October 29, 2006

Top 25 - October 28th

We have a bit of a shuffle and with the new grouping system we have some weird results this week. One thing is for certain, in the system wins over one-loss teams are highly valued. Louisville or West Virginia will bolt to #3 in next week's poll due to the system, but for now their ranking accurately reflects their resume to this point in the season. Without further adieu...

1. Michigan
2. Ohio State

- These are the only two undefeated teams that have wins over one loss teams. Winner on November 18th goes to the National Championship Game, the loser to the Rose Bowl.

3. Arkansas
4. Auburn
5. Florida
6. Tennessee
7. USC

- Perfect shakedown amongst the SEC teams in that Arkansas beat Auburn who beat Florida who beat Tennessee. USC, even with the loss on Saturday to Oregon State, still has the win over one-loss Arkansas boosting them.

8. Rutgers
9. Louisville
10. Boise State
11. West Virginia

- Again, the winner of UofL and West Virginia will vault to #3. Boise State actually gained status with Oregon State's win. The Broncos beat the Beavers earlier in the season. Rutgers still has the chance to shock everyone and run the Big East table.

12. California
13. Notre Dame
14. Texas
15. Boston College
16. Texas A&M

- Cal is now the best of the one loss teams with multiple wins over winning teams. They have four wins. Notre Dame hovers at four as Navy joined their list but UCLA moved to being a .500 team or below after their loss to Washington State. Texas was left for dead before coming back against Texas Tech. Their win over Nebraska last week gets a bit tainted after the Huskers were dropped by Oklahoma State. Boston College is one hail mary from being undefeated and has the inside track to the ACC Championship Game.

17. Wisconsin
18. Wake Forest

- Wisconsin has wins over two winners, however, Indiana and Purdue could each end up .500 before the year is out. That would make the Badgers more like the Demon Deacons, who still only reside here as a one loss team.

19. LSU
20. Georgia Tech
21. Oregon
22. Virginia Tech
23. Clemson
24. Oklahoma
25. Maryland

- The two loss teams in a bit of a breakdown. LSU's losses are to one-loss teams. Everyone else has a loss to at least a one-loss team and another team.

- Next week I'll tweak the system. First thought is to combine the wins over one and two loss teams. Conversely, it can be viewed that wins over those teams are potentially wins over 10-game winners.

- I'll also have to spread out the status of the two-loss teams. There is a difference between losing to two dogs and what LSU has on their resume. Of course, the Bayou Bengals take on Tennessee this next weekend and they could shake up the standings that much more with a win.

Now the general impressions:

- USC's run ended, but we all expected it to California, Oregon, or Notre Dame. Oregon State?

- Is it just me or is Michigan getting too much credit for a 17-3 win over Northwestern on Saturday? The Wildcats are swiss cheese on defense and the Wolves should have gotten more than 17 points. Yes, the defense was fabulous and I was never worried about them losing, but come on, call it what it is folks, the defense is carrying this mediocre offense.

- Ohio State rolls. I know I have the new system, but Ohio State is the best team in the land.

- The SEC is absolutely brutal. Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee could all wind up 11-1 before Arkansas and Florida would head to the SEC Championship Game. This leaves out LSU who could upset Tennessee and Arkansas and still leave the conference with FIVE 10-game winners. (Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, LSU).

- USC's loss is not Notre Dame's gain for the BCS. The USC - Notre Dame tilt looks like a knockout game for the BCS bid in my mind. If USC beats Oregon and California, then the Trojans and Irish would meet on Thanksgiving Weekend at one loss apiece. Winner is in, the loser would be suffering. If USC loses again it only can hurt the Irish that much more. To sum it up, I think Notre Dame has to beat USC to make the BCS.

The only contrary to that belief is if it ends up as a competition of Louisville or Notre Dame. The Cardinals don't sell out their home stadium and they don't have their marketable players, Brian Brohm or Michael Bush. So long as it comes down to that, then the Irish could slip in.

NC - Ohio State vs. West Virginia
Sugar - Arkansas vs. Notre Dame
Orange - Boston College vs. Auburn
Fiesta - Texas vs. Boise State (auto)
Rose - Michigan vs. USC

October 24, 2006

Top 25 - October 21st

1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. USC

- Following the system I put in place some weeks ago, Michigan now ascends to the top spot for two wins over one loss teams and two other wins over BCS conference winners. They have beaten five total winners factoring in Central Michigan. Ohio State has a 1-2-1 breakdown of one loss wins-BCS winners-winners non-BCS while USC has a 1-2-0 breakdown.

