Championship Weekend #Top25

Now the picture has become almost crystal clear. With all but the Conference Championship Games left, and the Army-Navy Game. We have a clear and concise view of who’s beaten who and who teams are. We have play-in games to the Playoff in the Championship Games and other Bowl games on the line. Perhaps once this Top 25 exercise is over we will delve into the Bowl games and make predictions for each of those. I am not basing anything off of preseason rankings. Rather, we look at metrics such as Offensive Efficiency (OE); Defensive Efficiency (DE); Strength of Victory (SV); Football Power Index (FPI) and we take into consideration: How good is your good?

1 Clemson 12-0 (last week: 1) FPI-6

13th OE; 2nd DE; 4th SV; +229 Point Differential. They have been #1 in this poll for awhile now. Clemson now has one more game, they’re 11th in 11 weeks, against North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game. Win and you’re in, its as simple as that.

2 Iowa 12-0 (last week: 2) FPI-26

23rd OE; 17th DE; 14th SV; +180 Point Differential. Still not flashy, but we don’t expect that from the Hawkeyes. Kirk Ferentz is now tied for the longest tenured Head Coach in FBS. There is no question he has earned that over the years. Iowa is solid enough to win the whole thing this season. Will be a good game with Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship Game.

3 Oklahoma 11-1 (last week: 3) FPI-1

10th OE; 4th DE; 2nd SV; +300 Point Differential. A legit case can be made that Oklahoma should be #1 in the country. Well, they’re in the Playoff and will have a chance to prove that in either the Orange or Cotton Bowl. The only team playing with a Top 10 offense and defense efficient unit, Oklahoma goes in as my favorite to win the National Championship.

4 Michigan State 11-1 (last week: 7) FPI-14

22nd OE; 22nd DE; 11th SV; +148 Point Differential. The Spartans roll into the Big 10 Championship Game after dominating Ohio State in poor weather then obliterating Penn State yesterday. Now they face Iowa in an evenly matched game to decide which Big 10 school will be in the College Football Playoff.

5 Alabama 11-1 (last week: 4) FPI-2

27th OE; 1st DE; 1st SV; +242 Point Differential. Hate me SEC fans but I don’t care. Sure the stats paint a picture of dominance, but the reality is the SEC is down. The fact that Nick Saban HAD to give the ball to Henry 46 times against 6-6 Auburn is sad. Too bad Florida is inept on offense, the SEC Championship Game will be a laugher.

6 North Carolina 11-1 (last week: 8) FPI-15

4th OE; 38th DE; 13th SV; +246 Point Differential. Racing out to a 35-7 lead IN THE FIRST QUARTER was impressive. Hanging on for dear life for the next 3 was not. However, the Tar Heels are 1 win away from crashing the Playoff Party.

7 Ohio State 11-1 (last week: 10) FPI-3

28th OE; 7th DE; 3rd SV; +252 Point Differential. They saved their most complete game for The Game. If the Buckeyes had played like that all season, they’d be facing Iowa. Instead they are probably going to draw Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Oh what could have been.

8 Stanford 10-2 (last week: 13) FPI-11

11th OE; 59th DE; 8th SV; +165 Point Differential. What a game against Notre Dame. The reward for that is a rematch with USC in the Pac 12 Championship Game. If they win, the next reward is Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

9 Florida State 10-2 (last week: 15) FPI-10

16th OE; 20th DE; 6th SV; +199 Point Differential. Those of you that watched the FSU-UF game know that it was a lot closer than the final score indicated. Florida State is a few plays here and there away from being in the National Championship chase for a 3rd consecutive year.

10 Notre Dame 10-2 (last week: 6) FPI-9

5th OE; 51st DE; 10th SV; +148 Point Differential. The Irish played a whale of a game on the farm against Stanford. That should be enough to get to a New Year’s 6 Bowl. How’s the Peach Bowl against Florida State sound after all the controversy in that game last season?

11 TCU 10-2 (last week: 16) FPI-7

24th OE; 21st DE; 7th SV; +187 Point Differential. TCU clawed its way to a victory in the worst of conditions on Friday night. With that win, they will probably go to the Sugar Bowl and face a watered down Florida team. Maybe everyone on both teams will be healthy by then.

12 Baylor 9-2 (last week: 5) FPI-4

3rd OE; 25th DE; 5th SV; +252 Point Differential. Baylor deserves credit for the way they played Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU in succession. I have undervalued them all season because of the non conference schedule and they are a good team. Just too many injuries at the QB position. Should get a Fiesta Bowl bid. Side note-first time all season Baylor’s offense isn’t #1.

