Welcome to the first 2006 installment of By the Numbers! The ratings will not be done weekly this year, but I did want to get one out while Clemson was still winning. You may be surprised to see Southern Cal at #1. Remember that the system only uses wins and losses and points for and against for each team compared to each of its opponents. On that basis, it's interesting that SC is #1, although they are out of favor with the human polls for not running up the score on Washington. (Note that Washington, at 4-2, is #21 here.) Just as one data point: everybody was arguing that Auburn was the best of the best (the SEC) before last week. And then Auburn loses badly at home to Arkansas, which had lost badly at home to SC. So why is SC being downgraded?
That said, the SEC does have 4 of the top 11 in this week's rankings. The Big 10 has 2 of the top 4, the Big 12 has 4 in the top 20, and 9 of the 12 ACC teams are in the top 88. So the ratings here mostly agree with conventional wisdon about the strengths of the conferences.
There is a good chance that two flaws in my system will significantly affect this year's ratings. First, I account for all Division 1-AA teams as being the same. So when Duke loses to Richmond, the system thinks that Richmond is the same as the William & Mary team that lost to Maryland. That team, by the way, has a fixed rating of 20. With a larger number of 1-AA upsets this year (two in the Big 10) than usual, this could distort some rankings. Also, the system does not account in any way for teams that improve. A team like NC State that loses to Akron and Southern Miss before finding a quarterback can bring down an entire conference; not that the ACC needed much help that way.
No really big games this week, but several battles that will help decide who's in the top half and who's in the bottom half of conference standings. The big game locally is of course the Thursday night game. I completely agree with the computer's pick of Clemson over Temple. Oh, you wanted the other Thursday night game. You might not like that pick much. The following picks are straight from the ratings with 4 points added for home field.
Clemson over Temple by 43 (a break before the Tech-nical part of the schedule)
Boston College over Virginia Tech by 8 (how good are the Hokies? It's not clear.)
Maryland over Virginia by 3 (my doctor says it's a Groh-ing problem)
Wake Forest and NC State even (both teams are still in the ACC hunt)
Rutgers and Navy even (5-0 versus 5-1, imagine that)
Michigan over Penn State by 14 (back to the days of the Big 2?)
Ohio State over Michigan State by 18 (more misery for John L.)
Southern Cal over Arizona State by 32 (this spread seems inflated to me)
Florida over Auburn by 8 (maybe War Eagle was looking ahead last week)
Nebraska over Kansas State by 9 (the Huskers are improved, the Cats not)
Missouri and Texas A&M even (can Mizzou stay unbeaten? can Franchione keep his job?)
|105||New Mexico St||27.33|
|108||San Diego St||23.81|