4. Arkansas
5. Auburn
6. Florida

- Absolutely no change here. Auburn and Florida have the impressive resumes and Arkansas holds the "we won at Jordan-Hare by 17" trump card that puts them fourth.

7. Boston College
8. Tennessee
9. Texas A&M
10. Notre Dame

- This group vaults over the remaining undefeateds based on their results. BC, Tennessee, and A&M round out the teams with wins over current one-loss teams. Notre Dame has four wins over BCS winners. After their wins over one loss teams, BC has four wins over winners, Tennessee has two and A&M has two.

11. Rutgers
12. West Virginia
13. Louisville
14. Boise State

- Undefeated teams without wins against one loss teams. However, Rutgers is the actual beast of the Big East right now with four wins over BCS and non-BCS winners. The remaining undefeateds only have one apiece with Boise State's coming against a non-BCS in Hawaii.

15. Wisconsin
16. Texas
17. Clemson
18. California
19. Missouri
20. Wake Forest

- The remaining teams with one loss. Wisconsin, Texas, Clemson, and California all have two wins over BCS winners. Missouri has one win over a BCS winner with a win over a non-BCS winner, and Wake Forest is only here because they have one loss.

21. LSU
22. Georgia Tech
23. Oregon
24. Georgia
25. Virginia Tech

- Alright, with the two loss teams I can be somewhat subjective. LSU hasn't beaten anyone of worth, but their two losses were on the road at Auburn and Florida. Georgia Tech and Oregon have two wins over BCS winners, Georgia has a win over a BCS winner and Virginia Tech has a win over a non-BCS winner. All have their flaws and such, but they're so far down and two-loss teams will become important in mid-to-late November.

October 18, 2006

Top 25 - October 14th

With some explanation... because we're dropping all pre-season bias.

1. USC
2. Michigan
3. Ohio State

4. Arkansas
5. Auburn
6. Florida

7. Notre Dame
8. Tennessee
9. California

10. Boston College
11. Texas A&M

- These teams all have one win over a one-loss team (some, two - USC, Michigan, Auburn, Florida). I have to put Arkansas #4 for winning at Auburn. Auburn is next for beating Florida. Notre Dame, Tennessee, and California each have one win against a one-loss, but Notre Dame has two wins over BCS winners. Tennessee and Cal each have one and UT beat Cal. Boston College and Texas A&M have a win over a one loss but BC has better quality wins. Each lost their lone game very late.

12. Louisville
13. Rutgers
14. West Virginia
15. Boise State

- The undefeateds with no wins over one loss teams. Louisville has two wins over BCS winners while Rutgers has three wins against winning teams and West Virginia and Boise State only have one win apiece against winners.

16. Wisconsin
17. Nebraska
18. Texas

- All three have wins over BCS winners, but Wisconsin has one win over another above .500 team. Nebraska lost on the road, Texas lost at home.

19. Georgia Tech
20. Oregon
21. Missouri
22. Clemson
23. Wake Forest
24. Pittsburgh

- Remaining one loss teams, without a win over a one-loss. Tech has two wins against BCS winners as does Oregon, but Tech went on the road for one of the wins. Missouri has a win over a BCS winner and another +.500 win. Clemson only has the win over FSU as its BCS winners win and Wake Forest only gets here for having the lone loss. The Deacons have zero wins over winners but have five BCS loser wins while Pittsburgh only has three.

25. LSU

- The Tigers are simply the best two-loss team in the land. If they keep winning they will zoom up the charts, however, their wins are not impressive as their only win against any winner came against UL Lafayette. Their losses however, were at Auburn and at Florida. LSU still has a game at Tennessee, home against Alabama, and at Arkansas to boost them.

October 16, 2006

The Groups

The undefeated:

Ohio State
West Virginia
Boise State

- We'll lose three of these teams for sure as four of the combatants will face each other. USC is the lone gunman of the group who can win out without beating one of the other foes. Ohio State and Louisville would be favored because of their hosting Michigan and West Virginia. Rutgers could beat both Louisville and West Virginia. Boise State won't garner the computer respect to break into the group. They're playing for a BCS berth, period.

The once beaten, by an undefeated:
Notre Dame

- The interesting point to be made is that the first three all lost by healthy margins. Texas by 17 to Ohio State. Notre Dame by 26 to Michigan, and Arkansas by 36 to USC. Nebraska lost at USC by 18, and Wisconsin was dropped by Michigan in Ann Arbor by 14.

