I didn't wait†for the committee this time. Itís LSU/Alabama week, so I want to give my rankings and move on. Iím going to include the mock BCS standings as I calculate them. They will be the number in parentheses. There are no team logos below because there is only one ďnewĒ ranked team (Missouri, which replaces West Virginia), and they were ranked earlier this season.
LSU/Alabama is just one of the big games before the Iron Bowl, but there is a good chance it will be an important game for the national title race once again.
My Top 25
1 ( 1 ) Miss. St. 1
2 ( 3 ) Auburn 3
3 ( 2 ) Florida St. 4
4 ( 10 ) Ole Miss 2
5 ( 5 ) Oregon 6
6 ( 4 ) Alabama 5
7 ( 16 ) UCLA 14
8 ( 12 ) Arizona St. 19
9 ( 15 ) Nebraska 8
10 ( 11 ) LSU 7
11 ( 7 ) Kansas St. 18
12 ( 6 ) TCU 17
13 ( 8 ) Notre Dame 11
14 ( 26 ) Colo. St. 16
15 ( 13 ) Ohio St. 13
16 ( 9 ) Mich. St. 10
17 ( 22 ) Marshall 9
18 ( 30 ) Boise St. 21
19 ( 17 ) Oklahoma 23
20 ( 19 ) Clemson 20
21 ( 20 ) Arizona 15
22 ( 14 ) Baylor 22
23 ( 23 ) Duke 24
24 ( 25 ) Missouri Ė
25 ( 18 ) Georgia 12
Full 128 computer ratings
Other teams who would have at least some BCS points:
42 ( 21 ) Utah Ė
31 ( 24 ) W. Virginia 25
29 ( 27 ) Wisconsin Ė
32 ( 28 ) TX A&M Ė
28 ( 29 ) USC Ė
26 ( 31 ) Ga. Tech Ė
33 ( 32 ) Florida Ė
30 ( 33 ) Minnesota Ė
35 ( 34 ) Louisville Ė
43 ( 35 ) Iowa Ė
49 ( 36 ) Stanford Ė
48 ( 37 ) E. Carolina Ė
50 ( 38 ) Cincinnati Ė
27 ( 39 ) U. Miami Ė
Once again, Iím going to have to ask for some patience in Ole Miss going down in the rankings. They have Presbyterian next week and a bye the week after that, so theyíll possibly fall several spots in that time. (LSU, for instance, fell three spots after taking off this past weekend alone. Marshall and Michigan St. fell much more.) The following week, the Rebels play Arkansas, so someone else could also pass them after that week as well.
Why are they so high right now? Other than only having had one bye week, Ole Miss has the 4th-best schedule right now.
The Rebels beat Alabama, which rates as the second-best win by any team this season right now. The best win is Mississippi St.ís win over Auburn. As you might guess, apart from Mississippi St., the best (or least-bad) team to lose to is Auburn.
Speaking of Auburn, if youíve ever said to yourself, ďIíd like to watch Gus Malzahn break dance,Ē today is your lucky day:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFvqdQnWu9I
Anyway, if I were just making it up from scratch, Ole Miss would be somewhere around #10, so Iím going to go through the top 10 and explain why Ole Miss is higher than each team in my ratings at the moment.
Iím not going to comment on every teamís prospect for moving ahead of Ole Miss, but the first two are particularly relevant.
LSU isnít one of the top few teams to lose to, but theyíre much better than Arizona, which beat #5 Oregon. Oregon is very close to Ole Miss in points though, so I would expect them to easily pass up the Rebels with a win next week.
#6 Alabama has beaten none of the top 5 teams of the West yet, so thatís why they canít be ahead of Ole Miss right now. Beating LSU would change that. Not only would it be a decent increase in points, but it would hurt Ole Miss more for losing to LSU. (Losses hurt more than wins help.)
#7 UCLA also has two losses (one of them to Utah), so they certainly donít have a strong argument to be ahead of Ole Miss.
#8 Arizona St. only has one loss, but when your best win is over USC, you donít belong ahead of a team with Ole Missís rťsumť.
#9 Nebraska is another one-loss team that just doesnít have the wins to compete with Ole Miss right now. The Huskers did beat Miami (which is no Alabama), but the quality of wins decreases rapidly from there.
#10 LSU needs another big win. They have Ole Miss (which counts for less than Alabama) and Wisconsin (which counts for less than Boise St.) but really not much after that. Kentucky and Florida donít rate very highly due to their records, and itís harder to have the same strength of schedule playing in the East, especially when neither team has played a good out-of-conference opponent yet. Ole Miss beat Texas A&M, for instance, which has a better record than either of LSUís SEC East opponents and rates a good bit higher. The Aggies wouldnít necessarily beat the Wildcats or Gators, but it makes sense that they have a higher rating right now.
