Compu-Picks 2011 Analysis: Week 13_1

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Dec 2, 2011

Compu-Picks 2011 Analysis: rating the top and bottom teams in college football after week thirteen

As of the end of Saturday night's games, these are the top 25 and bottom 15. Remember that this is a predictive model, designed to pick games and show how good a team actually is. Its results can be very different from what you'll see elsewhere. The workings of the model are confidential (it is, after all, designed to make winning picks), but I'm happy to answer questions about the models' results.

Rank BCS Rank Vegas Rank Team League Score Schedule Rank * Result Rank
1 1 1 Louisiana State SEC 0.97 2 2
2 2 2 Alabama SEC 0.94 13 1
3 9 4.5 Oregon Pac-12 0.78 3 9
4 10 4.5 Oklahoma Big 12 0.77 4 8
5 3 3 Oklahoma State Big 12 0.77 5 7
6 4 6 Stanford Pac-12 0.73 20 6
7 7 8 Boise State Mountain West 0.66 40 5
8 15 7 Wisconsin Big Ten 0.61 55 4
9 9.5* 10 Southern California Pac-12 0.55 23 14
10 6 12 Houston C-USA 0.52 90 3
11 16 15.5 Michigan Big Ten 0.50 38 10
12 11 18 Kansas State Big 12 0.48 1 34
13 8 13 Arkansas SEC 0.47 24 19
14 14 9 Georgia SEC 0.47 34 15
15 12 20.5 South Carolina SEC 0.43 32 20
16 13 15.5 Michigan State Big Ten 0.40 45 16
17 22 22 Texas Big 12 0.40 15 33
18 NR 23.5 Texas A&M Big 12 0.39 21 24
19 5 11 Virginia Tech ACC 0.36 62 13
20 NR 17.5 Florida State ACC 0.36 57 17
21 19 25.5 Nebraska Big Ten 0.36 26 27
22 18 14 Texas Christian Mountain West 0.36 72 11
23 25 20.5 Missouri Big 12 0.34 7 42
24 NR 17.5 Notre Dame Indep 0.33 27 31
25 17 23.5 Baylor Big 12 0.32 6 44
106 . . Army Indep -0.45 84 105
107 . . Idaho WAC -0.49 91 108
108 . . Troy State Sun Belt -0.50 115 98
109 . . Indiana Big Ten -0.53 69 113
110 . . Central Michigan MAC -0.54 101 107
111 . . Colorado State Mountain West -0.56 104 106
112 . . Nevada-Las Vegas Mountain West -0.57 77 112
113 . . Buffalo MAC -0.58 109 104
114 . . Middle Tennessee State Sun Belt -0.58 118 103
115 . . Alabama-Birmingham C-USA -0.61 112 110
116 . . Tulane C-USA -0.76 116 114
117 . . Florida Atlantic Sun Belt -0.78 105 118
118 . . Memphis C-USA -0.82 119 116
119 . . New Mexico Mountain West -0.86 106 119
120 . . Akron MAC -0.90 108 120

Some thoughts on the list:

1) Please note that AA games are NOT counted for these ratings. This includes the schedule rankings. At some point later this year, I will post an adjusted schedule list that does account for the AA games, but they are not ready at this time. Please keep this in mind when looking at the schedule rankings, since a "true" schedule ranking would note these games.

2) After all the additional analysis posted last week, this week's commentary is a bit light (and late); I'll try to add more next week.

3) This year I'm tracking the "Compu-Picks Curse" a bit more carefully. Below is the list of the teams that the system thought overrated each week (* means a bye/AA game or a game against someone else the model didn't like). So far teams have been exposed in five of twenty-two potential games, which is a pretty solid pace.

After week 7 (0-2): Oklahoma St, Arkansas - none, though Arkansas came pretty close
After week 8 (1-3): Oklahoma St, Clemson, Nebraska*, Michigan St*, Arkansas, Virginia Tech - Clemson justifies my "wildly overrated" comment with a loss 31-17 at unranked Georgia Tech. Arkansas and Virginia Tech come very close against unranked opponents but pull out the wins. I won't count Michigan St since Nebraska was also on the list.
After week 9 (0-1): Arkansas*, South Carolina*, Virginia Tech*, Houston - none.
After week 10 (0-5): Oklahoma St, Arkansas, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Houston - none, though Carolina got pushed pretty hard by an unranked, 4-loss (before the game) Florida team.
After week 11 (2-3): Arkansas, Clemson, Virginia Tech, South Carolina*, USM, Baylor, Auburn*. - Clemson got annihilated at NC St, and USM lost to a flat-out atrocious UAB team, though Baylor had a very impressive upset win over Oklahoma.
After week 12 (2-3): Arkansas, Houston, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Auburn. - Arkansas got smoked at LSU, Georgia Tech lost by 14 to Georgia. I thought about including Auburn, but when you're only ranked #24, you're expected to not be tremendously competitive against the #2 team. Maybe if it'd been a 38+ point rout I'd count it, but a 28-point loss that was actually somewhat competitive for a while feels like a gray area for this list.

4) The following teams are ranked materially higher by the model than the BCS: Oregon, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas A&M.

5) The following teams are ranked materially lower than the model than the BCS: Houston, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Penn St, Southern Miss, West Virginia.

6) This isn't directly to do with the list, but here's fun lists of results:

@ Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17
@ Michigan St 37, Wisconsin 31
@ Nebraska 24, Michigan St 3

Kansas St 41, @ Texas Tech 34
Texas Tech 41, @ Oklahoma 38
Oklahoma 58, @ Kansas St 17

@ Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
@ Notre Dame 31, Michigan St 13
@ Michigan St 28, Michigan 14

If you try to apply "head to head is the only thing that matters" logic to this list, your head will explode. You can tease out certain information from these lists (Notre Dame's and Oklahoma's losses were close and their wins blowouts, therefore they get a bonus; Michigan's win came much earlier than their loss, therefore they get a demerit; etc.), but what it really does is highlight that each of these results was JUST ONE GAME. To properly evaluate a team, you need to evaluate the whole resume, not pretend that a single result means everything and the rest almost nothing just because of head to head "logic". That's why Compu-Picks doesn't give ANY special consideration to head to head results. You are what your resume says you are. Period.

Technical notes about the lists:

1) Conference ratings are straight averages of all of the teams in the league. There is no "central averaging" (like Sagarin does), or over-weighting the top teams, or anything like that. Such approaches would yield different numbers, and could potentially change the order of some of the leagues.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) The system is noisy, especially earlier in the year. This is why I start with only the top and bottom few, and slowly expand the list. While I believe that the numbers are reasonable, I certainly accept that they're not perfect. If you believe that a specific team is over- or under-ranked, you may well be right. I bring this up because if you're going to criticize the system for being wrong about a team, I'd appreciate it if you explain why you think the system is substantially wrong, rather than just marginally so (if it's just one or two slots off, especially well before the end of the year, I'd consider that well within a reasonable error range).

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.

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