Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 5

NOTE: For my thoughts after learning the protections, read this post on Bleacher Report.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For Weeks 10-15, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

The first year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site (note that this was written with the 2007 season in mind, hence why it contradicts the above – and the page it comes from, for that matter):

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night.
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.
  • Rules NOT listed on NFL web site but pertinent to flex schedule selection: CBS and Fox each protect games in five out of six weeks, and cannot protect any games Week 17. Games were protected after Week 4 the first year of flexible scheduling, but are now protected after Week 5; however, the reason games were protected after Week 4 the first year may have been due to an identical circumstance to this year with NBC hosting a Christmas night game and the other games being moved to Saturday.
  • Three teams can appear a maximum of six games in primetime on NBC, ESPN or NFL Network (everyone else gets five) and no team may appear more than four times on NBC. At this writing, no team is completely tapped out at any measure; five teams have five primetime appearances each, but all of them have at least one game that can be flexed out. NBC appearances for all teams: NO 2, GB 3, DAL 3 (1 flexible), NYJ 3 (1 flexible), PHI 3 (1 flexible), ATL 2, PIT 3 (1 flexible), IND 3 (1 flexible), BAL 3 (1 flexible), MIN 1, CHI 2, NE 2 (both flexible), NYG 2 (both flexible), KC 1 (flexible), SD 1 (flexible). All primetime appearances for all teams: NO 4, GB 4, DAL 5 (1 flexible), NYJ 5 (1 flexible), PHI 5 (1 flexible), ATL 4, PIT 5 (1 flexible), IND 5 (1 flexible), BAL 5 (1 flexible), MIN 2, CHI 4, NE 4 (2 flexible), NYG 4 (2 flexible), KC 3 (1 flexible), SD 4 (1 flexible), MIA 2, OAK 2, DEN 2, STL 2, WAS 1, TB 2, DET 1, JAX 3, SEA 2, SF 2, CLE 1, HOU 1.
  • Last year’s selection of primetime games was weighted rather heavily towards Fox games. This year, the selection currently leans CBS 22, FOX 20 (though if I miscounted one game it may be even). My guess is that the balance will continue to lean towards the AFC. Weeks 10, 12, 13, and 15 are all CBS games, while Weeks 11 and 14 are FOX.

Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 10 (November 13):

  • Tentative game: New England @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: 4-1 v. 2-3; this is becoming one of the hottest rivalries in the AFC, but this game could be in trouble if the Jets keep losing.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Giants-49ers, Lions-Bears, or Saints-Falcons (FOX) and Texans-Buccaneers if anything (CBS).
  • Likely protections if after Week 5: Steelers-Bengals, Texans-Bucs, or Bills-Cowboys (CBS) and Giants-49ers (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Basically, whatever games listed above the networks don’t protect.

Week 11 (November 20):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: 3-2 v. 1-4. If the not-so-Dream Team continues to be a nightmare, this has a pretty good chance to be flexed out, despite the NFC East factor.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Cowboys-Redskins or Bucs-Packers (FOX) and Chargers-Bears (CBS).
  • Likely protections if after Week 5: Bengals-Ravens (CBS) and Cowboys-Redskins or Bucs-Packers (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Besides the potentially protected games, Titans-Falcons and Chargers-Bears are dark horses.

Week 12 (November 17):

  • Tentative game: Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
  • Prospects: 3-2 v. 2-3. Time will tell if the Chiefs are about to rally from their disastrous start. It might not take much for this game to keep its spot.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Bills-Jets or Patriots-Eagles (CBS) and Bucs-Titans or Bears-Raiders (FOX).
  • Likely protections if after Week 5: Patriots-Eagles or Bengals-Browns (CBS) and Bucs-Titans (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Thanksgiving weekend, paucity of good games (Packers-Lions is an especially bad loss). NBC is entirely at the mercy of the protections. If both networks go with the name teams, NBC isn’t left with very attractive matchups in terms of drawing power.

Week 13 (December 4):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ New England
  • Prospects: It’s the Colts and the Patriots, the NFL’s biggest current rivalry! …What’s that? Peyton Manning’s injured and the Colts are 0-5? Yeeeeah, this is getting flexed out unless Manning comes back before then, and even then this would have to be the very game he comes back, which probably won’t be known two weeks in advance.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Jets-Redskins if anything (CBS) and Packers-Giants or Lions-Saints (FOX).
  • Likely protections if after Week 5: Bengals-Steelers, Titans-Bills, or nothing (CBS) and Packers-Giants or Lions-Saints (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Besides the potentially protected games, Ravens-Browns and Falcons-Texans. Whatever game Fox doesn’t protect has the early lead.

Week 14 (December 11):

  • Tentative game: NY Giants @ Dallas
  • Prospects: NFC East clash, with both teams moderately good. A flex isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but one or both teams would have to completely collapse and the other game would have to sweep the NFL off its feet. Fox is likely to leave this week unprotected.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Bills-Chargers, Patriots-Redskins, or Raiders-Packers (CBS).
  • Likely protections if after Week 5: Same.
  • Other possible games: Saints-Titans (the only game I could see Fox protecting), Texans-Bengals, and the unprotected games.

Week 15 (December 18):

  • Tentative game: Baltimore @ San Diego
  • Prospects: Not NBC’s biggest late-season matchup, but the only one with both teams over .500 (not at it). Good chance to keep its spot.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Jets-Eagles (CBS) and Redskins-Giants (FOX).
  • Likely protections if after Week 5: Redskins-Giants or Lions-Raiders (FOX).
  • Other possible games: I’ve listed them already. Only Fox’s unprotected game is in any way exciting (unless you still believe in the Dream Team). Yeah, I’d say Ravens-Chargers is keeping its spot.

Week 17 (January 1):

  • Playoff positioning watch begins Week 9.

2011 College Football Rankings – Week 6

Who’s the best team in college football: Alabama, LSU, or Oklahoma? It’s hard to argue with Alabama’s score ratio, with two shutouts and at least doubling the score of every opponent they’ve played, including Arkansas and Florida. Most people seem to have Oklahoma a bit behind the two SEC schools, and that might be appropriate; they’ve had two ten-point victories and Florida State hasn’t played up to expectations. It helps that the SEC teams haven’t had a bye already. Of course, one thing you can say about the BCS: if these really are the three best teams, the differences between them will be decided on the field.

All full-rating reports will be in PDF form from now on. I waited all week for an opinion on what to do with the extra spots in the table and didn’t really get one. I’m using the polls this week, but I reserve the right to change it later. As you can see by the fact the rankings match the AP Poll in the top five with only LSU and Alabama flipped at the top, the rankings are starting to fall into place. In fact, we only have one unbeaten team outside the Top 25; lineal title or no, there’s no reason to trust a K-State team that eked out a 10-7 win over FCS Eastern Kentucky, blew out godawful Kent State, then eked out wins over good-but-not-great teams with only scandal-ridden #50 Miami (FL) coming on the road. Thus, the colored area to the right of each team is now active, indicating what each team is playing for.

How the C Ratings are tabulated: First, A Ratings are tabulated by multiplying the total score ratio, which is expressed by (points-opponents’ points)/points, by the winning percentage. Score ratio minimizes the effect of running up the score. Next, B Points for each game are tabulated by (margin of victory)/(opponent’s A rating)+/-1 for wins, and -(margin of loss)/(1-opponent’s A Rating)+/-1 for losses. The “+/-” is + for road games and – for home ones. The total number of B Points is multiplied by the A Rating to get the B Rating. Finally, the C Rating is tabulated by taking one-tenth the difference between the team’s B Rating and the average of his opponents’ B Ratings and taking the result off the B Rating. The three ratings go A, B, C across. Click here to see the complete ratings.

1 Alabama SEC #1 BCS Title
6-0 LW: #1 A Rat: .901 B Rating: 43.824 C Rating: 38.240 AP: 2 Coaches: 3
Another week, another big win for the Tide. Ole Miss and Tennessee will be their remaining two warm-ups for the huge clash with LSU.
2 LSU SEC #2 ’06 Boise St.
6-0 LW: #2 A Rat: .836 B Rating: 35.396 C Rating: 38.240 AP: 1 Coaches: 2
It didn’t matter that the punter got a TD called back for taunting the way LSU handled Florida, and now Tennessee and Auburn will be their tune-ups for the clash with Bama.
3 Oklahoma B12 #1 BCS Title
5-0 LW: #6 A Rat: .799 B Rating: 30.465 C Rating: 26.545 AP: 3 Coaches: 1
While people have been forgetting about the preseason favorites as they’re blinded by the SEC’s brilliance, the Sooners have actually been playing closer to expectations recently. The blowout over Texas is their best win yet.
4 Wisconsin B10 #1 BCS Title
5-0 LW: #4 A Rat: .900 B Rating: 25.911 C Rating: 21.614 AP: 4 Coaches: 4
Wisconsin moves into conference pole position without even playing (and without Michigan losing), thanks in part to the Huskers finally getting the first Big Ten win the Badgers denied them.
5 Boise State MWC #1 BCS Title
5-0 LW: #10 A Rat: .806 B Rating: 22.526 C Rating: 19.320 AP: 5 Coaches: 6
The Broncos shoot up the board after putting the hurt on Fresno and finally start Mountain West play. If they play in that league the way they played in the WAC, they’ll pick up right where they left off busting the BCS.
6 Michigan B10 #2 BCS Title
5-0 LW: #3 A Rat: .825 B Rating: 21.762 C Rating: 18.622 AP: 11 Coaches: 10
Northwestern was only the second opponent Michigan had allowed more than 10 points to all year, and they’re no Notre Dame. And while rival Sparty (#53) doesn’t deserve the poll respect they’re getting, neither will they be a pushover.
7 Stanford P12 #1 BCS Title
5-0 LW: #5 A Rat: .879 B Rating: 21.748 C Rating: 17.876 AP: 7 Coaches: 5
Welcome to the Pac-12, Buffaloes: Colorado’s A Rating is so unbelievably pathetic that despite blowing them out, the Cardinal might as well have been off this week.
8 Oklahoma State B12 #2 BCS Title
5-0 LW: #8 A Rat: .714 B Rating: 18.365 C Rating: 15.375 AP: 6 Coaches: 7
The Cowboys made up for the lost time of their bye week, blowing Kansas out of the water. But when it comes to football, Texas – hungry to bounce back from the Sooner loss – is no Kansas.
9 Clemson ACC #1 Prncton/Yale
6-0 LW: #7 A Rat: .732 B Rating: 13.756 C Rating: 11.341 AP: 8 Coaches: 8
Clemson has to blow out a Boston College team as godawful as they are, so after only beating them 36-14, they slip ahead of the clash with Maryland.
10 Notre Dame   BCS Bowl
4-2 LW: #13 A Rat: .429 B Rating: 11.688 C Rating: 10.334
Air Force is mediocre and the Domers weren’t THAT dominant, so why the jump? Well, 26 points is 26 points, and Purdue’s blowout of admittedly-horrible Minnesota helps. Now they wait a week before facing rival USC.
11 Georgia Tech ACC #2 BCS Title
6-0 LW: #9 A Rat: .711 B Rating: 11.198 C Rating: 8.850 AP: 12 Coaches: 12
Maryland is way too mediocre-to-bad (fashionably and on the field) for G-Tech to keep them that close. Now they have to go on the road to Virginia.
12 Oregon P12 #2 ’09 Boise St.
4-1 LW: #29 A Rat: .589 B Rating: 9.848 C Rating: 8.417 AP: 9 Coaches: 9
The Ducks blew out a good Cal team, more than making up for a win by only 15 over an Arizona team that’s now without their coach. But now comes a huge clash with Arizona State.
13 Arizona State P12 #3 Pac-12 Title
5-1 LW: #21 A Rat: .559 B Rating: 7.193 C Rating: 6.109 AP: 18 Coaches: 20
Big win over a half-decent Utah team sends the Devils up the rankings, but a road trip to Eugene will be much tougher.
14 West Virginia BST #1 Big East Title
5-1 LW: #14 A Rat: .587 B Rating: 7.558 C Rating: 5.801 AP: 13 Coaches: 16
The Mountaineers blew out a not-so-great UConn team to start conference play on the right foot. Now for an off week before a nationally-televised road trip to a Syracuse team that’s better than the Huskies.
15 Rutgers BST #2 Big East Title
4-1 LW: #20 A Rat: .555 B Rating: 6.056 C Rating: 5.335
A blowout by a good Pitt team sends the Knights up the rankings. Now to host a possible future conference mate in Navy.
16 Texas A&M B12 #3 Big 12 Title
3-2 LW: #18 A Rat: .389 B Rating: 6.683 C Rating: 5.122 AP: 21 Coaches: 23
A&M finally finished a game for once, escaping against rival Texas Tech. Now comes a huge clash against Baylor.
17 Illinois B10 #3 BCS Title
6-0 LW: #19 A Rat: .699 B Rating: 5.981 C Rating: 4.961 AP: 16 Coaches: 15
Blowout win over Indiana, and now a desperate Ohio State team comes to Champaign.
18 Nebraska B10 #4 Big 10 Title
5-1 LW: #12 A Rat: .526 B Rating: 6.419 C Rating: 4.894 AP: 16 Coaches: 15
Nebraska finally gives the realigned teams a conference win against a team once the cream of the conference, but you gotta do better than that against a 3-3 team. Perhaps they will against woeful Minnesota a week from now.
19 Penn State B10 #5 Big 10 Title
5-1 LW: #15 A Rat: .590 B Rating: 5.419 C Rating: 4.688 SBNBlog: 25 Coaches: 25
Relatively pedestrian effort, even against a good Iowa team, causes the Nittany Lions to slip. But Purdue should be easier to beat.
20 Houston USA #1 C-USA Title
6-0 LW: #28 A Rat: .729 B Rating: 6.793 C Rating: 4.061 AP: 25 Coaches: 22
Blowout win over East Carolina just what the doctor ordered to propel the Cougars into the Top 25 after all their other FBS games other than North Texas were close (and even UNT scored 20 more points than the Pirates).
21 Baylor B12 #4 Big 12 Title
4-1 LW: #35 A Rat: .554 B Rating: 4.694 C Rating: 3.336 AP: 20 Coaches: 24
Blowout over a decent Iowa State team bounces the Bears back from the K-State loss and sends them rocketing into the Top 25. But Texas A&M will be dangerous.
22 Texas B12 #5 Big 12 Title
4-1 LW: #11 A Rat: .505 B Rating: 4.669 C Rating: 3.297 AP: 22 Coaches: 21
As good as Oklahoma is, that was absolutely embarassing. But it doesn’t get any easier with Oklahoma State coming to Austin.
23 South Carolina SEC #3 SEC Title
5-1 LW: #17 A Rat: .566 B Rating: 5.441 C Rating: 3.270 AP: 15 Coaches: 13
Kentucky is godawful, so even blowing them out doesn’t help the Gamecocks resist other teams’ hard charges. But with Tennessee losing, is the way clear for the Fighting Spurriers to repeat in the East?
24 Arkansas* SEC #4 SEC Title
5-1 LW: #40 A Rat: .567 B Rating: 3.803 C Rating: 2.849 AP: 10 Coaches: 11
Still don’t trust a team that lets Troy get within ten and whose only impressive win had come over New Mexico, but they proved their bona fides against Auburn. Now they slip for the bye before heading to Mississippi.
25 TCU MWC #2 MWC Title
4-2 LW: #27 A Rat: .456 B Rating: 4.718 C Rating: 2.792
Bounced back from the SMU loss with a big win over San Diego State. But not only will they slip again for the bye, they’re unlikely to get back on right away no matter how badly they beat woeful New Mexico.

35 teams total with positive C Rating (none with negative B Rating)

2010 TCU title: #34 Kansas State (5-0), .676, 1.804, .603 (only unbeaten team not on Top 25)

Off Top 25: #30 North Carolina (was #25), #31 Tennessee (was #16), #32 Washington (was #24), #37 Pittsburgh (was #22), #45 San Diego State (was #23)

Watch List: #26 Toledo, #27 Southern Miss*, #28 Georgia*, #29 Western Michigan, #30 North Carolina, #31 Tennessee, #32 Washington, #33 Virginia Tech, #34 Kansas State, #35 Wake Forest

Other Positive B Ratings: #36 Utah State*, #37 Pittsburgh, #39 Duke, #40 Ohio, #41 Florida International* (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #42 Iowa, #43 Florida, #45 San Diego State, #46 Texas Tech, #61 California

Bottom 10: #111 Kentucky, #112 Louisiana-Monroe, #113 UNLV, #114 New Mexico, #115 Florida Atlantic, #116 Idaho, #117 Tulane, #118 Akron, #119 UAB, #120 Memphis

Best game of week: Arizona State @ Oregon, 7:15pm PT, ESPN

NFL Schedule: Week 5

Can someone explain something to me? Okay, so everyone knows that Cam Newton has been playing lights out and putting up a show every week. And a few people have noticed that despite the attention foisted on Newton, the Panthers are 1-3. So, Newton’s offense has been blowing up, and they’re 1-3… so why has no one noticed that the Panther defense sucks? I mean, they’re second-to-last in rushing yards allowed and eighth-worst in total points allowed, it’s not like it’s not there for everyone to see.

You know the NFL season is in full gear, because the bye weeks are descending upon us. You’d be surprised how much easier the schedule post is to put together with three fewer games.

What is the Median Expected Score?

Away MXS Home Time (ET) TV DTV Announcers NTR SIRIUS Notes
Away Home
#2(3-1) 29¼-22¾ #22(1-3) Sun 1:00 PM 708 Dick Stockton, John Lynch 91 134 Drew Brees shouldn’t have any problem with this defense.
#28(1-3) 18-20½ #29(0-4) Sun 1:00 PM 706 Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots WW1 137 94 Can the Colts do what the Chiefs just did and finally pick up their first win?
#20(1-3) 26¼-23¼ #8(3-1) Sun 1:00 PM 709 Sam Rosen, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin 86 113 Will the not-so-Dream Team be able to pick up the pace against the Bills?
#27(1-3) 12½-22½ #9(3-1) Sun 1:00 PM 711 Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver CMP 148 85 Eli wants to bounce back. Hawks want Andrew Luck. And we wonder, how low can the Hawks’ MXS go?
#21(2-2) 17¼-19¾ #26(1-3) Sun 1:00 PM 707 Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker 128 112 A Luck Sweepstakes side clash, but are the Bengals being disrespected after upsetting the Bills?
#13(3-1) 18¼-21¼ #11(2-2) Sun 1:00 PM 704 Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf USA 117 92 The Titans may be 3-1, but good luck upsetting the Steelers at Heinz Field.
#19(2-2) 21¼-27¼ #6(3-1) Sun 1:00 PM 705 Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts 139 93 What does it say that Oakland started a strong 2-1, and yet the Texans are still favored big?
#24(1-3) 21¼-23¾ #31(0-4) Sun 1:00 PM 710 Chris Myers, Tim Ryan 138 106 A Luck Sweepstakes prelim clash. McNabb vs. Kolb: who loses their starting job a second time?
#10(3-1) 19¼-22¼ #15(3-1) Sun 4:05 PM 712 Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa CMP 136 92 The sneaky-good clash of the day could pit two playoff teams against each other.
#14(2-2) 19¾-29¼ #4(3-1) Sun 4:15 PM 714 Jim Nantz, Phil Simms USA 86 93 Everyone will be riveted to their set for this clash of AFC East rivals.
#7(3-1) 25-21 #25(1-3) Sun 4:15 PM 713 Marv Albert, Rich Gannon WW1 85 94 The Chargers decided to start strong this year, and the Broncos should keep that going.
#1(4-0) 29¾-23¾ #16(2-2) Sun 8:20 PM Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya WW1 92 93 First of two primetime games starring 4-0 teams sees the defending champs take on the Georgia Dome.
#T17(2-2) 21-26½ #5(4-0) Mon 8:30 PM Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Suzy Kolber WW1 92 93 For many, this will be their first look at those plucky 4-0 Lions.

Bye:

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 4

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For Weeks 10-15, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

The first year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site (note that this was written with the 2007 season in mind, hence why it contradicts the above – and the page it comes from, for that matter):

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night.
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.
  • Rules NOT listed on NFL web site but pertinent to flex schedule selection: CBS and Fox each protect games in five out of six weeks, and cannot protect any games Week 17. Games were protected after Week 4 the first year of flexible scheduling, but are now protected after Week 5; however, the reason games were protected after Week 4 the first year may have been due to an identical circumstance to this year with NBC hosting a Christmas night game and the other games being moved to Saturday.
  • Three teams can appear a maximum of six games in primetime on NBC, ESPN or NFL Network (everyone else gets five) and no team may appear more than four times on NBC. At this writing, no team is completely tapped out at any measure; five teams have five primetime appearances each, but all of them have at least one game that can be flexed out. NBC appearances for all teams: NO 2, GB 3, DAL 3 (1 flexible), NYJ 3 (1 flexible), PHI 3 (1 flexible), ATL 2, PIT 3 (1 flexible), IND 3 (1 flexible), BAL 3 (1 flexible), MIN 1, CHI 2, NE 2 (both flexible), NYG 2 (both flexible), KC 1 (flexible), SD 1 (flexible). All primetime appearances for all teams: NO 4, GB 4, DAL 5 (1 flexible), NYJ 5 (1 flexible), PHI 5 (1 flexible), ATL 4, PIT 5 (1 flexible), IND 5 (1 flexible), BAL 5 (1 flexible), MIN 2, CHI 4, NE 4 (2 flexible), NYG 4 (2 flexible), KC 3 (1 flexible), SD 4 (1 flexible), MIA 2, OAK 2, DEN 2, STL 2, WAS 1, TB 2, DET 1, JAX 3, SEA 2, SF 2, CLE 1, HOU 1.
  • Last year’s selection of primetime games was weighted rather heavily towards Fox games. This year, the selection currently leans CBS 22, FOX 20 (though if I miscounted one game it may be even). My guess is that the balance will continue to lean towards the AFC. Weeks 10, 12, 13, and 15 are all CBS games, while Weeks 11 and 14 are FOX.

Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 10 (November 13):

  • Tentative game: New England @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: 3-1 v. 2-2; this is becoming one of the hottest rivalries in the AFC, but are the Jets more like those two losses than those two wins?
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Giants-49ers, Lions-Bears, or Saints-Falcons (FOX) and Texans-Buccaneers if anything (CBS).
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Bengals, Rams-Browns, Bills-Cowboys, and the unprotected games.

Week 11 (November 20):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: 3-1 v. 1-3. If the not-so-Dream Team continues to be a nightmare, this has a pretty good chance to be flexed out, despite the NFC East factor.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Cowboys-Redskins or Bucs-Packers (FOX) and Chargers-Bears (CBS).
  • Other possible games: Bengals-Ravens and Titans-Falcons. Panthers-Lions could be a dark horse.

Week 12 (November 17):

  • Tentative game: Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
  • Prospects: 2-2 v. 1-3; the Chiefs are closer to Andrew Luck than last year’s division titlists. Any other week, it would be easy to find a better game.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Bills-Jets or Patriots-Eagles (CBS) and Bucs-Titans or Bears-Raiders (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Thanksgiving weekend, paucity of good games (Packers-Lions is an especially bad loss). Besides the potentially protected games, Bengals-Browns is a dark horse. NBC is entirely at the mercy of the protections. If both networks go with the name teams, NBC isn’t left with very attractive matchups in terms of drawing power.

Week 13 (December 4):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ New England
  • Prospects: It’s the Colts and the Patriots, the NFL’s biggest current rivalry! …What’s that? Peyton Manning’s injured and the Colts are 0-4? Yeeeeah, this is getting flexed out unless Manning comes back before then, and even then this would have to be the very game he comes back, which probably won’t be known two weeks in advance.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Jets-Redskins if anything (CBS) and Packers-Giants or Lions-Saints (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Titans-Bills, Bengals-Steelers, Ravens-Browns, and Falcons-Texans. Whatever game Fox doesn’t protect has the early lead, followed by Falcons-Texans, then Titans-Bills.

Week 14 (December 11):

  • Tentative game: NY Giants @ Dallas
  • Prospects: NFC East clash, with both teams moderately good. A flex isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but one or both teams would have to completely collapse and the other game would have to sweep the NFL off its feet. Fox is likely to leave this week unprotected.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Bills-Chargers, Patriots-Redskins, or Raiders-Packers (CBS).
  • Other possible games: Saints-Titans (the only game I could see Fox protecting), Texans-Bengals, and the unprotected games.

Week 15 (December 18):

  • Tentative game: Baltimore @ San Diego
  • Prospects: Not NBC’s biggest late-season matchup, but the only one with both teams over .500 (not at it). Good chance to keep its spot.
  • Likely protections if after Week 4: Jets-Eagles (CBS) and Redskins-Giants (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Lions-Raiders. That’s it. Yeah, you can make a case for Panthers-Saints as a dark horse, but I’d say Ravens-Chargers is keeping its spot.

Week 17 (January 1):

  • Playoff positioning watch begins Week 9.

2011 College Football Rankings – Week 5

An interesting thought based on an oddity of the first five weeks. What poetic justice would it be if every team that changed conferences this year went completely winless in their new conference until the Colorado-Utah game at the end of the year?

Something new this week: The full ratings are now available in PDF form. I can’t guarantee this will be the case every week, as that will depend on where I calculate the ratings, but it should be the case most weeks. The two “extra” slots are showing B Points this week, but I’m not liking it, and I’m running a poll about some other options. If you have another idea, leave it in the comments, and enjoy the chaos of this week’s rankings.

How the C Ratings are tabulated: First, A Ratings are tabulated by multiplying the total score ratio, which is expressed by (points-opponents’ points)/points, by the winning percentage. Score ratio minimizes the effect of running up the score. Next, B Points for each game are tabulated by (margin of victory)/(opponent’s A rating)+/-1 for wins, and -(margin of loss)/(1-opponent’s A Rating)+/-1 for losses. The “+/-” is + for road games and – for home ones. The total number of B Points is multiplied by the A Rating to get the B Rating. Finally, the C Rating is tabulated by taking one-tenth the difference between the team’s B Rating and the average of his opponents’ B Ratings and taking the result off the B Rating. The three ratings go A, B, C across. Click here to see the complete ratings.

1 Alabama SEC #1 SEC Leader
5-0 LW: #2 A Rat: .882 B Points: 40.690 B Rating: 35.869 C Rating: 31.234
Bama leapfrogs LSU with the win over Florida – for now. But with such a huge lead, they might keep it even if LSU beats the Gators.
2 LSU SEC #2 ’06 Boise St.
5-0 LW: #1 A Rat: .830 B Points 29.354 B Rating: 24.368 C Rating: 21.419
The Tigers have a substantial lead as well, though Kentucky wasn’t on par with the others. But now they get the Gators.
3 Michigan B10 #1 Big 10 Lead
5-0 LW: #3 A Rat: .847 B Points: 25.691 B Rating: 21.769 C Rating: 19.298
The impressive win over Minnesota was their best yet – but it was Minnesota, and Northwestern’s not that much better. What will it mean to escape Wisconsin until the conference title game?
4 Wisconsin B10 #2 In Top 25
5-0 LW: #10 A Rat: .900 B Points: 23.298 B Rating: 20.969 C Rating: 18.015
What a performance against the Huskers, proving they deserve the respect they’re getting. But expect them to drop for a bye week.
5 Stanford P12 #1 Pac-12 Lead
4-0 LW: #6 A Rat: .867 B Points: 23.958 B Rating: 20.774 C Rating: 17.629
Big blowout victory over UCLA. Will Colorado share the same fate?
6 Oklahoma B12 #1 Big 12 Lead
4-0 LW: #14 A Rat: .788 B Points: 25.002 B Rating: 19.700 C Rating: 17.043
With early-season volatility, a big blowout, even over Ball State, is just what the doctor ordered. But the Longhorns are no Ball State.
7 Clemson ACC #1 Prncton/Yale
5-0 LW: #18 A Rat: .717 B Points: 21.674 B Rating: 15.535 C Rating: 13.756
Clemson didn’t just defend their title against the Hokies, they blew them out of the water, and now they’re top ten in the polls. Is the way clear to dominate the ACC – and for the ACC to be relevant again?
8 Oklahoma State B12 #2 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #8 A Rat: .692 B Points: 19.114 B Rating: 13.232 C Rating: 11.095
The Cowboys stood pat despite the idle hands, thanks to a blowout win by Tulsa over North Texas.
9 Georgia Tech ACC #2 In Top 25
5-0 LW: #7 A Rat: .730 B Points: 18.116 B Rating: 13.219 C Rating: 11.075
A little too close for comfort against a mediocre NC State team, and now G-Tech has to worry about October 29.
10 Boise State MWC #1 Non-BCS Lead
4-0 LW: #13 A Rat: .772 B Points: 15.505 B Rating: 11.976 C Rating: 9.979
The Broncos got their revenge for last year’s loss. Perhaps they can continue to improve their MoV against another ex-conference mate that will soon be again.
11 Texas B12 #3 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #16 A Rat: .751 B Points: 14.999 B Rating: 11.263 C Rating: 8.670
Blowout win over Iowa State + the Cyclones’ first loss = big jump in the ratings. But Oklahoma is definitely no slouch.
12 Nebraska B10 #3 In Top 25
4-1 LW: #5 A Rat: .510 B Points: 15.030 B Rating: 7.666 C Rating: 6.908
Wisconsin’s sterling A Rating makes the Huskers our first team with a loss. They will bounce back, but watch out with the Buckeyes coming to town.
13 Notre Dame   In Top 25
3-2 LW: #20 A Rat: .376 B Points: 18.151 B Rating: 6.831 C Rating: 6.291
A two-loss team already? Pitt’s win outweighs USF’s loss. A blowout win over Purdue doesn’t mean the Domers are back, but Stanford is the only team on their level the rest of the way.
14 West Virginia* BST #1 Big East Lead
4-1 LW: #59 A Rat: .546 B Points: 13.697 B Rating: 7.480 C Rating: 6.022
From the second page to the conference lead? Blowout win over Bowling Green coupled with a blowout win by Maryland. And they’re only now starting conference play against 2-3 UConn.
15 Penn State B10 #4 In Top 25
4-1 LW: #21 A Rat: .538 B Points: 8.336 B Rating: 4.482 C Rating: 4.189
Why does Penn State move up so much after a tight game against lowly Indiana? Alabama’s blowout win certainly helps, as does a number of losses by teams ahead of them.
16 Tennessee SEC #3 In Top 25
3-1 LW: #17 A Rat: .521 B Points: 10.799 B Rating: 5.630 C Rating: 3.982
Blowout win, but over lowly Buffalo. Losses by teams ahead of them allow them to move up a spot. But Georgia will be more of a challenge, and then comes an onslaught of LSU, Bama, and South Carolina.
17 South Carolina SEC #4 In Top 25
4-1 LW: #11 A Rat: .496 B Points: 8.250 B Rating: 4.093 C Rating: 3.170
The Gamecocks don’t fall as far as other teams that lost because they managed to battle Auburn to the bitter end. Perhaps now they can bounce back against Kentucky.
18 Texas A&M B12 #4 In Top 25
2-2 LW: #12 A Rat: .336 B Points: 13.783 B Rating: 4.633 C Rating: 3.152
Tough loss to Arkansas, but they battled the Razorbacks until the end. Still in the polls, barely. Perhaps they can get back on the winning track against another rival in Texas Tech.
19 Illinois B10 #5 In Top 25
5-0 LW: #23 A Rat: .688 B Points: 5.211 B Rating: 3.584 C Rating: 3.124
Beat Northwestern by only a field goal, so why the relatively large jump? Arizona State got a substantial win that helped Illinois’ strength of schedule but not so much their own C Rating due to Oregon State’s weakness.
20 Rutgers BST #2 In Top 25
3-1 LW: #25 A Rat: .491 B Points: 7.034 B Rating: 3.451 C Rating: 2.911
Wins are wins, and teams ahead of them weren’t that great. But now the team that upset USF comes to town.
21 Arizona State P12 #2 In Top 25
4-1 LW: #19 A Rat: .516 B Points: 6.651 B Rating: 3.431 C Rating: 2.697
Substantial win, it’s just that Oregon State is absolutely atrocious. Will Utah help them more?
22 Pittsburgh* BST #3 In Top 25
3-2 LW: #60 A Rat: .360 B Points: 9.871 B Rating: 3.553 C Rating: 2.484
Pitt didn’t just beat South Florida, they blew them out. This isn’t the team that lost to Iowa and beat Maine by only 6. Now to prove their bona fides against Rutgers.
23 San Diego State MWC #2 In Top 25
3-1 LW: #27 A Rat: .411 B Points: 7.264 B Rating: 2.983 C Rating: 2.424
Michigan continues to be a good team to lose to, Army just got a blowout win over Tulane, and losses by teams above them outweighs idle hands. They’ll settle who’s second-best in the conference with TCU on Saturday.
24 Washington P12 #3 In Top 25
4-1 LW: #33 A Rat: .468 B Points: 5.003 B Rating: 2.342 C Rating: 2.007
Washington has flirted with relevance before, but they’re five games in and Nebraska is their only loss. Colorado will serve as a tuneup for a clash with Stanford that could decide the North.
25 North Carolina ACC #3 In Top 25
4-1 LW: #31 A Rat: .517 B Points: 4.072 B Rating: 2.107 C Rating: 1.657
Big win over East Carolina. The loss to G-Tech will be tough to overcome, but they look to have bounced back from NCAA trouble last year.


33 teams total with positive C Rating (none with negative B Rating)

2009 Boise State title: #29 Oregon (3-1), .535, 2.108, 1.202

2010 TCU title: #30 Kansas State (4-0), .684, 1.833, .934

Off Top 25: #26 Florida (was #9), #27 TCU (was #22), #29 Oregon (was #24), #31 Virginia Tech (was #15), #49 South Florida (was #4)

Unbeaten teams not on Top 25: #28 Houston, #30 Kansas State, #38 Texas Tech (all in positive B points, Texas Tech not in positive C)

Rest of Watch List: #26 Florida (4-1), #27 TCU (3-2), #29 Oregon (3-1), #31 Virginia Tech (4-1)

Other Positive B Ratings: #32 Western Michigan* (3-2), #33 Toledo* (2-3), #34 Ohio* (4-1), #35 Baylor (3-1), #36 Iowa (3-1), #37 Wake Forest (3-1), #41 California (3-1), #46 Duke (3-2) (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #43 Utah, #45 Navy, #49 South Florida, #51 Florida International, #53 Iowa State, #69 Temple, #84 Bowling Green

Bottom 10: #111 Central Michigan, #112 North Texas, #113 Florida Atlantic, #114 Louisiana-Monroe, #115 Idaho, #116 New Mexico, #117 UAB, #118 Tulane, #119 Akron, #120 Memphis

Best game of week: Oklahoma v. Texas, 9am PT, ABC

You could say… he beat him like an… 808 drum. YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! (Okay, that was completely and utterly lame.)

(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized architectural knowledge.)

I have very little to add to this strip. (Not a good thing when it’s a whopping four pages long. Oh well, let’s see how it goes this time…)

I have very little to add to Roy taking time out in the middle of the fight to shoo away the spectators instead of protecting himself or returning to the arena to keep Thog away from the spectators. (Or his line “I’m a big scary gladiator with permissive ideas about individual rights!”)

I have very little to add to Roy tricking Thog into shoving him into columns, waiting for him to de-rage, then letting everything the columns were holding up cave in on him. Or to Roy managing to get in a one-liner in the aftermath. Or to the stealthily-meta title. Or to the more-confusing-than-you-might-think panel of Zz’dtri being led off.

(Actually, I do need to stress this more than I just did. Roy not only concocts a plan to ultimately defeat Thog, he allows his own body to be battered and bruised carrying it to completion. And then he taunts Thog about how he did it. That is just… Let’s put it this way: There is a reason why professional wrestling is popular, and there is a reason putting on shows like this works for evil dictators like Tarquin.)

I have very little to add to whether Thog is dead as a result of this, and honestly, for the moment I don’t care. My hunch is he isn’t, though, based on the sort of drama framed around this scene and what Rich has done in the past (not to mention it wouldn’t matter much anyway, as Roy knows well). Frankly, I wonder more what this means for Roy: would this make him the new Champion, and if so, what would escaping do to that?

I have very little to add to the Linear Guild fight (and thus this whole long 100+-strip Empire of Blood sequence) winding down, with Zz’dtri and Vaarsuvius being indisposed (I don’t know if I’m putting the apostrophe in the right place and for the moment I don’t care), Elan meeting with Durkon, and Belkar and Mr. Scruffy meeting up. I have a feeling, though, that I will be making a lot more posts on OOTS in the future – Rich will probably start sending the Order to Girard’s Gate (finally) soon, and that could result in quite a few post-worthy revelations, not to mention more moments like this (though not quite of this caliber) in the near future. And that’s not even getting into the posts I’ve had planned but have been waiting for the right moment to actually do, like my last OOTS post.

(I almost wrote “sending his cast to…” there. Is Robert A. Howard rubbing off on me? Speaking of which…)

I have very little to add to what Tangents said about this strip, especially since I made some of the same points he does earlier in the fight (and as with that strip, this one works largely because there are no swords involved), except to say that cross-cutting between different fights in different places is in fact one of Rich’s favorite tactics, and that if the fight has been dragging I would blame the slowing update schedule.

I have very little to add to being most of the way done with this post, but still needing to insert pointless filler like this to keep the comic image from messing up the layout of the page. (Hmm… maybe I should have inserted a thumbnail of only a part of the comic, like I did in my very first OOTS post? But there’s so much comic to choose from…)

I just want to say two things, at least one of which I suspect Eric Burns(-White) would say if he were still posting:

This comic… tells you everything you need to know about Roy Greenhilt.

And also: Roy Greenhilt is awesome.

That is all.

(Just a little bit further… YES! It counts! That’s right, that’s right, who’s the boss, who’s the boss?)

2011 College Football Rankings – Week 4

How much longer will I be doing the college football rankings? They eat up a lot of time at a time of year when I have a bunch of other projects in the pipeline, the last two years at least I didn’t post post-bowl rankings on Da Blog, there’s an increasing feeling we’ll get a plus-one in 2014 (thus sapping much of the reason for having the rankings), last year I didn’t even bother to post full ranking posts, and both this year and last I didn’t start posting rankings when I intended to. Although in this year’s case that’s because I wanted to get to the two posts I pushed through the past couple days first.

I would have released the first rankings Week 3, although there would have been a few teams only connected through USC at that point. You can still read the Week 3 rankings for your convenience. I finally fixed one of the two longstanding problems I’ve had with the rankings this year, concerning the wonky effect conference ranking has on the final rankings. C Ratings are now calculated by subtracting one-tenth the difference between the B Rating and the average of the team’s opponents’ B Ratings. As conferences are thus now unimportant, conference ratings aren’t listed on the RTF, but conferences themselves are still included for completeness and reference. The first round of conference realignment seems an opportune time to push through this change.

(The other change I’d like to make – making I-AA teams equivalent to an A Rating of 0 for B Point purposes win or lose – probably isn’t something the version of Access I have can handle.)

How the C Ratings are tabulated: First, A Ratings are tabulated by multiplying the total score ratio, which is expressed by (points-opponents’ points)/points, by the winning percentage. Score ratio minimizes the effect of running up the score. Next, B Points for each game are tabulated by (margin of victory)/(opponent’s A rating)+/-1 for wins, and -(margin of loss)/(1-opponent’s A Rating)+/-1 for losses. The “+/-” is + for road games and – for home ones. The total number of B Points is multiplied by the A Rating to get the B Rating. Conference Ratings are tabulated by averaging the B Ratings of all teams in the conference. (Independents are counted separately, and Army and Navy are counted as one conference.) Finally, the C Rating is tabulated by taking one-tenth the difference between the team’s B Rating and the average of his opponents’ B Ratings and taking the result off the B Rating. The three ratings go A, B, C across. Click here to see the complete ratings.

1 LSU SEC #1 ’06 Boise St.
4-0 LW: #5 A Rat: .812 B Rating: 19.778 C Rating: 17.760
All three I-A teams they’ve faced so far are/were Top 25 in the polls, and the closest any of them came was 13 points. Is it any wonder the polls and C Ratings agree who’s No. 1? Imagine how scary they’ll be when Jordan Jefferson comes back.
2 Alabama SEC #2 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #15 A Rat: .884 B Rating: 20.664 C Rating: 17.643
Only Penn State has gotten within 20 points. If they can get past Florida, November 5th will be a heck of a game.
3 Michigan B10 #1 Big 10 Lead
4-0 LW: #1 A Rat: .809 B Rating: 15.349 C Rating: 13.569
What Wisconsin-Nebraska game? Only Notre Dame got within three touchdowns. Have the Wolverines finally shaken their recent doldrums? Might they even beat the Buckeyes?
4 South Florida BST #1 Big East Lead
4-0 LW: #7 A Rat: .779 B Rating: 13.611 C Rating: 12.058
Obviously they’ll fall after losing to Pitt, but before then only Notre Dame had gotten within four touchdowns. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the coaching tree.
5 Nebraska B10 #2 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #18 A Rat: .752 B Rating: 12.842 C Rating: 11.296
Looks like the polls were right about the Huskers coming into their new conference with guns ablazin’. No one has gotten within 13 points. Look out, Badgers.
6 Stanford P12 #2 Pac-12 Lead
3-0 LW: #8 A Rat: .893 B Rating: 13.570 C Rating: 11.083
Oregon’s national championship overshadowed Stanford’s great year, but the Cardinal seem to have picked up right where they left off.
7 Georgia Tech ACC #1 ACC Leader
4-0 LW: #4 A Rat: .759 B Rating: 11.881 C Rating: 10.166
With only North Carolina getting within four touchdowns, might the Yellowjackets attract national attention to the ACC?
8 Oklahoma State B12 #1 Big 12 Lead
4-0 LW: #3 A Rat: .692 B Rating: 11.619 C Rating: 9.812
Oklahoma State is auditioning for the Pac-16. Only A&M got within three touchdowns. Don’t look ahead to the Texas game against the Jayhawks.
9 Florida SEC #3 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #52 A Rat: .877 B Rating: 10.754 C Rating: 7.895
Great job blowing Kentucky out of the water. But watch out: now Bama comes into the Swamp.
10 Wisconsin B10 #3 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #9 A Rat: .919 B Rating: 9.878 C Rating: 7.768
Never scored or won by less than 35 or allowed more than 17 = fantastic score ratio. But expect that to change when Nebraska comes into Camp Randall.
11 South Carolina SEC #4 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #33 A Rat: .673 B Rating: 7.979 C Rating: 6.885
Big win over a decent Vanderbilt team. Now, can the Gamecocks prove they deserve their Top 10 poll ranking against the defending national champions?
12 Texas A&M B12 #2 In Top 25
2-1 LW: #2 A Rat: .497 B Rating: 7.913 C Rating: 6.068
The Aggies are trying to leave the Big 12 with a bang. Big wins in their first two games and a one-point loss to Oklahoma State make them the top-ranked one-loss team. Big test coming against rival Arkansas.
13 Boise State MWC #1 Non-BCS Lead
3-0 LW: #10 A Rat: .752 B Rating: 7.102 C Rating: 5.696
Boise State is off to a rollicking start their first year in the Mountain West – and once and future conference mate Nevada is starting off rockily.
14 Oklahoma B12 #3 In Top 25
3-0 LW: #6 A Rat: .733 B Rating: 6.621 C Rating: 5.470
Ten-point wins over Florida State and Missouri, neither in positive B Points, suggest maybe the Sooners aren’t quite the national championship favorites everyone thought they’d be. But they’re still a force to be reckoned with.
15 Virginia Tech ACC #2 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #23 A Rat: .826 B Rating: 6.824 C Rating: 4.877
The battle of the Techs could be huge this year – but the clash with Clemson for the Princeton-Yale belt may be the biggest early season clash in the ACC.
16 Texas B12 #4 In Top 25
3-0 LW: #14 A Rat: .730 B Rating: 6.618 C Rating: 4.846
The Longhorn Network has painted a target on the Longhorns’ backs for the whole Big 12 to aim at, but the Horns seem to have bounced back from last year’s doldrums.
17 Tennessee SEC #5 In Top 25
2-1 LW: #16 A Rat: .422 B Rating: 4.555 C Rating: 4.569
No shame in losing to Florida after two wins by at least three touchdowns to start the year.
18 Clemson ACC #3 Prncton/Yale
4-0 LW: #27 A Rat: .662 B Rating: 4.947 C Rating: 3.962
Wins over Florida State and I-AA Wofford just a little too close for comfort. But how huge is the showdown with V-Tech for determining the direction of the ACC?
19 Arizona State* P12 #2 In Top 25
3-1 LW: #44 A Rat: .470 B Rating: 3.367 C Rating: 3.064
Big win over a USC team ranked in the AP poll, but admittedly not bowl-eligible, proved their bona fides. Even better? Divisional arrangement means they skate Stanford until conference title game – and their division title may not come with a USC asterisk like some thought.
20 Notre Dame   In Top 25
2-2 LW: #24 A Rat: .283 B Rating: 2.723 C Rating: 3.003
Once upon a time, the Domers would be the top-ranked two-loss team because of the effect of not having a conference to dilute their rating. Now it’s because their two losses were close to teams ahead of them, while their wins aren’t to slouches either. What Brian Kelly hot seat?
21 Penn State B10 #4 In Top 25
3-1 LW: #35 A Rat: .501 B Rating: 2.874 C Rating: 2.929
Blowing out Eastern Michigan just what the doctor ordered entering Big Ten play.
22 TCU MWC #2 In Top 25
3-1 LW: #22 A Rat: .537 B Rating: 4.653 C Rating: 2.748
Whaddaya know, it’s the two teams that stayed in non-BCS conferences that top the Utah schools in the rankings. TCU has bounced back from the Baylor loss with consistent blowout performances.
23 Illinois B10 #5 In Top 25
4-0 LW: #26 A Rat: .724 B Rating: 2.913 C Rating: 2.581
Arizona State and Western Michigan wins too close for comfort, and Arkansas State only other I-A foe faced, but wins are wins. A good win over rival Northwestern should prove their bona fides.
24 Oregon P12 #3 ’09 Boise St.
3-1 LW: #21 A Rat: .534 B Rating: 3.484 C Rating: 2.542
Blowout win over Arizona, but Arizona stinks. California will provide a much bigger test, but Arizona State looms after that.
25 Rutgers BST #2 In Top 25
2-1 LW: #36 A Rat: .470 B Rating: 2.614 C Rating: 2.362
When’s the last time we talked about Rutgers? 48-0 drubbing of NC Central and double-digit win over Ohio overcomes NC Central being I-A and a narrow loss to North Carolina.

35 teams total with positive C Rating (none with negative B Rating)

2010 TCU title: #30 Baylor (3-0), .747, 1.283, .890

Off Top 25: #27 San Diego State (was #11), #31 North Carolina (was #20), #35 Florida International (was #17), #37 California (was #25), #41 USC (was #12), #49 Ohio (was #13), #59 West Virginia (was #19) (yes, freakin’ Florida International would have been Top 20 last week!)

Unbeaten teams not on Top 25: #28 Houston, #29 Kansas State, #30 Baylor*, #32 Iowa State, #61 Texas Tech (all in positive B points, Texas Tech not in positive C)

Rest of Watch List: #26 Utah (2-1), #27 San Diego State (3-1), #31 North Carolina (3-1)

Other Positive B Ratings (all 3-1 unless otherwise noted): #33 Washington*, #34 Temple*, #35 Florida International, #36 Wake Forest (2-1), #37 California, #38 Iowa, #40 Navy (2-1), #42 Bowling Green, #44 Duke* (2-2) (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #41 USC, #43 Miami (FL), #45 Missouri, #46 Louisville, #49 Ohio, #55 Wyoming, #56 Vanderbilt, #58 Florida State, #59 West Virginia, #60 Pittsburgh, #68 Washington State

Bottom 10: #111 Army, #112 Florida Atlantic, #113 Tulane, #114 Idaho, #115 New Mexico, #116 UAB, #117 Louisiana-Monroe, #118 Central Michigan, #119 Akron, #120 Memphis

Best game of week: Alabama @ Florida, 5pm PT, CBS