Sometimes when you try to do something fast, it comes out being half-fast. Such is the case with the ratings I sent out two weeks ago. It turns out that in converting to a 240-team league I made a little programming mistake. The bottom line is that the last set of ratings were based only on wins and losses (no points) and were artificially compressed. After a face lift, this week's ratings are much more stretched out with a 97-point gap between the top and bottom teams. I'm still a little worried about bugs, but the more I look the less apologetic I am about LSU and USF 1-2. The Bulls at #2 looked a lot better before they lost, but their wins over West Virginia and Auburn are quality, the loss to Rutgers is not bad, and the win over Elon is better than a win over, for example, Notre Dame. I would personally rank Ohio State #1 and Arizona State #2, but it's interesting that strictly "by the numbers" the Buckeyes don't rate #1.
One thought that I had was that Ohio State is tied with Michigan in the Big 10. Michigan lost to Appalachian State, which is currently mired in 6th in the Southern Conference. One fun aspect of the ratings is that I can play "what if" by changing a result. So I gave Michigan a 3-point victory over Appalachian and ... not much changed. Ohio State went up half a point, but they were still 4th. Michigan gained 3 points, which moved them from 18th to 14th. So the disregard for the Big 10 is more deep-rooted than just the one game. Minnesota loses to North Dakota State, Iowa loses to Iowa State, etc., there are a number of bad losses. And playing Southern Conference teams is actually better for your rating than playing MAC teams.
Saturday was a little bit of "Empire Strikes Back" with Michigan, Florida, Alabama and UCLA winning big games. But we still have some interesting conference standings, with Virginia, UConn, Kansas, East Carolina, Central Michigan, Arizona State, Hawaii and everybody in the SEC East leading. And Temple has won three straight! Meanwhile, we can just enjoy the last-minute touchdowns and upsets!
There are several big games this week, starting Thursday night in Blacksburg. My ratings have this as #7 against #14 as opposed to #2 versus #8, but it is definitely an elimination game. A loss eliminates BC from the national championship picture, and possibly Matt Ryan from the Heisman. A BC win virtually eliminates everybody else from the ACC Atlantic Division race. A Hokie loss does not eliminate them from the Coastal crown, but it would drop them a game behind the happy Hoos down in Hooville. There are two big matchups in the wacky Big East and tests for unbeaten Ohio State, Kansas and Arizona State. Enjoy the games!
The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for home field.
Boston College over Virginia Tech by 1 (Lane is often worth more than 4 points, but BC doesn't make many mistakes)
Virginia over NC State by 13 (will Virginia know what to do if it gets ahead? They've won all the close ones.)
Maryland over Clemson by 2 (These two teams specialize in losing close ones. So it won't be close?)
South Florida over UConn by 7 (USF lost last week at Rutgers but the computer still believes)
West Virginia over Rutgers by 1 (can the Knights chop down another top 10 team? This might be for the title.)
Ohio State over Penn State by 5 (an old-fashioned 3 yards and a cloud of dust? 3 yards and a fumble return?)
Kansas over Texas A&M by 6 (the Fat Man has the Jayhawks on a roll, the Aggies may roll Coach Fran out)
Arizona State over Cal by 12 (the first of 4 big games for the Sun Devils, the Bears try to get back on track)
Oregon over Southern Cal by 14 (I would take SC and 14, but it's interesting that Oregon's record is this much better)
Florida over Georgia by 9 (the cocktail party might be a mismatch, but if Tebow is ailing ...)
South Carolina over Tennessee by 3 (the Ball Coach would like to beat somebody from the state of Tennessee)
Texas over Nebraska by 11 (two teams that thought they were going to be a lot better)
|75||N Dakota St||72.22|
|118||San Diego St||62.38|
|126||New Mexico St||60.18|
|127||S Dakota St||59.78|
|135||Wm & Mary||57.89|