Ole Miss went from being ahead of Mississippi St. in my ratings to being 0.25 behind the Bulldogs in the last two weeks, it just so happens there werenít many teams in between ready to move up. Rating-wise, theyíre as close to Mississippi St. as they are to Colorado St. now. Itís just not translating from ratings to rankings yet.
Along with the top teams of the Pac-12 (mentioned above), the top teams of the Big XII are moving up. Kansas St. plays TCU next week, so the winner will probably find itself well into the top 10. The Big XII doesnít have that much depth in my formula though, so if itís TCU, theyíll probably go down from there (Kansas, bye, Texas, Iowa St.). Kansas St. can still finish undefeated in the Big XII (they lost to Auburn out of conference) and still has WVU and Baylor to play, so I believe they would be the stronger candidate for the top 4 by winning out.
Notre Dame finally has a chance to make a move by beating Arizona St. Louisville and USC (later this month) wonít be bad additions to the resume either.
Everyone lower down lacks a great schedule at this point. I know this because there are no 3-loss teams in my top 25.
Colorado St. has a better rating than Marshall or Boise St., but the Broncos (with two losses overall) hold the tie-breaker in the Mountain West, so picking the ďbest of the restĒ team might be tricky.
Like the TCU/KSU game, Ohio St. and Michigan St. should produce a team that can move up and do well. Unlike that game, both teams have competitive opponents coming up and neither has a bye week. If Nebraska keeps winning, that would help the winner of the Big Ten East even more down the road if they end up winning the Big Ten title game.
Oklahoma would get a big boost by beating Baylor, but there is not much left for the Sooners points-wise after that.
I donít expect a big move upward by Clemson. Other than Florida St., the ACC Atlantic doesnít have much to offer as far as potential points. Georgia Tech and a South Carolina team that will probably finish .500 are the best left on the purple and orange Tigersí schedule. I certainly donít see Florida St. losing twice, which Clemson would need to happen to make the ACC title game.
Arizona can still influence things with game against Washington, Utah, and Arizona St. Making the Pac-12 title game certainly isnít out of the question. It seems like apart from Colorado, anyone in the Pac-12 South can easily beat anyone else.
I mentioned Baylor. The Bears still have Oklahoma and Kansas St. left, so they can still win the Big XII.
Duke looks like a good-but-not-great divisional winner again.
Lastly, no one wants to win the SEC East, it seems, but Missouri has a one-game advantage right now. The black and gold Tigers would lose the tie-breaker if itís a two-way tie with the Bulldogs though. Texas A&M appears to be Missouriís toughest test left, while Georgia still has to play Kentucky (on the road) and Auburn before closing the regular season with non-conference games.
In addition to the blog linked to above, I'm now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger and at www.facebook.com/BayouBlogger
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
Let me know if any of you would be interesting in participating in a poll. I may start one next week if there is sufficient interest.
LSU plays Auburn this week, so if youíre interested, here is my LSU/Auburn Rivalry blog.
1 Auburn 1
2 Florida St. 3
3 Alabama 5
4 Oregon 4
5 Oklahoma 2
6 Miss. St. 10
7 BYU 7
8 TX A&M 6
9 UCLA 16
10 Nebraska 23
11 Ole Miss 8
12 Notre Dame 12
13 Ga. Tech 17
14 LSU 13
15 Arizona 22
16 E. Carolina 14
17 Baylor Ė
18 Georgia 15
19 S. Carolina 9
20 Louisville Ė
21 Okie St. 20
22 NC State 24
23 TCU Ė
24 Marshall Ė
25 Missouri Ė
Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in agreement with the top 25 given above)
Out of rankings: (11) Penn St., (18) Rutgers, (19) Arkansas. (21) Washington, (25) Virginia
Explanation and future rankings
As I mentioned last week, this is my transition week into adopting all or most of my computer rankings.
I would have liked to have kept Arkansas, after its very good game against Texas A&M, and Virginia, which lost to two top-10 teams above and beat a top-20 team. I didnít keep them because they were not in the top 35, and I didnít want to deviate more than 10 spots.
The team where I deviated the most was East Carolina. I couldnít justify putting them behind a Baylor team whose best win is Iowa St. Georgia has one win over an ACC team, but East Carolina has two.
