Welcome to the first By the Numbers of the season. I was actually thinking that I would not be able to post anything this year, but Dan Larsen came to the rescue and wrote a script to compile scores for me, making the data entry task non-existent. Thanks, Dan! Dan's script gets me all the scores, so this version of the ratings contains all FBS and FCS teams and games. That may be putting lipstick on a pig, but that's just the type of maverick operation I run.
If you're new to the system, all I use are schedules, net points and wins and losses. The ratings are in units of points. So with Texas at 92.8 and USC at 90.5, the conclusion is that Texas is 2 points better than USC. One way to view the mathematics of the ratings is that the ratings are the best fit to the games that have been played so far. In particular, if a team is winning its games by 10 points per game, then its rating will be 10 points higher than the average of its opponents' ratings. I do not try to account for home field or when a game is played; September games count as much as November games. I also do not account for injuries, or bad coaching, or fired coaches, or stupid plays, or bad referee calls. But enough about Clemson.
If you're like several of the national bloggers I've read lately, you won't be happy about Southern Cal being #2. And if you think it has something do with the 69-0 thrashing of Washington State HS, you should know that Southern Cal had been #1 last week. One rant on the CBS website claimed that SC never has to earn a high ranking, they get one unless they prove they're bad. Ohio State's fans might object to the idea that SC has not played anybody this year; 35-3 earned something. I guess we get tired of the same team at the top year after year, but otherwise where the hate's coming from?
With the first set of ratings, it's always interesting to see which conferences rank highly. By now, most of the intersectional games have been played and conference ratings are fairly stable. You'll find the usual Big 12 / SEC strength here, with the Top 10 containing 4 Big 12 teams and 3 SEC teams. The ACC is awful, with UNC the top team at #20; only the MAC and the Sun Belt failed to get teams ranked higher than the ACC schools. But, this is where it gets interesting. In the Top 40, the ACC has 8 teams, more than any other conference! The Big 12 has 7, and the SEC and the Big 10 have 6. Is the strength of a conference better determined by how many teams are top 10 or top 40?
The highest ranked FCS team is James Madison. The Dukes have only lost to Duke, and are a unanimous #1 in the polls. The next highest FCS team is Richmond, which lost to Virginia. The ACC habit of scheduling FCS teams may have helped them this year. By the way, the FCS list continues with Montana, Villanova and Elon, which is ranked 3 spots above Michigan.The two national games of note are Oklahoma State at Texas and Penn State at Ohio State. Plus whichever upsets occur. The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for home field.
|68||San José St||64.32|
|88||North Carolina St||59.02|
|92||Cal Poly SLO||58.60|
|95||William & Mary||57.61|
|99||New Mexico St||56.89|
|111||Middle Tennessee St||54.49|
|139||South Dakota St||47.82|
|141||San Diego St||47.14|
|149||Sam Houston St||46.13|
|150||North Dakota St||45.92|
|160||Stephen F. Austin||42.41|
|166||South Carolina St||41.77|
|170||Texas St-San Marcos||41.35|
|174||SE Louisiana St||40.58|
|185||Central Conn St||37.65|
|209||Prairie View A&M||32.22|
|210||SE Missouri St||32.17|
|231||North Carolina Central||20.08|
|238||North Carolina A&T||15.06|
|243||St Francis PA||7.82|
|244||Mississippi Valley St||7.06|