Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 Week 13 College Football Ratings and Rankings; Oregon #1, Stanford #2, TCU #3

After an entertaining Friday, and ok a few good games Saturday too, of college football, here are my computer's latest ratings and rankings.

The top two teams stay the same in Oregon and Stanford, both winning, and Stanford actually making up a bit of ground in the ratings on Oregon, but Oregon remains far and away the #1 team.  They could likely endure a loss and still be #1 in my computer at this point they've built such a strong resume of dominating their opponents.

Behind them, Boise falls from the #3 spot allowing TCU to move up to #3, but interestingly Boise drops only to #4 (see below).  Auburn's rating improves a bit but they stay at #5 and Ohio State moves to #6 ahead of Alabama who dropped a bit after losing to Auburn.  Arkansas beat LSU as expected and stays at #8 and OU's big win over OSU moves them up 3 spots to #9 ahead of their likely Big-12 championship foe, Nebraska at #10.

Many of you will be curious, stunned, perhaps even outraged that my computer could keep Boise #4 given their loss.  To understand that, it helps to understand a bit how my computer and other similar power ratings systems work.

First, my computer is tuned to predict points spreads well, not reflect who has won or lost or tell you who the most "deserving" team is.  My computer could care less who wins or loses, it only cares about the score and how it relates to what it "should be" or "should have been".  If a result, win or lose, is close to what it should have been, there will be little to no movement in a teams rating.  Correspondingly if they do better or worse than expected, there will be movement in that direction.  This means a team can win and have their rating drop, or lose and having it rise.

In this case, Boise was favored by Vegas by 15.5 but my computer had it much closer (respecting Nevada) favoring them by 6.2.  When Boise lost by 3, that was a poor result and their rating suffered dropping a healthy 1.8 points.  By comparison, Auburn's rating rose nearly 0.4 points with their win and Alabama's dropped over 0.5 points, so Boise's result was 3-4 times more significant as far as a ratings change.  So their rating definitely dropped.

Second, and to explain why their ranking only dropped one spot, my computer doesn't look at a teams ranking at all.  The ranking is just the order after you sort on the rating.  So a teams rise or fall in the rankings is due in part to their performance and its affect on their rating, but just as much or more on how close other teams are and what they do.  In this case, Boise had TCU close behind but a 3 point gap back to Auburn.  So unlike the polls where there is a discrete ranking and folks feel compelled to raise or drop a team X spots after a win or loss, my computer simply fairly rates a team, then lets the ranking just be a side effect.  Correspondingly, a ranking can move quite a bit with less of a ratings change, as Oklahoma State fell 1.3 ratings points but a full 5 spots.

Similar to Boise, my computer likes Stanford.  One might argue they don't "deserve" to be ranked as high as they are, but their results indicate that they would be favored and win over the majority of teams.  The bowl matchups and points spreads will be interesting to see if the polls are right or if computers like mine are right.  And for the record, my computer picked the Auburn/Alabama, Boise/Nevada, Arizona/Oregon, and LSU/Arkansas games all correct against the spread.


1Oregon91.24511-068.971+0, +0.021
2Stanford86.99411-172.454+0, +0.785
3TCU84.45712-063.149+1, -0.224
4Boise St84.06010-165.839-1, -1.849
5Auburn83.18712-068.902+0, +0.376
6Ohio State82.07711-165.213+1, +0.257
7Alabama82.0649-368.382-1, -0.554
8Arkansas81.44810-268.480+0, +0.052
9Oklahoma81.07110-270.828+3, +1.362
10Nebraska81.04210-267.610-1, +0.443
11Wisconsin80.25811-164.097+0, +0.395
12South Carolina80.2039-369.429+2, +0.731
13Missouri79.88010-269.064+0, +0.337
14Virginia Tech79.36810-265.739+2, +0.338
15Oklahoma St79.32410-267.738-5, -1.254
16Texas A&M79.2019-370.382-1, +0.069
17Nevada78.07511-162.706+4, +1.379
18Florida St77.7089-367.969+7, +2.234
19LSU77.47610-268.735-2, -0.334
20Arizona St77.0325-672.094+2, +0.445
21Arizona76.8217-471.562-3, -0.687
22Michigan St76.14511-165.218+1, +0.342
23Iowa75.6617-566.721-4, -1.836
24Southern Cal75.6327-573.988-4, -1.246
25Oregon St74.6835-675.497-1, -1.105
26West Virginia74.4278-364.315+14, +2.928
27Notre Dame73.9937-569.537+8, +1.298
28California73.8825-773.321-2, -1.236
29North Carolina St73.8768-466.792+0, -0.298
30Florida73.6217-569.844-3, -1.320