Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 6 Rankings

Hey college football fans! It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, conference play has begun and the first BCS rankings come out on Sunday! Okay, only two of those are a good thing. I’ll leave it for you to decide which two I’m referring too!

Last weekend brought us the first set of big conference matchups. The biggest story was South Carolina’s 35-21 victory over Alabama. This makes it very unlikely that the SEC champion will finish the season undefeated. The SEC has garnered a lot of respect over the last few seasons and it will be interesting to see how the BCS rankings treat a one-loss SEC champion. The two remaining SEC unbeatens, Auburn and LSU, posted victories over Kentucky and Florida, respectively. The second most impressive victory of the weekend was turned in by Florida State, who put a whoopin’ on Miami, 45-17. The rankings have been optimistic about Florida State all season but this was definitely a surprise. Finally, Michigan State dealt Michigan their first loss of the season, 34 – 17. Somewhere, University of Washington biostatistics graduate student and Michigan alum Peter Chi was crying.

The Florida State/Miami game actually had a larger effect on the rankings than the South Carolina/Alabama game. Alabama only dropped one spot to #3. Some might find this hard to swallow but remember, I’m trying to identify the best team in the country and not trying to reward teams for a good season. Would you really bet on South Carolina over Alabama if they played a rematch? Yeah, I wouldn’t either. Florida State and Miami essentially flip-flopped this week. Last week, Miami was ranked #6 and Florida State was ranked #13. This week, Florida State is ranked #7 and Miami is ranked #14. Finally, Florida and Iowa slid just out of the top 10 and were replaced by Nebraska and Utah.

Here are the 13 remaining unbeatens ranked by the probability that they go undefeated:

P(WARG)* Rank Rank Team P(WARG)*
1 2 Boise State 0.808
2 4 TCU 0.467
3 1 Oregon 0.397
4 5 Ohio State 0.306
5 6 Nebraska 0.171
6 10 Utah 0.163
7 27 Michigan State 0.069
8 11 LSU 0.055
9 9 Oklahoma 0.048
10 36 Nevada 0.021
11 19 Missouri 0.017
12 22 Auburn 0.009
13 30 Oklahoma State 0.005
* P(WARG) = Probability of Winning All Remaining Games.

The first BCS rankings of the year come out on Sunday and, in that spirit, I present three storylines that I’ll be following over the remainder of the season.

1. There are several BCS conference teams that could finish the season undefeated but only Oregon and Ohio State have at least a 30% chance of finishing undefeated and Nebraska is the only other BCS conference team with better than a 7% chance of finishing undefeated. It will be interesting to see A) how the BCS rankings will sort out the non-BCS conference teams and B) how the BCS rankings will rank one-loss conference champions from BCS conferences compared to undefeated conference champs from non-BCS conferences.

2. There is only a 6.5% chance that the SEC champion finishes the season undefeated. It will be interesting to see how the BCS rankings treat a one-loss SEC champion.

3. Ohio State and Michigan State don’t play this season and could both finish the season undefeated. What would happen if they end the season as the only undefeated team from a BCS conference? Would they play for the national title?

Full week 6 rankings can be found at my personal website:

1 comment:

  1. Comment about point #3 above:

    Let's say Ohio State and Oregon both go undefeated and only one of them is picked to play in the BSC championship game, b/c of other teams like Nebraska or LSU or even Boise State. The committee will most likely give the nod to Ohio State due to their strength of schedule. Ohio State will have played 3 top-25 teams, one of which is out of conference (Miami). While Oregon will have also played 3 top-25 teams, all of them are in the Pac-10. Further, a lot depends on how Nebraska and LSU fare down the stretch. If they win out, they make a very strong case. If both drop one, then maybe the committee also gives the nod to Oregon for the championship game. This is a year where the overall strength of the conference (Pac-10) will hurt its best team.

    Having said all that...this is still October, and I smell an upset in that place called Madison.