Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rankings through November 28th

With only one week left before the bowl bids, the teams at the very top just keep on winning. Meanwhile, losses among BCS bid hopefuls Oklahoma State and Pitt have helped to slightly clarify the at-large possibilities.

First, the obvious: the winner of the SEC Championship game next weekend between Florida and Alabama will appear in the National Championship game. The loser will get one of the three BCS at-large bids. Texas will be the other half of the National Championship game if they beat Nebraska for the Big 12 Championship. TCU will get a non-AQ-group automatic bid to a BCS bowl, leaving only two at-large bids left up for grabs.

If Texas loses next weekend, they will certainly get an at-large bid, and we're going to hear lots of controversy about who should play in the National Championship game: Texas, TCU, Cincinnati (if they beat Pitt in the de facto Big East title game), or Boise State (if they win their final regular season game).

Will Boise State get an at-large bid? Let's break it down very quickly by assuming for the present argument that no three-loss team is going to get a BCS bowl bid this year (though that assumption might not be safe). This way, we take Oregon, GT, and Pitt out of at-large contention: if they win, they win the automatic bids from their respective conferences. The remaining variables then are Texas, Cincinnati, the Big Ten at-large hopefuls, and of course, Boise State has to win their regular season finale (otherwise this discussion is moot).

Assuming Boise State wins next weekend and no three-loss team gets an at-large bid, the remaining scenarios are:

If Texas and Cincy both lose next weekend, they very likely take the two remaining at-large bids, though Boise State, Iowa & Penn State fans might not be too pleased with the Cincinnati selection. More importantly, the bowl games (who ultimately make the selections) might decide a different selection is more lucrative. In any case, this scenario is bad for Boise State.

If Cincy wins and Texas loses, Texas certainly takes an at-large bid, leaving one left to go to either Boise State, Iowa, or Penn State. If the split goes the other way (Texas wins and Cincy loses), then perhaps the Cincy selection isn't quite so certain, leaving two at-large bids to split among these teams. Does Boise State get one under this scenario? I have no idea. Note this might also end up depending on the other conference championship games, in that it might be hard to rationalize an Iowa/PennSt selection over a Boise State squad ranked, say, five spots higher in the BCS Standings; but if other teams fall, the rank-order gap might narrow significantly.

Finally, the good news for Boise State: if Texas and Cincy both win next weekend, they take their respective conferences' automatic bids, leaving two at-large bids remaining. In this scenario, an undefeated Boise State is all but certain to grab a BCS bid, since the Big Ten can only take one at-large bid (to either Iowa or Penn State). The only way to deny Boise State in this scenario is to give an at-large bid to a three-loss team. So the Broncos will be cheering for the Longhorns and Bearcats, and if all three win, it looks like we'll see two non-AQ group schools in the BCS games for the first time.

