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Compu-Picks 2013 Analysis: Week 08_01

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Oct 23, 2013

Compu-Picks 2013 Analysis: rating the top and bottom teams in college football after week eight

Article originally appeared at

As of the end of the games on Saturday October 12th, these are the Compu-Picks top 25 and and bottom 15, along with a few other selected ratings. 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. Also, please note that the model does not consider games against AA teams; the * marks for result and schedule rankings designate that these are results and schedules solely counting games against fellow 1-A programs.

The last column on the table displays preseason rank. At this stage, preseason projections given very minor weight, and are more there as a point of interest than anything else. Please note that this article is continued here.

Rank BCS Rank Vegas Rank Team League Rating Result Rank * Schedule Rank * Preseason Rank
1 3 2.5 Oregon Pac-12 0.96 3 20 4
2 2 2.5 Florida State ACC 0.93 1 31 7
3 1 1 Alabama SEC 0.88 4 35 1
4 8 4 Baylor Big 12 0.78 2 54 44
5 5 19.5 Missouri SEC 0.72 6 25 23
6 13 5.5 Louisiana State SEC 0.59 14 26 12
7 6 5.5 Stanford Pac-12 0.58 18 21 27
8 4 11 Ohio State Big Ten 0.55 9 48 2
9 9 19 Clemson ACC 0.55 25 15 17
10 7 23 Miami (Florida) ACC 0.54 10 39 37
11 NR 12.5 Arizona State Pac-12 0.50 32 9 28
12 20 26 Louisville American 0.49 5 81 22
13 NR 9 Wisconsin Big Ten 0.49 12 52 29
14 25 26 Oregon State Pac-12 0.48 8 63 18
15 16 9 Texas A&M SEC 0.48 35 13 8
16 NR NR Washington Pac-12 0.47 60 2 20
17 12 15 UCLA Pac-12 0.46 11 57 31
18 NR 9 Georgia SEC 0.46 57 3 5
19 10 NR Texas Tech Big 12 0.46 7 80 45
20 21 7 South Carolina SEC 0.46 33 22 10
21 NR 15 Mississippi SEC 0.42 73 1 13
22 NR 17.5 Florida SEC 0.41 43 7 16
23 23 NR Central Florida American 0.41 22 46 43
24 11 NR Auburn SEC 0.41 38 23 35
25 14 NR Virginia Tech ACC 0.40 44 12 30
29 15 12.5 Oklahoma Big 12 0.32 19 69 24
31 19 23 Oklahoma State Big 12 0.30 26 61 14
33 22 21 Michigan Big Ten 0.27 15 94 11
45 24 26 Nebraska Big Ten 0.15 20 115 19
51 18 NR Northern Illinois MAC 0.12 13 121 53
56 17 NR Fresno State Mountain West 0.08 21 120 47
112 . . Central Michigan MAC -0.57 106 109 113
113 . . Purdue Big Ten -0.58 124 40 109
114 . . New Mexico Mountain West -0.58 86 123 111
115 . . Air Force Mountain West -0.59 114 85 84
116 . . Georgia State Sun Belt -0.63 118 87 126
117 . . Florida International C-USA -0.64 116 83 116
118 . . Umass MAC -0.67 117 82 124
119 . . Louisiana Tech C-USA -0.69 102 122 114
120 . . Western Michigan MAC -0.72 123 73 100
121 . . Southern Mississippi C-USA -0.72 121 91 115
122 . . Eastern Michigan MAC -0.73 125 67 119
123 . . Texas-El Paso C-USA -0.74 87 126 117
124 . . Idaho Indep -0.75 120 93 125
125 . . Miami (Ohio) MAC -0.87 119 119 118
126 . . New Mexico State Indep -0.96 126 114 121

Some thoughts on the list:

1) One fun thing I've done in prior years is track the "Compu-Picks Curse," whereby teams that Compu-Picks thinks the BCS has substantially overrated have a strong tendency to have embarrasingly bad performances (blowout losses to strong teams or outright upsets to teams they outrank in the BCS). One special highlight of this process was in 2010, when Michigan State was a regular on the list and managed to get blown out twice by two teams ranked lower in the BCS, Iowa and Alabama.

These teams are identified by the difference between their rating and the rating of the team whose Compu-Picks rank matches their BCS rank. So for instance, Oklahoma is BCS #15, so their Compu-Picks score of 0.32 is compared to the Compu-Picks 15th ranked Texas A&M, who has a score of 0.48. Since the difference is at least 0.10, they qualify for the "Compu-Picks Curse." The following teams make this week's list:

Ohio State; Oklahoma; Oklahoma State; Michigan; Nebraska; Northern Illinois; and Fresno State.

2) One consistent theme that pops up when I've done these analyses the past few years is that Compu-Picks gives a lot more weight to schedule strength and dominance than does the BCS, and a lot less weight to simple W/L record and head to head. The same thing is true this time around.

3) Ohio State being ranked below either Baylor or Missouri, much less both, is utterly ridiculous. Missouri has faced the harder schedule AND been more dominant. Unless you're explicitly penalizing them for the Franklin injury (the Vegas poll does this, but the BCS isn't supposed to at all), there's simply zero justification for it. MIssouri has faced a far nastier schedule and actually been pretty consistently impressive against that schedule. Ohio State has not.

With Baylor you at least have minor justification, since you can make a case that Ohio State's schedule has been tougher (Compu-Picks disagrees but that's the popular perspective). Nevertheless, even if you do think the Buckeyes had a tougher slate, they've struggled every time they've faced anyone decent, winning by 10 or less against Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa. And they hardly obliterated Buffalo and Cal, two teams that any serious national contender should have little trouble with. Baylor, meanwhile, has steamrolled over everyone except Kansas State. Heck, they even have a common opponent, Buffalo, who Baylor beat 70-13 and Ohio State beat 40-20. Obviously that's a sample size of one game for each, but that's a pretty powerful difference.

