CUSA, which went 4-1 in the bowls. Compare that to the 4-7 mark of the ACC. Also, bad losses hurt more in my formula than good wins help. The one team that beat Marshall (Western Kentucky) won its bowl game, but all three teams that beat Georgia Tech lost theirs.
The top two teams of the SEC East (Missouri and Georgia) got into the top 15, finally passing up Ole Miss and Mississippi St., but they had too far to go to make it into the top 10. I think 19 of the top 21 being in P5 conferences is about right. I donít mind giving some credit to the better teams of the other conferences at the bottom of the top 25.
USC made a pretty decent jump forward after they beat Nebraska and several teams in the group immediately ahead of them lost.
This is the completion of my 20th year ranking teams (although it was purely subjective before 2004), and this is the very first time I am ranking Memphis.Memphis is the 101st team I have ranked.
Note on conferences
This is slightly different analysis from my ďconference reportĒ series. In this blog, Iím commenting upon the rankings of the various teams rather than strictly looking at games between conferences. I do a summary of this with every ranking (except for the one after the Army-Navy game). You can see my chart here.
The SEC finishes with only one team in the top 10, but six in the top 25, nine in the top 40, and twelve in the top 50 (the chart linked to above does not give any credit for the top 50, just the top 40). Even #13 Kentucky finished 68th, just four spots behind Virginia Tech (who, as I think most people know, beat Ohio St.). Although like most of the country, I was a little surprised by WHICH SEC teams won, I think the above shows how tough it was to go undefeated if 13/14 teams in the conference were good enough to beat who turned out to be the best team in the country.
The SEC has 14 teams, and only 8 of them got to play Vanderbilt. The SEC might not have the best top teams (as was thought for much of the season), but if you think any other conference schedule was tougher, youíre kidding yourself.
Kenneth Massey lists about 90 top-to-bottom computer rankings of teams on his†comparison site. Every one of them has the SEC as the top conference (at least based on average ranking of the teams). I know people want to call me a homer, but until Iím not part of the overwhelming consensus (even if one or two come out that disagree, thatís still true), I wonít take that allegation seriously.
The only rankings he lists on there that put the SEC second are the two (subjective) polls, but only the top 25 of each one is considered. Since the SEC has six teams between #26 and #50 in my ratings compared to only two in that range for the Pac-12, thatís ignoring a lot of the SECís relative strength toward the middle and below the middle of the conference.
I wrote this about 12 hours ago.† The committee pretty much did what I thought they should do, with the exception of choosing Georgia Tech over UCLA. I guess they went with the team that finished strong over the better "body of work".† After Oregon took the Rose and Arizona the Fiesta, there wasn't really a good bowl to put UCLA in anyway.† I also would have preferred Alabama play FSU in the Sugar Bowl and the traditional Rose Bowl match-up, but I guess they don't consider that.
I know this is early in the day for most of you, but Iím not the one who decided to make the selection show so early for west coasters like me. Iíll just have to find out the final verdict after I get up and have breakfast.
Iíll just do my regular top 25 blog later in the week, but for reference here are my ratingsresults. I use the numbers there below.
(Teams in my Top 7 apart from Boise St.; wins are limited to those over the top 60.)
Florida St. (3-0 vs. top 25, 5-0 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 14, 21, 25, 41, 46, 55, 60
Alabama (3-1 vs. top 25, 8-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 9, 16, 18, 26, 33, 40, 45, 47, 52
Lost to #8
Oregon (3-1 vs. top 25, 6-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 10, 11, 13, 36, 39, 48
Lost to #10
Ohio St. (2-0 vs. top 25, 5-0 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 13, 15, 28, 30, 43, 54
Lost to #74
TCU (1-1 vs. top 25, 4-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 19, 29, 30, 45, 57, 60
Lost to #7
Baylor (2-0 vs. top 25, 3-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 5, 19, 29, 57, 60
Lost to #45
There should be no serious doubt about Florida St., Alabama, and Oregon, so Iíll skip to talking about the fourth semifinal team.
Baylorís win wasnít really in doubt for the much of the second half, but I donít think it was anything like the kind of exclamation point Ohio St. had. I had Ohio St. in the top 4 to begin with, so I am still convinced Baylor does not belong. Virginia Tech is a worse team to lose to than WVU, but my feeling is the two additional wins over the top 50 make up for this.