13 Northwestern 10-2 (last week: 20) FPI-53

102nd OE; 6th DE; 33rd SV; +51 Point Differential. Played in a lot of close games, but the won 83% of them. In any other year Northwestern could make it to a major bowl, but the Big 10 is arguably the strongest conference in the nation this season. So they will settle for a higher tiered bowl in New Years Day against the SEC.

14 Florida 10-2 (last week: 9) FPI-23

69th OE; 5th DE; 20th SV; +117 Point Differential. Lets hope for the viewers that Jim McElwain sandbagged against FSU and will throw caution to the wind of offense and try to beat his former boss Nick Saban. Whatever it was last night against FSU did not work and will not work against Alabama.

15 Ole Miss 9-3 (last week: tie-17) FPI-5

8th OE; 23rd OE; 9th SV; +209 Point Differential. This team is better than 9-3, its quite simple. This is the most talented team in the SEC and they are the ones that should be in Atlanta. However, they lack the focus that championship football teams possess and its shown all year. No excuses for that.

16 Oklahoma State 10-2 (last week: 11) FPI-17

19th OE; 34th DE; 17th SV; +146 Point Differential. It was all there for the Pokes. Win your last 2 home games and off into the Playoff. But, losses to Baylor and rival OU in Bedlam leave the Cowboys in the Alamo Bowl most likely and dreams shattered.

17 Oregon 9-3 (last week: 21) FPI-25

7th OE; 78th DE; 19th SV; +77 Point Differential. Oregon has righted the ship after a 3-3 start. The offense is again clicking on all cylinders and now they will probably get Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl.

18 Houston 11-1 (last week: NR) FPI-40

35th OE; 40th DE; 29th SV; +251 Point Differential. Houston blew out Navy to set up the American Championship Game against Temple. If the Cougars win they will get a New Year’s 6 bowl. Probably against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.

19 Temple 10-2 (last week: 22) FPI-48

72nd OE; 16th DE; 41st SV; +162 Point Differential. Temple has an opportunity to be the buster with a win at Houston in the American Championship Game. With Coach Rhule rumored to be a favorite for the Missouri vacancy, will the team be focused enough to play for a championship?

20 Georgia 9-3 (last week: 25) FPI-18

55th OE; 9th DE; 24th SV; +115 Point Differential. Ho Hum another 9-3 or better year for the Bulldogs. 9-3 is really good and I’m taking nothing away for that. Georgia battled injuries and shaky QB play and getting to 9 victories took a great coaching job by the whole staff.

21 USC 8-4 (last week: NR) FPI-8

18th OE; 27th DE; 12th SV; +136 Point Differential. USC has to get it right at the head coach position. This is arguably the most talented team in the country. The lack of leadership at the beginning of the season spelled doom for the Trojans, who will need a Trojan horse type of game plan to beat Stanford.

22 Tennessee 8-4 (last week: NR) FPI-12

25th OE; 29th DE; 16th SV; +158 Point Differential. Another highly talented team that failed to live up to expectations. By the numbers Tennessee is as good as anyone, but that is on paper. It has taken all year but the Volunteers may have found their stride and if they can carry it over into next season the SEC East can be theirs.

23 LSU 8-3 (last week: NR) FPI-13

20th OE; 31st DE; 18th SV; +74 Point Differential. I wrote about perspective earlier today and finally someone in Death Valley figured out Les Miles is a fantastic leader of young men. The 3 losses in a row hurt, but this is a successful season nonetheless.

24 Michigan 9-3 (last week: 14) FPI-19

31st OE; 18th DE; 15th SV; +161 Point Differential. I almost dropped them completely out, however this is not about 1 game. Granted that was the worst game of the year for the Wolverines. It just goes to show Harbaugh needs more dudes to battle the truly elite teams in the country.

tie-25 Utah 9-3 (last week: NR) FPI-29

61st OE; 11th DE; 25th SV; +101 Point Differential. Well they started out #1 but it ain’t where you start it is where you finish. Utah will be in a very good bowl, however they won’t be in the bowl they thought they could have reached based on the first half of the season.

tie-25 Mississippi State 8-4 (last week tie-17) FPI-22

15th OE; 36th DE; 27th SV; +122 Point Differential. So they lost the Egg Bowl, at home. As mentioned above, they lost to the most talented team in the SEC. It wasn’t exactly a blowout either, sure didn’t get as bad as Michigan or Penn State. This is still the team that went to Fayetteville and defeated a red hot Arkansas team, just caught the wrong team at the end of the season.