One loss teams by one loss teams on the road:

- Missouri and Florida joined the ranks, California has dominated since Knoxville, Clemson the same since Boston, and Oregon was defeated by California.

One loss teams by one loss teams at home:
Georgia Tech
Wake Forest

- Closer margins (okay, except Auburn) but they still lost at home. Tennessee lost by one point to Florida, Georgia Tech by four to Notre Dame, and Wake Forest gagged the fourth quarter to Clemson.

One loss teams:
Boston College
Texas A&M

- Texas A&M's loss to Texas Tech just looks bad now. Boston College gave up the hail Peter, Paul, and Mary to N.C. State - who just lost to Wake Forest, who lost to Clemson, who lost to Boston College.

The Discussion:
- The first thing is to set the undefeateds apart. Should we throw out all things pre-season and simply rank the seven unbeatens as the top seven teams in the country? Do we take the neutral field point of view? Is it too late, am I prejudiced beyond return to think that Texas and Notre Dame are so much better than Nebraska and Wisconsin. Both lost to undefeated teams, heck, Nebraska and Wisconsin on the road even.

- When we think about losses a hierarchy develops:

One loss to undefeateds on the road
One loss to undefeateds at home
One loss to one loss on the road
One loss to one loss at home
One loss teams

The flip side of the coin is to think about the wins the teams have within the hierarchy. Obviously, you can't defeat an undefeated team, so simply slide everything down a notch. I end up with seven categories, four above the water line, and three below the line. The quality wins are the first four categories while the bottom three indicate you've been dining on snack cakes for opponents. First the list:

Wins (multiple) against one loss teams
One win against a one loss team
BCS teams over .500
Teams over .500
BCS teams at or below .500
Teams under .500
Non D-I wins

Let's review the good categories. Everything cascades downward in that if your in the first group, you still might have other wins that put you in the lower groups.

Multiple wins against one-loss teams:
Michigan (plus one BCS over .500 (at Penn State)
USC (plus two BCS over .500 (at Washington State, Washington)
Auburn (plus two BCS over .500 (Washington State, at South Carolina)
Florida (plus one BCS over .500 (Alabama)

One win against a one-loss team
Ohio State (plus two BCS over .500 (Penn State, at Iowa)
Notre Dame (plus two BCS over .500 (Penn State, Purdue)
Arkansas (plus one BCS over .500 (Alabama)
Tennessee (plus one BCS over .500 (at Georgia)
California (plus one BCS over .500 (at Washington State)
Boston College (plus two BCS over .500 (BYU, Virginia Tech)
Texas A&M

Multiple wins over BCS teams > .500:
Georgia Tech

One win over BCS team > .500
West Virginia

All other undefeated and/or one-loss teams with NO quality wins:
Wake Forest

This provides only a cross-check of the best teams. To me, the race is for the 1 and 2 slots but then also for the coveted BCS at-large bids.

After careful thinking I have my Top 25 in my next post.

October 08, 2006

Top 25 - October 7th


1. Ohio State
2. Florida
3. Michigan
4. USC
5. West Virginia
6. Louisville
7. Tennessee
8. Texas
9. Notre Dame
10. California
11. Clemson
12. Auburn
13. Boise State
14. Oregon
15. Georgia Tech
16. Missouri
17. LSU
18. Nebraska
19. Virginia Tech
20. Rutgers
21. Georgia
22. Arkansas
23. Oklahoma
24. Iowa
25. Navy

- Three undefeateds were removed from the race this past weekend: Wake Forest, Georgia, and Auburn. The SEC only proves itself to be the toughest when two undefeateds go down by double-digits, at home.

- The top four teams are the elite of the country. Florida is 2 for 2 in their mid-season gauntlet and now look like a decent bet to make it through unscathed. They also get Florida State at home to end the year. I moved Florida to #2 because if they finish unbeaten then they will have the best resume. I don't like punishing teams, so Ohio State would remain #1, but the Gators would be their opponent in Glendale.

- The next group is only Louisville and West Virginia. Five years ago the Cards' wins over Miami and Kansas State would have been ultra-impressive, but now both of those programs are in decline. West Virginia's best win of 2006 still remains the Sugar Bowl destruction/hang-on against Georgia. Their fall slate has been awful but they've been dispatching teams with ease.

- Tennessee, Texas, and Notre Dame have one loss to one of the above six undefeateds. Interestingly, they've all come at home. Tennessee lost by 1 to Florida, Texas by 17 to Ohio State, and Notre Dame by 26 to Michigan. Because of who and by how much, that is how their ranked.

