Posts Tagged ‘CFP’

Final Thoughts on CFP Bowls

In Bowls, College Football, Rankings Commentary on December 7, 2014 at 2:11 AM

I know this is early in the day for most of you, but I’m not the one who decided to make the selection show so early for west coasters like me. I’ll just have to find out the final verdict after I get up and have breakfast.

I’ll just do my regular top 25 blog later in the week, but for reference here are my ratings results. I use the numbers there below.

Final Resumes
(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
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 I’ll skip to talking about the fourth semifinal team.

Baylor’s win wasn’t really in doubt for the much of the second half, but I don’t 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 don’t 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 haven’t 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 don’t think Marshall and Boise St. are getting the respect that previous “group of five” 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 it’s similarly problematic to have Boise St. ahead of Baylor. There is a higher depth to Boise St.’s 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 aren’t Boise St.’s three best wins (they beat two others in the top 60), but they just happened to combine for slightly more points than Baylor’s 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 won’t 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 isn’t a bad loss, but Northwestern is pretty bad. They don’t even qualify for a bowl game. I mention those together because they’re 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. UCLA’s 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 doesn’t 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, and Georgia Southern.

I haven’t 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 hadn’t been there since my (subjective) preseason ranking….

We can also add Northern Illinois to the list of “group of five” teams that may be a spot or two too high. After Arkansas’s 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.


Damn Strong Football Team: Arkansas and Beyond

In College Football, Preview on November 14, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Whether it’s our fault, Alabama’s fault, or the referees’ fault we got there, I know we have to pick ourselves up off the mat and get ready for the next game.

The "Golden Boot" is prepared for its (hopefully brief) trip to Arkansas.

The “Golden Boot” is prepared for its (hopefully brief) trip to Arkansas.

Arkansas nearly caught us looking ahead to the time off last year (bowl game rather than bye week, but still). There have been many instances in this series where the team who wasn’t supposed to win has won. It should also be interesting because of the expected cold weather.

This is something I enjoyed from an LSU fan who goes by Scoob (I was going to be nice and link to the site, but the administrators of that site can join Ole Miss):

Tigers played a good game tonight, it wasn’t meant to be at the end.

Despite all the bitching (because, yes, this one hurt), people played well. Yes, even our young QB, who made some more plays than he did earlier in the year against potentially lesser opponents than tonight’s foe. The biggest thing to remember is this- we played the most physically talented team on our schedule and possibly the best coached one, and our players held their own.

We are returning just about every key player next season, so the future looks very bright. Remember- Alabama, Auburn, Miss St and Ole Miss are all about the same level this year; and we went from being crushed early on to being on the same level as them. And that’s, honestly, top-10 level on the field. Next year, even if we make minimal progression, we’ll be that way to start with. I expect we’ll see a pretty big improvement, so I think next season will be gold

My only objection to that is Jennings absolutely did not have a good game however you want to spin it. The receivers didn’t help him, but I honestly think we didn’t run the ball enough. I saw little evidence Alabama had a better run defense than Ole Miss did, but for some reason people were under the impression we needed to throw it extensively.
To give credit where credit is due, Jennings was improving in each of the last five games going into this one:

9/27 NMSU W 63-7; 2/5 11
10/4 @Auburn L 41-7 5/10 84
10/11 @Florida W 30-27; 10/21 110
10/18 Kentucky W 41-3; 7/14 120
10/25 Ole Miss W 10-7; 8/16 142

I’ll take four steps forward and one step back from a first-year quarterback with young receivers. I just wish the latter weren’t against Alabama. I would have preferred to win this one and lose the next two.

Also, it wasn’t all bad. He did establish himself as a runner, and as he describes it, the game has slowed down for him. I could tell he was looking in more than one place and was flexible about what to do with the ball. There were a couple of instances where he should have run and didn’t, but I think his decision-making has improved. It also hasn’t been as easy for defenders to tell what he’s trying to do.

I do hope Brandon Harris gets another chance though (Les indicated he would, but sometimes that really means that only if the score allows). They both seem intelligent and physically capable, but it’s taking them time to read defenses and learn the system. Unlike Mettenberger (and to a lesser extent Jefferson), they don’t have veteran receivers to make them look good at times. I don’t know why there were at least three huge drops, but up until now, the receivers generally caught the ball on the occasions when it was thrown well and a respectable amount of the time when it wasn’t.

Even ignoring the officiating discrepancies, the closeness of the game, etc., you can make a real argument that LSU is among the top 10 teams.

Two BCS computer rankings put the Tigers in the top 10, and only one of the six had LSU below #12.