All efficiency ratings and FPI taken from ESPN. SV ratings taken from Jeff Sagarin’s college football rankings page.

 

 

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Perspective-#CollegeFootball

Perspective is a noun that means “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view”. In the hours after the Texas A&M-LSU game last night it was announced that Coach Les Miles would be retained in Baton Rouge and continue to lead the Tigers. When is only winning enough? I can go back in my mind and I remember a game between Arkansas at Vanderbilt. It was 2011 and Arkansas was a highly ranked team (#10 at the time) and Vanderbilt was 4-3. After the first quarter the score was tied at 7, halftime Vanderbilt led 21-14, after the third quarter Vanderbilt led 28-20, only to let Arkansas come back and win 31-28 on a made FG with 6:53 remaining in the game. The year before the game was played in Fayetteville and the score that year was 49-14 Arkansas. The year before Vanderbilt had gotten off to a 14-6 lead before Arkansas hung 43 straight points on the Commodores. Back to 2011, after the game the Arkansas radio sports media either that night or the following week asked the question “when is only winning enough”. For the first time that I could remember I did not think of myself as a fan at the time. I thought it was uncalled for to ask such a question “when is only winning enough”. I could not help but think about how dumb that sounded. I guess they did not remember how bad Arkansas football had been. 5-6 in 2004; 4-7 in 2005; 5-7 in 2008. That was 3 losing seasons in the past 6 years at the time. The sports media was on a Sugar Bowl hangover however, and in the midst of seeing Arkansas running off a 21-5 record in a two year stretch. They could not tell the future either (Petrino, motorcycle, ditch, John L. Smith, etc). If they had some PERSPECTIVE then maybe they would not have asked such a dumb question. So, I called that radio show and I proceeded to try to give them some perspective. The thing about me is, I’ve always been able to articulate what I wanted to say by writing. Speaking it out loud is a different story. I suppose my brain works faster than my mouth at times. I called that radio show and said something along the lines of “be careful about getting upset about winning, just look at Nebraska firing a coach after 9 win seasons and them being all pissed about it”. I still to this day can not and will not see the logic in getting rid of 2 quality coaches after they’ve won all those games and earned that university the millions of dollars that they did. I used Nebraska in my attempt to give Arkansas sports media some PERSPECTIVE, because it was easy then. I could only think of how wrong Nebraska was for getting rid of Frank Solich. The man who succeeded Tom Osborne and would never in a million years live up to what Osbourne had spoiled the Cornhusker fans with over 25 years of excellence on the gridiron. See Osborne went 255-49-3 in his time at Nebraska and won 3 National Championships. What the people of Nebraska forget is Osborne only went 12-13 in bowl games. When Solich took over, he picked up right where Osborne left off. Going 58-19 from 1998-2003. Nebraska, lacking PERSPECTIVE, fired Solich before the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State. Which Nebraska won 17-3 (with Bo Pelini as head coach, I’ll get into this later). Nebraska hired Bill Callahan, who was going to make the Cornhuskers an NFL offense and revolutionize the way corn was produced and all kinds of other wonderful things I forgot about. From 2004-2007 Callahan was 27-22 and Nebraska got their PERSPECTIVE. They hired Bo Pelini, who was the defensive coordinator at LSU. Bo would guide Nebraska into the Big 10, where they’d run amuck on this new conference just like they did the Big 8 and 12. Wait they only went 9-4 in 2008, oh well. Wait only 10-4 the next two years,  well that’s improvement. Wait only 9-4 in 2011; 10-4 in 2012; 9-4 in 2013; 9-3 in 2014…that’s it!! This is Nebraska!! Get out of here with your 9 win season nonsense, and PERSPECTIVE is gone again. I just wanted to remind Nebraska that Bo Pelini never won less than 9 games as they sit at home this bowl season as another NFL offense type of coach guided them to a 5-7 season. Have you gotten your PERSPECTIVE back yet? When is only winning enough? Arkansas got their PERSPECTIVE when a Petrino driven motorcycle met a ditch somewhere up in Northwest Arkansas. Suffering through John L. Smith’s antics should be enough PERSPECTIVE for a very long time. Last night Joe Alleva came out after the LSU victory and stated that he looked forward to working with Les as he guided the Tiger football program into the bowl game and into 2016 with the nation’s #1 recruiting class. Kirk Herbstreit followed that presser up with one of my favorite quotes from the weekend “where the hell has he been for 2 weeks”. Kirk, I guess he was getting some PERSPECTIVE and after a week of speculation about a man who’s record is 111-32 and who has done all the wonderful things for a kid with cancer and the people of South Carolina (because he has PERSPECTIVE from the hurricanes) its about damn time someone got some PERSPECTIVE at LSU.