2009 Random Walker Rankings (RWFL, p=0.75)
Games through Saturday November 28th:
1. Alabama (12-0) [1.4900]
2. Florida (12-0) [1.4155]
3. Cincinnati (11-0) [1.1452]
4. Texas (12-0) [1.0918]
5. TCU (12-0) [1.0246]
6. Boise St (12-0) [0.9648]
7. Oregon (9-2) [0.9501]
8. Georgia Tech (10-2) [0.9121]
9. Ohio State (10-2) [0.7874]
10. Virginia Tech (9-3) [0.7827]
11. LSU (9-3) [0.7669]
12. Miami FL (9-3) [0.7656]
13. Southern Cal (8-3) [0.7645]
14. Iowa (10-2) [0.7552]
15. Pittsburgh (9-2) [0.6931]
16. Oregon St (8-3) [0.6788]
17. California (8-3) [0.6785]
18. Stanford (8-4) [0.6565]
19. Penn State (10-2) [0.6446]
20. West Virginia (8-3) [0.6358]
21. Brigham Young (10-2) [0.6218]
22. North Carolina (8-4) [0.6187]
23. Oklahoma St (9-3) [0.6181]
24. Georgia (7-5) [0.6170]
25. Clemson (8-4) [0.6148]
26. Houston (10-2) [0.5983]
27. Arizona (7-4) [0.5967]
28. South Carolina (7-5) [0.5749]
29. Mississippi (8-4) [0.5728]
30. Arkansas (7-5) [0.5678]
31. Auburn (7-5) [0.5456]
32. Tennessee (7-5) [0.5430]
33. Wisconsin (8-3) [0.5170]
34. Nebraska (9-3) [0.5057]
35. Utah (9-3) [0.4952]
36. Kentucky (7-5) [0.4924]
37. Florida St (6-6) [0.4890]
38. South Florida (7-4) [0.4845]
39. Boston College (8-4) [0.4844]
40. Texas Tech (8-4) [0.4635]
41. Rutgers (8-3) [0.4605]
42. Missouri (8-4) [0.4569]
43. East Carolina (8-4) [0.4418]
44. Northwestern (8-4) [0.4401]
45. Oklahoma (7-5) [0.4367]
46. Troy (9-3) [0.4295]
47. Mississippi St (5-7) [0.4284]
48. Central Florida (8-4) [0.4237]
49. Navy (8-4) [0.4199]
50. UCLA (6-6) [0.4165]
51. Central Michigan (10-2) [0.4135]
52. Connecticut (6-5) [0.4011]
53. Fresno St (7-4) [0.3965]
54. Nevada (8-4) [0.3957]
55. Notre Dame (6-6) [0.3933]
56. Minnesota (6-6) [0.3872]
57. Washington (4-7) [0.3808]
58. Temple (9-3) [0.3637]
59. Ohio U. (9-3) [0.3557]
60. Middle Tennessee St (9-3) [0.3467]
61. SMU (7-5) [0.3434]
62. Wake Forest (5-7) [0.3420]
63. Texas A&M (6-6) [0.3256]
64. Michigan St (6-6) [0.3248]
65. North Carolina St (5-7) [0.3189]
66. Air Force (7-5) [0.3135]
67. Purdue (5-7) [0.3067]
68. Marshall (6-6) [0.3017]
69. Bowling Green (7-5) [0.2987]
70. Southern Miss (7-5) [0.2975]
71. Wyoming (6-6) [0.2968]
72. Idaho (7-5) [0.2954]
73. Syracuse (4-8) [0.2801]
74. Iowa St (6-6) [0.2788]
75. Arizona St (4-8) [0.2766]
76. Kansas St (6-6) [0.2754]
77. Virginia (3-9) [0.2729]
78. Duke (5-7) [0.2676]
79. Kansas (5-7) [0.2584]
80. Hawai`i (6-6) [0.2518]
81. UNLV (5-7) [0.2469]
82. Baylor (4-8) [0.2397]
83. Louisville (4-8) [0.2378]
84. Michigan (5-7) [0.2292]
85. Illinois (3-8) [0.2262]
86. Alabama-Birmingham (5-7) [0.2129]
87. Louisiana-Monroe (6-6) [0.2109]
88. Colorado (3-9) [0.2088]
89. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6) [0.2051]
90. Northern Illinois (7-5) [0.2041]
91. UTEP (4-8) [0.1987]
92. Utah St (4-8) [0.1975]
93. Vanderbilt (2-10) [0.1936]
94. Indiana (4-8) [0.1921]
95. Tulsa (5-7) [0.1916]
96. Maryland (2-10) [0.1891]
97. Florida Int'l (3-8) [0.1875]
98. San Diego St (4-8) [0.1832]
99. Washington St (1-11) [0.1824]
100. Louisiana Tech (3-8) [0.1811]
101. Colorado St (3-9) [0.1793]
102. Buffalo (5-7) [0.1768]
103. Toledo (5-7) [0.1691]
104. San Jose St (2-9) [0.1567]
105. Tulane (3-9) [0.1565]
106. Florida Atlantic (4-7) [0.1515]
107. Kent St (5-7) [0.1509]
108. Army (5-6) [0.1361]
109. Rice (2-10) [0.1264]
110. Western Michigan (5-7) [0.1248]
111. New Mexico St (3-9) [0.1220]
112. Memphis (2-10) [0.1167]
113. Arkansas St (3-8) [0.1092]
114. Miami OH (1-11) [0.1084]
115. New Mexico (1-11) [0.1035]
116. Akron (3-9) [0.1004]
117. North Texas (2-10) [0.0790]
118. Ball St (2-10) [0.0631]
119. Western Kentucky (0-11) [0.0062]
120. Eastern Michigan (0-12) [-0.0022]
Conference Rankings (Average Per Team):
SEC 0.6840
Pac10 0.5581
BigEast 0.5423
ACC 0.5048
Big10 0.4373
Big12 0.4300
MWC 0.3850
WAC 0.3290
FBSInd 0.3164
CUSA 0.2841
MAC 0.1944
SunBelt 0.1917
Non-FBS -0.0825

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rankings through November 21st

Another week of wins at the top of last week's BCS Standings. The most prominent loss near the top of the Standings was LSU's confused clock management thriller at Ole Miss. Of course, other losses by Notre Dame, Kansas and Michigan make big news because coaching jobs might be on the line, but we're now most interested in the BCS Bowl bids here.

All signs continue to point to a probable Alabama/Florida v. Texas National Championship Game, though of course that might depend on teams continuing to win. That said, it's becoming conceivable that Texas could lose a game down the stretch and still appear in the National Championship (the earliest compelling argument I heard for this was on Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast). So I continue to be most interested right now in whether Boise State will get a BCS at-large bid this year.

