Simple Rating System for 11/28/2011 – Finish line in sight, the final picture sharpens

Last week, the Simple Rating System did not have Arkansas in the top three; the SRS was unimpressed by the Razorbacks, which explains why they didn’t drop too much. Last week, the SRS had Arkansas at #13 with a score of 53.4; this week they’re 13th at 52.1. LSU is now alone at the top, with a 1.2 point edge over Alabama. That jives with the early reports that the Tigers will be a 1.5 to 2 point favorite over the Crimson Tide in the potential rematch. Oklahoma State actually drops by over a point because Tulsa dropped by 2.5 points after getting blown out by Houston, and Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Missouri all dropped by a couple of points after unimpressive conference games (and their opponents did not improve by as much). But the Cowboys are still third, and the SRS puts them within a couple of points of Alabama.

Houston had by far its best game of the season this weekend — a 72.5 score after beating Tulsa (43.0) by 32 on the road (adjusted MOV of 29.5). According to the SRS, Houston’s worst five games all came in September. Since then, Houston has an average SRS score of 60.2 in its last seven games with not a single sub-50 performance. I was (appropriately) skeptical of the Cougars based on an easy schedule for most of the season, but they’ve been playing at an elite level for the last two months. The full SRS results:

Rk.  Team                 Conf  G    MOV      SOS      SRS      W-L
1.   LSU                  SEC   12   24.1     41.1     65.2     12-0
2.   Alabama              SEC   12   23.4     40.7     64.0     11-1
3.   Oklahoma St          B12   11   20.0     42.6     62.6     10-1
4.   Oklahoma             B12   11   17.7     43.3     61.1      9-2
5.   Oregon               P12   12   19.0     41.6     60.6     10-2
6.   Stanford             P12   12   19.3     39.9     59.1     11-1
7.   Wisconsin            B10   12   23.0     35.9     59.0     10-2
8.   Boise St             MWC   11   19.8     36.4     56.2     10-1
9.   Michigan             B10   12   15.3     40.1     55.4     10-2
10.  Houston              CUS   12   26.3     27.7     53.9     12-0
11.  Southern Cal         P12   12   11.0     42.4     53.5     10-2
12.  Texas A&M            B12   12    8.0     44.9     52.9      6-6
13.  Arkansas             SEC   12   12.3     39.8     52.1     10-2
14.  Texas                B12   11    7.1     44.0     51.1      7-4
15.  Georgia              SEC   12   13.4     37.6     51.0     10-2
16.  Michigan St          B10   12   12.7     38.1     50.8     10-2
17.  Notre Dame           IND   12    8.0     41.8     49.8      8-4
18.  Missouri             B12   12    6.3     43.3     49.7      7-5
19.  South Carolina       SEC   12   10.1     39.6     49.7     10-2
20.  Baylor               B12   11    5.7     43.9     49.6      8-3
21.  TCU                  MWC   11   15.6     33.6     49.2      9-2
22.  Kansas St            B12   11    4.7     44.0     48.6      9-2
23.  Nebraska             B10   12    7.0     41.5     48.5      9-3
24.  Virginia Tech        ACC   12   12.8     35.4     48.2     11-1
25.  Florida St           ACC   12   13.2     34.2     47.4      8-4
26.  Arizona St           P12   12    6.6     39.9     46.5      6-6
27.  Penn State           B10   12    4.0     40.8     44.8      9-3
28.  California           P12   12    4.4     39.9     44.2      7-5
29.  Toledo               MAC   12    9.8     34.2     44.0      8-4
30.  Vanderbilt           SEC   12    4.2     39.6     43.8      6-6
31.  Cincinnati           BgE   11   11.6     32.0     43.7      8-3
32.  Ohio State           B10   12    3.5     40.2     43.7      6-6
33.  Florida              SEC   12    2.8     40.7     43.5      6-6
34.  West Virginia        BgE   11    7.2     36.0     43.3      8-3
35.  Iowa                 B10   12    5.4     37.8     43.2      7-5
36.  Mississippi St       SEC   12    3.9     39.2     43.1      6-6
37.  Clemson              ACC   12    5.8     37.3     43.1      9-3
38.  Tulsa                CUS   12    6.0     37.0     43.0      8-4
39.  Miami FL             ACC   12    4.8     37.8     42.6      6-6
40.  Utah                 P12   12    3.9     38.7     42.6      7-5
41.  Southern Miss        CUS   12   14.8     27.6     42.4     10-2
42.  Georgia Tech         ACC   12    7.8     33.6     41.4      8-4
43.  Tennessee            SEC   12   -1.9     43.1     41.3      5-7
44.  Louisiana Tech       WAC   12    7.5     33.7     41.2      8-4
45.  North Carolina       ACC   12    4.2     36.8     41.1      7-5
46.  Temple               MAC   12   12.7     28.1     40.8      8-4
47.  South Florida        BgE   11    5.4     35.2     40.6      5-6
48.  Washington           P12   12   -1.3     41.6     40.3      7-5
49.  Brigham Young        IND   11    7.7     32.6     40.3      8-3
