Week 8 Top 25 and Commentary

In Rankings, Rankings Commentary on October 23, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Top 25

rank / team / prior
1 Alabama 1
2 Notre Dame 2
3 Florida 5
4 Kansas St. 4
5 Ohio St. 3
6 Oregon 7
7 Oregon St. 6
8 LSU 12
9 TX Tech 8
10 Rutgers 11
11 Miss. St. 15
12 Louisville 16
13 Toledo —
14 Oklahoma 13
15 S Carolina 9
16 Florida St. 24
17 Boise St. 18
18 Stanford 19
19 W Virginia 10
20 Texas 23
21 Georgia 25
22 Clemson —
23 USC 21
24 Wisconsin —
25 TX A&M 14

Out of rankings: (17) Cincinnati, (20) N’western, (22) La. Tech

Full 124 permalink

Prior rankings:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7

Note about the SEC:

Mississippi St. is interesting at this point, even though they do have the games coming up against Texas A&M, LSU, and Alabama. The SEC has 9 of the top 27 best schedules and 11 of the top 44. The outliers are Alabama (#84), Mississippi St. (#107), and Georgia (#116). The bad ones may be better and the good ones may be worse, because when I factor in the third level (opponents’ opponents’ opponents), it evens out a little bit (or Alabama wouldn’t be in the top 3), but that gives you an idea of why Georgia is so low also.

Tennessee is Georgia’s best win, and they lost once again. Also, Georgia lost to South Carolina, which has since lost two in a row.

Not surprisingly, the SEC also has high numbers in the ratings. 4 in the top 11, 5 in the top 15, 6 in the top 22, 7 in the top 26. That’s half the conference in the top 26. There is a bit of a gap before the next SEC team (Ole Miss at #47), and then there is a four-team cluster (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Arkansas) between #65 and #71. This leaves only Auburn (#97) and Kentucky (#107) as lower teams.

Overall comments:

I was a little unhappy that both Notre Dame and Ohio St. escaped with narrow home wins on Saturday, but as things stand, I still have to explain their positions. Even though Michigan St. (a team the Irish beat) lost, they lost to Michigan (another team the Irish beat), so that didn’t really hurt them. The other opponents went 2-2.

I have ranked Alabama #1 again here even though they’re now down to #3 in my computer ratings. But as of next week, I’m probably just going with the computer rankings. If Florida is a very narrow #1, I may still pick Alabama, but if Notre Dame wins again, I’m making them #1, assuming that’s where they end up in the formula. I’m also excluding Ohio from my top 25 since it’s not really possible to give them a rating according to the same rules as the other teams. I don’t know if playing Miami U. will improve their rating enough to correct this. So I’ll continue to exclude them until this can be done. The rankings on the ratings site are, as always, unaltered.

Ohio St. slipped two spots because South Carolina and West Virginia, respectively, were much better opponents than Purdue was. Oregon moved ahead of Oregon St. due to the relative quality of Arizona St. over Utah.

I don’t particularly like how when teams close in rank play each other, they’re repelled away from one another, but if the teams are close, this will even out over time. Texas A&M was gaining points while LSU played Towson and Auburn, and those don’t count for very much. If LSU loses to Alabama, they’ll be slightly negative over the next two weeks. Texas A&M could be significantly positive by beating both Auburn and Mississippi St. Both Texas A&M and LSU have losses to Florida, so most of the current gap is due to A&M having the additional loss but not LSU. Also, A&M has had a prior bye week.

If Texas Tech beats Kansas St., the Red Raiders will likely be the #1 one-loss team, but of course, a one-loss SEC team would have a chance to pass them up (again?).
Rutgers, Mississippi St., and Louisville mostly just moved up by default.

Toledo had a pretty good win over Cincinnati (a formerly weak undefeated) and also, Arizona (the only team to beat Toledo) finally got another decent win, not that they should have been expected to beat Oregon, Oregon St., and Stanford anyway. (I guess the Pac-12 scheduler was an Arizona St. fan this year. The Wildcats have yet to play a game against the Pac-12 South.) Arizona themselves was also helped by Oklahoma St.’s win over Iowa St. I noticed something odd. Arizona has played three #18 teams this year. Arizona still isn’t ranked, but since there haven’t been all that many losses by ranked teams, a win over a now-top-35 team still helps out a lot. If Arizona does start beating all or almost all the Pac-12 South, you may see Toledo, Oregon, Oregon St., and Stanford tend to move up more than would be indicated by their week-to-week competition.

Oklahoma fell a spot by playing Kansas, little better than a bye week. I think 6 spots was a reasonable fall for South Carolina. Florida St. went up rather dramatically, but U. Miami is buoyed by a good schedule. UNLV (vs. Boise St.) and Cal (vs. Stanford) didn’t count for too much.

I guess Tubbs broke WVU a couple weeks ago, they moved down a lot. The only team above WVU who didn’t win last week is South Carolina and they were too far ahead, so that didn’t help.
Texas improved moderately by beating a struggling now-struggling Baylor team. Clemson (over Virginia Tech) and Wisconsin (over Minnesota) also got moderately helpful wins, but their improvements were more about a team like Texas A&M losing and a team like Louisiana Tech, who had lost to A&M the week before, losing. Northwestern also lost. USC beat Colorado, which barely counts as anything.

So I think that explains most things. All of my top 5 have challenging games this week. Florida should have the easiest time, but I don’t think Georgia is nearly as bad as their game against South Carolina or Florida nearly as good as their game against South Carolina. Lower down the list, Cincinnati @ Louisville and Michigan St. @ Wisconsin could be interesting, although the latter is less important than it seemed a couple weeks ago. (Wisconsin seems to be about to wrap up the Leaders [with Penn St. and Ohio St. ineligible, and no one else with a win], and Michigan St. is already 2 ½ games behind in the Legends.)

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