Without repeating yesterday's post, the LSU loss possibly hurts Boise State a little, simply because LSU wasn't going to get a BCS Bowl bid anyway (assuming Florida and Alabama get them, with only two allowed per conference). So LSU will fall from their current BCS#8 spot, and someone else who might be in the running for an at-large bid will be able to make a stronger case. Maybe I'm splitting hairs here worrying on Boise State's behalf about one loss by LSU. But there could be a lot of teams making a respectable case for an at-large bid if they don't win their conference championships: Texas plays Nebraska, GT faces Clemson, Cincy gets Pitt, and Oregon hosts Oregon State in the now de facto Pac-10 championship game. Again, we take it as a given that the loser of Florida/Alabama will get an at-large bid, and we assume that TCU will get the non-AQ-group automatic berth if they beat New Mexico next week. That leaves two at-large bids remaining, some of which could disappear to losers of the conference championship games, or even to the Big Ten.

2009 Random Walker Rankings (RWFL, p=0.75)
Games through Saturday November 21st:
1. Alabama (11-0) [1.3873]
2. Florida (11-0) [1.2604]
3. Cincinnati (10-0) [1.2062]
4. Georgia Tech (10-1) [1.1521]
5. TCU (11-0) [1.1169]
6. Texas (11-0) [1.0729]
7. Oregon (9-2) [0.9538]
8. Boise St (11-0) [0.9062]
9. Pittsburgh (9-1) [0.8839]
10. Ohio State (10-2) [0.8350]
11. Virginia Tech (8-3) [0.7996]
12. Miami FL (8-3) [0.7874]
13. Iowa (10-2) [0.7809]
14. North Carolina (8-3) [0.7454]
15. Southern Cal (7-3) [0.7449]
16. Clemson (8-3) [0.7240]
17. Penn State (10-2) [0.6923]
18. California (8-3) [0.6850]
19. Oklahoma St (9-2) [0.6742]
20. Oregon St (8-3) [0.6731]
21. LSU (8-3) [0.6490]
22. Stanford (7-4) [0.6206]
23. Mississippi (8-3) [0.6025]
24. Houston (9-2) [0.5948]
25. Arizona (6-4) [0.5763]
26. Arkansas (7-4) [0.5670]
27. West Virginia (7-3) [0.5627]
28. Utah (9-2) [0.5575]
29. South Florida (7-3) [0.5547]
30. Brigham Young (9-2) [0.5481]
31. Wisconsin (8-3) [0.5401]
32. Florida St (6-5) [0.5242]
33. Auburn (7-4) [0.5063]
34. Navy (8-3) [0.5059]
35. Kentucky (7-4) [0.5029]
36. Boston College (7-4) [0.4981]
37. South Carolina (6-5) [0.4919]
38. Georgia (6-5) [0.4811]
39. Nebraska (8-3) [0.4753]
40. Rutgers (7-3) [0.4727]
41. Northwestern (8-4) [0.4598]
42. Temple (9-2) [0.4448]
43. Tennessee (6-5) [0.4446]
44. Notre Dame (6-5) [0.4387]
45. Missouri (7-4) [0.4333]
46. UCLA (6-5) [0.4262]
47. Texas Tech (7-4) [0.4256]
48. East Carolina (7-4) [0.4150]
49. Central Florida (7-4) [0.4123]
50. Minnesota (6-6) [0.4084]
51. Central Michigan (9-2) [0.4007]
52. Troy (8-3) [0.3985]
53. Connecticut (5-5) [0.3958]
54. Nevada (8-3) [0.3955]
55. Fresno St (7-4) [0.3857]
56. Washington (3-7) [0.3645]
57. Mississippi St (4-7) [0.3637]
58. Oklahoma (6-5) [0.3586]
59. Michigan St (6-6) [0.3419]
60. Wake Forest (4-7) [0.3372]
61. Southern Miss (7-4) [0.3362]
62. Marshall (6-5) [0.3341]
63. Idaho (7-4) [0.3291]
64. SMU (6-5) [0.3276]
65. Middle Tennessee St (8-3) [0.3266]
66. Purdue (5-7) [0.3241]
67. Air Force (7-5) [0.3215]
68. Syracuse (4-7) [0.3196]
69. Virginia (3-8) [0.3158]
70. Duke (5-6) [0.3154]
71. Texas A&M (6-5) [0.3116]
72. Ohio U. (8-3) [0.3014]
73. North Carolina St (4-7) [0.2844]
74. Wyoming (5-6) [0.2841]
75. Iowa St (6-6) [0.2825]
76. Arizona St (4-7) [0.2815]
77. Kansas (5-6) [0.2761]
78. Bowling Green (6-5) [0.2736]
79. Louisville (4-7) [0.2728]
80. Kansas St (6-6) [0.2699]
81. Baylor (4-7) [0.2485]
82. Michigan (5-7) [0.2481]
83. Northern Illinois (7-4) [0.2280]
84. UNLV (4-7) [0.2276]
85. Alabama-Birmingham (5-6) [0.2244]
86. Louisiana-Monroe (6-5) [0.2230]
87. Illinois (3-7) [0.2219]
88. Colorado (3-8) [0.2155]
89. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-5) [0.2121]
90. Maryland (2-9) [0.2100]
91. San Diego St (4-7) [0.2051]
92. Indiana (4-8) [0.2047]
93. Colorado St (3-8) [0.1993]
94. Hawai`i (5-6) [0.1967]
95. Toledo (5-6) [0.1940]
96. Washington St (1-10) [0.1870]
97. Vanderbilt (2-10) [0.1809]
98. Florida Int'l (3-8) [0.1781]
99. Kent St (5-6) [0.1717]
100. Louisiana Tech (3-8) [0.1702]
101. Tulsa (4-7) [0.1675]
102. Buffalo (4-7) [0.1650]
103. UTEP (3-8) [0.1637]
104. Tulane (3-8) [0.1588]
105. Utah St (3-8) [0.1586]
106. Western Michigan (5-6) [0.1557]
107. Army (5-6) [0.1415]
108. Florida Atlantic (3-7) [0.1384]
109. San Jose St (1-9) [0.1352]
110. New Mexico St (3-8) [0.1303]
111. Memphis (2-9) [0.1249]
112. Rice (2-9) [0.1204]
113. Miami OH (1-11) [0.1152]
114. Akron (2-9) [0.0997]
115. Arkansas St (2-8) [0.0908]
116. North Texas (2-9) [0.0851]
117. New Mexico (1-10) [0.0814]
118. Ball St (1-10) [0.0415]
119. Western Kentucky (0-10) [0.0134]
120. Eastern Michigan (0-11) [0.0131]
Conference Rankings (Average Per Team):
SEC 0.6198
BigEast 0.5836
ACC 0.5578
Pac10 0.5513
Big10 0.4597
Big12 0.4203
MWC 0.3935
FBSInd 0.3620
WAC 0.3119
CUSA 0.2816
MAC 0.2003
SunBelt 0.1851
Non-FBS -0.0831