I respect the opinion that TCU belongs ahead of Ohio St., although obviously I donít agree with the conclusion. I think Ohio St. just showed emphatically they can play like a top 4 team. Admittedly, they showed all those weeks ago they can also lose to a mediocre team at home by two touchdowns, but at some point, the other 12 games taken as a whole should be more important. One top-25 win vs. 2 and 5 top-50 wins vs. 4 make up for that. TCU played the best of any of these teams in their loss, but actually that might have been their best game. I just havenít seen them look like a top team often enough, particularly in light of their difficulties against West Virginia and Kansas in the month of November.
Transitioning out of the semifinal discussion, I donít think Marshall and Boise St. are getting the respect that previous ďgroup of fiveĒ teams with similar records have gotten in the past. Hawaii in 2007, for instance, was #11 after starting 11-0. Marshall, which has actually had a better schedule this season, was #19 after starting 11-0. I do think Marshall and Boise St. may each be a couple of spots too high in my ratings though.
I mentioned briefly last week why I had Boise St. ahead of Arizona, and now itís similarly problematic to have Boise St. ahead of Baylor. There is a higher depth to Boise St.ís wins, but ultimately beating top-20 teams should be valued more highly. I want to try to find a way where beating #5 and #19 counts for more points than beating #20, #49, and #69. Those arenít Boise St.ís three best wins (they beat two others in the top 60), but they just happened to combine for slightly more points than Baylorís two best wins.
One way I thought of was adding some kind of additional credit for beating teams that end up with positive ratings (which is usually approximately the top 40). I wonít alter the formula at this point this season though. I will tinker with it after the final results of this year to see how it turns out. I will also look to see how it would alter previous ratings.
Something else I want to note is Boise St. actually has more FBS wins than Baylor because they played an extra game and did not play an FCS opponent. So where usually a team with two losses has fewer wins than one with a single loss, the two-loss team in question has more wins.
In an average playing week, Baylor did accumulate more points than Boise St. did in an average week.
One reason I say Marshall may be a spot or two too high is that I think Michigan St.should be in a major bowl. Their only losses are to teams I believe should be in the top 4.Wisconsin was technically the Big Ten runner-up, but they lost an additional game, and they lost to LSU and Northwestern. LSU isnít a bad loss, but Northwestern is pretty bad. They donít even qualify for a bowl game. I mention those together because theyíre in the same conference.
I also think UCLA should be included in the top 6 bowls, while Georgia Tech should be excluded. The two teams finished with the same number of losses, and there were understandable losses by both and fairly weak losses by both. UCLAís non-conference slate of Virginia, Memphis, and Texas, combined with the strength of the Pac-12 South relative to the ACC Coastal, should put them ahead.
Florida St. was actually two possessions ahead of Georgia Tech going into the last couple of minutes, which is a gigantic lead for the Seminoles, so the final score being two points doesnít sway me. Also, I give them credit for the one strong out-of-conference win (albeit an extremely lucky one) against Georgia, but the others were Wofford, Tulane, andGeorgia Southern.
I havenít exactly made the case why UCLA should go ahead of Wisconsin or Michigan St. should go ahead of Georgia Tech, but hopefully you can fill in the blanks there.
The only other thing in the top 25 worth commenting on is a team that hadnít been there since my (subjective) preseason rankingÖ.
We can also add Northern Illinois to the list of ďgroup of fiveĒ teams that may be a spot or two too high. After Arkansasís games against LSU and Ole Miss made that blowout loss more understandable, that only leaves one other loss for the Huskies against 11 wins. Like Boise St., Northern Illinois goes up an extra spot for playing an extra game. If I averaged by playing week, they would have stayed behind Louisville.
In addition to my blog linked to above, I also have a page on Facebook and am on twitter @TheBayouBlogger.
