Final Rankings Musing

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Final Rankings Musing

Postby MikeTheTiger » January 10th, 2020, 12:39 pm

LSU, Clemson and Ohio St are far and away the top 3. The winner of the championship game will be the deserving champion and likely will go down as one of the top teams of all-time. If it’s LSU, they’ll have 6 wins over the top 16 and 7 or 8 wins over the Top 25. If it’s Clemson, they’ll have consecutive national titles and 3 in a 4-year span while taking down two undefeated teams with some of the most dominant regular seasons ever. The question is whether the loser is automatically #2. I think a case could be made for Ohio St if Clemson beats LSU more convincingly than they beat Ohio St or if Clemson loses badly.

The next 15 is probably set though the order is definitely not.
SEC – Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Auburn
Big Ten – Penn St, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota
Big 12 – Oklahoma, Baylor
Pac-12 – Oregon
AAC – Memphis, Navy
Independent – Notre Dame

Non-conference, the SEC is 4-1 within this group (wins over Notre Dame, Baylor, Michigan and Oregon and a loss to Minnesota). The Big Ten is 3-2 (wins over Notre Dame, Memphis and Auburn and losses to Alabama and Oregon). Baylor is 0-1. Oregon is 1-1. The AAC is 0-2. Notre Dame is 1-2. The SEC and Big Ten are separated by their results against Oregon with Auburn beating Oregon and Wisconsin losing. Each of the conference groupings has one bad loss to a team outside the top 18.

Within the SEC, Georgia had the bad loss to S. Carolina, but they beat Florida and Auburn and had the two outside wins over ND and Baylor. Florida didn’t have any outside wins, but they did beat Auburn who beat Alabama, so they should be next. Auburn and Alabama is a little tougher call. Auburn won the head-to-head, but it was a little fluky. They also beat Oregon, but lost to Minnesota. Overall, Auburn was 2-3 against the group compared to 1-1 for Bama. I could see it going either way, but the head-to-head will give Auburn the edge in the GASF Ratings. Georgia > Florida > Auburn > Alabama.

Within the Big Ten, Penn St was 2-1 within conference in the group with the outside win against Memphis. Wisconsin was 3-0 in the conference group, but they lost outside the group to Oregon and had a bad loss to Illinois. There is no head-to-head to use in comparison, but since they were both 3-1 against the group, the Illinois loss drops Wisconsin below Penn St. Minnesota is 2-2 overall against the group, but only 1-2 within the conference grouping. Michigan was also 1-2 in the conference group with the outside win over ND and the outside loss to Alabama, while Iowa was 1-3 within the conference group. Michigan > Iowa and Wisconsin > Minnesota is a given based on head-to-head, but the hard part is where to put Minnesota relative to Penn St, Michigan and Iowa. At 2-2 overall against the group, they are behind Penn St at 3-1, but they have the head-to-head advantage. On the flip side, they are ahead of Iowa at 1-3, but they lost the head-to-head. Since we concluded above that PSU > Wisconsin and Wisconsin > Minnesota, that would preclude putting Minnesota ahead of Penn St. Michigan and Minnesota were both 1-2 against PSU, Wisconsin and Iowa. Michigan went 1-1 against ND and Alabama, while Minnesota beat Auburn. One possible solution there is Minnesota > Auburn > Alabama > Michigan. Another is Auburn > Alabama > Michigan > Iowa > Minnesota. Digging a little deeper, Michigan had blowout wins over Indiana and Michigan St. Iowa beat Iowa St. (but also had 3 single digit wins over weak opponents). Auburn beat Top 30 Texas A&M and blew out Miss St. Minnesota played no other quality opponents and had 4 wins by a TD or less against lesser competition. The overall season results would tend to push Michigan and Auburn past Minnesota (even with the head-to-head result). If you bring Oregon into the equation, that also leads to Auburn > Oregon > Wisconsin > Minnesota. Alabama over Michigan and Oregon over Wisconsin lead to two results that favor Auburn over Minnesota and offset the head-to-head. (They also put Auburn ahead of Michigan since Wisconsin beat Michigan.) If Auburn is ahead of both Minnesota and Michigan, that takes away the first chain that placed Minnesota ahead of Michigan, but is consistent with the second one that has Minnesota behind. That leaves Minnesota vs Iowa. Minnesota has an extra win against the group, but lost the head-to-head. Iowa also had a good win over Iowa St and one fewer close call against weaker competition. The GASF Ratings judges that difference in the overall season results are close enough that the head-to-head result wins out for Iowa. Ultimately, there are good arguments for Minnesota ahead of both, between them, and behind both. Penn St > Wisconsin > (Minnesota) > Michigan > (Minnesota) > Iowa > (Minnesota).