Labels: ,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Breaking Down the BCS Bowl Bids

Last year in this space, we watched anxiously throughout November as Boise State tried to make its case for a BCS Bowl bid on the field, and in the Standings, only to have the last at-large bowl bid go to a lesser-ranked Ohio State team. Anyone else getting a sense of deja vu here?

Wait, you say, Boise State is currently #6 in the BCS Standings, and there are 10 BCS Bowl bids (Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar, and the National Championship Game). Ah, but how do teams qualify for BCS games? In the rules, Boise State is what the latest politically correct college football language deems a "non-AQ group" school (that is, they are not from a conference with an Automatic Qualifier). A non-AQ group school can earn an automatic BCS berth if they do well enough in the Standings; but the rules are also very explicit that "No more than one such team from the non-AQ group shall earn an automatic berth in any year." Last year, that berth went to Utah. This year, if both TCU and Boise State win out, it will almost certainly go to TCU.

So does Boise State have any shot at getting an at-large selection this year? First, it obviously depends on their winning out; if they lose, their BCS bid is finished. Second, it depends on who wins the AQ conferences, because those winners take 6 of the 10 spots. If TCU wins out, they'll almost certainly take a 7th automatic qualification (and if they don't, then the discussion simplifies because an undefeated Boise State would get it instead). So who will get the other three at-large spots? The SEC runner-up, definitely a given. If Texas doesn't win the Big 12, they would almost certainly still be in the running for a bid. So there may be either one or two more slots for Boise State to try to take.

Remembering that BCS at-large bids do not need to follow the BCS Standings beyond a top-14 requirement (as when Ohio State was selected over Boise State last year), it's perhaps still reasonable to look at the top teams in the Standings to see who else might legitimately get selected over a non-automatic Boise State. In the Big East, Cincinnati is currently #5 and Pitt is #9, and obviously only one of them will win that conference. At #7, Georgia Tech might be a candidate for an at-large bid if they fail to win the ACC. Luckily for Boise State, #8 LSU is not a worry right now because each conference can only get two bids, and we already counted two to the SEC. Meanwhile, #10 Ohio State has already wrapped up the Big Ten, which is also good for Boise State. In contrast, #11 Oregon is still fighting in the Pac-10, and #12 Oklahoma State won last night to increase their chances. And the financial incentives for the bowl games built into the at-large selections might cause one to look at a second Big Ten school, with Iowa at #13 and Penn State at #14.