50.  Iowa St              B12   11   -5.9     46.1     40.2      6-5
51.  Rutgers              BgE   12    6.0     34.0     40.1      8-4
52.  Illinois             B10   12    0.4     39.5     39.9      6-6
53.  Pittsburgh           BgE   11    1.1     38.7     39.8      5-6
54.  Arkansas St          Sun   11   11.9     27.3     39.2      9-2
55.  Northern Illinois    MAC   12    7.9     31.3     39.2      9-3
56.  Auburn               SEC   12   -3.7     42.7     39.0      7-5
57.  Northwestern         B10   12    2.1     36.2     38.3      6-6
58.  Louisville           BgE   12    2.4     35.8     38.2      7-5
59.  San Diego St         MWC   11    4.9     33.3     38.2      7-4
60.  Arizona              P12   12   -4.9     42.8     37.9      4-8
61.  Nevada               WAC   11    3.3     34.0     37.3      6-5
62.  Texas Tech           B12   12   -5.1     42.3     37.2      5-7
63.  Utah St              WAC   11    5.0     31.8     36.7      6-5
64.  Air Force            MWC   12    5.4     31.3     36.7      7-5
65.  Western Michigan     MAC   12    6.5     30.1     36.6      7-5
66.  UCLA                 P12   12   -6.8     43.0     36.2      6-6
67.  North Carolina St    ACC   12    2.4     33.8     36.2      7-5
68.  Virginia             ACC   12    1.2     34.8     36.1      8-4
69.  Ohio U.              MAC   12   10.5     25.4     35.9      9-3
70.  Navy                 IND   11    0.7     34.7     35.5      4-7
71.  Purdue               B10   12   -1.4     36.7     35.2      6-6
72.  Wake Forest          ACC   12   -1.0     35.9     35.0      6-6
73.  Washington St        P12   12   -3.1     37.7     34.6      4-8
74.  SMU                  CUS   12    0.5     34.1     34.6      7-5
75.  Connecticut          BgE   11    0.2     34.3     34.6      5-6
76.  Oregon St            P12   12   -9.0     43.2     34.3      3-9
77.  Central Florida      CUS   12    5.7     28.1     33.9      5-7
78.  Wyoming              MWC   11    0.4     32.7     33.1      7-4
79.  Florida Int'l        Sun   12    6.6     26.1     32.8      8-4
80.  Boston College       ACC   12   -4.8     37.3     32.5      4-8
81.  Syracuse             BgE   11   -4.1     36.5     32.4      5-6
82.  Kentucky             SEC   12   -7.8     39.6     31.8      5-7
83.  Hawai`i              WAC   12    3.5     28.1     31.6      6-6
84.  Minnesota            B10   12  -11.7     42.9     31.2      3-9
85.  Miami OH             MAC   12   -2.0     33.2     31.2      4-8
86.  Louisiana-Lafayette  Sun   12    2.8     27.8     30.5      8-4
87.  San José St          WAC   12   -4.3     34.6     30.3      5-7
88.  Marshall             CUS   12   -5.7     35.3     29.6      6-6
89.  Fresno St            WAC   12   -5.3     34.9     29.6      4-8
90.  Western Kentucky     Sun   12   -1.1     30.5     29.4      7-5
91.  Bowling Green        MAC   12   -2.4     31.5     29.1      5-7
92.  Ball St              MAC   12   -6.1     35.1     29.0      6-6
93.  Mississippi          SEC   12  -14.5     43.5     28.9      2-10
94.  East Carolina        CUS   12   -5.1     33.9     28.8      5-7
95.  Duke                 ACC   12   -8.5     37.0     28.5      3-9
96.  Colorado             P12   13  -14.0     42.5     28.5      3-10
97.  UTEP                 CUS   12   -3.9     32.1     28.2      5-7
98.  Kansas               B12   12  -17.8     45.8     28.0      2-10
99.  Maryland             ACC   12  -11.8     39.5     27.7      2-10
100. Louisiana-Monroe     Sun   11   -3.3     30.9     27.6      3-8
101. Army                 IND   11   -4.5     31.8     27.3      3-8
102. Rice                 CUS   12   -8.9     36.0     27.1      4-8
103. Kent St              MAC   12   -6.3     32.6     26.3      5-7
104. Eastern Michigan     MAC   12   -2.7     28.5     25.9      6-6
105. North Texas          Sun   11  -10.0     34.4     24.4      4-7
106. Indiana              B10   12  -14.2     38.3     24.1      1-11
107. Buffalo              MAC   12   -7.5     31.5     24.1      3-9
108. Idaho                WAC   11   -9.7     33.4     23.7      2-9
109. New Mexico St        WAC   12  -10.4     32.7     22.3      4-8
110. Central Michigan     MAC   12   -9.4     31.7     22.2      3-9
111. Colorado St          MWC   11   -8.8     30.5     21.7      3-8
112. Troy                 Sun   11   -8.6     29.5     20.9      3-8
113. Middle Tennessee St  Sun   11  -10.5     29.3     18.8      2-9
114. Alabama-Birmingham   CUS   12  -13.7     31.5     17.8      3-9
115. UNLV                 MWC   11  -18.6     35.2     16.6      2-9
116. Tulane               CUS   13  -14.2     28.6     14.4      2-11
117. Florida Atlantic     Sun   11  -18.8     31.6     12.7      1-10
118. New Mexico           MWC   11  -22.8     34.5     11.8      1-10
119. Memphis              CUS   12  -15.8     27.5     11.7      2-10
120. Akron                MAC   12  -20.5     30.0      9.5      1-11