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Week 13 #Top25

And then there were only 2. Who else had Clemson and Iowa as the last 2 undefeated teams staring right at the College Football Playoff? There is still work to be done for both of those two, however they have now put themselves into a clear cut drivers seat to get in. As for the other two spots, it is now a 1 loss scrum of teams that now must be compared and contrasted against each other. They all hope they get invited to the party. With only 2 games left to impress the committee, the sprint towards a national championship begins this weekend. Avoid an upset and you are just fine but if you eat that poison cheese as Lee Corso put it, all the hard work and determination gets you…a really good bowl game that will stuff the pockets of the university you chose to play for. I am not basing anything off of preseason rankings and am only looking at what has happened this season. In this poll we use metrics: offensive efficiency (OE) & defensive efficiency (DE) as well as a strength of victory (SV) metric. We will also throw in the FPI rankings to give you an idea of what the nerds think. There is one eyeball test we scrutinize these teams with and that is How good is your good?

1 Clemson 11-0 (last week: 1) FPI-6

11th OE; 2nd DE; 3rd SV; +224 Point Differential. Dabo Swinney said it best after the game “You can’t win em all if you don’t get to 11”. That is exactly what Clemson did. They have been the best and most complete team in the Nation for weeks now and I don’t see that changing soon.

2 Iowa 11-0 (last week: 4) FPI-28

23rd OE; 29th DE; 17th SV; +172 Point Differential. One last test on the road at Nebraska is all that stands between Iowa and the first perfect 12-0 regular season in school history. They are not flashy but they are solid. Iowa is a team that plays mistake free football and a team you have to beat.

3 Oklahoma  10-1 (last week: 5) FPI-1

13th OE; 5th DE;  2nd SV; +265 Point Differential. First of all this is a different team without Baker Mayfield at QB. If the Sooners want to keep up the title “best 1 loss team in America”, then Mayfield has to be 100%. Bedlam will be very important in deciding who will win the Big 12.

4 Alabama 10-1 (last week: 6) FPI-3

25th OE; 1st DE; 1st SV; +226 Point Differential. Roll Damn Tide into the Iron Bowl. Playing Charleston Southern was essentially a bye for Alabama. There are those who would argue ‘Bama needs to be #1. If you stop Derrick Henry you stop the whole Crimson Tide offense. Henry should go to New York for the Heisman presentation.

5 Baylor 9-1 (last week: 9) FPI-2

1st OE; 46th DE; 4th SV; +259 Point Differential. Each week I get more and more respect for Baylor. They have proven all year they are one of the elite teams in the Nation. Going to Stillwater, a place they have not won since 1939, and getting the victory with your 3rd string QB. That is impressive.

6 Notre Dame 10-1 (last week: 7) FPI-8

5th OE; 50th DE; 6th SV; +150 Point Differential. I think Brian Kelly should be the Coach of the Year. They’ve had backups in all across this offense and are a win away from making an 11-1 resume. If they beat Stanford, Notre Dame will have a serious case to make the College Football Playoff. It will come down to the opening game against Texas if it is between Notre Dame and OU.

7 Michigan State 10-1 (last week: 13) FPI-17

24th OE; 21st DE; 15th SV; +109 Point Differential. I really have no idea how to explain how Michigan State went into Colombus and dominated The Ohio State Buckeyes. That was a field position clinic the Spartans put on, the ran the ball effectively and stuffed the run even better. It was with grit and determination that Michigan State won.

8 North Carolina 10-1 (last week: 11) FPI-15

8th OE; 44th DE; 14th SV; +235 Point Differential. Yes they squeaked out an OT win over Virginia Tech. That was Frank Beamer’s last game to coach in Blacksburg Virginia and there was tons of emotions that made Tech play higher than their record said they should be able to play. The last half of the 4th quarter almost made a storybook ending with a furious comeback but the Tar Heels would not be denied. I hope the committee noticed that.