- California and Clemson are the one-loss scoring machines. California lost to a higher ranked Tennessee and Clemson lost very, very late to Boston College. Either team could be a legit BCS team if they win out, especially because they would each win their conference if they accomplish that.

- Auburn drops just the same as Notre Dame did when they were #2 and got ran over.

- Boise State is knocking on the door for the automatic BCS ranking. The Broncos, in my opinion, still need some top teams to lose (maybe more than once) to avoid being the "token" BCS team.

- Oregon got waxed, but California is that good.

- Georgia Tech is starting to believe they are a conference championship caliber team. They play at Clemson coming up and that game will be a do or die for both.

- Missouri shoots up the rankings for destroying Texas Tech in Lubbock. Two pick sixes surely helped but the Mizzou secondary is for real. I believe. The winner of the Missouri-Nebraska game will be your North champion.

- LSU is the best two-loss team in the country. The key for the rest of the year will be motivation. The Tigers still play Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas and with their current situation they would go from championship contenders to fighting for a NYD bowl. Will that be enough to keep the troops amped?

- Arkansas zooms in thanks to the win over Auburn. They now control their own destiny for winning the SEC West. With zero losses in conference the Hogs could lose only to LSU and still go to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

- Oklahoma remains ranked because of the Oregon/Pac-10 conference fiasco. Good to see the conference has all the problems worked out, right Ty Willingham?

- Navy gets a decent win at Air Force and they play Rutgers this week. Chance for the gamble on ranking them to prove itself. The game is the only other Top 25 meeting of the week, "rivaling" Florida-Auburn. How many people had this game circled on their calendars in August?

- The week coming up as a whole shapes up to be a challenge for the top teams. Ohio State goes on the road against Michigan State, Florida heads to Auburn for a primetime showdown, and Michigan goes against revenge-seeking Penn State.

October 02, 2006

Top 25 - Sept. 30th weekend

1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Auburn
4. West Virginia
5. Florida
6. Michigan
7. Louisville
8. Oregon
9. LSU
10. Texas
11. Georgia
12. Notre Dame
13. Florida State
14. Oklahoma
15. Clemson
16. Boise State
17. Tennessee
18. California
19. Georgia Tech
20. Virginia Tech
21. Nebraska
22. Rutgers
23. Missouri
24. Wake Forest
25. Washington

Talking Points:

- Really, my #2-8 are interchangable. Ohio State controls its own destiny to Glendale, however, we have a seven-team jump ball in the corner of the end zone for the team that will be their opponent. We have a ton of football left and while the West Virginia-Louisville winner has a great shot at being undefeated, they will get leapfrogged by any of the other teams in that pack if they run their tables.

- I can't put Georgia in the Top 10 with their deteriorating QB situation. The Dawgs will meet reality this weekend against Tennessee. They might win thanks to the home crowd, but no chance they get past Florida later this month.

- I made LSU the best one-loss team on the poll, they have a four-point loss on the road against undefeated Auburn. Texas lost to undefeated Ohio State but by 17 at home. Notre Dame by 26 at home to undefeated Michigan. Oklahoma could vault up to the top of the heap if they derail Texas. Some would say the Sooners haven't lost this year.

- Maybe Notre Dame didn't squeak past Georgia Tech. Maybe the Irish beat a solid, tough Yellow Jacket team in Atlanta. Think Frank Beamer wouldn't like some of those 51 points back from the game last year?

- Boise State will play in the first-run Fiesta Bowl this year. I viewed Utah as a solid choice to win this weekend and the Broncos destroyed them away from the smurf turf. I am sold completely about them now. Fresno State was supposed to provide competition but the Bulldogs have lost 7 of 8 since the 50-42 loss to USC last year.

- The best game of the week is not in Dallas, it may not be in Gainesville, I think its going to be in Berkeley when Oregon travels to California. The Bears look like the preseason hype Bears and the Ducks crushed Arizona State on the road. Both are legit threats to USC.

- Best finish last week was in Lincoln (Nebraska 39, Kansas 32, OT). I think I am a firm believer now that if your the road team and you've come back in the game and stunned the home crowd, you go for two and the win and don't play for OT. Complete opposite belief if your at home.

- Were down to the Dirty Dozen of undefeated teams, which are now all ranked in my polls. Wake Forest, Missouri are going to be underdogs in their quest to stay unbeated with games against Clemson and at Texas Tech respectively.

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.