And by conference:

Rk.  Team                 Conf  G    MOV      SOS      SRS      W-L
24.  Virginia Tech        ACC   12   12.8     35.4     48.2     11-1
25.  Florida St           ACC   12   13.2     34.2     47.4      8-4
37.  Clemson              ACC   12    5.8     37.3     43.1      9-3
39.  Miami FL             ACC   12    4.8     37.8     42.6      6-6
42.  Georgia Tech         ACC   12    7.8     33.6     41.4      8-4
45.  North Carolina       ACC   12    4.2     36.8     41.1      7-5
67.  North Carolina St    ACC   12    2.4     33.8     36.2      7-5
68.  Virginia             ACC   12    1.2     34.8     36.1      8-4
72.  Wake Forest          ACC   12   -1.0     35.9     35.0      6-6
80.  Boston College       ACC   12   -4.8     37.3     32.5      4-8
95.  Duke                 ACC   12   -8.5     37.0     28.5      3-9
99.  Maryland             ACC   12  -11.8     39.5     27.7      2-10
7.   Wisconsin            B10   12   23.0     35.9     59.0     10-2
9.   Michigan             B10   12   15.3     40.1     55.4     10-2
16.  Michigan St          B10   12   12.7     38.1     50.8     10-2
23.  Nebraska             B10   12    7.0     41.5     48.5      9-3
27.  Penn State           B10   12    4.0     40.8     44.8      9-3
32.  Ohio State           B10   12    3.5     40.2     43.7      6-6
35.  Iowa                 B10   12    5.4     37.8     43.2      7-5
52.  Illinois             B10   12    0.4     39.5     39.9      6-6
57.  Northwestern         B10   12    2.1     36.2     38.3      6-6
71.  Purdue               B10   12   -1.4     36.7     35.2      6-6
84.  Minnesota            B10   12  -11.7     42.9     31.2      3-9
106. Indiana              B10   12  -14.2     38.3     24.1      1-11
3.   Oklahoma St          B12   11   20.0     42.6     62.6     10-1
4.   Oklahoma             B12   11   17.7     43.3     61.1      9-2
12.  Texas A&M            B12   12    8.0     44.9     52.9      6-6
14.  Texas                B12   11    7.1     44.0     51.1      7-4
18.  Missouri             B12   12    6.3     43.3     49.7      7-5
20.  Baylor               B12   11    5.7     43.9     49.6      8-3
22.  Kansas St            B12   11    4.7     44.0     48.6      9-2
50.  Iowa St              B12   11   -5.9     46.1     40.2      6-5
62.  Texas Tech           B12   12   -5.1     42.3     37.2      5-7
98.  Kansas               B12   12  -17.8     45.8     28.0      2-10
31.  Cincinnati           BgE   11   11.6     32.0     43.7      8-3
34.  West Virginia        BgE   11    7.2     36.0     43.3      8-3
47.  South Florida        BgE   11    5.4     35.2     40.6      5-6
51.  Rutgers              BgE   12    6.0     34.0     40.1      8-4
53.  Pittsburgh           BgE   11    1.1     38.7     39.8      5-6
58.  Louisville           BgE   12    2.4     35.8     38.2      7-5
75.  Connecticut          BgE   11    0.2     34.3     34.6      5-6
81.  Syracuse             BgE   11   -4.1     36.5     32.4      5-6
10.  Houston              CUS   12   26.3     27.7     53.9     12-0
38.  Tulsa                CUS   12    6.0     37.0     43.0      8-4
41.  Southern Miss        CUS   12   14.8     27.6     42.4     10-2
74.  SMU                  CUS   12    0.5     34.1     34.6      7-5
77.  Central Florida      CUS   12    5.7     28.1     33.9      5-7
88.  Marshall             CUS   12   -5.7     35.3     29.6      6-6
94.  East Carolina        CUS   12   -5.1     33.9     28.8      5-7
97.  UTEP                 CUS   12   -3.9     32.1     28.2      5-7
102. Rice                 CUS   12   -8.9     36.0     27.1      4-8
114. Alabama-Birmingham   CUS   12  -13.7     31.5     17.8      3-9
116. Tulane               CUS   13  -14.2     28.6     14.4      2-11
119. Memphis              CUS   12  -15.8     27.5     11.7      2-10
17.  Notre Dame           IND   12    8.0     41.8     49.8      8-4
49.  Brigham Young        IND   11    7.7     32.6     40.3      8-3
70.  Navy                 IND   11    0.7     34.7     35.5      4-7
101. Army                 IND   11   -4.5     31.8     27.3      3-8
29.  Toledo               MAC   12    9.8     34.2     44.0      8-4