South Carolina is the only two-loss team that made it, but the Gamecocks did so on the strength of their wins. Virginiaís just werenít strong enough to merit consideration.
I donít like ranking Missouri, but they have three wins over FBS teams. Obviously one of them is a very good win. I consider Indiana a bad loss, but it will take some time for them to show up that way even if the Hoosiers are in fact bad. Indiana is 2-2, including an FCS win; but the FCS team they beat is Indiana St., who is otherwise undefeated and has a win over an FBS team. So for right now itís just sort of a mediocre loss. I do have Missouri a few spots below where the computer put them though.
I certainly didnít want to put USC (the loss to Boston College isnít looking so good) or Minnesota (who was destroyed by TCU) in the top 25 even though the computer had them there.
The only other team I was really reluctant to rank was Marshall, but theyíre undefeated, and I couldnít justify putting anyone else ahead of them.
I tried with Michigan St. and Ohio St., because I certainly think either would beat Marshall; but there just isnít a good argument being that Iím trying to transition into the objective system. Michigan St. was the best available team; but they were 10 spots lower than Marshall, so there was really no way to justify bridging that gap. Ohio St. was even lower.
Michigan St.ís only wins are Jacksonville St., Eastern Michigan, and Wyoming, so I donít think thatís good enough. At least Marshall beat Akron (who beat Pittsburgh). I know that isnít much to go on, but itís more than Michigan St. has; and again, the formula is something to go on as well.
Itís also more than Ohio St. has to go on. Navy and Cincinnati are just not looking like good wins right now. Cincinnati only beat Miami U. and Toledo, and Navy now has three losses after losing to Western Kentucky. Even if the Buckeyes do have better wins than Marshall does, that still doesnít address the loss to Virginia Tech, whose only other wins are William and Mary and Western Michigan.
Cincinnati travels to U. Miami (the one in Florida) in a couple of weeks and also plays East Carolina in November, so if they win a string of games, that will help Ohio St. of course. Two byes and two wins over MAC teams (with two FBS wins between them) doesnít help much right now though.
Ohio St. and Michigan St. both have decent opportunities to join the top 25 next week.
I moved the top 25 teams an average of four spots each. There are only four teams that I moved 7 or more spots up or down. I moved Arizona down 8, North Carolina St. down 7, East Carolina up 10, and Louisville up 7. I am trying to avoid any larger jumps next week.
Note that I still moved East Carolina down two spots compared to last week, I still moved Arizona up 7 spots as compared to last week, and I moved North Carolina St. up two spots as compared to last week despite a loss.
I want to go back to the teams I skipped over for a second, Iíll have no problem ranking USC if they beat Arizona St. next week and are still in the computer top 25. I just think they need that additional quality win in light of Boston College losing to Colorado St.
Minnesota has a bye week, so theyíll probably fall slightly on their own. If their past opponents are still good enough for them to stay in the top 25, I will probably still put them there. TCU plays Oklahoma, and Michigan travels to Rutgers, so we shall see. The Gophers are 22nd in the computer formula right now, so if they stay 22nd, that wonít bother me anyway.
Iím not 100% sure that next week wonít be another transition week, but Iím leaning toward going to the computers exclusively or almost exclusively (sometimes I slightly rearrange the very top teams in early October) next week. I take serious issue with a relatively small number of the results for this point in the season.
I predict I will stick to the computer rankings in full after the games of October 18. Alabama plays Texas A&M that day. Auburn is idle, but in the two weekends before their bye (i.e., this coming weekend and the following weekend) they play LSU and Mississippi St. Mississippi St. is idle the week of the 18th as well, but not before playing Texas A&M and Auburn. Florida St. plays Notre Dame on the 18th. Oregon plays UCLA on the 11th (which could also make or keep UCLA #1), followed by Washington on the 18th.
Nebraska plays Michigan St. this Saturday, but I doubt they can get enough points in the next three weeks under any combination of wins and losses by the other teams I mentioned. The Huskers are idle on the 11th and play Northwestern on the 18th.
Oklahoma is back at #10, but they have a decent combination of games in the next three weeks: TCU, Texas, and Kansas St.
I had a couple more LSU thoughts. I never fully process everything the first night. As you may know, LSU has not had an undefeated season since 1958. Now that Iíve seen two national championships, really my long-term hope as a fan is to see another, so the first loss will always be somewhat frustrating.
There has been a game or two every season going back as long as I remember where I get intensely frustrated with the coaches and so forth. I was going to detail several of them, but I decided it would be pointless griping to do so. Hopefully it wonít happen again this season even if there are losses. I think I gave an adequate explanation of why I felt that way in the post-game blog.
