2012 College Football Rankings – Week 4

This will be my penultimate year of the college football rankings. There are a couple reasons for this, not just the new playoff – namely, conference realignment is making college football unrecognizable to me (the Princeton-Yale Title is going to be unified with the 2010 TCU title this week, shockingly early in the season, and the move of West Virginia to the Big 12 is almost solely responsible for it) – but the fact that we’re getting a playoff, one where a selection committee is making the decisions and so there’s less emphasis on “rankings” to try to influence people, is the main one. The monstrosity that has been the BCS has attempted to make its decisions with a combination of polls and computer rankings, though they’ve increasingly neutered the latter; as such, there’s a lot of emphasis on where teams stand, and my rankings were an attempt to contribute to that debate. Now, there are fewer people to be swayed and they’re less likely to be swayed; as such, if I were to continue the feature, its most appropriate form would probably be a “bubble watch”.

The week 3 rankings showed that the national consensus isn’t far off, with Alabama #1 and LSU top three. The Tigers took a bigger tumble in the C Ratings this week after not only letting a mediocre-at-best Auburn team keep it closer than they should have, but having Washington not play and the other two teams they played lose. Just as in the polls, Oregon takes advantage of its squash of Arizona to take LSU’s spot. But in both weeks, there’s an interloper. Say what you will about their impact on conference realignment and the economics of college sports, but the Texas Longhorns will be good whenever they want to be. Their squashes of their first three opponents, especially an admittedly-weak SEC team, should serve notice to the rest of the country that they could be headed to Miami when all is said and done.

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 ’06 Boise St.
4-0 LW: #1 A Rat: .935 B Rating: 26.029 C Rating: 22.864 AP: 1 Coaches: 1
Alabama has picked up right where they left off last season.
2 Texas B12 #1 BCS Title
3-0 LW: #2 A Rat: .845 B Rating: 24.513 C Rating: 21.711 AP: 12 Coaches: 10
If Texas can do to Oklahoma State what they’ve done to their other opponents so far, the whole country will realize how good this Longhorn squad really is.
3 Oregon P12 #1 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #15 A Rat: .823 B Rating: 23.253 C Rating: 20.569 AP: 2 Coaches: 2
One big win over a good Arizona team, and suddenly Oregon looks a lot like the team USC was supposed to be – or the team from two years ago.
4 Texas Tech B12 #2 BCS Title
3-0 LW: #5 A Rat: .901 B Rating: 20.427 C Rating: 17.982
When you never score less than 44, your rating is going to be good no matter what – and they actually account for Texas State’s only loss this season. But another unbeaten is next.
5 Florida State ACC #1 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #6 A Rat: .900 B Rating: 18.657 C Rating: 16.813 AP: 4 Coaches: 4
With the Big East finally losing AQ status, the ACC becomes the new laughingstock conference – but their flagship team is back with a vengeance and out to prove they deserve their seat at the table.
6 Stanford P12 #2 ’09 Boise St.
3-0 LW: #8 A Rat: .704 B Rating: 13.660 C Rating: 12.258 AP: 8 Coaches: 9
No Andrew Luck? No problem. Stanford’s out to prove they’re going to be a power in the Pac-12 for a long time to come.
7 Kansas State B12 #3 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #7 A Rat: .773 B Rating: 14.056 C Rating: 12.201 AP: 7 Coaches: 8
Did Kansas State just pull off a huge upset? Not according to the C Ratings, where Oklahoma wasn’t even on the top 25.
8 Notre Dame BCS Title
4-0 LW: #18 A Rat: .792 B Rating: 11.999 C Rating: 10.224 AP: 10 Coaches: 11
The Golden Domers certainly look to be back. Navy’s squash of VMI for their first win of the season plays as much of a role in this ranking as anything.
9 LSU SEC #2 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #3 A Rat: .816 B Rating: 11.951 C Rating: 9.829 AP: 3 Coaches: 3
Sorry LSU, but national championship contenders don’t let a mediocre Auburn team get that close to victory.
10 Florida SEC #3 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #10 A Rat: .761 B Rating: 10.990 C Rating: 9.365 AP: 11 Coaches: 12
Florida remains unbeaten despite three SEC games already, two on the road. But LSU awaits in two weeks.
11 Georgia SEC #4 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #4 A Rat: .823 B Rating: 11.074 C Rating: 8.994 AP: 5 Coaches: 5
Despite demolishing Vanderbilt, Georgia runs into the same problem as LSU: the other three teams they played all lost by sizable margins. But the Bulldogs may be making some real noise this year.
12 South Carolina SEC #5 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #9 A Rat: .823 B Rating: 9.616 C Rating: 7.523 AP: 6 Coaches: 6
If South Carolina were in any other conference, they’d be a favorite for the conference title. Instead, they’re third best in their own division.
13 Ohio State B10 #1 Probation
4-0 LW: #12 A Rat: .749 B Rating: 9.485 C Rating: 7.309 AP: 14 BlogPoll: 14
Remember the effect USC’s bowl-ineligibility had on the Pac-12 South race last year? Ohio State may have that effect on the entire conference. Its next-best team isn’t on the Top 25.
14 Arizona State P12 #3 BCS Title
3-1 LW: #17 A Rat: .585 B Rating: 7.441 C Rating: 5.830
Why is Arizona State our first one-loss team? They’ve never scored less than 37 or allowed more than 14 in a win, and their one loss was by only four.
15 West Virginia B12 #4 Prncton/Yale
3-0 LW: #23 A Rat: .757 B Rating: 6.847 C Rating: 5.772 AP: 9 Coaches: 7
West Virginia has won every game by at least ten – but none of them have been quite like the team whose 2010 TCU title is getting unified this Saturday.
16 Iowa State B12 #5 BCS Title
3-0 LW: #13 A Rat: .774 B Rating: 6.153 C Rating: 5.405
There’s reason for skepticism about the Cyclones – taking a week off right after facing a I-AA team, the 9-6 win over Iowa – but they beat down that I-AA opponent and account for Tulsa’s only loss.
17 Louisiana Tech WAC #1 BCS Bowl
3-0 LW: #53 A Rat: .667 B Rating: 7.162 C Rating: 4.399
Huh? A team from the dying WAC is ranked this high? Take a look at their impressive win over an Illinois team whose other loss came to a team ranked even higher.
18 Cincinnati BST #1 BCS Title
2-0 LW: #27 A Rat: .850 B Rating: 4.475 C Rating: 4.168
It’s easy to be 2-0 when you’ve only played two teams, one of them a I-AA school – but they’ve been by impressive margins and Pitt just put up an impressive win of its own.
19 Clemson ACC #2 BCS Title
3-1 LW: #14 A Rat: .500 B Rating: 4.402 C Rating: 4.104 AP: 17 Coaches: 16
Florida State is seen as a national title contender, and it was high-scoring enough that a 12-point loss doesn’t affect score ratio too much. But it could keep the Tigers out of the conference title game.
20 Ohio MAC #1 BCS Bowl
4-0 LW: #20 A Rat: .729 B Rating: 5.460 C Rating: 3.850 BlogPoll: 25
It’s easy to be skeptical of the Bobcats, especially with a win by only three over Marshall, but it’s hard to argue with their results.
21 TCU B12 #6 BCS Title
3-0 LW: #24 A Rat: .907 B Rating: 5.045 C Rating: 3.275 AP: 15 Coaches: 14
TCU has come into its new conference guns blazing with three squashes – and they might not even be in the top half of the conference. Look out, SEC.
22 Rutgers BST #2 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #22 A Rat: .774 B Rating: 5.006 C Rating: 2.856 AP: 23 Coaches: 25
The Scarlet Knights will not play an FBS team currently with a winning record until Kent State the last week of October. Keep that in mind as they climb the polls the next few weeks. In other news, the Big East is mediocre.
23 Oregon State P12 #4 BCS Title
2-0 LW: #43 A Rat: .640 B Rating: 2.983 C Rating: 2.712 AP: 18 Coaches: 21
The Beavers have played two games, both within a score. Still, both were against above-average teams, which bodes well for their chances against reeling Arizona.
24 Baylor B12 #7 BCS Title
3-0 LW: #54 A Rat: .703 B Rating: 3.943 C Rating: 2.087 AP: 25 Coaches: 24
Surviving against a good Louisiana-Monroe team shows their bona fides, but it doesn’t bode well for a road trip to Morgantown.
25 Mississippi State SEC #6 BCS Title
4-0 LW: #29 A Rat: .900 B Rating: 18.657 C Rating: 16.813 AP: 21 Coaches: 19
Impressive win, albeit over an FBS newcomer. The schedule, and a 6-point escape over Troy in their only road game, are concerns, though, and they’ll fall off next week for idle hands.

