Welcome back to another year of By the Numbers! A brief description of the rating system can be found at http://homepages.roanoke.edu/~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.Look who's number 1! Clearly, it pays to recruit Salem High players (go, Nic!). The ranking may not last long, as Tech moves into the Big Turkey part of its schedule. To date, the schedule has been great: LSU and Marshall are unbeaten apart from Tech, the Aggies and Eagles are good, and even Arkansas State is 4-4.
Usually at this stage of the season, the computer has a favorite conference. This is always a little troubling, because due to strength of schedule an entire conference can be ranked high. This year is odd in that there is no dominant conference. The Big East has the top two but also has #101 (Syracuse!!!) and #114. Most TV people like the Big 12 and the Pac 10, but the Pac 10 has nobody in the top 8. The Big 12 does have 8 teams in the top 32 (check out who's the eighth of those!) but only 2 in the top 10. Among the top 40, the Big 12 and SEC have 8, the Pac 10 and Big 10 have 6 and the ACC has 5. So there's a fair amount of balance.
In spite of its troubles with a hurricane and the Hurricanes, Florida State gets a top 10 spot. This is another example of strength of schedule. Of course, it took special teams for both #6 and #7 to beat Clemson (and its special ed teams). Several surprise teams are on the charts: Notre Dame, Iowa State, Iowa, Air Force, California and Bowling Green have crashed the party.
This week's games don't have the star value of last weeks', but there are some important
games. The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for the
Virginia Tech over Rutgers by 54
Air Force and Notre Dame even
Alabama over Ole Miss by 9
Clemson over Wake by 7
Oklahoma over Iowa State by 6
Ohio State over Wisconsin by 8
Virginia over UNC by 16
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