That's a lot of teams fighting for at most two spots. While some of the confusion might clarify this weekend or next, much might remain unresolved until the conference championships.

----

Unsurprisingly, we aren't the only ones who have been talking about Boise State's BCS at-large chances. See also:
  • PR firm hired to make push for Boise St.
  • Boise State still in line for at-large
  • Boise State fans need to pull for Texas, root against Oklahoma State
  • Labels: ,

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Rankings through November 14th

    No big changes at the top of the RWFL rankings this week.

    TCU solidified their position across various p bias values---if you look at the plot below the list of ranks, their win against Utah definitely helps in general, but still leaves them in fourth-place at the selected p=0.75 value posted here. This might help solidify TCU's narrowly-held #4 position in the BCS Standings, since they were already ahead of Cincinnati in both polls and should now do better than before in the computer component. But of course TCU will still be behind Texas in the BCS Standings, since they were already ahead of Texas in the composite of the computers and were still well behind Texas in the Standings.

    That is, unless someone loses, we seem to be on course for a championship game between Texas and the winner of the Florida-Alabama "semifinal" SEC Championship game. TCU is on course for an automatic BCS bowl game berth; in contrast, Boise State's relatively weaker strength of schedule continues to leave them later in the discussion. Because of the wrinkles in the rules that only give one automatic BCS bid to the "non-AQ group", Boise State will possibly be hoping for one of the at-large bids, and those at-large bids do not have to follow the BCS Standings, as Boise State learned all too well last year when they watched a lower-rated Ohio State team take the last BCS bid.