I do have some hope that this season can turn out well. Some of the prognosticators have already written LSU off as a contender, but how many one-loss teams have been written off for the two-team playoff (aka BCS) only to come back into the picture or even to play in the title game? There was a one-loss team just about every year.
Of course, in 2007 we had a one-loss team many did write off at #1 (Ohio St.) and a two-loss team at #2 (LSU) going into the championship. If they have to finish with one loss to make the playoff, that means they have to win nine in a row to do so. I certainly wouldnít put money on that, but I would be less surprised by that than I was by everything that happened in the 2011 calendar year.
Les Miles and LSU after the Tigers won the SEC Championship in 2011.
To paraphrase the Mark Twain quote, the reports of LSUís long-term demise are greatly exaggerated.
Iím not worried about it yet. The last time I was worried about it was 2009 when LSU lost to Houston Nuttís unranked Ole Miss Rebels. Disastrous time management and Les Milesí instructing quarterback Jordan Jefferson to spike the ball had caused time to run out on LSUís final possession at the Ole Miss 6-yard line (Final score: Ole Miss 25, LSU 23), not that they really deserved to win anyway. That was LSUís 8th loss in 20 games. Rather than spiraling downward from there, LSU has gone 47-10 since the 2009 season ended. If youíre winning over 80% playing the type of competition LSU typically plays, youíre doing something right.
However, a long-term decline is inevitable. I donít think a single early-season loss to a veteran dual-threat quarterback is a sign itís all going to hell in a hand-basket, but at some point LSU is not going to be a serious title threat for a while. It will even happen to Alabama. Saban may have to retire, but it will happen. It wasnít that long ago that Alabama had no serious national-title-contending teams for a decade or so. When they did win in 1992, it was their first national championship since 1979.
Anyway, if LSU has peaked, it has still been a period of success to be extremely proud of. Compare the Tigers to other top programs from around 2003 (the year of LSUís first national championship since that 1958 undefeated team I mentioned).
Seasons with losses of four games or more since 2003 (inclusive):
LSU 2, with two BCS championships, one runner-up in the same period.
Ohio St. 2, with two BCS runners-up
Oklahoma 2, with one BCS runner-up
Oregon 4, with one BCS runner-up
USC 4, with one BCS championship, one runner-up (and one AP title)
Texas 4, with one BCS championship, one runner-up
Florida 5, with two BCS championships
Auburn 6, with one BCS championship, one runner-up
Florida St. 7, with one BCS championship
LSU has won two national championships since the last time either Oklahoma or Ohio St. won one, so I wouldnít switch places with them either.
Tennessee had won a national championship in 1998, just 5 years before LSU won in 2003, but the Vols havenít had a season with fewer than four losses since 2004. They had a decent run in 2007, but the loss to LSU in the SEC championship game (after Les Miles told everyone to have a great day) was Tennesseeís fourth. Thatís certainly an example of a program I hope LSU is not similar to in the foreseeable future.
Alabama wasnít really a relevant team in the early 2000s, but theyíve had 4 seasons with four losses or more in case you wanted to know, all from 2003 to 2007. Of course, since then the Tide has had three BCS championships and two Sugar Bowl berths.
Tennessee and Alabama were the only programs that won a major national title from 1992 forward that I did not include on the list above. I included Oregon, which hasnít won any, but they arguably should have made the BCS championship game in 2001 and have been a consistently strong program since, so I thought they deserved inclusion.
...For earlier access to my blogs, archives, etc., you can follow my†wordpress site†or my page on†facebook.
(Logos are posted for teams that are new to the rankings for the year.)
1 Auburn 1
2 Oklahoma 3
3 Florida St. 4
4 Oregon 2
5 Alabama 5
6 TX A&M 6
7 BYU 10
8 Ole Miss 9
9 S Carolina 11
10 Miss. St. Ė
11 Penn St. 12
12 Notre Dame 8
13 LSU 7
14 E. Carolina 15
15 Georgia 13
16 UCLA 17
17 Ga. Tech Ė
18 Rutgers Ė
19 Arkansas Ė
20 Okie St. 25
21 Washington Ė
22 Arizona 23
23 Nebraska Ė
24 NC State Ė
25 Virginia 19
Out of rankings: (14) Pittsburgh, (16) Boston Coll., (18) Va. Tech, (20) USC, (21) Louisville, (22) Ohio St., (24) Missouri
Explanation and future rankings
Iím putting this at the bottom because itís probably too boring and technical for many of you, but I do get questions about these things often.
