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.
The links, formatting, and picture wouldn't post since I'm on my iPad (regular internet is out). Here is the address of the version on my site:
The Pac-12 edged the SEC for #1. I cover the remaining conferences below.
Part I: Frame of Reference
Part II: King of the Bowls
3. Big Ten
The B1G finishes with one more win than the ACC, which had qualified one more team, so even if you prefer looking at percentages, they would come out on top.
Ohio St. was of course matched with another conferenceís #1. Michigan St. still gets credit for beating Baylor even though the way they did it was kind of ridiculous. That was another evenly-matched game. I think TCU should have been regarded as the tougher team to beat out of the Big XII. Wisconsin barely held on in overtime in what should have been a win anyway over Auburn, the SEC #6.
The next couple of teams, the ones who unsuccessfully competed for the Big Ten West, lost. Minnesota lost to Missouri, but if anything Missouri was a spot higher in the SEC. (I donít think Missouri should have been considered the SEC #2 though since the best SEC team they beat during the regular season was Florida.) Nebraska played respectably despite getting rid of Pelini but fell short to USC, another fair match-up.
Maryland was a little higher in the Big Ten than Stanford was in the Pac-12, but Stanford basically had a home game, so they should have been expected to win, which they did easily.
That still gives the top six of the Big Ten a 3-3 record. Thatís one game better than the top six of the SEC, but the other teams went 2-2 rather than the SECís 5-1 in other games. Had they gone 4-0 to give the Big Ten a total of record of 7-3, the Big Ten could have had an argument for #2.
I mentioned in the previous blog that if the conferences were equal, Iowa (the #7) should have been better than Tennessee, but they werenít. On the other hand, North Carolina probably should have beaten Rutgers and Boston College probably should have beaten Penn St., so these results help me determine SEC, Big Ten, ACC in that order.
Northwestern might have been a better bowl team than Illinois judging by the good teams they beat (Notre Dame and Wisconsin), but like Maryland, Illinois didnít get a geographically beneficial game, so I donít treat them too harshly for losing to Louisiana Tech.
Since it didnít make the cut for #3, the ACC was the obvious #4. It got four wins, twice as many as the Big XII. They also qualified four more teams. I covered most of the games already. I didnít mention Pitt losing to Houston in the most ridiculous conclusion this year. I donít think it was bad enough to drop the ACC lower than #4.
5. Conference USA
6. Big XII
Conference USA went 4-1. The Big XII should have won both of the games they won anyway. #1 vs. #4, and #7 vs. #8.
I mentioned Louisiana Tech beating Illinois, the only P5 opponent. Marshall beat Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois is not a P5 opponent, but I think theyíre a serious enough program to be considered in the same category as a low-level P5 bowl team. The only loss was by UTEP to Utah St., which beat BYU and Air Force during the season, so theyíre no joke either.
The Western Kentucky and Rice wins werenít impressive, but it was too hard for me to put a 2-win conference ahead of a 4-win one. Obviously the Big XII will still be much better overall.
TCU did a good job, I have no problem with them being in the top 5. Whatever happens with my objective system, thatís how I would have voted them, but their conference just didnít impress me enough to be #5 in the bowls.
7. Mountain West (MWC)
The MWC went 3-4, but also in that conference, there was a steep drop from #1 to everyone else, so thatís why I kept them behind the Big XII. I mentioned the Utah St. win. Air Force also beat Western Michigan. It would have been embarrassing to lose either of those games. Colorado St. and Nevada barely showed up (losing a combined 61-13), and San Diego St. basically lost a home game against Navy (although I do realized there are plenty of Navy people in the area).
The independents went 2-1. They qualified three of the four teams in that category, the only loss was to a conference co-champion. There were wins over SEC #7 and MWC #6.
9. American (AAC)
The AAC went only 2-3 even with Houstonís miraculous win. The losses to N.C. State and Cincinnati showed pretty clearly that they donít belong in consideration for a power conference. Even Memphis, the only of the three co-champions to win, needed two overtimes to beat BYU. BYU, who at one time was predicted to go undefeated, had continually gotten worse as the year went on. East Carolina was respectable in a loss, but thatís not much to go on.