46.  Temple               MAC   12   12.7     28.1     40.8      8-4
55.  Northern Illinois    MAC   12    7.9     31.3     39.2      9-3
65.  Western Michigan     MAC   12    6.5     30.1     36.6      7-5
69.  Ohio U.              MAC   12   10.5     25.4     35.9      9-3
85.  Miami OH             MAC   12   -2.0     33.2     31.2      4-8
91.  Bowling Green        MAC   12   -2.4     31.5     29.1      5-7
92.  Ball St              MAC   12   -6.1     35.1     29.0      6-6
103. Kent St              MAC   12   -6.3     32.6     26.3      5-7
104. Eastern Michigan     MAC   12   -2.7     28.5     25.9      6-6
107. Buffalo              MAC   12   -7.5     31.5     24.1      3-9
110. Central Michigan     MAC   12   -9.4     31.7     22.2      3-9
120. Akron                MAC   12  -20.5     30.0      9.5      1-11
8.   Boise St             MWC   11   19.8     36.4     56.2     10-1
21.  TCU                  MWC   11   15.6     33.6     49.2      9-2
59.  San Diego St         MWC   11    4.9     33.3     38.2      7-4
64.  Air Force            MWC   12    5.4     31.3     36.7      7-5
78.  Wyoming              MWC   11    0.4     32.7     33.1      7-4
111. Colorado St          MWC   11   -8.8     30.5     21.7      3-8
115. UNLV                 MWC   11  -18.6     35.2     16.6      2-9
118. New Mexico           MWC   11  -22.8     34.5     11.8      1-10
5.   Oregon               P12   12   19.0     41.6     60.6     10-2
6.   Stanford             P12   12   19.3     39.9     59.1     11-1
11.  Southern Cal         P12   12   11.0     42.4     53.5     10-2
26.  Arizona St           P12   12    6.6     39.9     46.5      6-6
28.  California           P12   12    4.4     39.9     44.2      7-5
40.  Utah                 P12   12    3.9     38.7     42.6      7-5
48.  Washington           P12   12   -1.3     41.6     40.3      7-5
60.  Arizona              P12   12   -4.9     42.8     37.9      4-8
66.  UCLA                 P12   12   -6.8     43.0     36.2      6-6
73.  Washington St        P12   12   -3.1     37.7     34.6      4-8
76.  Oregon St            P12   12   -9.0     43.2     34.3      3-9
96.  Colorado             P12   13  -14.0     42.5     28.5      3-10
1.   LSU                  SEC   12   24.1     41.1     65.2     12-0
2.   Alabama              SEC   12   23.4     40.7     64.0     11-1
13.  Arkansas             SEC   12   12.3     39.8     52.1     10-2
15.  Georgia              SEC   12   13.4     37.6     51.0     10-2
19.  South Carolina       SEC   12   10.1     39.6     49.7     10-2
30.  Vanderbilt           SEC   12    4.2     39.6     43.8      6-6
33.  Florida              SEC   12    2.8     40.7     43.5      6-6
36.  Mississippi St       SEC   12    3.9     39.2     43.1      6-6
43.  Tennessee            SEC   12   -1.9     43.1     41.3      5-7
56.  Auburn               SEC   12   -3.7     42.7     39.0      7-5
82.  Kentucky             SEC   12   -7.8     39.6     31.8      5-7
93.  Mississippi          SEC   12  -14.5     43.5     28.9      2-10
54.  Arkansas St          Sun   11   11.9     27.3     39.2      9-2
79.  Florida Int'l        Sun   12    6.6     26.1     32.8      8-4
86.  Louisiana-Lafayette  Sun   12    2.8     27.8     30.5      8-4
90.  Western Kentucky     Sun   12   -1.1     30.5     29.4      7-5
100. Louisiana-Monroe     Sun   11   -3.3     30.9     27.6      3-8
105. North Texas          Sun   11  -10.0     34.4     24.4      4-7
112. Troy                 Sun   11   -8.6     29.5     20.9      3-8
113. Middle Tennessee St  Sun   11  -10.5     29.3     18.8      2-9
117. Florida Atlantic     Sun   11  -18.8     31.6     12.7      1-10
44.  Louisiana Tech       WAC   12    7.5     33.7     41.2      8-4
61.  Nevada               WAC   11    3.3     34.0     37.3      6-5
63.  Utah St              WAC   11    5.0     31.8     36.7      6-5
83.  Hawai`i              WAC   12    3.5     28.1     31.6      6-6
87.  San José St          WAC   12   -4.3     34.6     30.3      5-7
89.  Fresno St            WAC   12   -5.3     34.9     29.6      4-8
108. Idaho                WAC   11   -9.7     33.4     23.7      2-9
109. New Mexico St        WAC   12  -10.4     32.7     22.3      4-8

