Welcome back to another year of By the Numbers! A brief description of the rating system can be found at the site http://www.roanoke.edu/staff/minton/bynumbers.html. Remember that the only data used are wins/losses and points for/against. As with all computer ratings, strength of schedule is built into the system and is very important. My system also uses point spreads, which (contrary to BCS propaganda) improves the accuracy of the system in terms of predicting future results.There's definitely a Left Coast tilt to this week's top 12. Here's one of many reasons this might be accurate: Oregon State lost last week to Cal by 42. This is the same team that lost at LSU by 1 after missing 3 extra points. Other reasons: BYU over Notre Dame, Fresno State over Kansas State, Utah over Texas A&M. Here's another reason, although I admit that this might not be totally relevant: my son Greg is going to school near LA. He has his own ratings system, which you can find at http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~gminton/football/.
The fun of this part of the season is trying to figure out who's for real. West Virginia lost their shot at a perfect season, although they look good in a conference that has struggled against New Hampshire and the Furman Purple Paladins. In the WAC-ky part of the west, Boise State and Fresno State were candidates for unbeaten seasons, until (to paraphrase the commercial) La Tech said FresNO. The guys with the blue turf still look good at #12. Also out west, Utah hopes that the Utes will be served a BCS berth. The Big 10 seems to be more about Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin than Michigan and Ohio State. Auburn and Georgia have taken the leads in the SEC. And suddenly all of the good teams in the Big 12 are in the South division. In state, you might want to check out the relative ranks of Virginia and Virginia Tech. In this system, losing by 11 to #1 is better than beating Temple or the Zips or whoever the Hoos play this week.
A lot of games this weekend will help separate the good from the ugly. Ignoring any Thursday games (would you believe it's too early for this commentary? not important enough? I don't want to talk about it), the following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for the home team.
Southern Cal over California by 9 (#1 vs #2, Cal cost USC the BCS last year)
Oklahoma over Texas by 5 (the Horns need Viagra for the Red River Shootout)
Michigan over Minnesota by 1 (can the Gophers handle the Big House?)
Ohio State over Wisconsin by 8 (another Big 10 wannabe with a big road game)
Georgia over Tennessee by 11 (battle of dawgs vs dogs between the hedges)
Florida over LSU by 5 (more bad news for the defending champs)
Virginia Tech over Wake Forest by 8 (the Should-Have-Beaten NC State Bowl)
Stanford over Notre Dame by 6 (Stanford had USC down early)
Cincinnati over Army by 10 (Bobby Ross looking for his first win at West Point)
|70||San Diego St||39.74|
|86||New Mexico St||33.71|