The question now is how we start to link the groups together. The Big 12 and AAC have no non-conference wins within the group, so it’s hard to find a solid placement for them beyond slotting in behind their losses, if any. Each pair has one bad loss, but as I mentioned above, so do the other conference groupings. Oklahoma has no non-conference games against the group and Baylor lost to Georgia who will likely be at or near the top of the group. That gives a wide range of possible landing spots for them. We will re-visit that later. Notre Dame at 1-2 against the group (compared to 2-3 for Michigan) and a head-to-head loss should slot in behind Michigan, but ahead of Navy. The GASF Ratings look like they are going to get this one wrong. The ND-Michigan result really is out of character for the seasons both teams had, but ND should not jump Michigan simply for being more dominant against the next tier of teams. Memphis goes ahead of Navy and behind Penn St, but that’s really the bottom and the top of the group, so like the Big 12 they could land anywhere. Oregon has already been discussed a fair amount above. Auburn with two wins against the group and the head-to-head should be ahead of Oregon with only one group win and a bad loss to Arizona St. Wisconsin-Oregon is much tougher analysis. Oregon owns the head-to-head, but the nature of that head-to-head and the fact that Wisconsin is 3-1 against the group compared to 1-1 for Oregon leaves some room to argue for Wisconsin ahead of Oregon. If we go with the head-to-head, we have an easier answer for the relative placement of the SEC, Big 10, Oregon, ND and Navy. Auburn > Oregon > Wisconsin then puts all but Penn St from the Big 10 below Oregon and only leaves open where Alabama would fit relative to Minnesota (which is answered if we put Minnesota behind Michigan). If we put Wisconsin ahead of Oregon, then it opens all kinds of possible placements for the rest of the Big 10 relative to Auburn and Oregon and Wisconsin relative to the SEC. The question is whether wins over Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota are sufficiently superior to Oregon’s wins over Wisconsin, Utah, Washington, and USC to overcome the head-to-head result. Oregon does have 5 wins over major conference teams with winning records compared to only 4 for Wisconsin and while both teams had bad losses, Oregon’s was to an 8-5 team while Wisconsin’s was to a 6-7 team. The GASF Ratings judges that the extra win, the better loss, and the head-to-head result are enough to overcome the difference in quality of the top wins for each team. For the ease of this discussion, I am going to go with that result, but I grant that there is some justification to keep Wisconsin ahead of Oregon. Now we start to have most of the chain put together. Georgia > Florida > Auburn > (Alabama) > Oregon > Wisconsin > (Alabama, Minnesota) > Michigan > (Notre Dame, Iowa, Minnesota) > Navy. We’re left with where Penn St belongs relative to the SEC and Oregon; where Oklahoma, Baylor and Memphis go; where Alabama goes relative to Oregon and Wisconsin; and where ND belongs relative to Iowa and Minnesota.