Even looking at the polls, LSU’s ranking isn’t very good, but they only lost to teams ranked #9 or better and beat every team ranked 10 or lower. The philosophy of my formula is similar. LSU deserves some recognition, but if you have three losses—however and to whomever they come—you don’t belong in the national-championship conversation.

That’s usually good enough to put a team in the top 10 because most teams only have one top-10 opponent at this point if any. If LSU is 9-1 right now against a slightly more average schedule (TCU’s, for example), they might even be in the top 5.

I have LSU’s schedule as the 7th-hardest in my listing, but I admit my strength-of-schedule listing isn’t ideal. For one, it punishes successful teams somewhat because beating the teams you play lowers their rating. For another shortcoming, it only gives an average. So you could play one terrible team and it might not fully account for playing several good teams.

Let’s say all teams are evenly spaced apart. Numbers 64 and 65 are easier to go 2-0 against than numbers 1 and 128.

But both of those are actually arguments in LSU’s favor. LSU played New Mexico St., which has one of the worst ratings (they just moved up to 127). Also, LSU doesn’t have a record that the fans expect, but 7-3 is still a good percentage more wins than losses. Point being, it’s possible LSU’s schedule is one of the top 5 hardest.

I have TCU’s schedule as the 30th hardest. To be fair, the same caveats apply to them. They have a good record and they played a really bad team (in their case, SMU). So their schedule may be even better than that. I’m just not about to try to make up a system that applies extra weight to the better team or subtracts out wins by the team with the schedule in question.

TCU has beaten everyone #13 and below. They’re just 0-1 against teams #9 or higher (if you look at the polls), compared to LSU’s 0-3.

I think Baylor is over-rated though. The way I see it, TCU beat everyone #19 or lower and lost to everyone #14 or higher. So looking at things that way, they would actually go behind LSU.

I’m not saying LSU beats TCU or Baylor, but I do think it’s a logical problem with the way polls work. Theoretically, if there were some way to know for sure what the best teams are in order, the 4th best team would be expected to go 0-3 if it were to play numbers 1 through 3. I think most of the voters generally see the rankings as a list of which teams would beat whom, but they often don’t really vote that way if you think about it.

Anyway, however you look at it, I think this Scoob person hit the nail on the head with how good this very young team is right now and how even marginal improvement will put them in a very good situation to start next year.

We were also without a couple of key players for all or most of the game. For instance, Rashard Robinson is suspended indefinitely, Kendell Beckwith missed some early plays, and Kenny Hilliard was hurt in the last game (he is expected to be out the remainder of the regular season). These are additional reasons not to hang our heads and just say Alabama has our number, because I don’t think that’s true. Maybe it’s just easier for people to say to themselves the loss (such that it was) was inevitable no matter what.

Alabama is a fairly young team too, but LSU would be a much different team if it had a junior wide receiver like Amari Cooper to go along with its young offense. Also, I know Blake Sims hardly played before this season, but that doesn’t make him young in the same way LSU’s quarterbacks are.

Last year at this time, Brandon Harris was in high school and Anthony Jennings was a true freshman who had only completed two passes (against Furman and UAB) in his career. Some would argue they haven’t come very far since then, but just being on the field running the offense, not to mention development in practice, improves future ability to perform.

Also, odd years typically go better for us. I know we’re going to have to travel to Alabama, but we have a better record against them on the road anyway. Also, if we get them into overtime again, the road team is undefeated in overtime games in the Alabama series.

Since SEC expansion in 1992 (and probably significantly further back), LSU has not beaten both Auburn and Florida in the same season on the road; but in four of the last five opportunities, LSU went 2-0 against the pair of them at home. The exception was 2009 when Florida beat LSU on the way to finishing 13-1. LSU has won the SEC West in five of the last seven odd years and has never won it in an even year.

More LSU-Alabama Comments & Reaction to CFP Week 3

In College Football, General LSU, Rankings Commentary, Rivalry on November 12, 2014 at 7:16 PM

I didn’t get a blog off at the end of last week, but I think I’ll have no problem getting off another before Saturday. If for some reason I don’t, here is the link to the Arkansas series blog.

Like LSU-Alabama in recent years, it has been a consistently close game, but the differences are (1) this has been a trend over a longer time period of time and (2) Arkansas can be a lot worse and still make it close. Alabama, by contrast, hasn’t been a lot worse than LSU since 2003, and for the 15 years before that results in the series were not consistently close.

I plan to talk more about this year’s installment of the Arkansas game (and about LSU’s player development and so forth) for the next blog.

In a play that briefly seemed as if it would decide the game, Alabama's T. J. Yeldon fumbles, while Kendell Beckwith (#52) prepares to recover the ball.