9 Florida 10-1 (last week: 8) FPI-19

59th OE; 6th DE; 13th SV; +142 Point Differential. You don’t let Florida Atlantic come to the swamp and push you to OT. This, coupled with the Vanderbilt almost debacle has me and the rest of the country really wondering what is going on in Gainesville. They have a shot to go to the SEC Championship Game and knock off Alabama. The defense and the athletes are there its just playing consistent for 4 quarters.

10 Ohio State 10-1 (last week: 2) FPI-4

41st OE; 7th DE; 5th SV; +223 Point Differential. Ohio State finally messed around long enough that a good team beat them. Its really as simple as that. All the nonsense that happened after the game with certain players going on Twitter and saying their goodbyes is validation that this team has not been bought in all year and have become complacent and entitled. They are lucky to be 10-1 and will be lucky to win in Ann Arbor.

11 Oklahoma State 10-1 (last week: 3) FPI-14

19th OE; 22nd DE; 11th SV; +181 Point Differential. The Pokes still have 1 game left to salvage any hopes they have of making the Playoff. Beat the Sooners in Bedlam and there is a chance. I’m not sure how you let a team win on your home turf with 2 backups at QB. I’m sure Gundy is scratching his head over last night.

12 Navy 9-1 (last week: 14) FPI-38

10th OE; 39th DE; 27th SV; +195 Point Differential. Maybe Navy is a little better than we all thought. Games against Houston, Army, and possibly Temple in the American Championship Game will decide just how high the bowl ladder that the Midshipmen climb. Keenan Reynolds deserves an invite to New York for the Heisman presentation.

13 Stanford 9-2 (last week: 15) FPI-9

9th OE; 54th DE; 7th SV; +163 Point Differential. Stanford won “The Big Game” and now that conference play is over they are the Pac 12 North Champs. The reward is getting Notre Dame before the Pac 12 Championship Game. I believe the Pac 12 has beaten itself up too much for the Playoff, however the Rose Bowl is not a bad option to play for. Another Heisman contender here with Christian McCaffrey.

14 Michigan 9-2 (last week: 17) FPI-16

32nd OE; 10th DE; 9th SV; +190 Point Differential. Speaking of the Rose Bowl, Michigan would love to visit Pasadena in Jim Harbaugh’s first season. They have a shot too if they can beat a distracted Ohio State team and have Michigan State lose to Iowa in the Big 10 Championship Game then the Rose Bowl would be in their grasp.

15 Florida State 9-2 (last week: 18) FPI-13

16th OE; 25th DE; 12th SV; +187 Point Differential. With Florida looking vulnerable, the Seminoles could salvage the season with a huge win in the Swamp. With that victory and say Clemson and Notre Dame are in the Playoff then Florida State would be the likely choice to go to the Peach Bowl in the New Year’s 6. That would be a good thing for FSU.

16 TCU 9-2 (last week: 12) FPI-5

15th OE; 43rd DE; 8th SV; +180 Point Differential. TCU almost threw the polls upside down if they had converted a two point conversion with 51 seconds left in Norman. Very impressive to go to OU and play with the determination they showed. With Baylor coming to town, perhaps Boykin will be healthy enough to get into another shootout with the Bears.

tie-17 Ole Miss 8-3 (last week: 20) FPI-7

12th OE; 31st DE; 10th SV; +198 Point Differential. If Ole Miss can win the Egg Bowl they will find themselves in a major bowl. There is too much talent on this team to have lost 3 games. The schedule has been brutal and the week off after the Arkansas loss could not have come at a better time. The Rebels looked fresh against LSU.

tie-17 Mississippi State 8-3 (last week: NR) FPI-20

14th OE; 27th DE; 21st SV; +133 Point Differential. How did Mississippi State go to Fayetteville and beat a red hot Arkansas team?  Bielema went too conservative at the end, but the Bulldogs still had to block the potential game winning FG attempt and they did that. The Egg Bowl is a must watch game nationally for the 2nd year in a row (I always watch it, I love rivalry games).

19 Washington State 8-3 (last week: 24) FPI-45

26th OE; 47th DE; 36th SV; +78 Point Differential. How can I rank Wazzou this high? Well they beat Oregon and played Stanford to a 1 point game. Both of those schools are higher in the committee rankings. The Apple Cup will either get Washington State to a better bowl game or it will get Washington bowl eligible. Better pay attention to the Cougars.

20 Northwestern 9-2 (last week: NR) FPI-55

100th OE; 4th DE; 34th SV; +41 Point Differential. Northwestern is the team forgotten in these rankings, only to get back in with a big win against Wisconsin. They are as tough as their Head Coach Fitzgerald (who was a LB at Northwestern) and that D is legit. It will be interesting to see what Big 10/SEC bowl they get into.