    2009 Random Walker Rankings (RWFL, p=0.75)
    Games through Saturday November 14th:
    1. Alabama (10-0) [1.4580]
    2. Florida (10-0) [1.3715]
    3. Cincinnati (10-0) [1.1665]
    4. TCU (10-0) [1.1513]
    5. Georgia Tech (10-1) [1.1157]
    6. Texas (10-0) [1.0832]
    7. Boise St (10-0) [0.9626]
    8. Oregon (8-2) [0.9185]
    9. Pittsburgh (9-1) [0.8749]
    10. Ohio State (9-2) [0.8747]
    11. Iowa (9-2) [0.8048]
    12. LSU (8-2) [0.7904]
    13. Southern Cal (7-3) [0.7818]
    14. Virginia Tech (7-3) [0.7656]
    15. Miami FL (7-3) [0.7521]
    16. Stanford (7-3) [0.7219]
    17. Clemson (7-3) [0.7040]
    18. Oregon St (7-3) [0.6998]
    19. Oklahoma St (8-2) [0.6666]
    20. Penn State (9-2) [0.6635]
    21. Arizona (6-3) [0.6618]
    22. Wisconsin (8-2) [0.6567]
    23. North Carolina (7-3) [0.6480]
    24. California (7-3) [0.6326]
    25. Houston (8-2) [0.6094]
    26. Utah (8-2) [0.5507]
    27. Boston College (7-3) [0.5498]
    28. Georgia (6-4) [0.5491]
    29. Arkansas (6-4) [0.5351]
    30. Navy (8-3) [0.5326]
    31. Rutgers (7-2) [0.5299]
    32. Brigham Young (8-2) [0.5200]
    33. Mississippi (7-3) [0.5192]
    34. Notre Dame (6-4) [0.5182]
    35. West Virginia (7-3) [0.5174]
    36. South Florida (6-3) [0.5016]
    37. Auburn (7-4) [0.4948]
    38. Florida St (5-5) [0.4892]
    39. South Carolina (6-5) [0.4885]
    40. Kentucky (6-4) [0.4662]
    41. Nebraska (7-3) [0.4464]
    42. Tennessee (5-5) [0.4407]
    43. Temple (8-2) [0.4321]
    44. Minnesota (6-5) [0.4253]
    45. UCLA (5-5) [0.4175]
    46. Central Michigan (8-2) [0.4161]
    47. Northwestern (7-4) [0.4023]
    48. Nevada (7-3) [0.4020]
    49. Missouri (6-4) [0.4008]
    50. Mississippi St (4-6) [0.4004]
    51. Troy (7-3) [0.3978]
    52. Washington (3-7) [0.3974]
    53. Oklahoma (6-4) [0.3954]
    54. Fresno St (6-4) [0.3905]
    55. Central Florida (6-4) [0.3814]
    56. Texas Tech (6-4) [0.3731]
    57. SMU (6-4) [0.3699]
    58. Michigan St (6-5) [0.3674]
    59. Idaho (7-4) [0.3505]
    60. East Carolina (5-4) [0.3505]
    61. Air Force (7-4) [0.3443]
    62. Wake Forest (4-7) [0.3439]
    63. Connecticut (4-5) [0.3345]
    64. Purdue (4-7) [0.3231]
    65. Virginia (3-7) [0.3212]
    66. Arizona St (4-6) [0.3201]
    67. Middle Tennessee St (7-3) [0.3143]
    68. Duke (5-5) [0.3137]
    69. Southern Miss (6-4) [0.3070]
    70. Iowa St (6-5) [0.3040]
    71. North Carolina St (4-6) [0.2888]
    72. Marshall (5-5) [0.2861]
    73. Kansas St (6-5) [0.2809]
    74. Texas A&M (5-5) [0.2760]
    75. Baylor (4-6) [0.2692]
    76. Ohio U. (7-3) [0.2686]
    77. Northern Illinois (7-3) [0.2680]
    78. Louisville (4-6) [0.2678]
    79. Kansas (5-5) [0.2672]
    80. Wyoming (5-5) [0.2672]
    81. Michigan (5-6) [0.2657]
    82. Bowling Green (5-5) [0.2629]
    83. Syracuse (3-7) [0.2547]
    84. Louisiana-Monroe (6-4) [0.2545]
    85. Alabama-Birmingham (5-5) [0.2298]
    86. Colorado St (3-7) [0.2291]
    87. Indiana (4-7) [0.2266]
    88. UNLV (4-7) [0.2246]
    89. Illinois (3-7) [0.2220]
    90. Maryland (2-8) [0.2139]
    91. San Diego St (4-6) [0.2120]
    92. Colorado (3-7) [0.2109]
    93. Washington St (1-9) [0.1993]
    94. Tulsa (4-5) [0.1976]
    95. UTEP (3-7) [0.1941]
    96. Toledo (4-6) [0.1931]
    97. Vanderbilt (2-9) [0.1914]
    98. Louisiana-Lafayette (5-5) [0.1894]
    99. Hawai`i (4-6) [0.1863]
    100. Louisiana Tech (3-7) [0.1856]
    101. Kent St (5-5) [0.1831]
    102. Tulane (3-7) [0.1678]
    103. San Jose St (1-8) [0.1599]
    104. Western Michigan (5-6) [0.1574]
    105. Florida Int'l (3-7) [0.1571]
    106. Buffalo (3-7) [0.1481]
    107. Utah St (3-7) [0.1453]
    108. Florida Atlantic (3-6) [0.1425]
    109. New Mexico St (3-7) [0.1328]
    110. Army (4-6) [0.1321]
    111. Miami OH (1-10) [0.1248]
    112. Memphis (2-8) [0.1102]
    113. Akron (2-8) [0.1020]
    114. North Texas (2-8) [0.0981]
    115. Rice (1-9) [0.0951]
    116. Arkansas St (2-7) [0.0923]
    117. New Mexico (0-10) [0.0460]
    118. Ball St (1-9) [0.0344]
    119. Eastern Michigan (0-10) [0.0140]
    120. Western Kentucky (0-10) [0.0125]
    Conference Rankings (Average Per Team):
    SEC 0.6421
    Pac10 0.5751
    BigEast 0.5559
    ACC 0.5422
    Big10 0.4756
    Big12 0.4145
    FBSInd 0.3943
    MWC 0.3939
    WAC 0.3239
    CUSA 0.2749
    MAC 0.2004
    SunBelt 0.1843
    Non-FBS -0.0836

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    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Rankings through October 17th

    Some quick, probably insufficiently thought out comments about the new rankings... It seems fairly typical (in an unscientifically sampled way) to see algorithmic rankings start to make more sense here in the middle part of the season, as there is more information available and, in particular, as the number of undefeateds dwindles. The big end-of-season controversies usually don't start to make themselves clearer until later, because there are so many games left to play with so many different possible outcomes between now and then. Still, if you want, you can definitely start to guess at possible controversies to come, if the game outcomes align certain ways, particularly as more of the remaining undefeateds eventually lose.

    Looking at the one-loss teams in the top 10 or top 12, along with two-loss Virginia Tech, one could certainly quibble over ordering; but each team's appearance there seems reasonable enough at this stage. LSU lost to Florida. Oregon's only loss was to Boise State (and helps to make the Broncos look subsequently better). But how does two-loss VT stay ranked so high? It's all about who they lost to, and who those teams lost to. Taken as a 3-team unit, ignoring their games against each other, the GT-VT-Miami triangle have only one loss: VT's loss to Alabama. The other three losses on their combined schedules are the three times one of them beat another. So in the "but my team beat your team" arguments, there are a lot of victories drawing some votes towards these teams, only the one loss to Alabama draining them away, and a lot of votes cycling around the triangle made up of these three teams.

