2009 College Football Rankings – Week 5

This was a fairly weak week in college football with a ton of top 25 teams having byes, including the two national title favorites, and the best game of the week being #16 UCLA against Stanford, where the Bruins failed to prove they deserved to be ranked in the polls and the Cardinal earned themselves their first trip to my Top 25 in the time I’ve been tracking them. The bye was worse for Florida than Texas, as Texas’ strength of schedule held up enough that they could flip places with Florida. Iowa moved out of the #2 spot with a closer-than-it-should-have-been win over Arkansas State, but Cincinnati will not go away, and Alabama is finally looking like the team everyone thought they were.

There were games between teams ranked in the top 25 in the polls, but in every case at least one team was way overrated, at least according to the C Ratings. Cal’s ridiculously large tumble following the loss to Oregon was seemingly substantiated by the pedestrian performance against USC, while Oklahoma, now almost certainly out of the national title race (unless this is another 2007 in the sense that a two-loss team finds themselves in the title game) is in theory, hurt more by the loss to Miami than the Hurricanes can bounce back with it, given its closeness.

But we’re going to make up for lost time this week – especially with the return of the Gators against LSU, in what may be their biggest obstacle to a repeat national champion, an LSU team that looks rather weak with a close call against a Georgia team that the C Ratings aren’t as high on as the polls. There’s only one undefeated team – Wisconsin – that’s not on the top 25, and they’ve got a big test against Ohio State this week.

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. Click here to see the complete ratings.