Just to get to the point, what Iím going to do is make next week (and possibly the following week) a transitional period. I will compute and publish my computer rankings, but I wonít use those for my official top 25 right away. Iíll try to ease into that. For instance, if I donít have a team ranked this week, but theyíre #10 in the computer ratings after next week, I will put them between #15 and #20, then maybe if theyíre still #10 the following week, it wonít be as dramatic to actually rank them #10. Or maybe theyíll lose, and it wonít be a seesaw from unranked to #10 to #20-something.
Iíve already made some changes in anticipation of what may happen in moving toward that system. I gave very little weight to any preseason preconceptions about given teams or their opponents.
I did my best to do the ratings above fairly, but it has gotten difficult, and thatís why I can no longer use a fully subjective system going forward. I continue to second-guess myself and remain unsatisfied.
There are a lot of conflicting motivations at this point. Iím still moving from ďAre you going to be a good team?Ē to ďWhat have you proven?Ē At the same time, I donít want to put a team in the top 25 based on an early-season scheduling quirk and have that team get blown out. It will take some time before the teams that look good in games and teams that look good based on objective measures line up.
There is a team like this every year. In 2011, Stanford didnít really play anyone until October 22, then they played three of the next four against ranked teams and the fourth game was against Oregon St. on the road (which is rarely an easy win). Then the Cardinal still had to play Notre Dame (who was also ranked at the time) later on in November. This was the year they played in the Fiesta Bowl despite losing big to Oregon.
Anyway, getting back to this year, Florida St. is a good example of some of the difficulties. The Seminoles are not even in the top 10 based on wins and losses that have happened so far this season (a loose description of what my computer rankings consider). They beat Clemson, who I really believe is a good team, and Oklahoma St., who might be a good team also, but that doesnít do it at this point. Clemson doesnít look any better than Northwestern because the Tigers are winless against FBS competition (but both Clemson and Northwestern have an FCS win). Florida St. doesnít get credit for beating an unsuccessful (so far against Division I anyway) FCS team, nor do they get credit for a bye week. So that leaves Oklahoma St. The Cowboys have a somewhat respectable win over UTSA, but beating the team who beat UTSA is hardly something to hang your hat on.
Oddly enough, Florida St. has a good chance to improve its rating by beating North Carolina St., who I do not believe is a good team, but three FBS wins at this point over teams with four combined FBS wins makes them look good for the moment. All three of those teams are probably well below average, but that wonít be clear until later.
There is a preliminary step in the process where I get initial ratings of teams between 0 and about 7. So if right now, North Carolina St. is 6 and Clemson is 1, maybe in a couple weeks, theyíll both be 3.5, and at the end of the season Clemson might be about 5 and North Carolina St. about 2. So Florida St. might get similar credit for the two wins combined for the rest of the season even if neither team ends up anything like what has shown up so far.
It helps Florida St. that Clemson will likely get a wins of some quality by playing North Carolina and North Carolina St. in the next two weeks. Oklahoma St. isnít playing a great team in Texas Tech, but that will be an opportunity for them to add some substance to their resume.
The other major contenders already rate highly. Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, and Oregon all rate in the top 7 of the current computer ratings. Florida St. is still in the top 20 though.
So what Iím going to do is release my first computer ratings next week (a week earlier than originally planned), but Iím still going to do subjective ratings for next week and possibly the week after that. They just wonít be purely subjective. Letís say the winner of Miss. St. and Texas A&M comes out #1. I might move Miss. St. up to #5 or A&M up to #3 or #4, but I wouldnít rank either #1, at least not for a couple more weeks.
Itís also possible Iíll do another transition week after October 4. In other words, the subjective ratings may overlap with the computer ratings for a couple of weeks, but what I feature here will be the subjective ratings.
Also, sometimes for the first few weeks of the computer rankings, I change the top 5 of what I post here. I always make clear what those changes are, and I never make any subjective changes on my ratings site. I try to keep any subjective preferences off of that site.
Although that Missouri had a good chance to win the SEC for a while in the championship game last year, Iím still glad I didnít take the leap and make them #1. They should never have been regarded as the top team to beat in the country last year. I also wouldnít want to take that step early on for A&M, Miss. St., Arizona, N.C. St., or UCLA. On the other hand, if one of those teams is undefeated and rises to the top a month from now or more, Iím not going to alter anything.
...For earlier access to my blogs, archives, etc., you can follow my†wordpress site†or my page on†facebook.