In a play that briefly seemed as if it would decide the game, Alabama’s T. J. Yeldon fumbles, while Kendell Beckwith (#52) prepares to recover the ball.

I’m not quite done talking about the Alabama game though. Les Miles wasn’t either. Typically his Monday press conferences are about half the length this one was, and they focus on the next game rather than the preceding game. (He was back to normal… a Les version of normal anyway… when he fielded the after-practice questions today.)

If I understood the comment in the Monday press conference correctly, he said he submitted about 25 calls that he wanted some clarification on. He indicated he did have a satisfactory conversation with the director of officials, but I’ll just hold by breath for SEC officials to be paragons of consistency.

I thought the College Football Playoff committee might have seen the same things. I found it very interesting that LSU, which was only #19 after beating Ole Miss, is now #17. Really, they look better now than they did after the last time they played a game (which was the third win in a row and was over a team ranked #3)? Granted, Alabama moved up one spot in its bye week, but rather than placing Alabama a spot higher after Auburn’s loss, they kept the Tide in the same place and moved TCU up two spots instead.

Of course, I think this can easily be undone by an Alabama win over Mississippi St., but it seems to me this is a message that, “yes, we saw what happened.” I may go into more detail on the listing later this week. You compare to other rankings here and here.

Immediately after the game, I mentioned a couple of the big calls, such as the apparent overtime pass interference(s) and the late personal foul call against LSU (when nothing more happened than a continuation of the play on both sides after the whistle blew).

Now that I’ve calmed down and am a little less furious, I want to explain the game situations caused by a couple of other calls (and subsequent failures to review in both instances).

There were three passes intended for freshman slot WR Trey Quinn. Two passes, one of which hit him in the hands, just should have been caught. I like the guy, he’s still on the banner image of my twitter account, but there are no two ways about his need to have caught those. I want to talk about the third pass though.

I think the ones he should have caught were both on third down, so that would leave the first-down pass to Quinn as the controversial one.’s description of the play’s result was that the pass “fell short and incomplete”. The announcers said he trapped it and showed a brief replay, but I saw no indication that it hit the ground in replaying either the live version or the replay. They may have just been relating the apparent judgment of the official.

Whether this could have been overturned, I don’t know, but I can’t imagine the officials had a better view. I think when in doubt when a player has the ball in his hands and his arms under it waiting for it before it gets there, it should be ruled a catch.

Had the pass been ruled complete, LSU would have had a first down at the Alabama 38 with about 2:40 remaining. If LSU is stopped completely or goes backwards, they punt anyway. If they make either one more first down or between 5 and 9 yards, maybe they kick a long field goal (like the 50-yarder that beat Florida).

I mentioned that such plays as described above in reference to Quinn should be ruled a catch, and apparently that’s what happened on Alabama’s final drive of regulation. I suppose when it’s a question of Alabama, when in doubt it’s a catch rather than incomplete. I believe that qualifies as indisputable video evidence, but I haven’t seen slow-motion video zoomed in, just a still picture. Still, it’s pretty persuasive in the context of the live video (which I didn’t look up):

The replay official has the ability to stop the game before another play is run (which in this case was a spike). You’re probably thinking I would have complained had this happened. I would not because I didn’t believe it was a catch when I watched it live. I was actually in my living room signaling “timeout” (to allow time to review). It was only a 3-second difference anyway.

Had the pass been ruled incomplete, Alabama would have faced a fourth and four from the LSU 48 with 15 seconds on the clock. Even if they had completed the same play on fourth down, they would have then had to spike it for a field-goal try of 43 yards rather than the 27-yard attempt that would tie the game. Earlier in the game, Griffith made a 39-yard field goal and missed another 27-yarder.

Griffith has missed three of his last four attempts from 40 yards or more. The missed 27-yarder earlier in the game was his only miss from less than 30 yards, so the ability to get off that last play to reduce the attempt to 27 yards was huge.

From both LSU fans and others, I have seen the responses of “you (/we) should have been playing the same defense at the end as you were before,” “the receivers shouldn’t have dropped those passes,” “you (/we) should have run the ball in overtime,” “the kicker shouldn’t have kicked it out of bounds,” etc.

I’m sorry, when despite all these errors a game goes to overtime, it doesn’t take much uneven officiating to result in one team winning over another. You don’t have to play perfectly to say maybe you deserved to win.

I could go on about how Alabama deserved to lose due to the missed field goal, due to the fumble, due to only moving the ball into scoring position on one drive in the second half, due to possessing the ball for under 22 minutes, due to throwing as many incompletions (26) as LSU had passing attempts.