21 Oregon 8-3 (last week: NR) FPI-24

6th OE; 69th DE; 19th SV; +69 Point Differential. The Ducks got 20 of their +69 point differential with a blowout over USC. Oregon is on a 5 game winning streak and has played their way back into the good graces of this poll. If they can win the Civil War against Oregon State, the Ducks will probably wind up in either the Alamo or Holiday Bowl.

22 Temple 9-2 (last week: NR) FPI-48

75th OE; 20th DE; 45th SV; +138 Point Differential. Temple did lay an egg against South Florida last week, but outside of Clemson and Iowa everyone in the country has laid at least 1 egg. They handled a Memphis team that many thought could have an outside chance at a Playoff spot 4 weeks ago. Even with the 2 losses, Temple could still beat Navy and earn a New Year’s 6 bowl if they are the highest ranked Group of 5 team.

23 UCLA 8-3 (last week: NR) FPI-18

27th OE; 28th DE; 20th SV; +108 Point Differential. UCLA is in the drivers seat to win the Pac 12 South now. Getting to Levi’s Stadium and the Pac 12 Championship Game would be nice. They will have to go through USC to do that. UCLA has held the Victory Bell for the past 3 years, and if they want the Pac 12 South, they’ll have to keep ahold on that bell.

24 Pittsburgh 8-3 (last week: NR) FPI-36

31st OE; 38th DE; 30th SV; +49 Point Differential. Wouldn’t it be nice if Pitt and West Virginia would finish the season with the Backyard Brawl? I miss that game. Instead Pitt will take on The U and I really don’t care about what happens in this game. Pitt is on its way to the Russell Athletic Bowl against some Big 12 school if they win.

25 Georgia 8-3 (last week: 22) FPI-23

60th OE; 12th DE; 28th SV; +109 Point Differential. Georgia is in the middle of another 9-10 win season and really will have nothing but at best a Citrus Bowl appearance against a really good Big 10 team. I don’t know if Mark Richt is on the hot seat or not, but there are too many talented players on this team for it not compete for a Playoff spot the last 2 years or even be in the National Championship contention. It just seems odd to me that Georgia is not better than they are.

 

All Efficiency rankings taken from ESPN. The Strength of Victory is taken from Jeff Sagarin’s rankings and the FPI is also an ESPN stat.

 

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Week 12 #Top25

What a weekend…again! 4 committee Top 10 teams are defeated. Does anyone want to win this thing? The Pac-12 has eliminated itself from the conversation after both Stanford and Utah lose. Now every team in the conference has at least 2 losses. That would leave the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, and SEC champs at the table for the Playoff. Unless more mayhem occurs and Notre Dame (who is quasi ACC) gets a seat. Oklahoma and Alabama have taken their spots as “best 1 loss team in America after the way they’ve played down the stretch. Two undefeated Big 10 teams seem to be on a collision course. We are down to the final two games on the regular season schedule, plus a conference championship game (Sorry Big 12 you don’t participate with the rest of the real world anymore in that aspect). With all that being said, winning all your games is still worth more than anything at this point. Winning keeps you alive and the only way to get a seat at the table is to be left alive after a 12-13 game schedule. I put a premium on winning especially if it is a Power 5 conference you are running the table in. I do not base anything off of preseason rankings, I look at a few metrics: offensive efficiency (OE); defensive efficiency (DE); and strength of victory (SV). Strength of Victory is taken directly from the Jeff Sagarin rankings page. Lets rank ’em.

1 Clemson 10-0 (last week: 1)

9th OE; 2nd DE; 3rd SV; +204 Point Differential. Clemson can taste it now. A home game against Wake Forest and a road instate rivalry game at South Carolina finish the regular season. Then the ACC Championship game versus North Carolina more than likely is what Clemson must get through.

2 Ohio State 10-0 (last week: 4)

35th OE; 7th DE; 4th SV; +226 Point Differential. Ohio State is in familiar territory. They must conquer the State of Michigan (Michigan State and Michigan) to get to the Big Drum in Indianapolis. A game against Iowa will determine the Big 10 seat at the College Football Playoff.

3 Oklahoma State 10-0 (last week: 2)

18th OE; 17th DE; 7th SV; +191 Point Differential. Oklahoma State has a chance to be the sleeper team that no one expected make it to the College Football Playoff. Surviving a scare at Iowa State (which has been a horror story in the past for the Cowboys) was big. Now they host Baylor coming off a loss and then…Bedlam.

