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Compu-Picks 2011 Analysis: Week 12_3

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Nov 22, 2011

Compu-Picks 2011 Analysis: comparing some of the non-LSU national title contenders to Boise

As of right now, other than LSU (who will assuredly make the national title game if they run the table, and have a reasonable chance even if they blow a game), there are a number of teams who have the potential to make the national title game. Throwing out any AQ's with 2+ losses or non-AQ's with 1+ losses, we're left with: Alabama; Arkansas; Houston; Oklahoma St; Stanford; and Virginia Tech. The Compu-Picks rankings of these six teams (along with Boise; I'll get to why in a minute) are shown in the below table.

Rank BCS Rank Team League Score Schedule Rank * Result Rank
2 2 Alabama SEC 0.91 12 1
3 4 Oklahoma State Big 12 0.79 7 7
6 7 Stanford Pac-12 0.71 26 6
7 6 Boise State Mountain West 0.67 34 5
12 3 Arkansas SEC 0.46 45 11
13 8 Houston C-USA 0.45 96 3
24 5 Virginia Tech ACC 0.33 58 18

Unfortunately, six teams is actually quite a lot of teams to do any in-depth analysis on, so before we get into the full nitty-gritty let's see if we can pare down that list some, using what I call the "Boise test." Specifically, if anyone clearly has a worse resume than Boise (and doesn't have a legitimate chance to change that), we can throw them out and focus on the rest. Clearly, Alabama does not have a worse resume than Boise. Just as clearly, Arkansas and Oklahoma St each have a major chance to impress coming up. Even if you thought that either currently has a worse resume than Boise (and clearly the model does think this about Arkansas, rating them as having a worse schedule and doing worse against it), there's clearly the potential to change things in the immeditate future. So let's just focus on Houston, Stanford and Virginia Tech. Do any of them fail the "Boise test"?

Eyeballing the above table, Virginia Tech clearly fails this test, while Houston probably does too (did better against their schedule, but the schedules are simply not comparable at all). Meanwhile, Stanford is rated as having a tougher schedule, but they didn't do quite as well as Boise against it. So at the least, they don't get an automatic pass. So let's take a look at each team's results in more detail. The below table looks at each team's 1-A results and rates them from best to worst:

Rank Team Opp Name Loc Score
1 Stanford Washington State AWAY 44 - 14
2 Boise State Georgia AWAY 33 - 21
3 Stanford Washington HOME 65 - 21
4 Boise State Toledo AWAY 40 - 15
5 Stanford Oregon State AWAY 38 - 13
6 Boise State Fresno State AWAY 57 - 7
7 Stanford Arizona AWAY 37 - 10
8 Boise State Tulsa HOME 41 - 21
9 Stanford San Jose State HOME 57 - 3
10 Virginia Tech Wake Forest AWAY 38 - 17
11 Houston East Carolina HOME 56 - 3
12 Stanford Southern California AWAY 56 - 48 (OT)
13 Houston Southern Methodist HOME 37 - 7
14 Boise State Colorado State AWAY 63 - 13
15 Stanford Duke AWAY 44 - 14
16 Stanford UCLA HOME 45 - 19
17 Boise State San Diego State AWAY 52 - 35
18 Virginia Tech Arkansas State HOME 26 - 7
19 Stanford Colorado HOME 48 - 7
20 Virginia Tech Georgia Tech AWAY 37 - 26
21 Boise State Nevada HOME 30 - 10
22 Houston Alabama-Birmingham AWAY 56 - 13
23 Houston Rice HOME 73 - 34
24 Boise State Nevada-Las Vegas AWAY 48 - 21
25 Houston Marshall HOME 63 - 28
26 Houston Tulane AWAY 73 - 17
27 Virginia Tech Marshall AWAY 30 - 10
28 Boise State Air Force HOME 37 - 26
29 Houston North Texas AWAY 48 - 23
30 Stanford California HOME 31 - 28
31 Virginia Tech Miami (Florida) HOME 38 - 35
32 Houston Louisiana Tech AWAY 35 - 34
33 Virginia Tech Boston College HOME 30 - 14
34 Boise State Texas Christian HOME 35 - 36
35 Virginia Tech North Carolina HOME 24 - 21
36 Virginia Tech East Carolina AWAY 17 - 10
37 Houston Texas-El Paso AWAY 49 - 42
38 Virginia Tech Duke AWAY 14 - 10
39 Stanford Oregon HOME 30 - 53
40 Houston UCLA HOME 38 - 34
41 Virginia Tech Clemson HOME 3 - 23

Provided that you don't drastically disagree with the ordering of this list (you can quibble with some items, such as Boise's Georgia win getting discounted for the fact that Georgia wasn't as good early in the year, but I doubt that if you sat down and did this exercise yourself you'd suddenly see a lot of Houston/VA Tech at the top or Boise/Stanford at the bottom), it's fairly clear that, yes, Houston and Virginia Tech do in fact fail the "Boise test." Their performances simply weren't as good, or even close to as good, as Boise's. And since clearly Boise isn't a national title contender (regardless of whether you think they should be or not, clearly they aren't), then barring a lot more craziness you can legitimately remove those two from consideration. Yes, I realize that VA Tech IS in fact a national title contender based on their ranking, but the argument here is that they really shouldn't be.

Technical notes about the lists and analyses:

1) Games against AA teams are not counted. There are many good arguments both for and against counting such games (see this link for an interesting analysis of the issue). I have elected not to count these results in the Compu-Picks model. As is the case almost every year, this means that one or two especially surprising AA upsets don't make it into the numbers, skewing the results to a fair degree for a couple of teams. I believe that this is a more than acceptable tradeoff given the substantial issues that counting AA games would create, but you are certainly welcome to disagree with my decision on this matter.

2) As mentioned here, the purpose of this system is to make picks, not to create a list used for rankings. As such, I evaluate the system solely on the basis of how good a job it does making picks. I do not evaluate the system on the basis of whether or not it agreed with AP polls, BCS rankings, the BCS computers, or any other such list out there. In fact, the system has a long and established history of being substantially different than those sources. I am fine with these differences. To be honest, I publish these lists because I find them interesting and thought-provoking, and because I believe it is a good thing to introduce an approach that doesn't simply regurgitate the same avenues of thinking as you can find in most places.

There are a few important notes and caveats I need to make about this model:

1) Compu-Picks does not endorse implicitly or explicitly any form of illegal gambling. Compu-Picks is intended to be used for entertainment purposes only.

2) No guarantee or warranty is offered or implied by Compu-Picks for any information provided and/or predictions made.

2011 Compu-Picks Blog

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