If your car gets stolen, maybe you forgot to lock it, maybe you parked in a bad spot, maybe you were in a bad neighborhood, maybe you should have realized how late it was, etc. That doesn’t mean a person didn’t steal your car, and it doesn’t mean that you have no right to complain about it. You can file a police report, insurance claim, and so forth. If the person is caught, they can be sued or criminally prosecuted. You’re not told, “oh well, live and learn.”

People might say I’m a bad sport or Les is a bad sport, but if this were a baseball game, it would have been played under protest even when LSU had the lead. Nothing about these complaints originated with the loss. I didn’t go back and look for excuses. Had I written my reaction to an LSU win, I would have mentioned how many bad calls they overcame.

Also, I have a couple of other things that have been bothering me. One, the attack on the LSU defense I referred to. Alabama wasn’t playing in the same way it was in prior possessions. The last time the field had been that spread out was in the second quarter.

The fact that Alabama only had the ball about a minute and a half in the third quarter made the LSU defense look good of course. They had the whole halftime to rest, then LSU had an opening drive that lasted 5:40, followed by a second drive that lasted 7:40 (although the latter only went 40 yards and resulted in no points).

In the fourth quarter before the last drive, Alabama only had a combined 12 plays, two of them punts and one of them a fumble. The best field position during that time was their own 28. They weren’t inclined to try anything too fancy.

But if a team is running a passing offense and running plays in quick succession, the defense can’t pretend they’re throwing 4-yard passes, safe downfield throws near the sidelines, or running the ball at a methodical pace.

I mentioned the second quarter, in which Alabama scored their initial 10 points and ran the drive leading to the missed field goal. There were a number of instances where there was an LSU player rushing at the end whether he couldn’t affect the pocket but where it created throwing opportunities. There were not enough players across the middle of the field and back from the line of scrimmage on the Alabama touchdown. On other plays, Amari Cooper was in one-on-one coverage on the sidelines and he got the ball that way. So LSU certainly didn’t want to make those mistakes again.

One last thing: it’s been 10 years, most people know Saban is a jerk, give it a rest. I hope next time we can pretend he’s just a regular visiting coach – like Kevin Sumlin or Hugh Freeze or Gus Malzahn or the various other coaches we’ve performed well against at home – and get past it. It doesn’t send a good message to be hung up on Saban. Putting him on a pedestal seems like it’s starting to give us an unhealthy inferiority complex. Worst of all, it re-affirms the judgment of the idiots who think we just need to somehow find a way to get rid of Miles and bring Saban back.

SEC Losses Are Coming

In College Football, General LSU, Rankings Commentary on October 29, 2014 at 4:38 PM

There have been a lot of people who have looked at the top four – whether it was the CFP’s or the mock BCS’s or my objective computer ratings – and have gotten all upset that it contains three SEC West teams.

First of all, that kind of consensus tells you they’re wrong to complain; but secondly, people forget this isn’t an 11-team Big Ten with an 8-game schedule and no championship game. No one is just going to avoid another top team or two and coast to the playoff.

Every team in the SEC West has to play every other team. The remaining battles start on Saturday, when Auburn plays Ole Miss. I can pretty much guarantee you they won’t both stay ahead of Florida St. and Oregon if the Noles and Ducks both win this weekend (if you count Thursday night).

It is impossible for any combination of three SEC West teams to finish with one loss or fewer and therefore extremely unlikely that three of them would be in the top 4 at the end of the year.

Each of the four teams at the top of the SEC West right now has two games left against the other four. Auburn plays Ole Miss and Alabama; Ole Miss plays Auburn and Mississippi St.; Mississippi St. plays Alabama and Ole Miss; and Alabama plays Mississippi St. and Auburn.

That’s not to mention the fact that two of the teams (Mississippi St. and Ole Miss) still have to play Arkansas. I know the Hogs are winless in conference, but their only losses are in the SEC West and to the best team in the SEC East so far, Georgia. The only other loss from outside of this top group was in overtime to Texas A&M. Also, they put a scare into Alabama, so they can knock off one of these teams.

Speaking of Alabama, even though they got past Arkansas, they have to win in Tiger Stadium at night in about two weeks. They have done that a couple of times in recent years, but it wasn’t easy. They needed to win in overtime in 2008 (even though that was the worst team Miles has had at LSU and the Tide were undefeated at the time) and in the last minute in 2012.

Auburn has to play Georgia, which appears to be the top team in the East, also on the road.

