Laptop Update

I installed a second version of XP on my hard disk and my computer is once again operating semi-normally. The web site has been updated with two weeks‘ worth of College Football Rankings, changes in both lineal titles, and one week’s update of the SuperPower Rankings. This week’s SuperPower Rankings (and the picks) will wait until at least tomorrow.

Attention

The NFL SuperPower Rankings, NFL lineal title update, SNF Flex Scheduling watch, and NFL picks are all delayed at least until Thursday and possibly Friday due to a computer issue.

The College Football Rankings will be up by 5 PM PT. Link is on a prior post.

UPDATE: The College Football Rankings are delayed as well and I may not be able to update anything web site related. If so, I will not have any more SuperPower Ranking updates for the remainder of the season. It seems at least some of the school computers may have restrictions on uploading files to the Internet. That or Freehostia is having problems at the moment.

Quick Check off the SNF Watch

CONFIRMED: Protection still exists. But looking at my Week 4 roundup, I might have found it hard to believe Fox would have protected Giants-Lions. The Giants were only 2-2 at the time and the Lions were similar. Panthers-Packers would have been a more likely protection for Fox.

Other projected protections: Bucs-Redskins Week 12; Jaguars-Colts and maybe Seahawks-Eagles Week 13; Steelers-Patriots and either Cowboys-Lions, Bucs-Texans, or Cardinals-Seahawks Week 14; Jaguars-Steelers and either Seahawks-Panthers or Eagles-Cowboys Week 15; Ravens-Seahawks and Packers-Bears Week 16; and Steelers-Ravens or Titans-Colts, and Cowboys-Redskins or Packers-Lions, Week 17.

NBC has a point when they note that the Bills are on fire. But the Pats are too far on another level for it to look competitive, in the game or the AFC East. NBC also notes that the Pats played in the two highest-rated games this season – ignoring that the Colts and Cowboys games were also two of the most-hyped, most-important games this season. It reminds me of when Sports Media Watch became so fixated with its “Cowboys were more responsible for Pats-Cowboys rating than the actual quality of the teams” hypothesis that it actually picked a lower rating for Pats-Colts, underestimating the NFL audience and failing to note that the NFL is unlike any other sports league. NBC (and the NFL) may be falling into the same trap.

The Week 10 College Football Rankings will be here shortly. They do not include ESPN’s Tuesday and Wednesday games. I will also update the Web site at the same time to include the NFL Lineal Title change.

College Football Rankings after Week 8

In two weeks, Arizona State-Oregon could determine who goes to the Rose Bowl, if not the National Championship Game. But at the moment it’s not looking to be on television at all outside of the states in question, because the TV schedule for this particular week was set for the Pac-10 before the season.

Here‘s how the rankings look after eight wild and wacky weeks.

Also, early in the year Florida held the Princeton title and LSU held the 2004 Auburn title. Those two have now flipped.

What a long, strange trip it’s been

What a wild, wacky college football season it’s been. The raft of upsetitis has now spread to the top teams. USC is the best team in the country? Whoops, they just lost to Stanford, the dregs of the Pac-10. LSU is the best team? Whoops, they just lost to Kentucky. Now Ohio State is the best team. Maybe that’s good news for Michigan State, who they play this week.

A lot of people say it’s all because of increased parity. If so, that’s a wonderful argument for a playoff. Well, if you want a playoff, here’s what you’re going to have to get for it to be logical: 16 teams. Every conference champion gets a spot, even in the Sun Belt. That leaves five at-large bids. If you’re a good team, you better win your conference championship, or you’re fighting for fewer at-large bids than there are BCS conferences. I’d be willing to consider a 24-team format as well, about one-third the size of the NCAA Basketball tournament, which scales about right. That has the added bonus of increased competition at the top to nab one of the eight byes, as well as allowing us to preserve most of the existing bowls while adding some logic and order to it as well.

At the end of the season, I’m going to simulate a playoff format like this, using the following criteria. I seed the field 1-16 and assign each pod of four to a BCS bowl site for the second round. The first round will be held at higher-seed home sites, and the last two rounds will be held at whatever site the real-life BCS Championship Game is being held.

I seed the field and choose the at-larges using the same criteria the NCAA uses to pick its basketball tournament. For my purposes, that is: pure record, RPI, record in conference and out, road record, record in last 5 games, and individual RPI ranking, and status in playoff, of all teams played. I don’t weight the RPI the way the NCAA does for home and road and I choose the at-larges before seeding anyone. I also don’t use the BCS, my college football rankings, or any poll.

Once I have that down, I’ll start the simulated playoff. I determine who moves on based on polling visitors to Da Blog, despite having a piss-poor track record of people actually voting in my polls.

One downside to a playoff: It loses a lot of the justification for the I-A/I-AA split to exist. Just look at the Orwellian names the NCAA gave them: the existence of a playoff or not is the whole basis for the divisions’ identity.

