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.
We're coming off of one of the most exciting weeks ever in college football, in what might be the most exciting year ever in college football. Almost every ACC game goes down to the wire (and, as a Clemson fan, I'm tired of it; give me a nice blow-out any day). Parity is the name of the game. As of this week, 23 of the 119 Division 1-A teams are 3-3, another 6 were 3-3 going into their games last weekend and another 11 could get to 3-3 this weekend. If it was all defense and bad play, it wouldn't be so great, but USC and Notre Dame trade 4th-quarter touchdowns, Penn State and Michigan trade 4th-quarter touchdowns, and West Virginia and Louisville trade TD's through 3 overtimes. And that's not even mentioning UCLA vs Washington State, Boston College vs Wake, Wisconsin vs Minnesota or Northwestern vs anybody.
The main difference at the top of my ratings compared to the polls is Penn State and LSU being a little higher. At this stage, strength of schedule helps both teams. There's no strong conference bias this year. The SEC has 5-7 but then nothing until 20. The Big 10 has 3, 8, 9 and 12. But 3 of the top 4 are from other conferences. The ACC has 6 of the top 30, which for some reason is where I stop counting. But, if you're a Wahoo, feel free to continue farther down the list.
We won't get the Paterno-Bowden Rose Bowl everybody was hoping for, but we may finish with more than 2 unbeatens to create a great argument. And, if there's only one unbeaten, there will be a huge argument among several once-beaten teams for the right to lose to USC. I think it's too early to give Tech a 12-0, especially since every game they have left is losable. The ACC is very balanced (just ask a Bowden). Texas and Texas Tech is shaping up as the most important game of the Big 12, and USC-UCLA might be a battle of unbeatens. The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for home field.
|79||San Diego St||38.72|
|116||New Mexico St||22.14|