    And just in case you think there's an ACC bias here (there isn't), take a look at the conference rankings at the bottom of this post (told you).

    2009 Random Walker Rankings (RWFL, p=0.75)
    Games through Saturday October 17th:
    1. Florida (6-0) [2.7889]
    2. Alabama (7-0) [2.5812]
    3. Iowa (7-0) [2.3490]
    4. Texas (6-0) [1.9274]
    5. Cincinnati (6-0) [1.7367]
    6. Boise St (6-0) [1.7106]
    7. LSU (5-1) [1.6075]
    8. Georgia Tech (6-1) [1.5798]
    9. Virginia Tech (5-2) [1.4777]
    10. TCU (6-0) [1.4662]
    11. Miami FL (5-1) [1.4501]
    12. Oregon (5-1) [1.3937]
    13. Southern Cal (5-1) [1.3706]
    14. Arizona (4-2) [0.9424]
    15. Houston (5-1) [0.8916]
    16. Pittsburgh (6-1) [0.8087]
    17. Wisconsin (5-2) [0.7842]
    18. South Carolina (5-2) [0.7816]
    19. Notre Dame (4-2) [0.7693]
    20. Oklahoma St (5-1) [0.7482]
    21. Penn State (6-1) [0.7235]
    22. West Virginia (5-1) [0.7054]
    23. Ohio State (5-2) [0.6803]
    24. Georgia (4-3) [0.6789]
    25. Washington (3-4) [0.6633]
    26. Oregon St (4-2) [0.6617]
    27. Kansas (5-1) [0.6232]
    28. Utah (5-1) [0.6163]
    29. Idaho (6-1) [0.6050]
    30. California (4-2) [0.5798]
    31. Brigham Young (6-1) [0.5688]
    32. Arizona St (4-2) [0.5329]
    33. Kentucky (3-3) [0.5328]
    34. Auburn (5-2) [0.5222]
    35. Arkansas (3-3) [0.5151]
    36. Nebraska (4-2) [0.5019]
    37. Boston College (5-2) [0.4647]
    38. Michigan (5-2) [0.4579]
    39. Central Michigan (6-1) [0.4220]
    40. South Florida (5-1) [0.3967]
    41. Stanford (4-3) [0.3564]
    42. Texas Tech (5-2) [0.3335]
    43. Troy (4-2) [0.2902]
    44. UCLA (3-3) [0.2691]
    45. Minnesota (4-3) [0.2675]
    46. Mississippi (4-2) [0.2595]
    47. Connecticut (4-2) [0.2587]
    48. Clemson (3-3) [0.2447]
    49. Tennessee (3-3) [0.2421]
    50. Oklahoma (3-3) [0.2386]
    51. Louisiana-Monroe (4-2) [0.2129]
    52. North Carolina (4-2) [0.2005]
    53. Michigan St (4-3) [0.1703]
    54. Missouri (4-2) [0.1654]
    55. Navy (5-2) [0.1533]
    56. Rutgers (4-2) [0.1225]
    57. Fresno St (3-3) [0.0799]
    58. Louisiana-Lafayette (4-2) [0.0288]
    59. Iowa St (4-3) [0.0141]
    60. Wake Forest (4-3) [0.0076]
    61. Colorado St (3-4) [0.0069]
    62. Marshall (4-3) [-0.0084]
    63. Mississippi St (3-4) [-0.0512]
    64. Ohio U. (5-2) [-0.0572]
    65. Florida St (2-4) [-0.0702]
    66. Colorado (2-4) [-0.1013]
    67. Air Force (4-3) [-0.1065]
    68. Kansas St (4-3) [-0.1351]
    69. Tulsa (4-2) [-0.1379]
    70. Northern Illinois (3-3) [-0.1729]
    71. East Carolina (4-3) [-0.1880]
    72. Nevada (3-3) [-0.1923]
    73. Baylor (3-3) [-0.2273]
    74. Wyoming (4-3) [-0.2399]
    75. Indiana (4-3) [-0.2487]
    76. Southern Miss (4-3) [-0.2644]
    77. SMU (3-3) [-0.2732]
    78. Purdue (2-5) [-0.2974]
    79. Central Florida (3-3) [-0.3155]
    80. Virginia (3-3) [-0.3174]
    81. Toledo (4-3) [-0.3289]
    82. North Carolina St (3-4) [-0.3388]
    83. Louisville (2-4) [-0.3594]
    84. Middle Tennessee St (3-3) [-0.3620]
    85. Louisiana Tech (3-3) [-0.3830]
    86. Syracuse (2-4) [-0.3991]
    87. Bowling Green (3-4) [-0.4010]
    88. Texas A&M (3-3) [-0.4198]
    89. UTEP (2-4) [-0.4266]
    90. Northwestern (4-3) [-0.4289]
    91. Duke (3-3) [-0.4764]
    92. San Diego St (2-4) [-0.5287]
    93. Western Michigan (3-4) [-0.5348]
    94. Buffalo (3-4) [-0.5741]
    95. Arkansas St (1-4) [-0.5934]
    96. UNLV (2-5) [-0.6491]
    97. Tulane (2-4) [-0.6502]
    98. Washington St (1-5) [-0.6666]
    99. San Jose St (1-5) [-0.6679]
    100. Temple (4-2) [-0.6850]
    101. Maryland (2-5) [-0.7816]
    102. Hawai`i (2-4) [-0.8064]
    103. Alabama-Birmingham (2-4) [-0.8168]
    104. Kent St (3-4) [-0.8451]
    105. Florida Atlantic (1-4) [-0.8665]
    106. New Mexico St (3-4) [-0.8706]
    107. Memphis (2-5) [-0.9384]
    108. Illinois (1-5) [-0.9454]
    109. Vanderbilt (2-5) [-0.9860]
    110. Florida Int'l (1-5) [-1.0750]
    111. Army (3-4) [-1.2312]
    112. Akron (1-5) [-1.2534]
    113. Utah St (1-5) [-1.2864]
    114. North Texas (1-5) [-1.5233]
    115. FCS teams (XXX-XXX) [-1.6214]
    116. Miami OH (0-7) [-1.8190]
    117. New Mexico (0-6) [-2.2315]
    118. Rice (0-7) [-2.2360]
    119. Eastern Michigan (0-6) [-2.7336]
    120. Western Kentucky (0-6) [-2.7543]
    121. Ball St (0-7) [-3.6397]
    Conference Rankings (Average Per Team):
    SEC 0.7894
    Pac10 0.6103
    BigEast 0.4088
    Big10 0.3193
    Big12 0.3057
    ACC 0.2867
    FBSInd -0.1029
    MWC -0.1219
    WAC -0.2012
    CUSA -0.4470
    SunBelt -0.7381
    MAC -0.9710
    Non-FBS -1.6214