Penn St at 3-1 against the group and no bad losses is pretty easy to move up to the top of the group ahead of Oregon at 1-1 with a bad loss, ahead of Auburn at 2-3, ahead of Florida at 1-1. That leaves Georgia. They are 4-0 against the group, but have a bad loss. This one could down to how you weight good wins relative to bad losses. You could also look at the fact that PSU played Ohio St close while Georgia lost badly to LSU. On the other hand, Georgia does have one more win overall and 7 wins over major conference teams with winning records compared to 6 for Penn St. (including Memphis as equivalent). In the end, it’s very close but the GASF Ratings gives the weight to the extra win and puts Georgia ahead of Penn St., though that could change if LSU loses to Clemson.

Alabama is 1-1 against the group as is Oregon, but Oregon has a bad loss to Arizona St. On the other hand, Oregon has 5 wins over major conference teams with winning records compared to only 3 for Alabama. Is 4-1 against the next tier of teams better or is 2-0? I’ll look at the next tier in another post, but the GASF Ratings has Oregon ahead of Alabama because it has Utah, Washington and USC in the Top 25 which is enough to overcome the worse loss. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment given the general lack of quality wins for the Pac-12. I’d probably go with Alabama > Oregon > Wisconsin instead. If you do put Oregon ahead like the Ratings do, then I think you have to think long about whether Alabama should also go behind Wisconsin (which the Ratings do not do). Wisconsin is 3-1 against the group compared to only 1-1 for Alabama, but they do have the bad loss to Illinois. Wisconsin also has 4 wins over major winning teams compared to 3 for Bama, but again the bad loss. If you swapped out the Illinois loss and the Iowa win, then Wisconsin would be 2-2 to Bama’s 1-1 and both would have 3 wins over major winning teams. Wisconsin also lost twice to Ohio St getting blown out once, while Bama played LSU close. Wisconsin was tested much more than Alabama, so I think you can make a strong argument either way.

Notre Dame is 1-2 against the group compared to 1-3 for Iowa. They were both 2-1 against common opponents, but Iowa had the better net margin in those games. On the other hand, ND had 5 wins over major winning teams (counting Navy as equivalent) to only 3 for Iowa. In the end the extra wins and one fewer loss give the edge to Notre Dame. That gives us ND > Iowa > Minnesota if you went with head-to-head. If not, then you have Minnesota at 2-2 against the group to 1-2 for ND, but ND has an even larger edge in major wins at 5 to only the 2 for Minnesota. As mentioned up above, Minnesota had 4 close calls against bad teams. ND had none. The question is whether 4 wins over USC, Iowa St, Virginia and Virginia Tech offset Minnesota’s win over Penn St. It could really go either way. The GASF Ratings have it ND > Iowa > Minnesota (though as already discussed the Ratings have ND too high ahead of Michigan as well).

That leaves Oklahoma, Baylor and Memphis. Their lack of outside wins against the group and general lack of games against the group make this tougher to assess. The Ratings have Oklahoma and Baylor relatively high because Texas, Oklahoma St, Kansas St and Iowa St are all in the Top 30. It may take establishing whether that is reasonable to assess the reasonability of where Oklahoma and Baylor are rated as well. If we do look at record vs major winning teams outside the Top 3, Oklahoma is 5-1 and Baylor is 4-3 (with 2 losses to OU). Given the closeness of their head-to-head matchups, I think having them land fairly close to each other is reasonable. Only Georgia, Penn St and Wisconsin have more than the 2 wins against the group that Oklahoma has. Georgia and Penn St also have better records against major winning teams outside the Top 3, but Wisconsin is only 4-1 plus a loss to Illinois. Oregon matches Oklahoma’s 5 major wins, but they have 2 losses outside the Top 3. Florida has one less major win, but their 2 losses are to teams ahead of Oklahoma. Does beating Baylor a second time outweigh the loss to Kansas St.? The GASF Ratings don’t think so and slot Oklahoma in behind Georgia, Penn St and Florida, but I could see flipping Oklahoma and Florida.

