Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 5: Thursday and Friday Predictions

So far this year, neither of us has done too well on Thursday and Friday games. We hope to change that with the pair of games this week. BYU is struggling to get on track after a slate of three losses. It's difficult to go on the road against a pair of top 25 teams early in season, as the Cougars did against Air Force and Florida State, and they came away with a pair of losses as a result. They should have better luck on the road against Utah State, a team that hung close with Oklahoma in their season opener but has been on a steady downward slide of late. Oklahoma State should also be able to dispatch of the Aggies in what promises to be a high-scoring game.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(26)Oklahoma St.40 (49)Texas A&M33 71.1 (28)Oklahoma St.38 (54)Texas A&M24 66.6
(95)Utah St.28 (44)BYU34 73.8 (100)Utah St.21 (36)BYU41 86.9

Week 5: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: UCLA (+20, 62 to 42); SDSU (+18, 103 to 85); Michigan (+16, 46 to 30).

Biggest drops: Utah State (-16, 79 to 95); Purdue (-14, 53 to 67); Ball State (-14, 95 to 109).

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 5: Top 25 -- TFG

I've also been slammed with end of Q3 work this week, so this will be a quick summary.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001-- Alabama 0.9390 0.5841 27.8 8.6 79.5
002+1 Florida 0.9218 0.5628 30.8 10.9 78.8
003-1 Ohio St. 0.9135 0.4635 26.4 9.7 82.4
004-- TCU 0.9101 0.4952 27.1 10.2 82.8
005+1 Boise St. 0.8841 0.4885 28.0 11.9 83.4
006+2 Virginia Tech 0.8837 0.6162 27.5 11.6 78.8
007-2 Oregon 0.8772 0.5840 25.7 11.2 91.8
008+5 Iowa 0.8770 0.5297 22.9 9.9 81.8
009+2 Penn State 0.8586 0.5806 19.9 9.2 79.5
010-- LSU 0.8570 0.5966 23.4 10.9 79.7
011-2 Oklahoma 0.8415 0.6260 21.8 10.8 91.8
012-- Nebraska 0.8398 0.4375 22.7 11.3 81.5
013-6 Texas 0.8258 0.5145 25.2 13.2 82.9
014-- Stanford 0.8058 0.5762 28.1 15.4 81.7
015+1 Arizona 0.7977 0.6448 21.9 12.3 82.6
016+1 Utah 0.7926 0.3518 23.5 13.4 82.5
017+4 Miami-FL 0.7804 0.6645 22.6 13.1 83.2
018-- Arkansas 0.7656 0.6473 25.1 15.2 82.5
019-4 USC 0.7452 0.4963 21.4 13.6 84.3
020-1 Texas Tech 0.7283 0.5266 22.6 15.0 88.9
021+4 Clemson 0.7127 0.5331 20.9 14.1 82.0
022NA California 0.7108 0.6348 21.5 14.7 84.0
023NA Auburn 0.7020 0.5956 21.6 15.2 87.0
024-4 Air Force 0.6867 0.4834 20.0 14.4 82.4
025NA Florida St. 0.6832 0.6211 22.6 16.5 81.6

New entries: California, Auburn, Florida State.

Dropped out: South Carolina, Georgia, Pittsburgh.

Alabama survived a scare against a solid Arkansas team, but dropped precipitously in the power rankings. A 0.0300 point lead over Ohio State turned into a 0.0170 point lead over Florida, and with the Gators visiting Alabma this weekend, Florida has a chance to make a statement about who should really be the top team in the SEC.

The Pac 10 continues to stake its claim as one of the top three conferences, placing five teams in the top 25.  The SEC remains the top conference, even according to the computers. Either this week or next week we'll start taking more in-depth looks at the conferences and the championship races.

Week 4: Wrap-Up

Neither of us were particularly happy this Monday.  In Eddie's case, it was because Arkansas blew a 13 point lead at home.  In Justin's case, it was because Eddie managed to take the season lead.  Now to focus on Week 4.

Accuracy: 39-10 (79.6%)
The Good: Picking Boise State-Oregon State within a single point.
The Bad: Purdue over Toledo by 18 points turned into Toledo over Purdue by 11.  Whenever you are off by 29, that's a bad performance.
The Ugly: Thursday picks haven't been good to me, and Miami's curb stomping of Pittsburgh was no exception.  Mark me down as 0-fer the last three Thursdays.

Accuracy: 37-12 (75.5%)
The Good: Under the headline "Blind Pig Finds Truffle", I managed to get:

  • the Arizona State/Oregon game spread right (each team got an extra TD);
  • missed the Boise State/Oregon State spread by 1 point; and
  • missed the Oklahoma/Cincinnati final score by 2 points.
The Bad: I still can't seem to get the ACC right. Four of the 12 games I got wrong involved one or more ACC teams. Of the 7 games involving ACC teams, I expected to get 5 right. Instead I got 3 right, and that's only because Virginia Tech/BC, Florida State/Wake, and -- to a slightly lesser extent -- Maryland/FIU were all decided before the teams stepped on the field.
The Ugly: I'm similarly cursed by Thursdays. I may have gotten one right so far, but it generally hasn't been pretty, and Pittsburgh's decision to field an FCS-caliber team didn't help.

Overall Season Accuracy:
Eddie: 151-35 (81.1%)
Justin: 150-36 (80.6%)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week 5: Full Rankings -- RBA

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 5: Top 25 -- RBA

It's performance review time at work, so things are running a little behind this week.  Without further ado, we have this week's RBA Top 25.

Rank+/-TeamWinPctSoSOff PtsDef PtsPace
005-2Ohio St.0.92340.533925.28.680.0
007+6Virginia Tech0.91580.535321.47.679.1
012--Penn State0.88390.539716.66.981.9
013-2Boise St.0.87740.457326.111.184.9
019+21Florida St.0.83760.555722.511.083.5
020+2Mississippi St.0.82540.562619.810.180.7
024-7South Carolina0.79050.549418.510.478.9

New entries:  Florida State, Nevada

Dropped out:  Air Force, Georgia Tech

Week 5 is the time when RBA tends to stabilize.  Alabama's narrow escape from Fayetteville (*grumble grumble*) has narrowed the gap between Alabama and Oregon.  Meanwhile, comparatively weak performances by Ohio State and TCU allowed Stanford and Florida to leapfrog them.  The Buckeyes and Horned Frogs are still within striking distance but need to match Alabama's defense or make a push offensively to catch up.

