On, Wisconsin! The Badgers grabbed a second straight upset road win to take the Big 10 lead. They will be favored to win their remaining games, unless an injury to star defensive end Erasmus James is serious. But, at 7-0, why are they only ranked #21 by my computer? My thinking was that an average victory margin of 12.5 was holding them back. By comparison, USC has an average victory margin of 23. So I ran the system again, this time treating each game as a 20-point game; in other words, counting wins and losses but not the margin of victory. Wisconsin only improved to #15. While that put them at the top of the Big 10, it's still not close to the AP #6 ranking the Badgers enjoy. It seems that the computer is not impressed with the Big 10 in general, or in particular with Wisconsin's non-league schedule of Central Florida (0-6, #116), UNLV (2-5, #73) and Arizona (1-5, #76).
The ratings shown below are a combination of treating wins only and treating points only. The combination has proved to be more accurate predicting future games than either wins only or points only. The top 5 based on wins alone is USC, Miami, Florida State, Arizona State, Oklahoma. The top 5 based on points alone is USC, Cal, Miami, Oklahoma, Louisville. A couple of oddities: Boise State is #11 on wins alone but #28 on points alone; I would have expected it the other way round. Tennessee is #8 on wins, #26 on points. UAB is #17 on wins, #44 on points. Southern Miss is #26 on wins (including one at Nebraska) but #77 on points. Virginia Tech is #40 on wins, #13 on points. Florida is #43 on wins, #18 on points. After scaring Miami, Louisville is #22 on wins, #5 on points.
Southern Cal and Florida State gave two upstarts a rude smackdown. Notre Dame extended its streak over Navy to 41, Army won its second straight, Clemson extended its season-high win streak to one. Southern Cal looks good the rest of the way, with Notre Dame and UCLA being the likely challengers. Oklahoma still has a very tough road, with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M and a possible championship game collapse. Auburn has Georgia, Alabama and a championship game. This week's games include several battles for second and third place in conferences. The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for home field advantage.
Purdue over Michigan by 7 (can the Boilers bounce back at home?)
Miami over NC State by 19 (the Wuffpack gives FSU fits; will it be the same for the Canes?)
Georgia and Arkansas even (the Hogs are tough at home; how good are the Dawgs?)
Boise State over Fresno State by 19 (not the battle of unbeatens we expected)
Texas Tech over Texas by 1 (the Raiders won't score 70 again; can they win a tight one?)
Tennessee over Alabama by 13 (the Vols try to maintain their division lead)
Wisconsin over Northwestern by 14 (the next step toward an unbeaten season?)
West Virginia over Syracuse by 10 (Big East battle for those who care)
Florida State over Wake Forest by 21 (can the Noles keep up the intensity?)
|79||San Diego St||36.55|
|88||New Mexico St||33.35|