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    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Now the fun really starts?

    Volumes could be (and are being) written about the possible mess on the way to the national championship game selection. I can only hope that the near-playoff we're going to be treated to in the SEC and Big 12 will build some future interest in a true playoff system. From all accounts, it still appears that an Alabama-Florida SEC Championship game will be an unofficial national semifinal, assuming of course they both win out until then. In an amusing twist, the Big 12 conference championship matchup will be determined by the BCS standings if OU, Texas, and Texas Tech all win next weekend, the highest ranked among those three playing Missouri for the conference championship. If that team then beats Mizzou, they're all but assured a spot in the national title game; but if the conference championship goes to Missouri, it's going to be chaos...

    Meanwhile, in the "BCS Busters" department, I don't want to say it, but I have to acknowledge the facts, and those facts say it is now more unlikely that Boise State is going to get a BCS bowl bid. Don't send me hate mail over this; I wish it weren't so. But their chances under the governing BCS rules are becoming thinner after this past weekend. Utah has all but officially wrapped up an automatic BCS bowl bid, barring lots of pollsters changing their minds from previous weeks and moving Boise State ahead of the Utes. The special rules that force inclusion of high ranking conference champions outside the big 6 conferences only applies to a single school, which will be Utah, assuming again they stay ahead of Boise State in the BCS Standings. The second such school has to get a bid through the normal at-large selection process, of which there will only be 3 openings left. For Boise State's purposes, a hopeful key phrase in the rules is "No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections." Importantly, the top of the BCS Standings is packed full of teams from the SEC and Big 12, so it's safe to say that two from each will get BCS bowl bids. That is, two of the remaining three at-large bids will go to these two conferences. So does Boise State have a shot at that last spot if they win out? After yesterday, I'm not confident. Specifically, Oregon State is now one win away from a trip to the Rose Bowl, in which case you have to think that USC is going to get an at-large BCS bid. Indeed, if USC somehow climbs to #4 in the Standings before the end of the season, that at-large bid becomes automatic under the rules. So Boise State fans have to be cheering for Oregon to beat Oregon State next weekend, and for USC to win the conference to take the Rose Bowl bid. Alternatively, USC could drop out of the picture altogether with losses to both ND and UCLA; but that's not something I'd be counting on happening! So, Boise State fans need USC to win the Pac-10. Otherwise, there is no realistic route to a BCS bowl for Boise State. If USC does win the Pac-10, then the last at-large BCS bid appears to come down to a choice, made by the bowl games themselves, between Boise State and Ohio State (ignoring other teams that might become technically eligible but that I think are even less likely to be chosen).

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