10. Mid-American (MAC)
The MAC went 2-3, but Bowling Green (who beat South Alabama) beat one of the worst bowl teams in history, and Arkansas St. (who lost to Toledo) wasnít much better. The MAC #1 got blown out, Western Michigan lost by a couple of touchdowns to Air Force, and Central Michigan lost to Western Kentucky.
11. Sun Belt (SBC)
Last is the SBC. I mentioned it got two awful teams into bowl games. Itís a shame Georgia Southern and Appalachian St. couldnít get those spots or maybe the SBC could have gotten a spot or two higher. The only other team the SBC got into a bowl is ULL, but they only had to travel a couple of hours (by car) in what has become an annual New Orleans Bowl tradition to play Nevada, who came from half a continent away and was #7 in their conference.
Walter Sobchak: Were you listening to The Dudeís story?
Donny: I was bowling.
Walter Sobchak: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. Youíre like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to knowÖ
-The Big Lebowski (1998)
The characters Donny and Walter
Standing alone, this blog probably wonít be very interesting, but I want to provide a frame of reference for later blogs I have planned.
As I had stressed at the end of the regular season, itís helpful to look at where a team is in a conference when talking about inter-conference games. For instance, itís not anything to brag about when a top-4 team of one conference barely beats a bottom-two team of another conference at home.
Iím going to start with what I think are fair conference standings going into the bowls. Since there are so many ties and since so many conferences have uneven conference schedules, you canít just follow the official conference standings. This wonít be exactly what Iíll go by when I rank the conferences overall; but, since I consider the bowls to be just another game (in actuality, if youíre not in the top 4, theyíre LESS meaningful than most regular games), it wonít be far off.
Even though the SEC West (for instance) went only 2-5 in bowl games, playing six bowl teams in the division should earn some consideration. Texas A&M and Arkansas (winners of the two bowl games) were not opponents that provided teams in that division a breather like the bottom two teams of just about any other division would have. To not be able to take a break at all in divisional play makes it harder to get to 7-1, 6-2, 5-3, etc.
I decided not to alter that by more than two games though. For instance if one team is 5-3 and another is 7-1 and the two teams did not play one another, Iím going to keep the 7-1 team ahead.
I also factored in non-conference play at times if two teams were close, especially where there was no meaningful difference in conference schedule.
Iíll list the conferences in the order I had them going in. Iím grouping Notre Dame with the ACC since it is part of the ACC bowl group.
There were a couple of teams such as Western Kentucky and South Alabama who were arguably lower, but since a bowl picked them instead of another team, I used that to break the tie rather than making it more complicated. Thatís also how Penn St. went ahead of Michigan and Northwestern (neither of which was eligible for bowls).
However, I included two non-bowl teams in the Sun Belt listings because they were clearly better in the conference than bowl teams. (They were considered transitional teams and would only have been eligible had other teams in the conference been ineligible for contractual bowl slots.)
SEC (12/14 teams in bowls)
2. Mississippi St.
4. Ole Miss
9. Texas A&M
12. South Carolina
Pac-12 (8/12 teams in bowls)
4. Arizona St.
Big Ten (10/14 teams in bowls)
1. Ohio St.
2. Michigan St.
10. Penn St.
ACC (11/14 + Notre Dame)
1. Florida St.
2. Georgia Tech
5 1/2. Notre Dame
6. North Carolina
8. Boston College
9. North Carolina St.
10. U. Miami
11. Virginia Tech
Big XII (7/10 teams in bowls)
3. Kansas St.
5. West Virginia
7. Oklahoma St.
(Other) Independents (2/3 teams in bowls)
Mountain West (7/12 teams in bowls)
1. Boise St.
2. Colorado St.
3. Utah St.
4. Air Force
5. Fresno St.
6. San Diego St.
Conference USA (5/13 teams in bowls)
2. Louisiana Tech
5. Western Kentucky
American (5/11 teams in bowls)
2. Central Florida
4. East Carolina
Sun Belt (3/11 teams in bowls)
1. Georgia Southern (NOT in a bowl)
3. Appalachian St. (NOT in a bowl)
4. Arkansas St.
5. South Alabama
MAC (5/13 teams in bowls)
1. Northern Illinois
3. Western Michigan
4. Central Michigan
5. Bowling Green
This is the link to my full blog, The Bayou Blogger.† I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@TheBayouBlogger).
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.