The college football rankings will be here shortly. The lineal titles will also be updated to reflect the Kentucky upset.

New Home for My College Football Rankings

The College Football Rankings join a long list of things making the march to the web site, but not because it’s ill-fit for Blogger under the status quo. It’s simply too hard to figure out, and then hand-code, the more flashy ranking page you saw last week, so I’m only posting the full, top-to-bottom rankings. Last week’s rankings are here and this week’s are here. You need something that views Rich Text Format files.

The lineal titles are also updated; in such a wild week, LSU and Ohio State actually held onto their titles. Whoda thunk?

Week 4 College Football Rankings

Only one sport could inspire ESPN to run a 25-hour pregame show leading up to their first game of the new season: college football! After four wild and wacky weeks, we’re ready for the new C Ratings. In a last minute change, I decided that OT games ould be considered to have an MoV of 0. That means they only affect the winning percentage component of A Rating while averaging a 0, which translates to a .5, on the score ratio component. They also give B Points similar to a I-AA game: only the home field modifier regardless of outcome. As exciting as college football OT is, it’s a joke and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual play of the game. It’s more of a skills competition, akin to penalty kicks in soccer. If drives occurred the way they do in actual play, as opposed to starting within field goal range, I might give it more weight.

As always, the first few weeks are still rather volatile, but still instructive. Impressively, LSU led the C Ratings after a masterful Week 1 performance over Mississippi State and have never looked back, up by nearly 5000. Florida, bolstered by my decision to include Western Kentucky as a I-A team despite a mostly I-AA schedule, is making the coming 1-2 showdown a can’t miss bout. USC looked like a preseason favorite after demolishing Michigan in the Rose Bowl and adding perhaps the best recruiting class in the nation, but they might not be the best team in their own conference. Oregon has looked unstoppable thus far. To think the ESPN family won’t have any Pac-10 action on October 27th, when these two square off on FSN. Oklahoma and Ohio State might also be contenders to go to New Orleans. It looks like it’ll be a long season in South Bend: the Golden Domers are in dead last and could stay there the rest of the way.

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 the difference between the team’s B Rating and his conference’s rating, taking a fraction of that equal to the fraction of Division I-A the conference makes up, and taking the result off the B Rating. The three ratings go A, B, C across.

1. LSU (4-0)
SEC Leader
2004 Auburn Title
.910 17806.865 16270.763

With 7 teams in positive B Points in the SEC, if LSU can run the table, they better be No. 1 in the polls as well.

2. Florida (4-0)
Princeton Title
.784 13043.663 11983.881

The LSU-Florida game in two weeks could be the game of the year.

3. Oklahoma (4-0)
Big 12 Leader
.903 12500.041 11273.782

If USC falters, look for the Sooners to take advantage and run for the National Championship.

4. Oregon
Pac-10 Leader
.786 9597.666 8773.179

Huh? What are the Ducks doing here? They’ve never scored less than 30, only this week gave up more than 30, and never won by less than 20. If they stay unbeaten until USC at home and win there…

5. Ohio State (4-0)
Big 10 Leader
2007 Boise State Title
.900 8432.105 7720.991

The Buckeyes might be able to run the table if the Big 10 is as down a conference as people have started to think.

6. USC (3-0) .801 6307.529 5757.221

USC’s problem is twofold: two of its games were against mediocre opposition at best and they let Nebraska get garbage time scores. But more to the point? One fewer game than everyone else.

7. Kentucky (4-0) .738 4274.008 4091.191

WTF? Never scored less than 40, never given up more than 35, and delivered a solid defeat to a decent Arkansas team. But the meat of the SEC is still to come.

8. West Virginia (4-0)
Big East Leader
.817 4422.667 4050.259

After a strong year, the Big East appears to once again be out of the top four BCS conferences. That just means a dominant-looking West Virginia could be unstoppable.

9. Cincinnati (4-0) .912 4187.525 3830.794

Huh? Scored less than 40 only once, never given up more than 14, beat a decent Oregon State team. They don’t want to just be spoilers this year.

10. Connecticut (4-0) .813 3682.775 3359.694

What on earth is UConn doing at 4-0? Crushing a still-good Pitt team by 20 shows they’re for real. They might not drop for a while with Cincy and WV not on the schedule until November.

11. Hawaii (4-0)
Non-BCS Leader
.808 4147.456 3328.240

With the early favorites to be BCS busters struggling early, it looks like Hawaii is the major hope to crash the party—even if they did have to squeeze a victory over Louisiana Tech.

12. Arizona State (4-0) .800 3178.150 2888.623

The Sun Devils, constantly on the verge of becoming a Pac-10 power, have looked impressive early on. But the real test comes October 27, when Cal comes to town.