4 Iowa 10-0 (last week: 3)

23rd OE; 24th DE; 16th SV; +152 Point Differential. Iowa can be just like Oklahoma State and be a team no one expected to make it to the Playoff. This is the map: Home-Purdue & Road-Nebraska. If Ohio State holds up their end of the bargain it’ll be an undefeated Quarterfinal for a National Championship.

5 Oklahoma 9-1 (last week: 6)

8th OE; 6th DE; 2nd SV; +264 Point Differential. Oklahoma kept on rolling, taking down previously unbeaten Baylor. Now they have a home date with TCU and Bedlam to finish the season.

6 Alabama 9-1 (last week: 7)

29th OE; 1st DE; 1st SV; +176 Point Differential. Alabama went to Starkville and dominated Mississippi State yesterday. Just another one sided victory for the Tide. The Tide now have powerhouse Charleston Southern and the Iron Bowl remaining before a date with Florida.

7 Notre Dame 9-1 (last week: 11)

4th OE; 42nd DE; 6th SV; +147 Point Differential. Here come the Irish. With only a 2 point loss at Clemson against them, Notre Dame only has Boston College and Stanford left on the schedule. Will that hurt them? If not having a championship game has no effect on the Big 12 then I see no way it hurts the Irish.

8 Florida 9-1 (last week: 10)

41st OE; 5th DE; 10th SV; +136 Point Differential. Florida showed last week’s almost debacle against Vanderbilt was a fluke. Taking care of lowly South Carolina. Non conference games against Florida Atlantic and Florida State will take the Gators into Atlanta riding high to take on the Tide. The more things change the more they stay the same.

9 Baylor 8-1 (last week: 5)

1st OE; 51st DE; 5th SV; +249 Point Differential. Baylor still has a lot to play for. If teams in front of them lose, they are in prime position to make the Playoff. They still have a very good chance to get to the Sugar Bowl if the Playoff dream doesn’t come to fruition. Making the Fiesta, Cotton, and Sugar bowls in succession would not be something to fuss about.

10 Houston 10-0 (last week: 12)

33rd OE; 28th DE; 27th SV; +233 Point Differential. Houston made it interesting, but squeaked by Memphis with a backup QB. Now they have to travel to Connecticut and then they hose Navy. If they win those two games and defeat Temple in the AAC Championship Game then the Cougars will make a New Year’s 6 bowl.

11 North Carolina 9-1 (last week: 15)

5th OE; 44th DE; 14th SV; +232 Point Differential. North Carolina football must have seen that the basketball team was preseason #1 and decided they wanted to compete for front page on the Chapel Hill News & Observer. The Tar Heels have shot up these rankings with blowouts over Duke and Miami and now have road games at Virginia Tech and NC State before the ACC Championship Game.

12 TCU 9-1 (last week: 17)

14th OE; 58th DE; 8th SV; +181 Point Differential. Boykin and Doctson’s health are the keys to an upset over Oklahoma this week. If they are able to play then TCU has a punchers chance. It won’t be close if those two are not able to go.

13 Michigan State 9-1 (last week: tie-18)

25th OE; 31st DE; 21st SV; +106 Point Differential. Michigan State has to be at full strength for the Buckeyes. Connor Cook being able to play at the QB position is there only chance at pulling an upset.

14 Navy 8-1 (last week: NR)

13th OE; 57th OE; 28th SV; +172 Point Differential. I will admit fault with Navy, I overlooked them last week. A few weeks back I had Navy in the Top 25 and took them out because they lost to Notre Dame. Navy is a good football team and will give Houston all it wants in that matchup. Reynolds (QB) deserves some Heisman consideration.

15 Stanford 8-2 (last week: 9)

11th OE; 43rd DE; 9th SV; +150 Point Differential. Stanford is the best 2 loss team in the country. However that will probably only be good enough to meet the Big 10 Championship Game loser in the Rose Bowl.

16 Utah 8-2 (last week: 13)

51st OE; 8th DE; 19th SV; +103 Point Differential. Utah let a golden opportunity slip through last night as they were defeated by Arizona. Seeing 3 teams ahead of them lose all but opened up the Playoff for the Utes. Losing closed that door and now they need help just to get to the Pac 12 Championship Game.