Georgia holds steady at #16 after dropping to 1-3 (0-3 SEC).  I'm sure people are going to use this to argue that the entire system is invalid.  The top 25 is based upon each team's performance against a neutral opponent of 0.500 strength.  Georgia has a tendency to blow out weak opponents but struggle against strong opponents, so it has a significant slope on their offensive and defensive efficiencies.  In fact, Georgia's offensive drop-off (36.8PPH) is the third worst in the NCAA, behind only Cal (46.3 PPH!) and Wake Forest (38.7 PPH).  In other words, yes, Georgia is over-ranked, but RBA will predict them to lose to most the other teams in the top 25.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 4: Saturday Predictions

Full predictions after the jump. Justin's picks are in blue, Eddie's are in yellow.

Week 4: Saturday Matchups

Last week's GUGS selections ran the gamut from eerily accurate to accurate for a half to just a weeee bit off. This week's selections run the gamut from somewhat obscure to even more obscure. So with that, here are the games of the week.

Nevada Wolfpack at Brigham Young Cougars.
GUGS Score: 82.2

Justin: The (32) Wolfpack visit the (40) Cougars in what expects to be a close match. BYU is a disciplined team with an effective defense but low-powered offense. Nevada has put up better offensive numbers, but offsets that with poor defense.  Even BYU's anemic offense should put up good numbers against Nevada, but it'll be a very close game. TFG says the Cougars pull off a 1-point victory in Provo, but only with 57.5% odds.
Eddie:  (30) Nevada has been incredibly explosive on the offensive side of the ball and should ring up 20.8 PPH, which is no small feat against a 0.718 strength team like (36) BYU.  Conversely, BYU's offense has been rather anemic against stronger opponents and should expect 16.0 PPH against Nevada. The game is played in Provo, so the Cougars get a small bonus.  RBA says the Wolfpack should win a moderately high scoring game 34-31.  However, the confidence is only 54.4% because Nevada's powerful offense is supplemented by a rather shaky defense (19.8 PPH).

North Carolina Tar Heels at Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
GUGS Score: 81.7

Eddie:  This week's pillow fight is brought to you by the letters 'P' and 'U'.  Is this really one of the top four games of the week?  (47) Rutgers is 2-0 after beating a D-IAA team (that RBA ignores) and needing a 4th quarter touchdown to beat FIU.  (54) North Carolina is 0-2 after losing respectable games to LSU and Georgia Tech.  This game should feature a great deal of offensive incompetence with Rutgers putting up 15.0 PPH and UNC scoring 14.4 PPH.  Rutgers should win by a touchdown 28-21 with 51.5% confidence thanks to the added home field bump.
Justin: I know Eddie doesn't approve of this game, but I think he's just upset that the computers didn't pick Arkansas/Alabama to be closer than it will be. The (34) Tar Heels travel to New Jersey to take on the (43) Scarlet Knights in what will be, admittedly, not exactly an offensive display for the ages. UNC is from the defense-heavy ACC, and Rutgers has a decent offense but averages fewer than 160 plays per game. Expect a deliberate and defense-heavy (but close) victory by the Knights, 30-28.

Central Michigan Chippewas at Northwestern Wildcats.
GUGS Score: 78.5

Justin: The (49) Chippewas remain a legitimate top-50 team that closely resembles (statistically) their more famous in-state football brethern in the Big Ten (the Wolverines sneak in an extra 2.6 plays per game and manage an extra 0.7 PPH, but otherwise they're identical). The (63) Wildcats have home field advantage, however, and hope to ride that to victory; they'll need all the help they can get, since the Chippewas have a 1.8 PPH advantage on offense, but that extra FG per game will be offset by home field advantage. Northwestern takes this in a nailbiter, 30-28.
Eddie: (62) Central Michigan can put up a lot of points but has one of the largest drop-offs in D-IA.  The Chippewa offense varies by up to 37.0 PPH, depending on opponent strength.  (70) Northwestern isn't a mindblowing football team, but they are consistent, thanks to an offense that varies by only 5.0 PPH.  All this adds up to an incredibly tight game where home field advantage gives the Wildcats a 27-24 victory with 54.1% confidence.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
GUGS Score: 72.1

Eddie: RBA doesn't think this game is that interesting.  (63) Southern Miss should have a 4.7 PPH advantage over (82) Louisiana Tech.  Ruston isn't a particularly frightening place to play, but RBA gives the Bulldogs a bonus, anyway.  Even with the home field advantage, RBA says the Golden Eagles wins this game 63.9% of the time by a score of 31-27.
Justin: The (66) Golden Eagles face off against the (82) Bulldogs in what TFG expects will be one of the closest games of the day. Both have faced decent competition for their rankings, but can't seem to get things together on the defensive side; both teams allow about 19 PPH. The difference is that the Golden Eagles put up about 18 PPH on offense, compared to about 15 PPH for LA Tech. Eddie doesn't seem too exciting about this game, but I'll give his computer some more leeway to decide "exciting" when it starts getting more right than my TFG program.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

California Golden Bears at Arizona Wildcats.
GUGS Score: 78.7

A major Pac-10 showdown. Arizona is the better team and they're playing host to the Golden Bears. TFG is not at all fond of their chances (70.2%) but RBA says this will be a coin toss (51.6%) that Arizona wins by 11 points. Yes, you read that right. No, I don't know how that works.

Oregon State Beavers at Boise State Broncos.
GUGS Score: 45.2

This game is Boise's second and only remaining chance to really impress the BCS voters, and both TFG and RBA says they should have a good shot at doing so. They're two-touchdown favorites, and anywhere from 3-to-1 to 5-to-1 favorites. Oddly enough neither computer is completely sold on the Broncos, either, so this is their time to shine.

Alabama Crimson Tide at Arkansas Razorbacks.
GUGS Score: 37.3

Both TFG and RBA say Alabama with over 80% confidence.  Eddie says the computers can eat his poo.  The cumulative weight of the 2010 season is only 15% for RBA.  Arkansas's defense could be better this season.  (It's hard to imagine it being worse.)  Alabama's defense could be worse; it's not like San Jose State, Penn State, and Duke are offensive juggernauts.  Honestly, it's still too early to tell exactly how this one is going to play out.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 4: Thursday and Friday Predictions

A few minutes late, but really only one of the two games should be a contest. TCU will stomp all over SMU. The Pitt/Miami game, though will be slightly more interesting. Both RBA and TFG give the slight edge to home team Pittsburgh: a single-digit victory with less than a 60% chance. It's still early enough in the season that home field advantage means something, and the Panthers will need to use it to take down the slightly higher ranked Hurricanes.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(24)Pittsburgh34 (21)Miami-FL32 58.2 (26)Pittsburgh28 (21)Miami-FL24 54.9
(74)SMU25 (4)TCU39 92.1 (73)SMU20 (4)TCU38 93.4

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week 4: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: Florida State (+18, 49 to 31); Nevada (+16, 48 to 32); UCLA (+14, 76 to 62).