My current top 4
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Florida St. 1
2 ( 1 ) Alabama 2
3 ( 5 ) Ohio St. 3
4 ( 3 ) Oregon 4
5 ( 4 ) TCU 8
6 ( 22 ) Boise St. 12
7 ( 7 ) Arizona 10
8 ( 11 ) Ole Miss 14
9 ( 8 ) Miss. St. 5
10 ( 12 ) Ga. Tech 15
11 ( 15 ) UCLA 6
12 ( 9 ) Mich. St. 17
13 ( 13 ) Wisconsin 18
14 ( 6 ) Baylor 13
15 ( 14 ) Missouri 20
16 ( 30 ) Marshall 7
17 ( 10 ) Kansas St. 19
18 ( 16 ) Georgia 9
19 ( 19 ) Auburn 11
20 ( 31 ) Colo. St. 16
21 ( 20 ) Clemson 23
22 ( 24 ) Nebraska 24
23 ( 18 ) Arizona St. 21
24 ( 17 ) Oklahoma 22
25 ( 21 ) Louisville Ė
(USC and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (25) Minnesota
There are a total of 39* teams that got some level of points in the Mock BCS standings linked to above. (I list 40 teams since Texas A&M was in the top 25 of one of the computer rankings, but they got no points since the highest rating is dropped)
Earlier top-25 blogs:
I didnít do a post-game blog about LSU/A&M, but I updated the Rivalry Series entry, and I will write a bit about the Tigers in my second blog this week. I also plan to write about relative conference strength and lower bowl possibilities. I think the new committee rankings will be relevant to that discussion.
What Iíll discuss below is the current state of my rankings and how I think that SHOULD translate into what the committee does with the major bowls at the end. I canít speculate with any accuracy what they will do, especially being that I donít know how the rankings for this week will look.
Because Florida St. has been accumulating a reasonable amount of points whileAlabama has recently had a bye and played Western Carolina, the Seminoles are still on top, although I would agree with probably most people in the conclusion that Alabama looks like the better team at the moment.
Georgia has also thrown a wrench into things by beating Auburn, losing to Georgia Tech, and failing to win the East. If Alabama were playing a two-loss Georgia team next week and Florida St. were playing a three-loss team, Alabama would have a good chance to move back into #1, but unless the Yellowjackets beat Florida St., I donít see that happening now.
By the way, Iíve never experienced such a disappointing day of college football in my life. I watched about 10 games that went down the final couple of minutes, and every last one of them went the way I didnít want them to. Georgia choking was just the beginning of a long day. Also, I donít know why on Earth Auburn thought they could win with field goals.
Alabama should have at least three losses, but then how would they torture me? One thing they did was allow LSU to move into first place in the SEC in total defense, so I guess we can say we got first place in something.
Despite the SEC Eastís troubles with the ACC (although letís not forget Georgia beatClemson earlier this year), I think itís justified to have three SEC WEST teams in the top 10 and all seven in the top 40. By the way, the Mock BCS agrees with the latter assessment. Texas A&M got no points, but they were ranked in one of the formerly BCS computers, so I think that makes them #40. It merely has three SEC West teams in the top 11 instead of the top 10 though.
Anyway, there are two more slots to fill out in the semifinals, so Iíll now talk about that.
I have no hesitation in supporting Oregon if they beat Arizona. They will have vindicated their one loss of the year. Even though they play in the weaker Pac-12 division, they still beat UCLA, who tied for second in the Pac-12 South. Of course, Michigan St.counts as a decent win as well. So thatís two of the top 3 teams in the Pac-12 South. (Technically, USC tied with ASU and UCLA in the South, but theyíre clearly #4 in my view.)
That last spot is going to be tricky. I do have Ohio St. there right now (actually ahead of Oregon at the moment), and I canít imagine that if the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin, that either the formula or my mind will change. However, I do understand the argument that maybe losing to Virginia Tech at home could be a disqualifying factor.
As I discussed last week, I firmly believe the best alternative to Ohio St. in that instance isTCU, whose only blemish is a 3-point loss to Baylor about 6 weeks ago.
West Virginia is better than Virginia Tech, but they donít belong anywhere near the top 25. The Mountaineers beat Baylor by a couple of touchdowns.
Even if Oregon loses, I still donít see Baylor being #4. The committee might pick them ahead of Arizona in that instance, but I donít think I would.
That might not seem to make sense being that I have Boise St. ahead of Arizona right now, but the Broncos have the better schedule at the moment. I know thatís hard to believe, but Boise St.ís opponents have a winning record overall, and Arizonaís opponents have a losing record overall. The Mountain West simply is not leaps and bounds behind the power conferences, and Boise played a very competitive schedule out of conference (while Arizona didnít).
However, Fresno St. isnít going to help the Broncos very much. So with a win, Arizona should easily pass them up as well as TCU and Oregon (whom they would have to beat).