Now that we have placed Georgia and Oklahoma, even though Baylor has 3 losses within the group and no wins, all 3 losses are to teams near the top of the group and they have no upset losses. Of the remaining teams in the group, only Oregon and ND have more than 4 wins over major teams with winning records. Oregon has a worse loss, but also a win over the group, one less loss overall and one more major win. ND is more or less the same story, though the Navy-Kansas St result shows that ND’s win over Navy isn’t that much stronger than Baylor’s wins over the other Big 12 teams with winning records. I think the ceiling for Baylor is behind Oregon, but there is a case either way relative to ND. The GASF Ratings has them just behind Oregon and just ahead of ND. I would be more inclined to put them behind Notre Dame, whom I already dropped to near the bottom of the group, which would move Baylor toward the bottom of the group as well. The main argument against that placement would be how close Baylor’s two meetings with Oklahoma were. If we have Oklahoma high in the group, then Baylor being so low is inconsistent with those results.

Memphis is a similar story to Baylor. They have one less loss, but they also have a bad loss where Baylor had none. They also have a win against the group against Navy, but Navy really is barely in the group. They do not have any wins over major teams with winning records, but they do have 3 wins over teams likely to be in the Top 25 (Navy and Cincinnati twice) and another against a 10-3 SMU team that will be rated in a similar range to unranked major teams with winning records. Overall, the wins look similar to Baylor’s. The question is whether Baylor having two losses to Oklahoma is worse than Memphis’ one loss to Temple. The GASF Ratings have Memphis just below Baylor and I would be inclined to do the same. The comparison to ND is actually more straightforward for Memphis since both beat Navy and have two losses. With ND’s losses being better and ND having one more quality win, Memphis should be behind Notre Dame, even if the choice is made to put Baylor ahead of ND. Memphis relative to Iowa is similar to the discussion for ND with Memphis having one more quality win and one less loss overall, though the loss to Temple does add some uncertainty to the equation. If Memphis had lost to Cincinnati or SMU instead of Temple, then they would have a very similar resume to Iowa. The comparison to Minnesota could resolve that since Minnesota has better wins and better losses than Memphis and the same number of overall losses. The only point in Memphis’ favor is 4 quality wins to only 2 for Minnesota. Memphis should probably be behind Minnesota. If you go with Iowa > Minnesota that gives you Iowa > Memphis as well.

Here’s where I am leaning for my final order. I have also listed what I think the reasonable range is for each team and where the GASF Ratings will have them placed. I do think the Ratings have Baylor, Notre Dame, Memphis and Navy too high which leaves Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan too low.

4) Georgia: #4-5 (GASF: 4-5)
5) Penn St: #4-5 (GASF: 4-5)
6) Florida: #6-7 (GASF: 6)
7) Oklahoma: #6-7 (GASF: 7)
8) Auburn: #8-12 (GASF: 8)
9) Alabama: #8-12 (GASF: 10)
10) Oregon: #8-12 (GASF: 9)
11) Wisconsin: #8-12 (GASF: 15)
12) Minnesota: #9-16 (GASF: 18)
13) Michigan: #12-15 (GASF: 16)
14) Notre Dame: #13-16 (GASF: 12)
15) Baylor: #13-17 (GASF: 11)
16) Memphis: #14-17 (GASF: 13)
17) Iowa: #14-18 (GASF: 17)
18) Navy: #17-18 (GASF: 14)

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Re: Final Rankings Musing

Postby MikeTheTiger » January 13th, 2020, 11:19 am

For the next tier (and to fill out the rest of the Top 25), we’ll be looking at major conference teams with winning records, AAC teams with three losses, and other minor conference teams with 1 or 2 losses. This gets us to around #40. There are three teams that fit that description that will land outside the Top 50 in the final GASF Ratings: Wake Forest, UNC and Pitt. So why so little love for those three teams? Outside of their head-to-head matchups, Pitt’s win over UCF is the only win they have against this group or higher. That is offset by Pitt losses to Miami and Boston College and a Wake loss to Syracuse. UNC doesn’t have any worse losses, but they lost to both Pitt and Wake. That puts those 3 teams on the outside of the group looking in. For the purposes of this analysis, they will not be included in the win totals against the group for the other teams under consideration. One team that doesn’t fit that description will be added: FAU. They went 1-1 against UCF and SMU with one loss outside the Top 40.