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

Off Top 25: #27 USC (was #21), #29 Oklahoma State (was #16), #33 Georgia Tech (was #19), #35 Arizona (was #11), #48 UCLA (was #25)

Unbeaten teams not on Top 25: #30 Louisville, #40 Northwestern, #45 Minnesota, #49 Texas-San Antonio (all in positive B Points, Minnesota and Texas-San Antonio not in positive C)

Rest of Watch List (all 3-1 unless otherwise noted): #26 Texas A&M (2-1), #27 USC, #28 Michigan State, #29 Oklahoma State (2-1), #31 Nevada, #32 Pittsburgh (2-2), #33 Georgia Tech (2-2), #34 San Jose State, #35 Arizona, #36 Tennessee*

Other Positive B Ratings: #37 North Carolina* (2-2), #38 Boise State (2-1), #39 BYU (2-2), #41 Fresno State* (2-2), #42 Nebraska (3-1), #43 Toledo (3-1), #44 Central Florida (2-1), #46 Oklahoma (2-1), #47 Utah State* (3-1), #48 UCLA (3-1), #55 Northern Illinois (3-1), #57 Middle Tennessee State (2-1) (*=Newly Positive)

No Longer Positive: #51 Western Kentucky, #52 Kentucky, #56 Louisiana-Monroe, #58 Maryland, #83 Utah

Bottom 10: #115 SMU, #116 Houston, #117 Akron, #118 Eastern Michigan, #119 Army, #120 Southern Miss, #121 Hawaii, #122 Colorado, #123 Tulane, #124 Massachusetts

Best game of week: Texas Tech @ Iowa State, 4pm PT, FCS

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