Using my formulaís current rankings, these are the potential resumes of relevant teams for the last spot or two (two if Oregon, Florida St., or Alabama lose):
Team 1: beat #6, 17, 24, 56; lost to #46
Team 2: beat #17, 24, 29, 46, 56; lost to #14
Team 3: beat #12, 13, 29, 32, 44, 45, 55; lost to #76
Team 4: beat #4, 4, 23, 36, 50, 53; lost to #11, 27
Iím going to assume Alabama would be out of the running with a loss despite whatever strength of resume they might have. It might be possible for a team to be #1 going into championship week and hang on with a loss at some point, but this is not the year.
I do want to acknowledge that Baylor may be much better than #14. They would close the gap considerably by beating Kansas St., but obviously Oregon would be a better win than Kansas St. Also, the Bears would not pass up TCU.
So the only teams that should be in the running from my perspective are Nos. 1 to 5 and #7 Arizona.
Arizona/Boise St. has prompted me to consider a slight modification to my system though. I have preliminary ratings of teams between 0 and about 7 (which would be if the team with the best schedule went undefeated, which is nearly impossible). Boise St. has only beaten one team (Colorado St.) with a preliminary rating higher than 4.0, while Arizona has beaten three (Oregon, Arizona St., and Utah). So my idea is to have those higher-rated opponents count for a bit more than they do already.
There are a total of 12 teams that will be in CFP bowls. I donít see any of the 6 mentioned above falling out, so here are 6 other teams I think should be make up the rest of the spots:
Boise St. (top ďgroup of fiveĒ team)
This would be assuming that Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Kansas St. all lost. I believe a win by any of those (although Kansas St. might be debatable) should get them in. I have the teams above so they would be eliminated from the bottom right now. If Baylor beats Kansas St., I would want them to be given a safe spot though.
Boise St. should be assured the ďgroup of fiveĒ spot with a win, but if they lose and Marshall wins, I would want them replaced with Marshall. If both lose, I guess Colorado St. would take that slot.
In addition to my blog linked to above, I also have a page on Facebook and am on twitter @TheBayouBlogger.
ím going to do things a little differently this week. To avoid confusion, Iím omitting last weekís rankings from the chart (I will discuss movement of teams in the discussion below). Iím listing my top 25 in order and to the right, Iím first listing the college football playoff top 25, followed by a mock BCS (Iíll just call it BCS from now on since there is no ďrealĒ BCS ranking anymore) ranking.
There are 36 teams that got at least some level of points under this approximated BCS system, so Iíll mention those who arenít in my top 25 afterward.
The BCS formula canít be completely replicated because there is no longer a Harris poll, and one of the computer systems (Massey) no longer lists ratings that comply with BCS rules, which included a ban on any consideration for margin of victory. I think Iíve made a pretty good approximation by using the AP poll and Masseyís ďnormalĒ ratings.
At least we can all agree on #1.
My Top 25
1 Miss. St. 1 , 1
2 Ole Miss 4 , 6
3 Auburn 3 , 4
4 Florida St. 2 , 2
5 Alabama 6 , 3
6 Oregon 5 , 5
7 LSU 19 , 13
8 Nebraska 15 , 17
9 Marshall ó , 23
10 Mich. St. 8 , 8
11 Notre Dame 10 , 7
12 Georgia 11 , 9
13 Ohio St. 16 , 15
14 UCLA 22 , 24
15 Arizona 12 , 16
16 Colo. St. ó , (27)
17 TCU 7 , 11
18 Kansas St. 9 , 10
19 Arizona St. 14 , 12
20 Clemson 21 , 20
21 Boise St. ó , (31)
22 Baylor 13 , 14
23 Oklahoma 18 , 19
24 Duke 24 , 25
25 W. Virginia 20 , 21
Out of my top 25: (11) Minnesota, (21) USC
My full list of FBS teams
These are all other teams that would have received some level of points in the BCS system (same format as above; if theyíre completely unranked, theyíre omitted):
26. Missouri Ė, 29
27. Ga. Tech Ė, 34
28. Minnesota Ė, 33
29. USC Ė, 28
30. Louisville 25, 35
31. East Carolina 23, 22
34. Wisconsin Ė. 30
36. Texas A&M Ė, 26
38. Stanford Ė, 32
40. Okla. St. Ė, 36
Explanation and future rankings
I donít have time for too much editorializing, but before seeing these I already thought it was an oversight not to have a system that was at least partially objective. Iím not going to judge the whole thing on one rankings list, but based on what I see here, I would have preferred to keep something like the BCS formula and pick the top four from that.