Biggest drops: Mississippi (-19, 29 to 48); Connecticut (-11, 53 to 64); Houston (-11, 41 to 52); Mississippi State (-11. 40 to 51).

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 4: Top 25 -- TFG

With three weeks' worth of games in the books we're starting to see some of the differences between last year and this year begin to emerge.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001-- Alabama 0.9541 0.5783 29.4 8.0 79.7
002+1 Ohio St. 0.9231 0.5294 25.9 9.0 81.5
003-1 Florida 0.9170 0.5813 30.5 11.1 78.2
004-- TCU 0.9166 0.4794 26.6 9.7 82.0
005-- Oregon 0.8997 0.5810 26.1 10.4 90.4
006+1 Boise St. 0.8938 0.4742 27.8 11.3 83.8
007-1 Texas 0.8822 0.5064 27.2 11.7 82.3
008+1 Virginia Tech 0.8645 0.6330 28.6 13.1 79.3
009-1 Oklahoma 0.8590 0.6387 22.2 10.4 90.3
010+1 LSU 0.8585 0.5845 23.3 10.8 80.3
011+2 Penn State 0.8582 0.6049 20.0 9.2 79.4
012-- Nebraska 0.8321 0.4412 22.3 11.4 81.4
013-3 Iowa 0.8271 0.5882 22.2 11.4 81.7
014-- Stanford 0.7984 0.5669 28.0 15.7 81.4
015-- USC 0.7775 0.5592 21.4 12.6 84.8
016+3 Arizona 0.7763 0.6087 22.8 13.6 82.9
017-1 Utah 0.7567 0.3996 22.2 13.8 83.9
018-- Arkansas 0.7459 0.5906 24.5 15.5 83.1
019-2 Texas Tech 0.7449 0.5425 23.1 14.7 88.9
020-- Air Force 0.7299 0.5178 20.4 13.5 83.5
021+1 Miami-FL 0.7269 0.6784 22.7 15.0 83.0
022+2 South Carolina 0.7214 0.6435 18.0 12.0 80.7
023+2 Georgia 0.7107 0.6304 24.1 16.5 78.6
024NA Pittsburgh 0.7106 0.5619 23.3 15.9 80.8
025-4 Clemson 0.7020 0.5315 20.6 14.3 82.1

New entries: Pittsburgh.

Dropped out: Oregon State.

The Pac10 continues to impress, as Oregon remains dominant against vastly inferior competition, Stanford was dominant against moderately inferior competition, USC treads water, and Arizona wins a close game at home against an Iowa team that apparently sent out a bunch of punch-em clowns instead of their O-line on an important last-minute drive. Conference play starts in earnest this week, so we'll see a few games between Pac-10 teams. Stanford has another shot to impress as they visit a Notre Dame team that was a trick FG away from a big win on the road.

At the top of the pile, Alabama actually slipped slightly as they pounded a hapless Duke team by "only" 49 points last week. Florida finally slipped below Ohio State and very nearly behind TCU as last year's dominance begins to fade. The Gators have stepped up their efforts on offense, becoming the only team in Division I-A to crack the 30 PPH mark, but have struggled on defense relative to last year. The TFG rankings still aren't 100% sold on Boise as the third-best team in the country, but even the computers have historically underestimated the Broncos.

This week is also "Exhibit A" in how computers differ from the human pollsters. Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah all won -- in some cases by double-digits -- yet dropped in the rankings. Georgia lost, but still went up two spots. Also in a "coming soon" post, we'll examine how college football is not transitive.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week 4: Full Rankings -- RBA

Biggest Jumps:  Nevada (+23, 53 to 30); Temple (+13, 65 to 53); Southern Miss (+13, 76 to 63)

Biggest Drops:  Missouri (-21, 37 to 58); Kansas (-20, 40 to 60); Oregon State (-18, 19 to 37)

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 4: Top 25 -- RBA

Week 3 provides more clarity to the ranking landscape.  We notice fewer dramatic jumps in the rankings this week as we obtain more information about how these teams really perform.  Rankings should stabilize in another two weeks, so stay tuned.

Rank+/-TeamWinPctSoSOff PtsDef PtsPace
003--Ohio St.0.94110.535823.26.980.0
011+5Boise St.0.88010.457725.610.885.0
012-4Penn State0.87830.541316.57.081.9
013-4Virginia Tech0.87720.535023.09.879.2
017--South Carolina0.83120.548118.19.078.9
022+1Mississippi St.0.79120.561119.310.880.8
023-1Georgia Tech0.78760.531125.214.282.1
025+1Air Force0.77410.475317.710.482.5

New Entries:  Air Force

Dropped Out:  Oregon State

My hunch regarding Bay Area sports teams was half correct.  Stanford looked like a legit contender when they scored touchdowns on each of their first eight possessions against Wake Forest in Palo Alto.  On the other hand, Cal got blasted by Nevada 52-31 in Reno.  The question you probably have to ask is, "WTF is Cal still doing in the top 15?"  The Golden Bear defense got ravaged by Nevada, but their offensive efficiency is #3 nationally versus an average opponent.  Since team strength is measured using pythagorean expectations, they get a big ranking bump despite getting whipped by the Wolfpack.

Speaking of offensive powerhouses, the Pac-10 is making huge strides in the poll thanks to dominant offenses.  The top three offensive threats are Oregon (30.0 PPH), Stanford (29.1 PPH), and Cal (27.4 PPH).  Thanks to their ability to light up the scoreboard, the Pac-10 is forcing people to reevaluate their perceptions of the conference.

Week 3: Wrap-Up

Week 3 is officially in the books.  Before we start looking forward to Alabama-Arkansas and Boise-Oregon State, we can take a quick look back at how TFG and RBA performed.

Accuracy: 42-11 (79.2%)
The Good: Although the pick was incorrect, RBA calling Wisconsin-Arizona State a coin flip was entirely accurate.  Wisconsin won by (a) blocking an extra point in the 4th quarter and (b) tackling the Sun Devil kick returner at the WIS 1 before halftime to save a TD.  For comparison, 97.36% of participants in ESPN's college pick'em chose Wisconsin with an average confidence of 7.38 out of 10.  Honorable mention goes to picking the Auburn-Clemson score exactly.
The Bad: Ole Miss over Vanderbilt with 5:1 odds.  Don't get me wrong; I'm ecstatic that the Rebels lost.  However, a team that loses to a D-IAA opponent shouldn't be that high.  Chalk this one down to the low priority I've given to fixing the D-IAA hole in RBA.
The Ugly: All the picks from Thursday and Friday nights, but especially Cal over Nevada.  I felt that #7 was too high for the Golden Bears, but I never expected Nevada to take them behind the woodshed like that.

Accuracy: 41-12 (77.4%)
The Good: Pointing out that all the Thursday and Friday games were going to be much closer than conventional wisdom expected. In fact none of the favorites won, and the home teams swept the visitors. The storyline for Kansas appears to be "we can't figure out this team," but TFG is pretty sure that (for now) it's just early-season-on-the-road jitters. I wasn't quite as sure about the closeness of Iowa-Arizona as Eddie, but knew that it and the Clemson-Auburn game were going to be two of the best games on Saturday.
The Bad: I'm with Eddie; Ole Miss-Vandy should have been a cakewalk for the Rebels, but it appears there might be something to the Houston-Nutt-blows-games-he-should-win school of thought.
The Ugly: Some idiot said something about Florida State-BYU being a coin toss. That person is an idiot.

Overall Season Accuracy
Justin: 113-24 (82.5%)
Eddie: 112-25 (81.8%)
At the start of this year Eddie tested the revised RBA algorithm against TFG using data from the 2003-2009 seasons and had an accuracy rating that was about 0.6% behind TFG. This translates to one missed game for every 167 played. Well here we are 137 games into the year and RBA is 1 game behind TFG. It appears that for now past performance is indicative of future gains.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Week 3: Saturday Predictions

Full predictions after the jump. Justin's picks are in blue, Eddie's are in yellow.

Week 3: Saturday Matchups

After the success of GUGS last week, we bring you this round of Games You Gotta See. As always, we focus on the most interesting game between two teams from BCS conferences, the most interesting game between two teams from non-BCS conferences, the most interesting game between a BCS team and a non-BCS team, and the overall Game of the Week. We'll also examine big games that failed to make the cut and explain why.

Iowa Hawkeyes at Arizona Wildcats
GUGS Score: 89.4

Eddie: (14) Iowa faces off against (13) Arizona in a matchup that RBA predicts with only 53% confidence.  Iowa has the better offense and defense at 15.2 PPH and 10.8 PPH, respectively.  Arizona can only muster 13.4 PPH of offense and 17.1 PPH of defense.  However, they're playing in Tempe (+3 points for Arizona), and Iowa maintains a slow pace of 164 plays/game, implying that the Hawkeyes will have fewer opportunities to exploit their advantage.  All this adds up to a close game with Iowa pulling off the win:  25-24.
Justin: (10) Iowa goes on the road to visit (19) Arizona in a game of two so-so offenses but solid defenses. The Hawkeyes continue to get it done with defense, but will get tested with an early road trip. Home field advantage is huge this early in the season, and Arizona is going to need every single bit of crowd noise and momentum to pull off the upset. The Hawkeyes' defense is the 5th-best in Division I-A, allowing a mere 10.4 PPH; Arizona's defense is still a respectable 13.5 PPH, but even factoring in home field advantage this will be a coin toss. TFG says Iowa 29-28, with a 55.4% chance of winning.

Clemson Tigers at Auburn Tigers.
GUGS Score: 85.9

Justin: The (21) Clemson Tigers visit the (31) Auburn Tigers in a marquee ACC-SEC showdown. These teams are almost mirror images of each other, efficiency-wise, around 21.0 PPH on the offensive side and 14.0 PPH on the defense, give or take about 1.0 PPH. The downside for Auburn is that Clemson has the slight advantage on either side of the ball; the upside for Auburn is that they're at home. The one area where these teams diverge is pace: Auburn averages an extra 12 plays per game, so might try and turn this into a track meet. They're going to need all the help they get, because TFG has Auburn as 31-30 favorites, but only with 52.7% odds.
Eddie: [Insert tired joke about Tigers winning.] Although (28) Clemson is ranked higher than (36) Auburn, they match up quite well.  Auburn's offense is flashy, but their defense is more likely to win the day against Clemson.  Auburn's defense is amazingly consistent, varying only 3.8 PPH across all opponent levels, whereas Clemson's may vary by up to 13.1 PPH.  RBA says that home field edges the game in favor of Auburn:  27-24 with 55.5% confidence.

Brigham Young Cougars at Florida State Seminoles.
GUGS Score: 80.7

Eddie: (46) Florida State may be playing at home, but they're looking up at the (30) Cougars.  Only 0.8 PPH separate BYU and FSU offensively, but the Seminoles have been woeful on the defensive side of the ball.  RBA expects FSU to surrender 21.5 PPH, as opposed to 14.8 PPH for BYU.  Home field advantage keeps the game close, but BYU should win this one 31-28 with 63.9% confidence.
Justin: The (49) Seminoles host the (30) Cougars in our top BCS/non-BCS matchup of the week. BYU is fresh off a road loss to (20) Air Force, and looking to get back on track.  The Seminoles and the Cougars both sport offensive efficiencies in the low 20s, but BYU has almost a 5.0 PPH advantage on the defensive side of the ball. Florida State is going to need to overcome that massive disadvantage if they want any hope of winning. TFG pegs this game as quite literally too close to call; Florida State gets to edge, but they need 4 decimal places to make it work, as TFG has them winning 35-34, but with 50.0% odds.

Fresno State Bulldogs at Utah State Aggies
GUGS Score: 72.1

Justin: Our non-BCS game of the week has (58) Fresno State visiting (74) Utah State. Fresno State is just above 0.500 in the TFG rankings, whereas Utah State is hovering just above 0.400. Fresno State sports a reasonably good offense at 21.6 PPH, but makes up for it with a thoroughly mediocre defense that allows 21.2 PPH. Utah State is in much worse shape, with nearly a -3.0 net PPH. The Aggies' home field advantage should make this one very competitive, though, as Fresno State has only a 50.1% chance of pulling off the 36-34 road victory.
Eddie: (63) Fresno State whipped Cincinnati two weeks ago, but that's not saying much these days.  (86) Utah State's claim to fame is keeping Oklahoma in check.  Conventional wisdom would suggest that Utah State would have an advantage playing at home.  However, the Bulldogs match up very well against the Aggies' defense at 20.0 PPH.  Utah State can only expect 15.5 PPH.  As in the previous matchup, home field gives the Aggies a chance, but Fresno State should win this one 31-28 with 66.6% confidence.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Arkansas Razorbacks at Georgia Bulldogs.
GUGS Score: 82.7

Should be a good game, just not quite as competitive as Clemson/Auburn.  Eddie swears that Arkansas is going to win this game, even though both TFG and RBA disagree.