13. Michigan State (4-0) .731 2975.847 2764.890

The yearly heartbreak hasn’t started yet, and the weak Irish didn’t do anything to change that. But Wisconsin this week is the strongest team yet.

14. Boston College (4-0)
ACC Leader
.741 2910.481 2491.885

Their next three look to continue the Eagles’ winning ways, but their hopes at the ACC Title Game will be decided when they return to ACC play against V-Tech, FSU, Clemson, and Miami.

15. California (4-0) .700 2683.787 2435.457

Weak opposition largely to blame for the low rating. But they have a shot to establish their bona fides this week against Oregon.

16. Missouri (4-0) .698 2360.806 2148.470

They’ve faced nothing but weak opposition so far, but right now they look like the power team in the Big 12 North.

17. Texas (4-0) .730 2318.474 2110.372

The tight win over UCF is really hurting their ranking, but it looks like it’s going to be a nice year for Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.

18. Purdue (4-0) .781 2254.127 2109.328

Only cupcakes so far, but never scored less than 45. Look for the run to end October 6 against Ohio State.

19. Wisconsin (4-0) .675 2210.044 2069.285

The Badgers might be a paper tiger, but unbeaten is unbeaten. We’ll see how strong they really are against Michigan State this week.

20. Rutgers (3-0) .889 2273.483 2044.354

Demolished their first three opponents quite handily to pick up where they left off last year. Of course, Navy was the only decent team of the bunch, and one was I-AA; Maryland and Cincy should bulk up the resume.

21. Illinois (3-1) .548 1891.864 1780.272

Huh? Lost to a good Missouri team by only 6; then turned around and crushed a decent Indiana team. They can prove their worth to the nation this week against Penn State.

22. Texas Tech (3-1) .529 1476.398 1352.503

Keep in mind, the tight loss to Oklahoma State<>

23. Alabama (3-1) .519 1153.694 1282.909

OT loss to Georgia aside, the Crimson Tide looked dominant to start the season. Like Texas Tech, they’ll probably fall off, but they could be spoilers to LSU on November 3rd.

24. Kansas (4-0) .940 1143.437 1052.838

Huh? Weak opposition inflates their A Rating—Toledo was the only team to score double digits against them, while KU has never scored less than 45. Could they be Big 12 North contenders?

25. Clemson (4-0) .748 1288.787 1032.361

Except FSU, Clemson has faced only weak opposition, deflating their rating. But the meat of the ACC is still to come.

37 teams total with positive C rating (none with negative B rating)

2004 Utah Title: #72 UNLV (2-2), .265, -2895.404, -2909.816

Watch List: #26 Auburn, #27 South Florida (UB), #28 Georgia, #29 South Carolina, #30 TCU, #31 Florida State

Other Positive B Ratings: #32 Mississippi State, #33 Miami, #34 Nebraska, #35 Iowa, #36 Virginia Tech, #37 Wyoming, #38 Central Florida, #39 New Mexico, #41 BYU, #42 Ball State (UB=Unbeaten not on top 25)

Bottom 10: #111 Louisiana-Lafayette, #112 Miami (OH), #113 Louisiana-Monroe, #114 SMU, #115 Rice, #116 San Jose State, #117 Florida International, #118 Temple, #119 Syracuse, #120 Notre Dame

Conference Rating: #1 SEC (2445.843), #2 Big 10 (674.497), #3 Big 12 (237.446), #4 Pac-10 (-296.172), #5 Big East (-1163.446), #6 ACC (-1275.477), #7 Mountain West (-3087.562, leader #30 TCU), #8 WAC (-6775.428), #9 MAC (-7014.195, leader #42 Ball State), #10 C-USA (-7132.373, leader #51 Houston), #11 Sun Belt (-11418.525, leader #90 Troy)

Complete list of teams still to come!

Football Lineal Title Update

The Football Hub is updated with all the wonderful lineal title changes of the past week. On the NFL side, Houston’s defeat of Carolina sets up a lineal title unification bout when the Colts face the Texans this coming week. Both of the college football titles that changed hands last week change hands again this week, and the 2004 Utah title is back in the hands of the team that created it.

Florida faces Ole Miss this coming week, while Utah faces UNLV, Ohio State faces Northwestern, and in the most likely title change (which isn’t saying much), LSU faces South Carolina. The 2004 Auburn Title is two weeks away from a potential unification with the Princeton Title; LSU needs to survive SC and Tulane, while Florida needs to survive Mississippi and Auburn. With Auburn’s struggles, SC is the most likely upset, but LSU is so strong it might not matter.

While my College Football Rankings won’t be released until this coming week, I can tell you one interesting fact about how they’re shaking out. Notre Dame is currently infamously embroiled in futility, and had I released the college football rankings this week, they would place dead last. Ouch.