I know people who donít understand how my system works wonít be happy with these. Last week, Ole Miss was technically #1, but I just didnít rank them as such on my blog because I wanted to see if they would beat LSU before taking that step. Iím glad I made that choice.
Anyway, the question remains: how do they only lose one spot? I even thought I might have made a mistake, but Iíll explain.
The first thing I wanted to mention is theyíre actually #4, behind Auburn and Florida St. (who have had two byes apiece) if you divide the overall rating by playing weeks.
It also helps that Ole Miss started out a large distance over #3. A normal distance from one team to the next is about 0.02. Ole Miss was 0.12 ahead of last weekís (computer) #3, Florida St. Losing to LSU only subtracts 0.09 from Ole Missís score. Ole Miss still goes from 0.04 ahead of Mississippi St. to 0.14 behind. For context, in last weekís ratings, 0.14 was approximately the distance between #6 Oregon and #16 LSU. There just arenít teams between the two in this case.
Just as an aside, this week LSU was only 0.04 short of the Ducks.
With Florida St.ís bye week (most teams lose at least one spot in a bye week), Ole Miss was able to stay ahead and Auburn was able to pass them up. I understand one may object to two one-loss teams being ahead of Florida St., but at the end of last regular season there was just one, and at the end of this year there will likely be one. Someone has to lose Auburn-Ole Miss next week. Itís not guaranteed Mississippi St. will get past Alabama and Ole Miss. Also, someone has to lose between Alabama and Auburn. Auburn also has to play Georgia. So there are plenty of future opportunities on here for Florida St. to move back up.
Even if Ole Miss beats Auburn next week, they will then have a lull in points. They play Presbyterian College the following week, followed by a bye. Florida St.ís opponents of Louisville, Virginia, and U. Miami should pick them up a bit relative to Ole Miss.
Alabama plays LSU and Mississippi St. on the 8th and 15th, respectively, but next week they have a bye week, and on the 22nd they play Western Carolina (while Florida St. will play Boston College that week).
Once again, Auburn is a potential one-loss team that Florida St. may have trouble catching. Florida St. could be no better than third if both Auburn and Mississippi St. win out. Auburn would have a bye week during the championships in that scenario, but a win over Georgia to go along with the SEC West wins would still be difficult to overcome. If South Carolina and Kansas St. win the rest of their games, Auburn would have a very large number of points from those as well.
My computer ratings are a lot more fluid than the polls. Iíll give a couple of examples.
When I had Alabama ahead of Auburn last week, that clearly did not mean that if both won theyíd remain in the same positions. The teams are basically in a race. If youíre ahead in a race and neither you nor your opponent fall down, youíre not guaranteed to finish ahead.
Also, I said that teams playing tough opponents can pass up Marshall. Even though LSU was 9 spots behind, they did just that with the win over Ole Miss. Granted, many teams would have to win two games instead of one to make that distance, but itís not as difficult to move up as it would be in the polls. Nebraska was 7 spots behind Marshall and also passed up the Herd by beating Rutgers.
Marshall has a bye next week so will most likely be passed up by even more teams. Michigan St. is also idle, but then Sparty will have a good chance the next week against the Buckeyes.
In addition to Kansas St., itís also helped the SEC West that Boise St. (beaten by Ole Miss) and West Virginia (beaten by Alabama) have continued to move up. Both are now in the top 25. Wisconsin (beaten by LSU) is one of the next 10 teams out.
Also, SEC West teams have now swept three of the top five SEC East teams, Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. Georgia has the only win against the SEC West by any team in college football from outside of the SEC West, but the Bulldogs will play Auburn in a couple of weeks. Missouri has yet to play an SEC West team. Not that it helps much, but Tennessee was also swept by the SEC West, and Vanderbilt lost one and has one to play (against Miss. St.).
The top five teams of the SEC West are still undefeated against all outsiders. As mentioned, there are some really quality wins over those outsiders. LSU is the only one of the five who has lost twice within the group, but thatís about to change with the Auburn-Ole Miss game.
I almost forgot to mention Iím now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger