2011 College Football Rankings – Week 9

Median Expected Score
LSU 18½
Alabama 23

LSU v. Alabama. No. 1 v. No. 2. Two of the best three defenses in the country. A showdown to determine one of the participants in this year’s BCS Title Game.

Oklahoma will have something to say about the eventual outcome.

The Sooners may appear to be a long shot to make it that far; they’ll need a lot of upsets of teams currently undefeated. They can take out Oklahoma State themselves, but they’ll need someone else to take out Stanford, and maybe Boise State and the LSU-Bama loser too. Someone needs to explain to me how the Sooners could be favored on the road against a higher-ranked team (that’s all you need to know about how big a joke the polls are), but while Kansas State was wildly overrated, they were still undefeated, and the way the Sooners crushed them sends them shooting ahead of even LSU in the C Ratings.

Also, bad news for Big East fans: Rutgers has fallen off the Top 25, so your alleged BCS conference now has zero representatives. Better hope those invites work out…

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
8-0 LW: #1 A Rat: .907 B Rating: 49.180 C Rating: 42.477 AP: 2 BCS: 2
The Tide and their top-ranked defense is rested and ready for the big showdown in Tuscaloosa.
2 Oklahoma B12 #1 2010 TCU
7-1 LW: #5 A Rat: .671 B Rating: 47.537 C Rating: 40.844 AP: 7 BCS: 6
A tight loss to Texas Tech doesn’t outweigh three wins over Top 25 teams in the C Ratings.
3 LSU SEC #2 ’06 Boise St.
8-0 LW: #2 A Rat: .852 B Rating: 45.883 C Rating: 40.437 AP: 1 BCS: 1
Not as many wins over good teams hurt the Tigers’ resume, but don’t be too alarmed. Unless Oklahoma blows A&M out of the water, a win over Bama should put you back in the top two.
4 Boise State MWC #1 BCS Title
7-0 LW: #4 A Rat: .796 B Rating: 39.822 C Rating: 34.522 AP: 5 BCS: 5
Boise comes back from the bye for a tune-up against UNLV ahead of a showdown with TCU.
5 Stanford P12 #1 BCS Title
8-0 LW: #3 A Rat: .822 B Rating: 38.563 C Rating: 32.039 AP: 4 BCS: 4
Despite beating USC, Stanford slips even behind idle Boise. Gotta be concerned by a win by only eight, and losses by teams they’ve played. The Oregon schools come to town next.
6 Oklahoma State B12 #2 BCS Title
8-0 LW: #6 A Rat: .720 B Rating: 36.770 C Rating: 31.516 AP: 3 BCS: 3
Oklahoma State is now part of a group of teams well ahead of the pack. But freshly-lost Kansas State will not be easy to put away.
7 Oregon P12 #2 ’09 Boise St.
7-1 LW: #8 A Rat: .656 B Rating: 22.251 C Rating: 18.384 AP: 6 BCS: 8
Another win, another step up. But Washington isn’t Washington State, and Stanford will be far better than even that.
8 Wisconsin B10 #1 Big 10 Title
6-2 LW: #7 A Rat: .591 B Rating: 20.122 C Rating: 15.298 AP: 19 BCS: 20
Uh-oh, could Wisconsin’s season be starting to fall apart? But Ohio State has sneakily recovered from their slow start, and it’s another close loss. Hopefully Purdue will be just what the doctor ordered.
9 Houston USA #1 BCS Bowl
8-0 LW: #10 A Rat: .740 B Rating: 19.688 C Rating: 14.392 AP: 14 BCS: 13
The show Case Keenum put on against Rice caused the whole country to take notice. Could another one be coming against lowly UAB?
10 Michigan B10 #2 BCS Title
7-1 LW: #12 A Rat: .657 B Rating: 16.883 C Rating: 13.621 AP: 13 BCS: 15
Big blowout over the Boilermakers. Now come two three-loss teams before a must-win against Nebraska.
11 Clemson ACC #1 ACC Title
8-1 LW: #9 A Rat: .587 B Rating: 14.170 C Rating: 11.269 AP: 11 BCS: 11
The Tigers got a rude awakening against G-Tech, and now they suddenly face a must-win against Wake Forest if they want to win the Atlantic.
12 Nebraska B10 #3 Big 10 Title
7-1 LW: #21 A Rat: .608 B Rating: 10.690 C Rating: 8.213 AP: 9 BCS: 10
Did you know Nebraska stomped a pretty decent Michigan State team this weekend? The polls did, and so did the C Ratings.
13 South Carolina SEC #3 SEC Title
7-1 LW: #14 A Rat: .606 B Rating: 10.847 C Rating: 8.805 AP: 10 BCS: 9
The SEC undercard bout isn’t – neither team is Top 10 material, especially Arkansas – but it is a tough challenge for the Gamecocks to keep pace with Georgia in the East.
14 Penn State B10 #4 Big 10 Title
8-1 LW: #13 A Rat: .607 B Rating: 8.990 C Rating: 6.976 AP: 16 BCS: 16
It wasn’t pretty, but the Lions got it done for JoePa, and they’re now clear by two in the Woody Hayes division. But their last three opponents won’t be easy, starting with Nebraska after the bye.
15 Virginia Tech ACC #2 ACC Title
8-1 LW: #15 A Rat: .602 B Rating: 9.395 C Rating: 6.940 AP: 12 BCS: 12
The Hokies shouldn’t celebrate Clemson’s misfortune too long. The team that beat them is next, and they want a trip to the conference title game.
16 Southern Miss USA #2 C-USA Title
7-1 LW: #16 A Rat: .622 B Rating: 10.288 C Rating: 6.621 Coaches: 24 BCS: 25
Now the BCS is taking note of the Golden Eagles. But unless they beat East Carolina, they may not even be going to the conference title game.
17 Texas A&M B12 #3 Big 12 Title
5-3 LW: #11 A Rat: .409 B Rating: 8.430 C Rating: 6.120
Heartbreaking loss to Missouri. What’s worse? Now comes a visit to Norman.
18 Toledo MAC #1 MAC Title
5-3 LW: #17 A Rat: .384 B Rating: 7.354 C Rating: 5.506
I wouldn’t guaranteee that the Rockets fall off the rankings next week after a three-point loss to the perennial “Other Positive B Points” team, especially the way everyone took notice of the MAC afterwards.
19 Notre Dame   Bowl Elgblty
5-3 LW: #20 A Rat: .391 B Rating: 6.193 C Rating: 4.668
Blowout win over Navy reminds us all why the Domers are on the Top 25, and now they’re a win against a tough Wake Forest team away from becoming bowl-eligible.
20 Arizona State P12 #3 Pac-12 Title
5-2 LW: #19 A Rat: .488 B Rating: 4.907 C Rating: 2.880 AP: 20 BCS: 19
Okay, so Colorado is so godawful the Sun Devils actually slip after beating them. But a win over UCLA will all but lock up a trip to the inaugural conference title game.
21 Arkansas SEC #4 SEC Title
6-1 LW: #25 A Rat: .571 B Rating: 5.663 C Rating: 2.314 AP: 8 BCS: 7
Other teams’ misfortune causes the Razorbacks to move up despite a tight win over a team struggling to become bowl eligible. Will Steve Spurrier’s team expose them, or will they prove the polls right?
22 Florida State ACC #3 ACC Title
5-3 LW: #28 A Rat: .443 B Rating: 3.958 C Rating: 2.274
You probably forgot about the Seminoles after they followed a loss to mighty Oklahoma with consecutive 35-30 losses to their rivals for the division crown, but they’ve bounced back and a 34-0 drubbing of NC State puts them back on the Top 25.
23 Georgia SEC #5 SEC Title
6-2 LW: #24 A Rat: .485 B Rating: 2.695 C Rating: 2.203 AP: 18 BCS: 18
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win against their rivals. They shouldn’t have too much trouble with New Mexico State, which is good because they have two very good teams still to come.
24 USC P12 #4 Probation
6-2 LW: #22 A Rat: .462 B Rating: 3.458 C Rating: 2.170 AP: 21 SBNBlog: 22
USC fought valiantly against mighty Stanford and showed why they deserved all the love they got after the Notre Dame win. After crushing Colorado, they’ll get a challenge when Washington comes to the Coliseum.
25 TCU MWC #2 MWC Title
6-2 LW: #27 A Rat: .538 B Rating: 6.781 C Rating: 1.906
An important win over BYU gives the Horned Frogs just enough to move back into the Top 25, with just a trip to Wyoming ahead of the big showdown with Boise State.

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

Princeton-Yale Title: #26 Georgia Tech (7-2), .482, 3.346, .752

Off Top 25: #27 Rutgers (was #23), #35 Kansas State (was #18)

Watch List: #26 Georgia Tech, #27 Rutgers, #28 Miami (FL)

#27 TCU, #28 Florida State, #29 Michigan State, #31 Syracuse*, Temple, Iowa, Kansas State, Ohio

Other Positive B Ratings: #31 West Virginia*, #37 Iowa, #40 Ohio (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #32 Michigan State, #35 Kansas State, #41 Temple, #56 Syracuse

Bottom 10: #111 Indiana, #112 UNLV, #113 Kansas, #114 Akron, #115 Buffalo, #116 Florida Atlantic, #117 Tulane, #118 UAB, #119 Memphis, #120 New Mexico

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

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 8

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, they are back to Week 4 this year, probably for the same reason as that first year: 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. A list of all teams’ primetime appearances is in my first two posts for Weeks 4 and 5.
  • 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):

  • Selected game: New England @ NY Jets.

Week 11 (November 20):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: 5-2 v. 3-4. Two of the Eagles’ three wins came in the last two weeks, suggesting the Eagles – now tied for second in the NFC East – may be starting to look like the Dream Team we thought they were. This game has a chance to be for the division lead.
  • Protected games: Cowboys-Redskins (FOX) and Chargers-Bears (CBS).
  • Other possible games: Bucs-Packers is good but lopsided, while Titans-Falcons is a battle of 4-3 teams that probably can’t be trusted to pop a rating. Bengals-Ravens is interesting, as it’s a battle of 5-2 teams, and while the Bengals are a bunch of no-names they could very easily not only make the playoffs, but make noise in it.
  • Analysis: If the Eagles beat the Bears Monday night the tentative is going to be kept. In fact, I’d argue the only way for the tentative to lose its spot is for both teams involved to lose and the Bengals and Ravens to win. Then they’d not only be 6-2 but tied for the division lead, while Eagles-Giants would be 5-3 v. 3-5. But would even that overcome two big markets vs. two small markets and the Bengals’ collection of no-names?
  • Final prediction: Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (no change).

Week 12 (November 17):

  • Tentative game: Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
  • Prospects: 6-2 v. 4-3. Remember when the Chiefs were 0-3 and widely considered the worst team in the league? Suddenly this game looks very good to keep its spot.
  • Protected games: Patriots-Eagles (CBS) and Bears-Raiders (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Thanksgiving weekend, paucity of good games (Packers-Lions is an especially bad loss). Bills-Jets and Bucs-Titans are the only good options, with Bengals-Browns a dark horse; of those, Bills-Jets is the best game and still isn’t as good as the tentative. After the protections, 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 0-8 and got blown out 62-0 their last time on Sunday night (to a team that lost to the winless Rams the following week!), causing football to lose to another sport in the ratings for the first time in forever? 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.
  • Protected games: Jets-Redskins (CBS) and Packers-Giants (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Lions-Saints had the early lead, but record-wise at least, the race is tighter than you think; Bengals-Steelers is a battle of two-loss teams, and Titans-Bills differs only in the byes. Falcons-Texans and Chiefs-Bears are also options, and Ravens-Browns is a dark horse.

Week 14 (December 11):

  • Tentative game: NY Giants @ Dallas
  • Prospects: NFC East clash, with both teams moderately good and the division lead potentially on the line. 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. Combine that with a paucity of NFC road games, and no wonder Fox left this week unprotected.
  • Protected games: Patriots-Redskins (CBS).
  • Other possible games: Bills-Chargers, Raiders-Packers, Saints-Titans, Texans-Bengals, Chiefs-Jets. Many of these would be good enough to get the flex in a sufficiently weak week, but would Giants-Cowboys qualify?

Week 15 (December 18):

  • Tentative game: Baltimore @ San Diego
  • Prospects: Not NBC’s biggest-name late-season matchup, but one of the better ones record-wise. Good chance to keep its spot.
  • Protected games: Jets-Eagles (CBS) and Redskins-Giants (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Lions-Raiders and Packers-Chiefs and that’s it. Yeah, I’d say Ravens-Chargers is keeping its spot.

Week 17 (January 1):

  • Playoff positioning watch begins Week 9.