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Compu-Picks Ratings, Post Week Seven

Source: http://cfn.scout.com/2/1231146.html

Rank BCS Rank Team League Score Schedule Rank * Result Rank
1 1 Alabama SEC 0.99 20 1
2 9 Oklahoma Big 12 0.90 1 11
3 3 Oregon Pac-12 0.77 41 2
4 17 Texas Tech Big 12 0.75 7 10
5 2 Florida SEC 0.72 15 9
6 4 Kansas State Big 12 0.70 19 6
7 7 South Carolina SEC 0.64 33 4
8 18 Texas A&M SEC 0.60 13 17
9 5 Notre Dame Indep 0.57 39 7
10 25 Texas Big 12 0.55 10 36
120 Eastern Michigan MAC -0.63 89 120
121 Hawaii Mountain West -0.67 46 124
122 Akron MAC -0.67 117 107
123 New Mexico State WAC -0.83 120 115
124 Umass MAC -0.90 113 123

League ratings and commentary after the jump

League Ratings

League Rating OOC Schedule Rating Home/Away/Neutral Splits OOC vs Top 5 OOC vs 6-15 OOC vs 16-35 OOC vs 36-62 OOC vs 63-89 OOC vs 90-109 OOC vs 110-119 OOC vs Bottom 5
Big 12 0.42 -0.09 12 / 8 / 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 2 - 1 3 - 1 9 - 0 3 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0
SEC 0.34 -0.06 20 / 7 / 3 0 - 0 0 - 1 4 - 4 3 - 2 7 - 0 4 - 0 4 - 0 1 - 0
Pac-12 0.20 0.03 14 / 11 / 1 0 - 0 0 - 2 2 - 1 6 - 5 4 - 0 4 - 0 0 - 1 1 - 0
Big Ten 0.05 -0.14 27 / 11 / 1 0 - 1 0 - 4 1 - 4 5 - 0 4 - 1 11 - 3 1 - 0 4 - 0
Big East 0.03 -0.12 11 / 11 / 0 0 - 0 0 - 2 0 - 0 5 - 2 2 - 2 1 - 3 4 - 0 1 - 0
Indep 0.01 -0.05 12 / 8 / 0 0 - 0 0 - 1 2 - 1 3 - 4 2 - 3 3 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 0
ACC 0.00 -0.05 13 / 12 / 2 0 - 0 0 - 2 0 - 6 1 - 3 5 - 1 2 - 1 5 - 1 0 - 0
Sun Belt -0.10 0.03 7 / 18 / 0 0 - 3 0 - 3 0 - 3 1 - 3 2 - 3 2 - 0 4 - 0 1 - 0
Mountain West -0.15 -0.02 12 / 18 / 1 0 - 2 0 - 3 0 - 2 2 - 9 2 - 1 1 - 3 5 - 0 1 - 0
WAC -0.18 -0.08 8 / 14 / 0 0 - 0 0 - 2 0 - 2 1 - 2 2 - 4 6 - 1 2 - 0 0 - 0
C-USA -0.27 0.08 20 / 20 / 0 0 - 1 0 - 3 0 - 16 1 - 6 1 - 6 2 - 1 1 - 0 2 - 0
MAC -0.31 -0.06 9 / 23 / 0 0 - 1 0 - 1 0 - 5 2 - 6 3 - 2 3 - 4 3 - 1 1 - 0
League Rating Bowl Record OOC vs AQ's OOC vs Non-AQ's OOC vs Big 12 / SEC OOC vs Pac-12 OOC vs ACC / Big East / Big Ten OOC vs Sun Belt / MWC / WAC OOC vs CUSA / MAC
Big 12 0.42 0 - 0 5 - 1 12 - 2 1 - 0 0 - 1 4 - 0 7 - 0 5 - 2
SEC 0.34 0 - 0 4 - 5 19 - 2 0 - 1 2 - 0 2 - 4 9 - 2 10 - 0
Pac-12 0.20 0 - 0 6 - 4 11 - 5 1 - 2 0 - 0 5 - 1 6 - 4 3 - 0
Big Ten 0.05 0 - 0 6 - 9 20 - 4 1 - 2 1 - 3 4 - 1 5 - 1 14 - 3
Big East 0.03 0 - 0 6 - 7 7 - 2 2 - 0 0 - 1 4 - 6 2 - 0 5 - 2
Indep 0.01 0 - 0 7 - 4 4 - 5 0 - 0 2 - 2 5 - 2 3 - 3 1 - 2
ACC 0.00 0 - 0 5 - 11 8 - 3 1 - 4 0 - 1 4 - 5 3 - 2 4 - 0
Sun Belt -0.10 0 - 0 3 - 13 7 - 2 2 - 9 0 - 1 1 - 3 0 - 0 7 - 2
Mountain West -0.15 0 - 0 3 - 11 8 - 9 0 - 3 3 - 4 0 - 4 4 - 5 2 - 2
WAC -0.18 0 - 0 3 - 5 8 - 6 0 - 2 1 - 1 2 - 2 5 - 2 2 - 3
C-USA -0.27 0 - 0 1 - 22 6 - 11 1 - 11 0 - 2 0 - 9 5 - 10 1 - 1
MAC -0.31 0 - 0 6 - 16 6 - 4 1 - 4 0 - 1 5 - 11 3 - 2 1 - 1

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) 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) As usual, I'm only posting the Compu-Picks ratings for the very top and bottom teams (top 10 / bottom 5 this week), and will slowly expand the list as the season goes on. The reason I do this is that the teams at the very top and very bottom have largely separated themselves by now, while the teams on the next tier can largely be jumbled together.

