Rankings through games of 2013-09-01
New entries: Miami-FL, Cincinnati, Texas, Washington, Baylor.
Dropped out: BYU, Boise St., Utah St., Nebraska, Michigan St..
I know we missed out on last week, but we're slowly spinning back up for this year. Before I get to the rankings themselves I want to cover a few things.
First of all, you may have noticed that the efficiencies have seen a major adjustment since the last rankings. Your eyes aren't deceiving you; there was a bug in my code which was over-estimating the strength of slow-paced teams and under-estimating the strength of teams that play at a quicker pace. This is why Alabama's offensive efficiency dropped from around 37 PPH to a shade above 30 PPH. Oregon, on the other hand, saw theirs effectively unchanged, going from around 32 PPH to around 29 PPH. Unfortunately for Oregon, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and other up-tempo teams, Alabama is still the clear favorite.
Second, among the changes between this year and last year is an effort to age out old data more aggressively. Under the system from the last three years, the first week of games in a new season would have accounted for only 12.4% of the rankings after week one. Under this new system it accounts for about 23.5%. After two weeks under the old system, the new year would account for 22.7%, while under the new system it will account for 39.1% of the total rankings.
With those two items out of the way, let's look at what happened during week one....
Alabama continues to hold a massive lead over the rest of the field thanks to having both the top offense and top defense in FBS. In many ways they got lucky against Virginia Tech, given that 21 of their 25 point margin came from three freak plays. Nick Saban is notorious for wanting to win by using the right process, not just by getting the right result. The Tide have an off week, and then roll into Texas to face A&M.
Speaking of A&M, the Aggies actually surrendered 609 yards to Rice (pass, rush, kick returns, and interception returns) than they gained (576). They may have Manziel back on offense, but if they want a shot at upsetting Alabama again this year, they'll need to get their defense to shape up.
Finally, we'll close this inaugural top 25 with a compare and contrast of two teams heading in opposite directions: Miami-Florida, and Boise State. During the Kellen Moore era, Boise was legitimately one of the best teams in the country. Last year saw a major drop-off in offensive efficiency, from 26.5 PPH (#9) to 19.7 PPH (#38). With their blowout loss against Washington, the Broncos have seen the decline accelerate into free-fall, as their offense now rates just 15.8 PPH, good for 71st in FBS. That's three spots behind Wyoming. The Broncos now rank 54th in the TFG rankings, dropping a full 37 spots in one week.
On the flip side we have Miami. The 'Canes finished last season as a solid middle-of-the-pack team, with middling squads on either side of the ball. One 34-0 blowout of Florida-Atlantic later, and TFG vaults them up 46 spots to #15. It's unrealistic to expect that this level of defensive fortitude can continue, but Miami just took a huge leap in the right direction. As it stands they're on track for an 8-3 season and TFG considers them to be the favorites in every game except for Florida State (although the Florida game this weekend is more of a toss-up).
So sit back and enjoy this season, and welcome back to the Tempo-Free Gridiron for the 2013-2014 season.
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