Oklahoma State vs. Alabama

Note: All of the analysis which follows assumes an Oklahoma State victory over Oklahoma. Putting aside the question of *will* a rematch happen (the rematch), *should* we have a rematch with Alabama taking the spot opposite LSU in the BCS National Championship Game?

Alabama’s best set of wins took a hit this weekend. Earlier this year, we thought the Crimson Tide had beaten only three respectable opponents: Arkansas, Penn State and Florida. This weekend, Arkansas lost 41-17, Penn State lost 45-7 and Florida lost 21-7. We know that Alabama is Alabama, an established brand that entered the season as one of the top two teams in every major poll. And based on margin of victory and SRS, Alabama has lived up to the hype, playing as an elite team basically every week of the season. Alabama is as good if not better than every team in the country, and that includes LSU.

But the SRS should never be used to actually place teams. We should reward teams for what they’ve done, not how good they are. It should be about resumes and accomplishments, not talent. A one-point win is much different than a one-point loss, even if the SRS disagrees. And Alabama will have beaten one top-ten type team in Arkansas, a fringe-top 25 team in Penn State and a bunch of mediocre SEC teams. In fact, according to Jeff Sagarin, Alabama has gone 1-1 against top-24 teams this season, as Sagarin mercilessly has the Nittany Lions at 25. Let’s take a look at first and second order wins (i.e. teams that were beaten by teams that were beaten by Alabama), along with those teams’ Sagarin ranks:

  7 - Arkansas
(12 - Texas A&M)      (Arkansas)
(15 - South Carolina) (Auburn)
(15 - South Carolina) (Arkansas)
 25 - Penn State
 31 - Mississippi St
(31 - Mississippi St) (Auburn)
(31 - Mississippi St) (Arkansas)
 33 - Florida
(33 - Florida)        (Auburn)
 34 - Auburn
(34 - Auburn)         (Arkansas)
(36 - Cincinnati)     (Tennessee)
 39 - Vanderbilt
(39 - Vanderbilt)     (Arkansas)
(39 - Vanderbilt)     (Florida)
(39 - Vanderbilt)     (Tennessee)
(41 - Ohio State)     (Penn State)
(42 - Iowa)           (Penn State)
(46 - Louisiana Tech) (Mississippi St)

One win over a top ten team, three more second order wins over top 20 teams, five combined wins over top 30 teams and then another 12 combined first and second order wins from teams in the 30s. What about Oklahoma State, before the Oklahoma game?

 (4 - Oklahoma) (Baylor)
 (4 - Oklahoma) (Texas Tech)
 11 - Kansas St
 12 - Texas A&M		
(12 - Texas A&M) (Kansas St)
(12 - Texas A&M) (Texas)
(12 - Texas A&M) (Missouri)
 14 - Texas    	
(14 - Texas) (Kansas St)
(14 - Texas) (Missouri)
 16 - Baylor	
(16 - Baylor) (Kansas St)
(16 - Baylor) (Texas A&M)
 18 - Missouri	
(18 - Missouri) (Kansas St)
(18 - Missouri) (Baylor)
(21 - TCU) (Baylor)
 27 - Tulsa	
(29 - Iowa St) (Texas A&M)
(29 - Iowa St) (Texas)
(29 - Iowa St) (Baylor)
(29 - Iowa St) (Missouri)
(35 - Arizona St) (Arizona)
 44 - Texas Tech
(44 - Texas Tech) (Kansas St)
(44 - Texas Tech) (Texas A&M)
(44 - Texas Tech) (Texas)
(44 - Texas Tech) (Baylor)
(44 - Texas Tech) (Missouri)
(45 - Brigham Young) (Texas)
(47 - Miami FL) (Kansas St)

Beating Oklahoma will obviously be the most impressive victory by OSU this season, although it’s unlikely that the Sooners will stay at 4 if the Cowboys beat them in Bedlam. And defeating Oklahoma will give them an extra second order win against A&M, Texas, Mizzou, Baylor, Kanas State, Florida State and Tulsa.

But it’s obvious when looking at the first and second order wins that the computers love the Big XII. To me, these conferences are roughly equal in strength and production. The SEC appears to be more top heavy, but it’s hard to tell if that’s just a consequence of the bottom being weaker. The B12 has fared just as well if not better than the SEC out of conference, and the only matchup between the two was a top SEC team squeaking by a decidedly not top B12 team (but SRS favorite). There is no doubt that LSU has been the best team in the country. But the rest of the SEC? The other 11 schools have just one win over a team with an SRS score of over 45: Arkansas over A&M.

If OSU beats OU and wins the Big 12, I think they have just as much right to the championship game as Alabama. As a fan of college football, I’d prefer to see the two champs of the two best conferences play each other. My general view is the more compelling non-conference games, the better. None of us really knows how the B12 compares to the SEC. There are so few legitimate non-conference games that it’s impossible to say with certainty which conference is better. This year has many similarities to 2006, when:

Ohio State went undefeated and was the clear #1. In the Game of the Century, OSU beat undefeated #2 Michigan. Michigan had a pretty easy SOS, and their best win came against a Wisconsin team that went undefeated in all non-Michigan games that season. They had one other good win (against Notre Dame), but otherwise, Michigan’s schedule wasn’t very good.

Meanwhile, Florida had impressively won the SEC, but had a loss to an inferior opponent. A lot of people wanted a rematch of the Game of the Century, and thought Michigan was better than Florida on the basis of best loss. But looking at best set of wins, it was clear Florida was more deserving than Michigan. The Gators were a big underdog in the national championship game, but ended up blowing out Ohio State and beginning the current reign of SEC dominance.

But we never would have known any of this if the voters had a team from the same conference line up against the #1 team in the country. Alabama may well be the best team in the country, and the Crimson Tide are probably one of the best two. But with the incredibly limited sample size that exists in college football, I selfishly hate to see them waste the opportunity of giving us a compelling matchup between a great offense from one of the best two conferences against a great defense from the other top conference. The SEC has played one game against the Pac-12, one game against the Big 10 and one game against the Big 12. In five games against the ACC, the SEC went 3-2. One of those wins came by Georgia this past weekend, although that win is somewhat mitigated by UGA’s loss earlier this season to a Mountain West team.

Maybe the SEC is the dominant conference this season. It’s been the dominant conference in prior years. But until we have more evidence that the 2011 SEC is so dominant that it’s top two teams are clearly the top two teams in the country, I’ll pull for Oklahoma State to blow out the Sooners. And hope that some voters see things my way.

Sun Devils collapse

On the first day of November, I unveiled the first edition of this year’s simple rating system scores. At the time, Arizona State was the 11th best team in the SRS and had a 6-2 record, highlighted by a 43-22 whipping over USC. The Sun Devils had just one conference loss, a respectable 41-27 showing against Oregon that was one of the best performances by a Pac-12 opponent against the Ducks in the past two-and-a-half years. The remainder of the conference schedule featured four games against teams ranked in the bottom half of the conference according to the SRS.

First, ASU shockingly lost to UCLA. Then the Sun Devils lost to Washington State 37-27, allowing the Cougars to score over 34 points for the first time in a conference game since 2007. The Sun Devils would still have been able to make the Pac-12 title game if they could handle business against the dregs of the conference in Arizona and Colorado. Arizona had won just one game against FBS competition this season, a 48-12 thrashing of UCLA in their first game after firing coach Mike Stoops. The Wildcats then lost by double digits to Washington, Utah and Colorado, but pulled off the huge upset in the duel in the desert, beating ASU 31-27. Finally, the Sun Devils completed the collapse against the Golden Bears. Arizona State lost 47-38, the second most points scored by Cal in any road game in the past six seasons. Four weeks ago, it was impossible to imagine that Arizona State would be paired with the 2008 Washington Huskies who ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in both points scored and points allowed. But it’s been an awful month in the desert. Not surprisingly, coach Dennis Erickson will be relieved of his duties.

Maryland is not very good

Maryland wore crazy uniforms and pulled an upset victory on opening weekend against Miami. That will be the only win over FBS competition for the Terps this season. But this past weekend marked a new way to disappoint the fan base.

With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Maryland was shocking N.C. State, 41-17. With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, N.C. State was leading 42-41. The game ended 56-41. The last 25 minutes of the game went as follows:

Maryland: 3 plays, 9 yards, punt

N.C. State: 9 plays, 69 yards, touchdown

Maryland: 3 plays, -2 yards, punt

N.C. State: 12 plays, 64 yards, touchdown

Maryland: 1 play, 5 yards, fumble

N.C. State: 4 plays, 26 yards, touchdown

Maryland: 6 plays, 44 yards, interception

N.C. State: 10 plays, 52 yards, touchdown

Maryland: 3 plays, -4 yards, punt

N.C. State: 8 plays, 57 yards, touchdown

Maryland: 5 plays, 26 yards, interception returned for touchdown

Maryland: 2 plays, -7 yards, end of game

Maryland’s last seven drives consisted of 23 plays, 71 yards and three turnovers. Including the pick-six scored by the defense, N.C. State scored six touchdowns over the course of its last five drives.

FCS playoffs

Sam Houston State is the #1 seed thanks to a sparkling 11-0 record, but the SRS places them as “just” the 4th best team. North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Georgia Southern are a combined 28-5. Three of those losses were excusable: Georgia Southern lost 45-21 to Alabama, Northern Iowa lost 20-19 to Iowa State (transitive property says that UNI is better than Oklahoma State!!!) and UNI lost 27-19 to North Dakota State. North Dakota State also lost to Youngstown State and Georgia Southern lost to Appalachian State, two of the better FCS schools. Sam Houston crushed its two toughest opponents — Stephen F. Austin and Central Arkansas — but faced a weak schedule relative to the other top contenders. Here are the full SRS ratings for all of the schools remaining in the FCS playoffs:

Team                Conf   G   MOV    SOS    SRS    W-L   
North Dakota St     fcs   11   16.5   21.0   37.5  10-1  
Northern Iowa       fcs   11   11.3   25.9   37.2   9-2   
Georgia Southern    fcs   11   13.7   22.0   35.6   9-2   
Sam Houston St      fcs   11   23.0   12.6   35.5  11-0   
Montana             fcs   11   11.0   18.9   29.9   9-2   
Montana St          fcs   11   11.1   17.2   28.3   9-2   
Wofford             fcs   11    8.6   19.5   28.1   8-3   
Lehigh              fcs   11   16.0   12.0   28.1  10-1   
Appalachian St      fcs   11    6.8   19.9   26.8   8-3   
Maine               fcs   11    6.4   19.4   25.7   8-3   
Towson              fcs   11    9.0   16.5   25.5   9-2   
New Hampshire       fcs   11    2.5   21.3   23.8   8-3   
Old Dominion        fcs   12    9.6   14.5   24.1  10-2   
James Madison       fcs   12    4.9   19.1   24.0   8-4   
Stony Brook         fcs   12   12.6    9.6   22.1   9-3   
Central Arkansas    fcs   12    6.3   18.0   24.3   9-3   

And for those curious, here is the FCS playoff schedule. And for those who feel the need to have point spreads associated with the games, here is the second round schedule with SRS point spreads:

Stony Brook at (1) Sam Houston State (-16.4)
New Hampshire at Montana State (-7.5)
Wofford at (5) Northern Iowa (-12.1)
Central Arkansas at (4) Montana (-8.6)
Old Dominion at (3) Georgia Southern (-14.5)
Maine at Appalachian State (-4.1)
Lehigh at Towson (-0.4)
James Madison at (2) North Dakota State (-16.5)

  • MadAmon

    I recommend an additional column with actual BCS Rank

  • Chase Stuart

    For those that care, the Big East race update.  Courtesy of ESPN: http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/27078/conference-race-update

    Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati all have a shot. The scenarios
    are pretty simple to keep straight, but just as a quick refresher for
    everybody out there:

    The Cardinals are in the clubhouse with at least a share of the Big
    East title at 5-2 in league play. They need Cincinnati to lose to UConn
    on Saturday to make it to a BCS game. Louisville lost to the Bearcats
    25-16 in their Big East opener back in October.West Virginia needs to win at USF on Thursday night, then hope for
    Cincinnati to beat UConn. The only shot the Mountaineers have at getting
    to a BCS game is with a three-way tie atop the standings. The first
    tiebreaker would be head-to-head among the three. Each would be 1-1
    against the other. Next up: BCS standings. West Virginia is the only
    ranked team at No. 23 this week. If the Mountaineers win, it is
    reasonable to expect them to remain highest-ranked among the three. Keep
    in mind that West Virginia has won only once in Tampa, back in 2005. No
    update yet on the status of USF quarterback B.J. Daniels (shoulder).Cincinnati needs West Virginia to lose and must beat UConn to get
    to the BCS. Some have speculated that perhaps Cincinnati would not be
    emotionally invested in the game if West Virginia wins, knowing it would
    be a long shot to get a BCS bid in the event of a three-way tie. I
    should hope that the Bearcats would be motivated to win a Big East
    championship regardless of the BCS implications — especially on Senior
    Day at Nippert Stadium.

    How likely is Cincinnati to lose to Uconn? The game is in Cincinnati, which means the Huskies are a 13-point underdog in the SRS (actual line: CIN -10).  I’d go with “not very likely” for Louisville’s odds of winning the Big East.

    West Virginia vs. South Florida is an interesting game. USF is a miserable 1-5 in the Big East, but the SRS loves them. Part of that is beating Notre Dame (and blowing out Ball State, Florida A&M and UTEP) but part of it is that their conference performance hasn’t been that bad. USF got blown out by Pitt; in their other four losses, they lost by a combined 19 points in regulation (they lost to Rutgers in OT), while beating Syracuse by 20 points.  The game is in South Florida, so the SRS says WVA-USF is a toss-up (actual line: USF +1).   Obviously the fate of Daniels matters — at least somewhat — here.

    WVA/USF is a toss-up, which means I’d make WVA 40% likely to win the BCS bid (they’re a lock to win the bid if they beat USF, but also need Cincy to beat UCONN). Cincinnati is probably40% likely to get the nod (Cincy win + USF win) while Louisville gets the remaining 20% in the event of a UCONN upset.

  • http://twitter.com/3YardsandACloud JeffHCross

    I love the SRS. But you should probably have a link to a post that summarizes the SRS, for first-time visitors or (like me) people who want a quick refresher.