Texas Longhorns at Texas Tech Red Raiders.
GUGS Score: 71.8

Not competitive.  RBA says the expected scores should be close but is fairly confident that Texas wins this one with 68.8% confidence; TFG concurs, picking the Longhorns as a one-FG favorite and 61.6% favorites.

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Washington Huskies.
GUGS Score: 60.2

Not competitive.  Jake Locker continues his inexplicable journey to Todd McShay's #1 draft pick against a nasty Cornhusker defense.  RBA gives the Huskies only 27.8% probability of winning at home. TFG is slightly more optimistic for Washington, but still says they've only got 29.5% odds of winning.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 3: Thursday and Friday Predictions

The Thursday/Friday games of week 3 show TFG and RBA in complete consensus about the projected winners, but TFG is significantly less confident than RBA about the favorites running the table over the next 36 hours. All three projected victors are the visiting teams, and we're still early enough in the season that home field advantage means something. Interestingly enough, one team facing the uphill battle against home field advantage is Kansas, who rode momentum and a track meet against heavy favorite Georgia Tech to an upset victory at home. This week they're on the road facing Southern Miss in what TFG predicts will be a real nailbiter.  This may not be Iowa-Arizona game of Saturday, but both Friday games have the potential to be interesting.

TFG says the favorites have an 18% chance of running the table; RBA says that's closer to 39%. We'll find out soon enough.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(66)North Carolina St.32 (32)Cincinnati34 61.3 (67)North Carolina St.27 (44)Cincinnati31 64.7
(48)Nevada34 (26)California36 53.7 (53)Nevada21 (7)California38 84.4
(72)Southern Miss.33 (50)Kansas34 55.5 (76)Southern Miss.24 (40)Kansas34 71.5

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 3: Full Rankings -- RBA

Biggest jumps: California (+20, 27 to 7); Baylor (+20, 80 to 60); Air Force (+14, 40 to 26); Texas A&M (+14, 53 to 39).

Biggest drops: Mississippi (-18, 13 to 31); Boston College (-18, 40 to 58); Oklahoma State (-13, 22 to 35); Buffalo (-13, 95 to 108); Colorado State (-13, 101 to 114).

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 3: Top 25 -- RBA

Eddie is on a campus recruiting trip, so there is still no FCS input.  Keep this in mind when judging Virginia Tech.

Rank+/-TeamWinPctSoSOff PtsDef PtsPace
003--Ohio St.0.92900.535922.27.280.1
008-2Penn State0.89030.541819.37.882.0
009-1Virginia Tech0.88790.535920.68.479.2
016-5Boise St.0.85740.458425.311.685.0
017-2South Carolina0.83120.548118.19.078.9
019-2Oregon St.0.80960.544421.511.586.2
022-6Georgia Tech0.79880.533725.313.982.2
023+3Mississippi St.0.79730.557919.610.880.9

New Entries:  California, Utah, Mississippi State

Dropped Out:  BYU, Mississippi, Oklahoma State

Who says Bay Area sports teams are terrible?  We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves at this point since the rankings are still in flux.  However, there's no denying that Stanford and Cal laid the wood to UCLA and Colorado, respectively.  They experienced major jumps thanks to strong performances on both sides of the ball.  Expect them to settle to their natural locations in the next three weeks or so, as RBA is fairly volatile during the first five weeks of the season.

Alabama and Oregon are separating themselves from the pack, but it's still early.  Justin and I going to be watching Alabama closely in the next two weeks as they play our alma maters, Duke and Arkansas.  Oregon should remain relatively unchallenged until they face Stanford in three weeks.

Week 2: Wrap-up

Week 2 is in the books, and the TFG was silent on what was arguably the biggest story of the weekend: the 20-13 upset of Ohio by Toledo. Going into the game, Toledo had less than a 1-in-5 shot of winning, but still managed to pull off the upset, holding the high-flying Ohio offense to a mere third of its predicted output. This is bad news for Ohio, as they were hoping to gain some momentum going into this week's game against in-state rivals Ohio State.

Also, I'm being told that some team in Blacksburg, Virginia was defeated by a team in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I'm also being told that it was a I-AA team over a I-A team, which means it's outside the scope of TFG analysis and therefore uninteresting. (Seriously, though, I might have to put some logic in my system that detects when an ACC team is playing as the favorite and reverse that logic. Especially when it's two ACC teams playing each other. They're like a vortex of anti-prediction.)

Accuracy: 39-6 (86.7%)
The Good: I'm generally pleased with how TFG performed this week, getting Air Force/BYU correct, predicting that Georgia Tech/Kansas wasn't going to be the complete romp that conventional wisdom predicted, and knowing that both Penn State/Alabama and Miami/Ohio State were going to be completely lopsided ballgames that generally wouldn't be worth watching.
The Bad: I don't have too much to complain about here. The ones I got wrong were generally predicted to be close ones (see: Rice at North Texas) or involved some unexpected last-minute heroics (see: Michigan at Notre Dame).
The Ugly: Let's just pretend I never dismissed North Carolina State out of hand and said that the NCSU/UCF game wouldn't be worth watching, mmkay?

Accuracy: 37-8 (82.2%)
The Good: I agree with Justin here.  RBA knew that the Miami/Ohio State and Alabama/Penn State games weren't going to be as good as ESPN wanted you to believe.
The Bad: I made the mistake of injecting the human element into my Georgia Tech pick.  Not only was the game closer than the experts would predict, but Kansas actually pulled off the upset.
The Ugly: Picking Oklahoma State as a +28 point favorite in a game that they really should have lost.  Troy got zero points on two trips inside the oSu 10 yard line down 34-30.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 3: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: Baylor (+22, 90 to 60); California (+20, 46 to 26); SMU (+16, 85 to 69).

Biggest drops: Colorado (-18, 63 to 81); Florida State (-14, 35 to 49); Tennessee (-13, 32 to 45).