4) The oddsmakers and Compu-Picks agree on Arizona State, a strong team whose achievements have been overlooked by challenging schedule.

The two also agree on Wisconsin, a strong team who's obliterated a number of opponents and stood up well in very tough road tests against ASU and Ohio State. Overall the Badger schedule hasn't been brutal, but they've absolutely shown themselves to be a legitimately strong team.

Finally, the two agree on LSU, a team that has played a legitimate schedule and done very well against it, with two 3-point road losses at Georgia and Ole Miss to go along with a bunch of strong wins (blowout of Miss St, double digit wins against Auburn, Florida and TCU). And when they played weak teams like UAB and Kent, they did what they're supposed to do, blowing them out. This remains an extremely good team that is a legitimate threat to just about anybody.

5) On the down end, the oddsmakers and Compu-Picks also agree on Auburn, a team that has faced a decent schedule but has squeaked by often enough (7 points against Wazzu, 4 against Miss St [this one really hurt], 8 against Ole Miss and 4 against A&M) that they're lucky to only have one loss. And losing by 14 at LSU didn't much help either.

The two also agree on Virginia Tech, a team that has faced a very tough schedule but that, like Auburn, has benefited greatly from close game fortune, as all of the Hokies' 1-A wins have been by 10 points or less, including an overtime win against Marshall. And they got thumped pretty badly by Alabama, 35-10. That seems more like a lucky team than the 14th best team in the country.

6) Fresno State is a non-AQ team that has played a downright awful schedule, playing only two teams that are any good at all, Rutgers and Boise, both of which were home games, and both of which were one point shootout wins (and Rutgers was overtime). And to make it worse, Fresno barely avoided a late-game collapse at a bad Hawaii team, limping out of town with a 5 point win. The simple truth is they just haven't played like a top 25 team.

And neither has Northern Illinois, a team with a schedule even worse than Fresno's. And like Fresno, they've got an ugly escape against a bad Akron team and added to that with a mere 10 point win over an atrocious Idaho squad. The 3 point win at Iowa was nice, but there's almost nothing else in their resume that says this is even close to a top 25 team. Lots of programs could have gone undefeated against the Huskies' schedule, and the fact that they've so often struggled suggests that even with their ugly schedule they've been fairly lucky to stay undefeated so far.

7) It's been said before that schedule strength gets rewarded by Compu-Picks, and Ole Miss, Washington, Georgia and Florida (plus ASU above) are proof of this. Each of them has a 1-A schedule rated in the top 10, and each of them is in Compu-Picks' top twenty five while being unranked by the BCS.

Ole Miss obviously has some poor showings to their name, especially the 25-0 shutout loss to Bama, but an 8 point loss to Auburn and a 3 pointer to A&M are hardly marks of shame. And a 3 point win over LSU and 44-23 blowout win at Texas are legitimately impressive, and the (close) win at Vandy was nice too. This isn't an elite resume, but it is a quality one. Obsessing about W-L record and ignoring everything else is a funamentally flawed way of looking at a team, and Ole Miss is a great example.

Washington is another good example. The Huskies annihilated a legitimately decent Boise team, won a cross-county trip to Illinois, blew out Arizona and very nearly won at a top 10 Stanford team. Their Oregon and ASU losses were obviously ugly, but otherwise this has been a solid resume.

Georgia's story feels almost repetitive at this point. A solid 11 point win over South Carolina, a win over a very good LSU team, and a win at Tennessee (which surprisingly means something this year) are all nice add-ons to the resume. A 15-point loss at Mizzou and a 4-point loss at Vandy definitely don't help, but there's no shame at all in a 3-point loss at Clemson (who's been very good this year, just not good enough to hang with FSU). 3 losses is 3 losses, but this is still a good team. Not quite top 10 as Vegas shows them, but still top 25.

If Miami is really a top ten team, then what should we say about a team who (unluckily) lost by five at their place? If LSU is really good (and COmpu-Picks thinks so) then an 11-point loss is obviously not good, but hardly a disaster. A 19-point loss at Mizzou sucks, but a 14-point home win over Tennessee (who, again, actually seems decent) is good, and convincing wins over mediocre (not awful, just mediocre) Toledo, Kentucky and Arkansas teams are nice showings. Obviously this is nowhere near a top ten team, but a case can be made to put them at the fringes of the top 25, which is right where Compu-Picks has them.

8) Another thing Compu-Picks rewards is dominance, and Louisville is a clear example of this. Even with their (very close) loss to UCF, on average the Cardinals have been extremely dominant. Two 14-point wins, a 23-point win, a 42-point win and a 72-0 obliteration. That's a lot of ass-kicking, and while the Cardinals' schedule hasn't been good, it's still not a total embarrassment. Kentucky has had some good moments (such as pushing South Carolina very hard on the road), UCF has obviously been good, Rutgers has a clear pulse, and Ohio has been one of the better non-AQ's this year.

9) It's interesting to note that Compu-Picks ranks the top five teams in the exact opposite order of the BCS. This is in part because Alabama has yet to hit the really challenging part of their schedule, and also because the Tide haven't been as dominant as Oregon and especially Florida State. It'll be interesting to see how the Tide fares once the schedule starts to stiffen with games remaining against LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and potentially the SEC Championship game.

This article is subject to the Compu-Picks terms of use

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