Speaking of Georgia, they’re the one SEC team that I could even imagine causing three of the top four to be SEC. Mississippi St. and Alabama could each finish with one loss (if Alabama wins out and Mississippi St. wins out apart from the Alabama game).

Alabama could be consensus #1 and go into the SEC championship game against Georgia (who themselves could win their remaining games). Georgia could win the SEC. I’m not sure if a loss to another one-loss team in Game 13 of the season knocks a team down from #1 to #5, but if I were a one-loss Oregon team, for instance, I wouldn’t want to have to find out the answer to that question.

On the other hand, LSU’s only losses are to two top-5 teams and they’re way down at #19 despite beating the committee’s #4 team last week. So the committee probably wouldn’t even allow that scenario to happen.

Speaking of LSU, they could be a catalyst for the SEC having just one team in the top 4. The Tigers are not eliminated from the SEC West. Alabama and Ole Miss beat Mississippi St., and Auburn could beat Ole Miss but lose to Alabama and possibly one other team (Arkansas and Georgia are possibilities). There would be nothing particularly strange about any of those results.

If there were a 4-way tie without Auburn under the above scenario, LSU would win the tie. LSU and Ole Miss would both be 2-1 against other teams in the tie, and then the resulting 2-way tie would be broken by LSU’s win over Ole Miss. There could be a 5-way tie, but unless one of the losses is to another team (such as Arkansas or Georgia), everyone in the tie would then be 2-2 against the other teams. This tie would then be broken by best SEC East opponents, which right now would be won by Auburn with LSU a close second. LSU’s opponents would have to be better (and not even) because they would obviously lose a 2-way tie with Auburn.

Anyway, even if Georgia wins out, they already have one loss, so a loss in the SEC Championship Game would give them 2 losses. If the entire SEC has at least two losses, it would make sense to give the champion a spot in the top four and no one else.

It doesn’t take anything crazy though for the champion of the SEC could have one or no losses and everyone else could have 2 losses. This would also probably result in only that one team in the playoff.

So it seems nearly impossible for there to be three SEC teams in the playoffs, more likely than not for there to be two teams, and quite possibly just one team.

In short, if you’re really nervous about there being too many SEC teams…

miss st keep calm

Mississippi St. winning out will make sure everyone but Auburn finished with at least two losses. The chances are pretty good that Auburn will lose a second game anyway.

I, on the other hand, want to see LSU get as close as they can.

Week 9 College Football Rankings 2014

In College Football, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on October 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM

I’m going to do things a little differently this week. To avoid confusion, I’m omitting last week’s rankings from the chart (I will discuss movement of teams in the discussion below). I’m listing my top 25 in order and to the right, I’m first listing the college football playoff top 25, followed by a mock BCS (I’ll just call it BCS from now on since there is no “real” BCS ranking anymore) ranking.

There are 36 teams that got at least some level of points under this approximated BCS system, so I’ll mention those who aren’t in my top 25 afterward.

The BCS formula can’t 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 I’ve made a pretty good approximation by using the AP poll and Massey’s “normal” ratings.

At least we can all agree on #1.

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 — , 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. — , (27)
17 TCU 7 , 11
18 Kansas St. 9 , 10
19 Arizona St. 14 , 12
20 Clemson 21 , 20
21 Boise St. — , (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 they’re completely unranked, they’re omitted):

26. Missouri –, 29
27. Ga. Tech –, 34
28. Minnesota –, 33
29. USC –, 28
30. Louisville 25, 35
31. East Carolina 23, 22
34. Wisconsin –. 30
36. Texas A&M –, 26
38. Stanford –, 32
40. Okla. St. –, 36

Explanation and future rankings

I don’t 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. I’m 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 don’t understand how my system works won’t be happy with these. Last week, Ole Miss was technically #1, but I just didn’t rank them as such on my blog because I wanted to see if they would beat LSU before taking that step. I’m 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 I’ll explain.

The first thing I wanted to mention is they’re 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 week’s (computer) #3, Florida St. Losing to LSU only subtracts 0.09 from Ole Miss’s score. Ole Miss still goes from 0.04 ahead of Mississippi St. to 0.14 behind. For context, in last week’s ratings, 0.14 was approximately the distance between #6 Oregon and #16 LSU. There just aren’t 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.’s 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. It’s 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.’s 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. I’ll give a couple of examples.

When I had Alabama ahead of Auburn last week, that clearly did not mean that if both won they’d remain in the same positions. The teams are basically in a race. If you’re ahead in a race and neither you nor your opponent fall down, you’re 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 it’s 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., it’s 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 that’s about to change with the Auburn-Ole Miss game.

Earlier rankings:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8

I almost forgot to mention I’m now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger