2009 College Football Rankings – Week 8

This was a wild week for the C Ratings – and this was a week in which in many ways, the C Ratings were justified! Every so often I find myself wondering if the computer on which the calculations are done affect the resulting rankings. Just look at the turnover on the rankings this week – what are TCU and Boise State doing as the next-best teams behind the Big Four, in the year of one of the largest gaps between the BCS and non-BCS conferences I’ve ever seen? What are Pitt and Penn State doing in the Top 10? Did Oklahoma State really just zoom into the Top 20 after weeks of waiting on the outside of the Top 25 looking in? Tennessee at #29 despite being in negative B Points? Blame some of the surprising results we had in college football this week – especially Alabama needing a last-second blocked field goal to beat Tennessee, causing a flip-flop with Texas to put the Longhorns back into the top spot of the C Ratings. This week’s C Ratings do not include games already played.

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 (4) Texas (7-0)
Big 12 Leader
.803 35.247 31.282 The Longhorns followed a worrying effort against Oklahoma with an impressive one against Missou to retake the top spot – but people are still too enamored of the SEC. But Oklahoma State could very easily be a trap game.
2 (2) Florida (7-0)
SEC Leader
Princeton-Yale Title
.810 33.170 29.735 Florida may have missed an opportunity to return to #1 by letting a weak Mississippi State team get too far into the game. Will the refs have to save them again at the World’s Largest Cocktail Party?
3 (3) Cincinnati (7-0)
Big East Leader
.798 28.076 26.174 Cincinnati’s own coach told ESPN’s “College Football Live” Wednesday he voted his own team fifth. Did no one notice the Big East had a nonconference on par with any other BCS conference? More on this next week.
4 (1) Alabama (8-0) .801 26.665 23.881 So much for the darling of the blogosphere – Alabama should be worried that they’re fourth despite playing one more game. They better fix the problems with the Tennessee game, because LSU comes to town after the bye.
5 (8) TCU (7-0)
Non-BCS Leader
.779 25.582 21.911 BYU’s poll ranking is mostly driven by their success in seasons past, but 38-7 is 38-7, especially against their best A Rating faced so far. Could this be the BCS buster that finally makes the title game?
6 (6) Boise State (7-0) .802 22.322 18.742 Assuming both stay unbeaten and neither make the title game, with the proven appeal of the underdog, I’d like to see the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl select a non-BCS team with their first pick and book a 2008 Poinsettia Bowl rematch.
7 (5) Iowa (8-0)
Big Ten Leader
.668 20.409 17.742 If the Hawkeyes want to be in national championship consideration, especially with the stigma the Big Ten has picked up, they’ve got to stop escaping close games against teams they should beat handily.
8 (12) Pittsburgh (7-1) .629 16.310 15.192 Want to know how good the Big East really is? Pitt just demolished a South Florida team that was unbeaten two weeks ago. Their rating is almost entirely driven big Big East opponents. How big might the Cincinnati game be?
9 (13) Penn State (7-1) .709 16.797 14.461 Big win over a Michigan team that’s not the team that lost to Appalachian State. They need Iowa to lose twice, though, and three of the Hawkeyes’ remaining four are at home to mediocre teams.
10 (10) Oregon (6-1)
Pac-10 Leader
2006 Boise State Title
.591 15.233 13.086 People are talking up USC as perhaps a better national title contender than Cincinnati or Iowa. If the Ducks can knock the Trojans off in Autzen, with a better loss, will people say the same things about them?
11 (7) Virginia Tech (5-2)
ACC Leader
.465 15.315 12.947 V-Tech slips for the bye, but they’ll slip again next week because they just lost a close one to North Carolina. Will people interpret this as “the ACC is better and has more parity than we thought”, or “V-Tech was never that good anyway”?
12 (14) Oklahoma (4-3) .412 11.932 10.299 Oh ye of little faith, who dropped Oklahoma out of the polls entirely after losing Sam Bradford for the season. They showed a good Kansas team that for all the crap teams they’d beaten, they still kept it close in every loss.
13 (11) USC (6-1) .609 12.138 10.248 USC slips a couple of spots despite handling a pretty good Oregon State team relatively easily because Washington lost again – badly – and so did Washington State, even if to another USC opponent in Cal. Need to beat Oregon to prove their poll ranking.
14 (17) Ohio State (6-2) .545 9.707 8.021 Get back on track by beating Minnesota, and will now have a tune-up against New Mexico State before a couple of litmus test games against Penn State and Iowa. They still control their own Rose Bowl destiny.
15 (16) LSU (6-1) .560 9.027 8.007 Handled Auburn properly. Now Tulane is going to be a tuneup for the Alabama game, at which point LSU will either shock the college football world and sneak into the SEC Title Game, or prepare for the Capitol One Bowl as an afterthought.
16 (27) Oklahoma State (6-1) .617 5.409 4.428 With no wins against teams in positive B Points and a 5-point squeaker over Texas A&M, OSU hadn’t done enough to justify their poll ranking – until allowing a season low against an FBS school v. Baylor. But Bryant’s gone, and Texas ain’t Baylor.
17 (19) Clemson (4-3) .357 5.531 4.141 The moral, as always: the C Ratings know best. Clemson’s still not ranked in the polls, though they have votes across the board, and even here they’ll slip after playing I-AA Coastal Carolina, but they’re in pole position in the Atlantic.
18 (20) West Virginia (6-1) .571 4.288 3.972 The Mountaineers foiled what could have been a good story about the Huskies overcoming adversity to win, but still, they entered this week one of three teams unbeaten in conference. But the meat of the schedule is still to come.
19 (25) Georgia Tech (7-1) .554 5.240 3.879 The pollsters are still overrating G-Tech on the outskirts of the Top 10. Handling Virginia is good, but Vanderbilt will hardly be a test. Still, they, not V-Tech, control their own destiny in the Coastal.
20 (15) Nebraska (4-3) .379 4.326 3.454 What happened? One minute the Huskers are blowing out Missouri and challenging Kansas for the Big 12 North, the next they’re losing to Texas Tech and freaking Iowa State, and no longer control their own destiny. At least KU is losing too.
21 (9) Texas Tech (5-3) .414 3.237 2.474 The only people who saw Texas A&M upend Texas Tech were in the stadium. The Red Raiders finally faltered at home, and now don’t look so hot. Fortunately, the Jayhawks come into town reeling too.
22 (24) Arizona (5-2) .433 3.654 2.472 Lost in all the talk about the big Oregon-USC showdown this weekend is that the Wildcats, now ranked in the polls heading into the bye, still control their own destiny – and get Oregon at home. Sure, they have to play in the Coliseum, but still.
23 (23) Utah (6-1) .557 4.021 1.967 Hold steady because they beat a good Air Force team, but not by a lot. That doesn’t inspire the confidence the polls have in them. Need to blow out Wyoming to stay on this Top 25.
24 (30) Notre Dame (5-2) .413 1.836 1.836 Back on the Top 25 after beating Boston College, but they’ve gotta stop being the Cardiac Irish. Having a performance that sluggish against lowly Washington State will send you right back off again.
25 (26) Mississippi (5-2) .469 2.137 1.806 They were just outside the Top 25 last week and did what they needed to do this week against a good Arkansas team – but only move up one spot. Now they travel to play a reeling Auburn team.

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

Off Top 25: #26 Connecticut (was #22), #31 Kansas (was #18), #37 Virginia (was #21)

Watch List: #26 Connecticut, #27 Miami (FL), #28 South Carolina

Other Positive B Ratings: #30 Fresno State, #32 Oregon State, #34 Central Michigan*, #40 Northern Illinois, #41 Houston*, #43 Temple* (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #29 Tennessee, #31 Kansas, #37 Virginia, #38 Florida State, #42 Michigan, #46 South Florida, #47 Arkansas, #53 Arizona State

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

Conference Rating: #1 Big East (-.460), #2 SEC (-1.175), #3 Big 12 (-4.399), #4 ACC (-8.368), #5 Big 10 (-8.684), #6 Pac-10 (-10.537), #7 Mountain West (-23.363), #8 WAC (-25.415), #9 MAC (-31.941), #10 Conference USA (-37.528), #11 Sun Belt (-39.691)

Best game of week: Texas @ Oklahoma State, 5pm PT, ABC or ESPN2

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