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 3: Top 25 -- TFG

Another week in the books, some more churn in the top 25. Expect to see more of this up-and-down until the rankings really settle into place for this season.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001-- Alabama 0.9529 0.6167 28.5 7.8 79.1
002-- Florida 0.9212 0.5610 30.6 10.9 78.2
003-- Ohio St. 0.9105 0.5661 24.8 9.2 82.1
004-- TCU 0.9076 0.5255 24.8 9.5 83.0
005+1 Oregon 0.8962 0.5761 26.6 10.8 90.1
006-1 Texas 0.8867 0.4797 28.0 11.8 82.8
007-- Boise St. 0.8713 0.5073 27.3 12.2 83.7
008+2 Oklahoma 0.8676 0.6303 22.3 10.1 89.8
009-- Virginia Tech 0.8637 0.6456 26.8 12.3 79.5
010+1 Iowa 0.8499 0.5443 21.7 10.4 81.0
011+2 LSU 0.8362 0.5894 22.6 11.3 81.6
012-- Nebraska 0.8140 0.4252 20.6 11.0 80.9
013-5 Penn State 0.8125 0.6722 20.5 11.0 79.4
014NA Stanford 0.7925 0.5834 27.6 15.6 81.2
015-1 USC 0.7855 0.5661 21.1 12.2 85.1
016+1 Utah 0.7759 0.4664 21.8 13.0 84.2
017-2 Texas Tech 0.7632 0.4955 24.8 15.3 89.2
018+7 Arkansas 0.7607 0.5809 25.1 15.4 83.2
019+4 Arizona 0.7507 0.5525 21.3 13.5 82.5
020NA Air Force 0.7385 0.4764 19.9 12.9 83.3
021-2 Clemson 0.7352 0.5100 21.0 13.5 81.5
022NA Miami-FL 0.7283 0.6790 22.7 15.0 83.0
023+1 Oregon St. 0.7264 0.6759 24.0 15.9 84.4
024NA South Carolina 0.7185 0.6374 17.9 12.1 80.7
025-9 Georgia 0.7156 0.5978 24.2 16.4 78.6

New entries: Stanford, Air Force, Miami-FL, South Carolina.

Dropped out: BYU, Mississippi, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh.

Even in defeat, the Hurricanes managed to leap four spots into the top 25 by hanging 24 points on a tough Buckeye defense. Granted, 14 of those points came from special teams when OSU's defense was not on the field, per se, but TFG doesn't distinguish between offense, defense, and special teams.  The other three new entries all leap into our top 25 thanks to some solid wins, including South Carolina defeating Georgia in our inaugural GUGS Game of the Week.

At the top we see Alabama opening a decisive gap between themselves and second-place Florida. The Tide gets major points for holding the Nittany Lion offense to 3 points, making themselves not just the only team below the 9.0 PPH mark on defense, but below 8.0 PPH. So far this year, Alabama has stepped up their play on offense, breaking into the 28 PPH level, second only to Florida. Florida has seemed shaky at times this year, so SEC play will really shed some light on whether these unreal efficiencies are accurate, or an artifact of playing inferior competition (plus a bad day by Penn State).

Right now all the hype appears to be about Alabama and Ohio State, but the gap between (1) and (3) is larger than the gap between the third-ranked Buckeyes and the 7th-ranked Boise State Broncos. Even without taking Virginia Tech's loss into account, Boise State has yet to really differentiate themselves from the rest of the middle of the top 10.

Further down the rankings we see USC feeling the effects of their diminished payroll, currently ranked as the third-best team in the Pac 10, with Arizona closing fast. The Pac10 itself may be the sleeper story of the year so far, with half of their teams in the top 25. TFG has them listed as the second-best conference in college football, behind only the SEC. The Massey Ratings, a comparison of dozens of computerized college football rankings in which both TFG and RBA are listed, has the Pac10 as the third-best conference behind the SEC and the Big 12. We'll see how well that holds up as the year goes on, but so far this year the Pac10 has broken out of the traditional "USC and the 9 dwarves" storyline.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Week 2: Saturday Predictions

Full predictions after the jump. Justin's picks are in blue, Eddie's are in yellow.

Week 2: Saturday Matchups

Here at TFG we're committed to bringing our readers a slightly different perspective on college football.  In light of that, we're working on our own metric to predict which games will be the most "interesting" in any given week. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Games You Gotta See (GUGS) system. This was inspired by Ken Pomeroy's FanMatch system, the exact inner workings of which are a bit of a mystery. We previewed this during our bowl coverage last year when we attempted to rank all 34 bowl games from least to most interesting.

The major factors that make a game "interesting", in our opinion, are the combined quality of the teams and the predicted closeness of the game. Pomeroy's FanMatch also gives weight to how high-scoring the game will be; we haven't included that, but probably will at some point.  For now we give some weight to team quality, and more weight to predicted closeness. Our view of what's interesting might not always match up with what the rest of the sports world sees as interesting. For example, most sports pundits are talking up Penn State-Alabama and Ohio State-Miami (FL) this weekend; we can't deny that these games have national title implications and include four of the most storied teams in college football history. However, our system is less impressed with these games for one simple reason: they aren't expected to be close.

Let's look at the TFG Games of the Week, and then we'll come back to a few big games this weekend that failed to twiddle our bits.

Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks.
GUGS Score: 85.7

Eddie:  RBA ranks (12) Georgia higher than (15) South Carolina, so you'd expect them to be favored in this matchup.  However, the game is in Columbia, so add (approximately) three points to South Carolina.  Georgia looked very impressive last week against Louisiana-Lafayette, but that only serves to verify their tendency to whip up on weak competition (expected 36.1 PPH against LA-Lafayette).  Historically, Georgia struggles against higher quality opponents.  Their offensive efficiency is expected to drop by 56% to 15.9 PPH.  South Carolina exploded on Southern Miss last week but trend at 11.2 PPH versus teams of Georgia's strength.  The real issue in this game is the defensive battle -- Georgia should yield 19.2 PPH versus South Carolina's 14.9 PPH.  If everything holds true to form, expect a Gamecock victory:  27-24 with 56.6% confidence.
Justin: TFG is much more positive on (16) Georgia than they are on (29) South Carolina, although this early in the season we heavily weight home field advantage. Georgia's offense on a neutral field is equivalent to that of Virginia Tech, but their defense still needs some work, ranking on par with East Carolina. For a Steve Spurrier-coached team, South Carolina's offense is surprisingly anemic, tallying a mere 18.1 PPH. That's not a horrible rating, but it's tied with Air Force for the least efficient offense in the TFG top 40. The Gamecocks make up for it on the other side of the ball, claiming the 15th-most efficient defense in Division I-A. This game will come down to how well the Gamecocks can harness home field advantage and ride the momentum to victory. TFG says yes, but only with 55.0% confidence.

Brigham Young Cougars at Air Force Falcons.
GUGS Score: 79.2

Justin: Both BYU and Air Force are coming off excellent seasons that culminated in eerily similar bowl wins: the (21) Cougars demolished Oregon State 44-20, while the (34) Falcons were the brick wall that slowed down Houston's high-powered offense, 47-20. This is a rematch of last year's November game at BYU, but this time the Falcons have the home field advantage. Both teams thrive on defense, allowing 14.2 PPH or less. The bad news for the Falcons is that BYU's offense has a 3.4 PPH advantage; the good news is this is a home game for the Falcons, and TFG gives them the slightest of nods: 30-29, with 56.1% confidence.
Eddie:  Despite the ranking separation between (21) BYU and (40) Air Force, this matchup is surprisingly balanced.  BYU's defense and Air Force's offense are surprisingly consistent, so expect Air Force to put up numbers pretty close to their expected 13.7 PPH.  The deciding factor will be if Air Force can stop BYU's offense.  Traditionally, both struggle against better opposition.  Home field advantage keeps it a little too close for BYU's comfort, but the Cougars should come away with a victory:  28-27 with 62.8% confidence.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Kansas Jayhawks.
GUGS Score: 75.2

Eddie:  Just looking at the algorithm's output, I should file a bug report -- not because RBA chooses (16) Georgia Tech to win, rather that they should beat (47) Kansas by only one touchdown.  However, the pick seems reasonable when you look at how Georgia Tech has actually played under Paul Johnson.  The Yellow Jacket offense should roll at 21.6 PPH, but their running game tends to result in fewer plays per game than other teams, meaning that they don't exploit that disparity as much as other teams.  Kansas gets the three point bump for playing at home, but their 14.8 PPH worth of offense just isn't going to get it done.  RBA picks the Ramblin' Wreck 35-28 with 68.4% confidence.
Justin: The conventional wisdom about this game is that (20) Georgia Tech is going to stomp all over the (48) Jayhawks. TFG doesn't dispute the Yellow Jackets as the favorite, merely that the home field advantage for Kansas will let them hang around for a while and have a shot at the upset. Kansas will have to establish their defense early and stay close throughout; Tech has the fourth highest-rated offense in D-1A, behind only Florida, Texas, and Alabama. What really hurts the Yellow Jackets is their defense, which maybe one day will be as good as Maryland's. Or -- if they work really hard -- as efficient as UVa's. A lack of defense and home field advantage lets the Jayhawks hang around longer than they should, but ultimately they fall short, 37-35.

North Carolina State at University of Central Florida Knights.
GUGS Score: 69.0

Justin: You're probably thinking "where they hell did GUGS pull this game from?" If so, stop spying on me when I run GUGS and look at the output for the first time. The quick answer is that this is the most interesting game between a team in a BCS conference and one not in a BCS conference (other candidates this week include Michigan-Notre Dame, LA Tech-Texas A&M, and Buffalo-Baylor). This game rates poorly on the "quality" scale, but rates highly on the closeness metric. The (73) Wolfpack visit the (68) Knights in a game that TFG is not too hot on -- UCF is a 2-to-1 favorite -- but between TFG and RBA is pegged to be the fifth-closest game of the week. So if NCSU doesn't manage to make this a bit closer than the 34-29 UCF victory that TFG predicts, blame Eddie.
Eddie:  RBA isn't really a fan of either (68) NC State or (74) UCF, but it expects this one to be tight.  The Wolfpack offense is highly erratic with a 29.4 PPH variance between the strongest and weakest teams.  UCF isn't particularly stable on either side of the ball, wavering 27.5 PPH on both offense and defense.  This leaves us with the Wolfpack defense, which isn't particularly good against anybody, surrendering 16.8 PPH on average.  On a neutral site, this game is a toss-up, but home field advantage tilts the game for the Knights:  31-28 with 54.6% confidence.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Penn State Nittany Lions at Alabama Crimson Tide.
GUGS Score: 56.3
This game features of pair of excellent teams, weighing in with the highest quality score of the week. Unfortunately we only give Penn State a 1-in-5 shot of winning this one, so it rates low in the more-heavily-weighted "closeness" factor. Sorry, Penn State fans.

Miami Hurricanes at Ohio State Buckeyes.
GUGS Score: 39.0
This games has the second-highest quality rating, but it's entirely due to Ohio State's ranking. RBA says the Hurricanes have a 2-in-9 shot of pulling off the upset, and that's the optimistic prediction; TFG says 1-in-10.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Week 2: Thursday and Friday Predictions

With one week of play under our belts, it's time to look forward to today's and tomorrow's games. No big games here, but look for Central Michigan at Temple to go down to the wire. RBA has it as a 60/40 game in Central Michigan's favor, whereas TFG calls it a virtual coin toss with a 0.6% edge going to home team Temple.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(39)Mississippi St.33 (31)Auburn31 60.3 (26)Mississippi St.28 (38)Auburn24 58.6
(74)Temple33 (51)Central Michigan31 50.3 (73)Temple27 (59)Central Michigan28 60.0
(49)Houston46 (94)UTEP32 86.9 (57)Houston45 (89)UTEP24 72.1
(93)Marshall25 (30)West Virginia32 76.7 (91)Marshall17 (39)West Virginia31 83.3

Week 1: Wrap-up

Week 1 is officially in the books.  It was an exciting weekend with amazing last-minute victories by Boise State, East Carolina, and Jacksonville State.  It's time to take a look back and see how we did with limited information.

Accuracy:  33-6 (85%)
Eddie is so smart because:  Boise State beat Virginia Tech by exactly three points, although it was slightly higher scoring than predicted.  Speaking of which, RBA went 65% against the spread last week.
Eddie is a moron because:  Fresno State whipped Cincinnati 28-14.  Although the Bearcats jumped out to a 14 point lead, their offensive line had no answer for a Bulldog defense that sacked Cincinnati QB Zach Collaros eight times.  After a slow start, Fresno State beat Cincinnati in all phases in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicates.
Eddie wants a mulligan on:  Maryland over Navy.  The Middies missed a field goal, fumbled twice at the Maryland one-yard-line, displayed LSU-like clock management before halftime, and were stopped no more than six inches from the goal line on the final play of the game when they could have kicked the field goal to send the game into overtime.
Eddie got lucky on:  East Carolina over Tulsa.  ECU needed a Hail Mary to beat Tulsa.  Enough said.

Accuracy:  33-6 (85%)
Justin is so smart because:  My computer expected to get 33.037 games correct this week, and had to settle for 33 on the nose. The ones I got wrong were either expected to be close games (BSU/VT, East. Mich./Army) or had such weird stuff happen that no one can or will be able to explain it (Navy gets all butterfingers inside the 3 around Maryland, Fresno State managed to trick Cincy into replacing their defense with the local Girl Scout troop at halftime). I can live with getting those wrong.
Justin is a moron because:  Maybe picking Middle Tennessee over Minnesota wasn't the best idea in the world. I'm having a word with my talent scouts now to see what the hell they were thinking.
Justin wants a mulligan on:  Maryland over Navy. See Eddie's section for a good summary. At least in the football stadium you can't hear the Terps chanting "[eff] you, [opponent] ::clap clap clap-clap-clap::" like you can during basketball season.
Justin got lucky on:  ECU over Tulsa. For those who didn't see it, you should really check out the drive log to see what it was like in the second half. It's like both teams watched the Cincy/Fresno State game and said, "Now Cincinnati ... there's a defense! We can be just like them!"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 2: Full Rankings -- RBA

I'm having some script issues, so no summary of risers and floppers this week.  As mentioned in the Top 25 summary, I'm working to include FBS games in RBA, meaning that Ole Miss should be pretty much ignored here.  Full rankings after the jump.

Week 2: Top 25 -- RBA

First order of business:  Yes, I know that Ole Miss is way too high.  We have not historically been grabbing FCS games because teams that lose to FCS opponents are generally pretty bad to begin with.  Until the import tool can grab FCS data reliably, we're stuck with Ole Miss in the top 25.  Don't panic -- they'll drop as soon as possible.

Since we're on the subject of anomalies:
  1. Virginia Tech is ranked above Boise State:  From a statistical perspective, Virginia Tech and Boise State played dead even in a game that wasn't settled until a minute left in the game.  The separation between the Hokies and the Broncos has more to do with Texas dropping and Arizona rising than the result of Monday's game.
  2. Major churn in the top 25:  RBA has a higher weight factor on the current season than TFG, so teams have major jumps based upon their performances in the first game.  Since Oregon, Arizona, and Nebraska smoked their week 1 opponents, they had a major jump.  Expect these to smoothen out over time as we observe more games.
  3. Southern Cal's precipitous drop:  The Trojans played poor defense against a vastly inferior Hawaii team, increasing their defensive efficiency by 4.4 PPH. That's going to hurt your ranking.
  4. The Oklahoma love-fest concluded:  Oklahoma has dropped from the top 5 all the way down to 23rd.  That's what happens when you lose 7.6 PPH of offensive efficiency against a bottom 50 team.

Rank+/-TeamWinPctSoSOff PtsDef PtsPace
003--Ohio St.0.93290.533721.66.980.0
006--Penn St.0.90020.539919.77.682.1
008--Virginia Tech0.88790.536420.68.479.2
011--Boise St.0.85920.458725.211.585.1
015--South Carolina0.81580.546518.09.479.0
016--Georgia Tech0.81560.535826.313.882.2
017--Oregon St.0.80960.543421.511.586.2
020--Miami (FL)0.80060.550619.110.581.2
022--Oklahoma St.0.79740.551522.612.585.0
024--Southern Cal0.78940.535223.313.183.6

Expect the top 25 to be fairly fluid until around week 5 when teams stop whipping overmatched non-conference opponents and start playing more familiar teams.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 2: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: Arizona (+15, 38 to 23); South Carolina (+15, 44 to 29); Iowa State (+15, 85 to 70).

Biggest drops: Southern Miss (-17, 58 to 75); Northern Illinois (-16, 71 to 87); Cincinnati (-14, 19 to 33).

Full rankings after the jump.

Current Rankings -- TFG

Update: as of August 2, 2012, the most recent TFG rankings have been moved to this page.

Week 2: Top 25 -- TFG

This past week saw very little action between top-ranked teams, except for the thriller between Boise State and Virginia Tech. When looking at these rankings, keep in mind that they are by and large still a reflection of last year's season. A mere 11.8% of the statistical weight that goes into these rankings is from the games you just saw, while a full 66.2% comes from the 2009-2010 season. The remainder comes from even older data.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001+2 Alabama 0.9422 0.5830 27.4 8.7 79.2
002-1 Florida 0.9275 0.5797 30.7 10.9 77.0
003+1 Ohio St. 0.9272 0.5339 24.3 8.6 81.4
004-2 TCU 0.9102 0.5172 24.3 9.5 83.0
005-- Texas 0.8855 0.5142 27.8 12.2 83.8
006+7 Oregon 0.8847 0.5512 25.3 11.1 90.7
007+1 Boise St. 0.8795 0.4951 26.7 11.9 84.5
008+1 Penn State 0.8788 0.5778 22.7 10.1 80.7
009-2 Virginia Tech 0.8707 0.6519 26.4 12.1 80.3
010-4 Oklahoma 0.8497 0.6212 21.5 10.7 89.3
011+1 Iowa 0.8343 0.6018 21.2 11.0 80.4
012-1 Nebraska 0.8309 0.4498 21.2 11.1 80.4
013+2 LSU 0.8158 0.6409 22.1 12.0 82.3
014-4 USC 0.8118 0.5614 22.6 12.5 84.5
015-1 Texas Tech 0.7723 0.5349 24.6 15.1 88.9
016NA Georgia 0.7643 0.5835 26.2 16.3 79.7
017-1 Utah 0.7572 0.4982 21.4 13.6 84.9
018+2 Mississippi 0.7555 0.6323 21.5 13.6 81.6
019+2 Clemson 0.7448 0.5111 20.8 13.3 81.9
020+2 Georgia Tech 0.7412 0.6616 27.0 17.6 79.0
021-4 BYU 0.7382 0.4596 21.5 14.2 85.2
022-4 Pittsburgh 0.7337 0.5870 23.2 15.4 81.5
023NA Arizona 0.7332 0.5211 20.2 13.5 82.5
024NA Oregon St. 0.7298 0.6649 23.3 15.7 84.4
025NA Arkansas 0.7291 0.6629 25.3 16.8 83.4

New entries: Georgia, Arizona, Oregon State, Arkansas.

Dropped out: Miami-FL, Stanford, Cincinnati, Air Force.

Even after one week the computer polls begin to fall in line with people's expectations. Alabama and Ohio State rise to the top, USC and Texas Tech slip downwards. Georgia gets bonus points for manhandling LA-Lafayette, and Oregon is rewarded mightily for pounding New Mexico. After a few weeks, however, these lopsided wins will start fading into the statistical noise as TFG is reminded that neither LAL nor UNM is a powerhouse this year, and a big win counts for little. Ole Miss is saved by the fact that games against I-AA opponents aren't taken into account; we may have to fix that eventually.

The Pac10 makes a strong start out of the gate, placing 4 teams in the top 25, second only to the 6 teams from the SEC. This early on it's difficult for the computers to pick anything out of the noise, though.