Before we evaluate the teams in this group, we should re-visit the last few teams from the last group to see if any should fall into this category. Baylor, Memphis, Iowa and Navy have only 2 Top 18 wins between them, but they also have no losses outside the Top 18. Baylor and Memphis have 4 wins against the Top 40, while Iowa and Navy have 3. Of the remaining teams, there are a few that have 3 wins over the Top 40, but each of those teams has at least 2 losses outside the Top 18. Cincinnati and Texas A&M have no losses outside the Top 18, but each has only 1 win over the Top 40.

Texas 3-1 (+1L >40)
Utah 3-2
Cincy 1-0
Wash 2-2 (+2L >40)
USC 3-1 (+1L >40)
BSU 1-1 (+1L >40)
AFA 0-1
A&M 1-0
Ok St 2-2 (+1L >40)
UVa 1-1 (+1L >40)
KSU 1-2 (+1L >40; +1W T18)
ISU 1-2
ASU 2-2 (+3L >40; +1W T18)
Cal 1-3 (+1L >40)
App St 0-0 (+1L >40)
UCF 1-1 (+2L >40)
FAU 1-1 (+1L >40)
SMU 0-1
Tenn 2-0 (+2L >40)
UK 2-1 (+2L >40)
Mich St 1-1 (+1L >40)
Lville 1-1 (+2L >40)
VT 0-2 (+2L >40)
Ind 0-2

As you can see, past the Top 18, there was a lot of inconsistency and flawed candidates for the rest of the Top 25. Of the teams with no losses outside the Top 40 (really 42), only Utah at 3-2 has more than one win against the group. With the two losses coming to teams that also have 3 wins against the group (Texas and USC), Utah definitely belongs near the top of the group. Texas does have one worse loss, but at 3-1 against the group and the head-to-head win, Texas should be ahead of Utah. USC has a similar resume to Texas, but their loss to Washington complicates the comparison with Utah since UW lost to Utah. Against common opponents and head-to-head for USC and UW, USC was 5-3 and UW was 3-5. For USC and Utah, USC was 6-3 and Utah was 7-2. For Utah and UW, Utah was 7-2 and UW was 5-4. That would argue for Utah > USC > Washington, though that is the exact opposite of the game results. Washington’s 31-point win over Boise St does help them to make up ground on the other two and combined with the head-to-head result puts them ahead of USC in the GASF Ratings.

Boise St is key to Washington’s positioning in the GASF Ratings as they give UW two Top 25 wins and make a strong case for UW to be just ahead of them and USC. The question is whether a Top 25 spot for Boise St is justified. They have only 2 losses, but one is outside the Top 40. Their win over Air Force is their only Top 40 win. That win over AFA is what boosts Boise St into the Top 25 as the Ratings have AFA at #26. So, what about that rating? They also have only 2 losses and only the loss to Boise St outside the Top 18. The problem is that they have no wins over the Top 40. They do, however, have a couple of wins over teams just outside the Top 40 in Washington St (who the Ratings actually have in the Top 40 despite their 6-7 record) and Hawaii and another over Colorado who is in the Top 50 of the Ratings. Given that the remaining candidates generally have multiple losses outside the Top 40 or wins that aren’t significantly better than AFA, then I think just on the edge of the Top 25 is reasonable for them, and by extension, for Boise St.

Of the remaining teams with two wins against the group, Oklahoma St is the only one with less than two losses to lower tier opponents. That makes a strong case for Texas A&M’s inclusion in the Top 25. Oklahoma St is their only win against the group, but all 5 of their losses are to the Top 18. The hard part is deciding where they fit into the rankings compared to the 4 teams analyzed above. Texas also beat Oklahoma St, played LSU much closer than did A&M, and has 2 extra wins against the group, but they also have 2 losses outside the Top 18, including one to a lower tier team. The Utah win and the closer result against LSU are what give the advantage to Texas. Utah is a similar comparison, though they don’t have the common opponents. They have two extra wins and two extra losses against the group, but one of the wins and both the losses are to teams we have already slotted into the Top 25. Utah’s worst loss is higher ranked than A&M’s best win, but the same is also true in the opposite direction. Utah has 2 losses outside the Top 10 to only 1 for A&M (if Oregon and Auburn are in the Top 10), but 3 wins over the Top 40 to only 1 for A&M. I believe the extra wins tips the scales in Utah’s favor, but I can see the argument that Utah has more losses outside the Top 10 dragging them down. USC also has 3 wins over the Top 40, but 4 losses outside the Top 10, including one outside the Top 40. A&M worst loss is better than USC’s best win and significantly better than USC’s worst loss. A&M’s best win is only slightly worse than USC’s. That said, if Utah is ahead of A&M and USC beat Utah, then there is it at least some argument for USC ahead of A&M. The GASF Ratings have USC higher for just that reason, but I think all the other factors tilt in the other direction. Washington’s similar metrics are a little bit worse than USC’s, though they are bootstrapped ahead of A&M in the GASF Ratings with the win over USC. I think that’s definitely too far with Washington’s two losses outside the Top 40.

Of the remaining teams with no losses outside the Top 40, Cincinnati is the only one with a winning record against the group at 1-0. So, do they slot in ahead of any of the previously identified Top 25 candidates? Their win is over UCF who the Ratings have at #34. The arguments for positioning for Cincinnati are going to be much the same as A&M with no losses outside the Top 18 and just one win over the group. The difference is that Cincinnati’s two losses to Memphis are worse than A&M’s loss to Auburn, while A&M has a better win over Oklahoma St (who the Ratings have at #27). The GASF Ratings have Cincinnati several spots ahead of A&M, but it appears A&M is being punished too much for its losses to Top 10 teams. I don’t see a good argument for Cincinnati ahead of A&M. Cincinnati does not have the argument of fewer losses outside the Top 10 relative to Utah, so they should be behind them as well. Cincinnati’s worst loss is much better than USC’s but not quite as much as A&M, while their best win is further behind USC’s win over Utah. I think the case for USC ahead of Cincinnati is stronger than it is for them to be ahead of A&M, but I would still go with Cincinnati as the Ratings do. That extends to Washington as well. Boise St has a slightly better win over AFA, but their loss outside the Top 40 drops them below Cincinnati. AFA has a slightly worse loss to Navy (who lost to Memphis) and no Top 40 wins, so they also go behind Cincinnati and out of the Top 25.

Now, let’s circle back to Oklahoma St. They are definitely behind A&M, so let’s just look at the teams we put behind (or potentially behind) A&M. They have a worse record against the group than both Utah and USC and their one loss to a lower tier team is equal to USC and more than Utah. They are easily behind those two. They have the same record against the group as Washington and one less loss to a lower tier team. That makes a case for them ahead of UW (and by extension, Boise St and AFA). The flip side of that argument is that both of UW’s wins are over teams we have in the Top 25, while Oklahoma St has no such wins. The two Top 25 wins offset the extra lower tier loss in the GASF Ratings, and I would be inclined to agree with that assessment, but I think it really could go either way. Boise St and Oklahoma St are both .500 against the group with one lower tier loss. Boise St’s win over AFA gives them in the edge, which also helps resolve the comparison to UW since we have UW ahead of Boise St on head-to-head. That leaves Oklahoma St just outside the Top 25 along with AFA.

Tennessee and Kentucky are the remaining teams with two wins and a winning record against the group. Both, however, also have two losses to lower tier teams. We do have Washington in the Top 25 with two lower tier losses, but UW also has 2 wins over the Top 25. Tennessee’s wins are over Kentucky and Indiana who are right around #40 in the GASF Ratings. Those wins do not offset the bad losses. Kentucky’s wins are over Louisville and Virginia Tech, who are also around #40. That also is not enough to overcome the two bad losses (and the loss to Tennessee).

Before we call our Top 25 complete, let’s look at the other teams that are likely to be in the final Top 25 in the polls. Those are Appalachian St and FAU. Appalachian St has a very pretty 13-1 record, but they did not play a single Top 40 team. Dropping UNC out of the group impacts our evaluation of them as much as any team. The question is whether the win over UNC is enough to offset the loss to Georgia Southern. I think the best comparison is to AFA who we have just outside the Top 25. AFA has a very good record at 11-2. Both their losses were to Top 25 teams, while their wins over Hawaii and WSU are comparable to App St’s win over UNC. I see no justification for Appalachian St ahead of AFA, so that leaves them out of the Top 25. FAU at 11-3 does have a win over the group against SMU, but also a lower tier loss and a loss to UCF. The win over SMU is not enough to overcome two losses outside the Top 25 relative to AFA, so they too are out of the Top 25.

Here’s what the rest of the Top 25 looks like:

19) Texas: #19 (GASF: 20)
20) Utah: #20-23 (GASF: 21)
21) Texas A&M: #20-23 (GASF: 25)
22) Cincinnati: #21-24 (GASF: 19)
23) Washington: #21-27 (GASF: 22)
24) USC: #20-24 (GASF: 23)
25) Boise St: #24-25 (GASF: 24)

Others considered:
26) AFA: #25-27 (GASF: 26)
27) Oklahoma St: #25-28 (GASF: 27)

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Re: Final Rankings Musing

Postby irish 78 » January 14th, 2020, 12:27 am

Congratulations Mike. Great game. Great season. I thought LSU would win by at least 14 and they did better. Clemson is very good, but not good enough this year.

I think OSU might have been a tougher opponent because of how physical they are and playing against his former team might have affected Burrows, but this was LSU’s year and I don’t think anyone was beating them.

Congratulations again.

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Re: Final Rankings Musing

Postby MikeTheTiger » January 14th, 2020, 12:37 am

irish 78 wrote:Congratulations Mike. Great game. Great season. I thought LSU would win by at least 14 and they did better. Clemson is very good, but not good enough this year.

I think OSU might have been a tougher opponent because of how physical they are and playing against his former team might have affected Burrows, but this was LSU’s year and I don’t think anyone was beating them.

Congratulations again.

Thanks. I agree Ohio St probably would have given LSU a tougher battle, but I'm not sure anyone could have stopped that offense. Clemson had a great game plan, but LSU just has too many weapons and they figured out how to exploit what Clemson was giving them. It wasn't Burrow's prettiest game, but he was still deadly. Of course, the receiving corps has a lot to do with that as well.

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Re: Final Rankings Musing

Postby MikeTheTiger » January 18th, 2020, 12:46 am

Okay, so UCF and Virginia were a bit of a surprise to me in the final polls. UCF's only win over the Top 40 was against FAU, while they lost to 2 teams outside the Top 40 and 3 teams outside the Top 18. I really don't see any justification for them in the Top 25. Virginia has a little more of a case. Like Boise St, they were 1-1 against the #19-42 group with one loss to a lower tier team. The difference is that Boise St's win and loss were to the Top 25-26, while both of Virginia's results were against unranked teams (W over Va Tech and loss to Louisville). The argument for Virginia would be if you added UNC and Pitt back into the group and credited with UVa with 3 wins over major conference teams with winning records. I laid out my arguments against including them, but there is at least an argument to be made that could justify Virginia at the bottom end of the rankings.

So what about the rest of the rankings? How did they compare to the ranges I thought would be reasonable?
1-4 match what I had.

Oregon at #5 and Penn St at #9 are almost the exact opposite of what I had (PSU at #5 and Oregon at #10). I really cannot see Penn St behind Oregon, Oklahoma or Alabama. All had worse losses and Penn St had more ranked wins. Maybe Florida could stay ahead of PSU due to better losses, but PSU's aren't bad and they do have more quality wins. Oregon ahead of Florida doesn't make a lot of sense with their loss to Arizona St and the Florida beat Auburn beat Oregon chain. Oregon could potentially slot into #7 (one higher than the previous range I gave), but not #5.

Florida and Oklahoma at 6-7 match where I had them placed, including the thought that I could see them flipped as the polls did.

Alabama at #8 is one spot higher than I have them (because they have Auburn lower), but within a reasonable range.

Minnesota at #10 and Wisconsin at #11/13 are within a reasonable range, but really should be flipped on the strength of their head-to-head result.

Notre Dame at #12/11 and Baylor at #13/12 are too high. They should not be ahead of Wisconsin in the coaches and they should not be ahead of Auburn who the polls credit with 2 wins over the Top 10 and no losses outside the Top 10. Neither ND nor Baylor has a Top 10 win and ND has a loss outside the Top 10. ND should not be ahead of Michigan.

Auburn at #14 at a minimum should be ahead of ND and Baylor, but it's not unreasonable for them to be behind Wisconsin and Minnesota with the Wisconsin beat Minnesota beat Auburn chain. I went back and forth between Auburn at #8 (Auburn > Oregon > Wisconsin > Minnesota) and #12 (Wisconsin > Minnesota > Auburn).

Michigan at #18/19 is way too low. Their worst loss is Wisconsin, while they beat ND and Iowa who are ranked ahead of them. Both those teams should be behind Michigan. Memphis lost to unranked Temple and beat lower ranked opponents. A second win over Cincinnati shouldn't over the Temple loss. I won't even dignify App St ahead of Michigan in the coaches. At a minimum Michigan should be #15 with arguments either way relative to Baylor and Minnesota.

#15 Iowa and #17 Memphis are in a reasonable range, though flipped from where I placed them.

Utah at #16 is clearly way too high. You can see that the West Coast voters had to place their votes somewhere with the placements of Oregon and Utah. Utah's best win is over a Washington team that neither poll ranks (though I did put them in at the bottom of the Top 25) while they have losses to Texas and USC who are at the bottom of the rankings or unranked. They should be no higher than #20.

Appalachian St at #18/#19 is even worse. They played no one in the Top 42 and lost to Georgia Southern. There are 42 teams with only one loss outside the Top 42 and most of those had wins over the Top 42. They are just not a Top 25 team.

Navy at #20 move up to #18 when you drop Utah and App St.

Texas at #25/UR is too low. They do have two losses to unranked teams, but so do Boise St and Virginia. Utah has one unranked loss in the polls (though USC is in my Top 25) and the loss to Texas. Texas has a better win than any of those 3. AFA doesn't have any unranked losses, but they also don't have any wins over the Top 42 and lost to Boise St. That puts them up to at least #20 when you move them above those 3-4 teams and drop Appalachian St and UCF out of the rankings.

Cincinnati at #21 in a reasonable range.

Texas A&M unranked is hard to justify when you have App St, UCF, Boise St and AFA at the bottom of the rankings. A&M has no losses outside the Top 15 and beat an Oklahoma St team the polls had ranked going into the bowls. AFA is the only one of those teams without an unranked loss and they have no Top 42 wins. None has more than one win over the Top 42.

AFA and Boise St at 22/23 (flipped in the polls) are a little high once you consider Washington's 38-7 bowl win over Boise St. I discussed in depth where they should be relative to USC and UW in an earlier post.

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