4) I'm actually going to start out with the league ratings, since they make a big impact on the team ratings, especially given that other than Notre Dame (an independent), there have been almost zero meaningful non-conference games among the top ten teams. In fact, as you can see from the league ratings table, the top 15 rated teams have combined for ZERO non-conference losses. Zero random upset losses by teams who still clawed their way back to the top, and zero games between teams sitting in the top 15. Of course. With so little meaningful non-conference data for all of the top teams (other than Notre Dame), this means that how the leagues stack up has a major impact on how teams stack up.

And this year, at least so far, the Big 12 has been the best league out there. As you can see in the league by league table, they have the best record by far against fellow AQ programs at 5-1. They have a head to head blowout win on the road against the SEC, currently rated as the second place league (just one data point of course, but it's a fairly meaningful one). Among 1-A games (as noted previously, AA's don't count), 12 of their 20 OOC games were at home, which is at least reasonably close to parity.

All in all, compared to the SEC they have done materially better against a minorly lighter OOC slate (again, AA's don't count for schedule or results calculations). Of course, the SEC has a number of games against ACC opponents, the Big 12 has a big game against Notre Dame, and as conference play deepens, the relative value of early-season results can materially rise or fall. So it's definitely early, but the fact remains that the Big 12 currently rates as #1, and individual team ratings reflect this.

5) Speaking of controversial ratings, sitting pretty at the #2 spot is not Oregon, not Florida, not Notre Dame, and not Kansas St, but the Oklahoma Sooners, a one-loss team who is ranked above the Wildcat team who beat them in Norman. What gives? There are a couple things going on.

First, the Sooners' schedule has been absolutely incredibly tough so far. Throwing out the AA game (which, we should note, almost all top teams have), they have played: at UTEP (easy), vs Kansas St (really hard), at Texas Tech (really hard), and neutral site against Texas (really hard). That's just ridiculous.

Second, despite their loss, Oklahoma really has dominated their schedule. Right now, their dominating wins over Texas and Texas Tech rank as the top two performances by ANY 1-A team so far this season. At least so far, their best has been better than anyone else's best (partially because Bama and Oregon haven't faced the meat of their schedules yet), and while they do have that blemish, those two fantastic performances are more than enough to make up the gap. Again, schedule and dominance trump win/loss and head to head. There's a reason why futures lines have the Sooners as touchdown favorites over undefeated Notre Dame and why Kansas St is a road underdog against the West Virginia team who just faceplanted in Lubbock.

6) Staying in the Big 12, Texas Tech at 17th in the BCS just looks crazy. The Raiders had a major quality win over West Virginia (who is still rated above them for some crazy reason despite the blowout head to head loss, struggles against Maryland and Baylor, and absolute lack of any marquee wins), a better than you think win over Iowa St, and blasted apart Texas St and UNM. Even with the beating Oklahoma gave them, that's a pretty clear top 15 resume at the very least. Maybe they gack on the road at TCU this week, maybe they just can't keep up success going forward, but at least so far, putting them at 17th is simply ridiculous.

7) Finally, Texas. I'll be honest, I don't like the system putting them at #10 at all. The main reason it happened is that Compu-Picks thinks Ole Miss is good (they cracked the top 30, though not by much), and Texas beat the snot out of them on the road. For all of the warts Texas showed the last two weeks (and there were many), that win gave them a tremendous amount of credit to boost their ranking, and every time Ole Miss plays well (3-3 in 1-A against their schedule is quite good, especially since they barely lost to A&M and still register as the closest result against Alabama yet, and that was in Tuscaloosa), the value of that win goes a bit further up.

Of course, if Texas continues their free-fall of the last two weeks, the Horns will continue to slip in the rankings, but if those two weeks are an aberration (and they might be), that win could be an interesting resume-booster as the year continues.

8) As long as we're in the state of Texas, why in the world is Texas A&M ranked 18th in the BCS? They've played a solid schedule, they're 5-1 with the only loss to a Florida team that has been elite so far. So they're 7 spots lower than the Georgia team whose loss was a blowout to South Carolina, who struggled against Tennessee at home and who doesn't have any elite performances to overcome that? And 12 spots lower than the LSU team who also lost to Florida and who barely held off a hideously bad Auburn team? Really? How does that make sense? I know Georgia and LSU have talent and a reputation, but it's a reach to put them both over A&M at this point if you're actually going to value what's happened on the field this year.

9) A team that seems to be a bit overrated by the BCS is Notre Dame. Their schedule in 2012 was supposed to be elite and nasty every week, but it really hasn't been. Navy is a mess, Purdue and Michigan St are disapointments, Miami may be decent but hasn't achieved anything yet (their best wins are Georgia Tech and NC St), Michigan got blasted by Alabama and nearly gagged to Air Force, and Stanford (who may actually be the best team they've faced so far) lost at Washington and nearly to Arizona and SJ St. And even against an OK but far from elite slate, they've been very up and down, winning easily three times and tight three times (7 and 3 points in regulation and 7 in overtime). Overall it's a fine resume and they're doing what they need to, but top 5 so far is a bit much.

10) If you want to know why Florida is at #5 instead of #3, it starts with "Bowling" and ends with "Green." They've had a number of very solid performances, but that one sticks out as an issue, and they don't have the elite level "winning comfortably against a very good team" or "blowing out a solid team" performance that some of the others near the top possess, at least not yet.

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

@ Stanford 21, USC 14
@ Washington 17, Stanford 13
USC 24, @ Washington 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 (USC and Stanford had closer losses than wins, therefore they get a bonus; Washington had both games at home, 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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