1 (3) Texas (4-0)
Big 12 Leader
.825 24.547 22.244 All four of Texas’ opponents so far won – and that win over UTEP looks mighty good right now. And Texas has a somewhat easier challenge ahead against Colorado than Florida does.
2 (4) Cincinnati (5-0)
Big East Leader
.792 17.406 16.249 The big win was admittedly against winless Miami (OH), but Oregon State winning made up for that. The Bearcats aren’t going away, and they’re a potential fly in the national championship ointment.
3 (1) Florida (4-0)
SEC Leader
Princeton-Yale Title
.888 16.980 15.431 Troy didn’t play and Tennessee and Kentucky both lost, and Florida was in trouble anyway for taking the week off. But they needed it to bring Tim Tebow back for the big showdown with LSU.
4 (8) Alabama (5-0) .808 16.034 14.580 After the way they crushed Kentucky, and how great V-Tech is playing, ‘Bama is finally looking like the championship contender people thought they were – and in a week Florida and Texas didn’t play, they became the people’s favorite.
5 (2) Iowa (5-0)
Big Ten Leader
.699 15.812 14.232 Iowa had a close call against Northern Iowa too, which basically doesn’t count against a I-AA team. But it better be the team that beat Penn State that faces Michigan this week in a game for the inside track on the Big Ten title.
6 (10) Auburn (5-0) .702 10.587 9.677 Both Auburn and Alabama have had periods of brilliance in the last several years, but how huge could the Iron Bowl be this year? After beating Tennessee these Tigers are finally ranked in the polls.
7 (7) Virginia Tech (4-1)
ACC Leader
.526 10.212 8.836 The much-maligned ACC may have legitimate national title aspirations this year in the person of Virginia Tech. But even at #5 in the polls, a lot would have to happen for the Hokies to be in Glendale.
8 (15) Ohio State (4-1) .603 9.768 8.743 The Buckeyes crushed an Indiana team with Big Ten title aspirations, and now won’t have to face any of their major rivals for said title until a November meatgrinder – except Wisconsin this week.
9 (6) Kansas (4-0) .821 9.294 8.515 Around here, we like to say idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and Kansas’ hands certainly were idle. They return to the exact same spot as before Southern Miss game, and now need to get back up to face Iowa State.
10 (9) LSU (5-0) .725 9.185 8.416 Too close for comfort against overrated Georgia, taking some of the bite out of the big Florida showdown. That sort of effort just won’t cut it, especially if Tebow’s in the lineup.
11 (5) Oklahoma (2-2) .367 8.848 8.114 They shut out teams in their wins and lost two games by only one, and so a .500 team is still ranked in the polls. But unless it’s like 2007 in the sense that a two-loss team can sneak into the national title game, they can say goodbye to that.
12 (21) USC (4-1)
Pac-10 Leader
.608 8.509 7.403 USC in pole position in the Pac-10? This looks familiar. The Trojans claimed their seeming birthright by demolishing Cal, while Oregon played a team too crappy to keep their lead.
13 (11) Boise State (5-0)
Non-BCS Leader
.815 8.858 7.135 One reason V-Tech may have leapfrogged Boise State in the polls: the Broncos played an FCS team. And now they take a week off before facing Tulsa next Wednesday.
14 (13) Nebraska (3-1) .622 6.633 6.121 Nebraska’s ranked in the polls and their schedule held up enough that the bye didn’t hurt them too much. But they probably need to beat Missouri to maximize their chances of stealing the Big 12 North.
15 (14) South Florida (5-0) .845 6.300 5.884 Syracuse may be sick of being a doormat, but they’re still enough of one that a 14-point win doesn’t help the Bulls too much. But now comes a big chance to prove their bona fides, and take over Big East pole position, against Cincinnati.
16 (12) Oregon (4-1)
2006 Boise State Title
.521 6.667 5.714 Crushing Washington State isn’t enough, especially with the way USC handled Cal. Can the Ducks bounce back up by beating UCLA?
17 (28) TCU (4-0) .760 7.258 5.650 Having only two FBS wins, including a tight one over Clemson and a win over a Virginia team that was until now winless, had held TCU back from making the Top 25. But now they have all the makings of a BCS buster.
18 (23) Penn State (4-1) .585 4.497 3.955 Demolished Illinois to get their groove back and hoping Iowa takes a couple of losses. But they’ll probably slip again next week for playing I-AA Eastern Illinois.
19 (25) Pittsburgh (4-1) .594 3.668 3.427 Big win over Louisville, but they need to do more to get respect in the polls. Would a win over UConn with higher position in the C Ratings on the line help?
20 (33) Mississippi (3-1) .552 2.961 2.814 The Rebels took a week off in the ratings for losing to South Carolina, but they bounce right back with a big win over Vanderbilt. But Alabama’s going to be significantly tougher than either…
21 (20) Connecticut (3-1) .488 2.763 2.582 As noted last week, UConn slips for idle hands, and fall behind Pitt in the process. They have a chance to retake that advantage this week.
22 (19) Missouri (4-0) .763 2.668 2.552 Big game against Nebraska this week coming out of the bye. Win and the Border War becomes a Big 12 Title Game play-in. Lose and wave goodbye to the Top 25.
23 (27) Stanford (4-1) .551 2.961 2.317 Is this true? Stanford – Stanford! – is a legit top 25 team? That’s what beating UCLA will do for you, and they’re on the outskirts of the polls too. Never given up > 17 in a win or scored < 24. Oregon State is a potential statement game.
24 (17) Clemson (2-3) .233 2.923 2.276 What’s keeping a team with a losing record on the Top 25? Every loss was by four points or less and against either good teams (TCU) or on the road (G-Tech, Maryland). MD loss cripples Atlantic chances but Wake will be the real test.
25 (22) Arizona (3-1) .463 2.912 2.272 Penalized for taking a week off, and now face a Washington team eager to prove the USC game wasn’t a fluke.

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

Off Top 25: #27 UCLA (was #16), #28 Michigan (was #19), #65 Houston (was #24)

Watch List: #26 Wisconsin (only unbeaten team not on top 25), #27 UCLA, #28 Michigan, #29 South Carolina, #30 Florida State, #31 West Virginia, #32 Notre Dame*

Other Positive B Ratings: #33 Wake Forest, #34 Arkansas*, #36 Utah, #45 Northern Illinois (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #48 Iowa State, #51 Arizona State, #55 SMU, #57 Duke, #61 Indiana, #65 Houston, #70 Texas A&M, #78 Hawaii

Bottom 10: #111 Buffalo, #112 San Jose State, #113 Eastern Michigan, #114 New Mexico State, #115 Memphis, #116 Washington State, #117 Western Kentucky, #118 New Mexico, #119 Miami (OH), #120 Rice

Conference Rating: #1 Big 12 (1.510), #2 SEC (1.492), #3 Big East (.053), #4 Big 10 (-1.417), #5 ACC (-3.548), #6 Pac-10 (-4.761), #7 WAC (-14.119), #8 Mountain West (-14.178), #9 C-USA (-18.771, leader #55 SMU), #10 Sun Belt (-21.808, leader #75 Middle Tenn. St.), #11 MAC (-23.010, leader #45 Northern Illinois)

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

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