17 Michigan 8-2 (last week: tie-18)

34th OE; 12th DE; 12th SV; +178 Point Differential. Michigan still has a say in the Big 10, beating Ohio State would make this first Harbaugh season a success. Getting to a New Year’s 6 bowl would be the icing on the cake.

18 Florida State 8-2 (last week: 16)

21st OE; 25th DE; 15th SV; +135 Point Differential. The Seminoles dropping is not an indictment on them, they have been solid, its just how it goes sometimes when you’re having to go to a backup QB. Everett Golson has reverted into the turnover machine that got him benched at Notre Dame a year ago and I hope Jimbo sits him the rest of the season.

19 USC 7-3 (last week: 20)

15th OE; 18th DE; 11th SV; +137 Point Differential. USC is rolling now and in control of their own destiny after the early season stumbles. If they win out they will have avenged a loss against Stanford and will make the Rose Bowl.

20 Ole Miss 7-3 (last week: 21)

12th OE; 37th DE; 13th SV; +177 Point Differential. Ole Miss had a week off and they needed it. Now they have a game against LSU where both teams are coming off a home loss against Arkansas. Didn’t think I’d be saying that a month ago. Ole Miss can still make a good bowl but the last two games against LSU and then the Egg Bowl are critical.

21 LSU 8-2 (last week: 8)

17th OE; 27th DE; 17th SV; +83 Point Differential. LSU is coming off back to back double digit losses to Alabama and Arkansas. The first one is easier to explain than the last one. They had better get ready, Ole Miss is no slouch and they come calling next.

22 Georgia 7-3 (last week: NR)

49th OE; 10th DE; 23rd SV; +103 Point Differential. Georgia won the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry in convincing fashion. Now that they have nothing to play for they are dangerous (which seems to be the case year in and year out). Another solid season for Richt but when will the fanbase get tired of not competing for the National Championship?

23 Wisconsin 8-2 (last week: 24)

45th OE; 20th DE; 20th SV; +164 Point Differential. Wisconsin has slowly been very solid all year. Now they are two wins away from having another 10+ win season and getting to a very good bowl game.

24 Washington State 7-3 (last week: NR)

26th OE; 46th DE; 40th SV; +54 Point Differential. Washington State has found a way to get to 7-3. They are only a few plays away from beating Stanford and being 8-2. Well done Mike Leach.

25 Arkansas 6-4 (last week: NR)

6th OE; 82nd DE; 24th SV; +65 Point Differential. Arkansas has came from the depths of obscurity to having home games against Mississippi State and Missouri to close the season and have an opportunity to finish 8-4. That would be good enough to have sole possession of 2nd in the SEC West and get to a very good bowl game.

All efficiency rankings taken from ESPN and Strength of Victory rankings taken from Jeff Sagarin’s page.

In closing, I am taking a moment to have a take on the College Football Playoff Committee. Having Alabama and Notre Dame ahead of any of the unbeaten teams is a joke. I understand the argument that they have played a difficult schedule and all that. I have even held a weak schedule against Baylor for the nonconference schedule that they played. Now that we are miles in to the conference schedules then teams that are still undefeated at this point are the teams that will be playing for the National Championship given the fact that they keep winning. I challenge the Playoff Committee to come up with a Top 25 as I have that puts the most importance on one metric: winning.

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Week 11 #Top25

Whoo Pig Lateral! Another crazy finish in College Football this weekend, this one courtesy of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on the campus of the University of Mississippi. Being from Arkansas that was pretty sweet, twitter and facebook blew up with shares of the craziness that happened. How about Michigan State-Nebraska? I felt the receiver was not guided out of bounds at all and it was a blown call, however Michigan State could have still pulled the win out if Connor Cook had not have bobbled his last throw. LSU, TCU, and Michigan State all Playoff Committee Top 10 teams all lost. Memphis was higher in the committee poll than we have them, but we no longer need to worry about them as Navy took away all hope for them to reach any New Year’s 6 Bowl. I am not basing anything on preseason rankings and just looking at what happens on the field this season. I use metrics such as Offensive Efficiency (OE) and Defensive Efficiency (DE) and new this week I am using a new metric: Strength of Victory (SV) as computed by the Sagarin Rankings. One more thing we look at here is: How good is your good?

1 Clemson 9-0 (last week:1)

9th OE; 2nd DE; 2nd SV +194 Point Differential. Clemson shook off the Florida State demons yesterday and now have a clear path to the ACC Championship Game and a #1 seed in the College Football Playoff.

2 Oklahoma State 9-0 (last week: tie-5)

22nd OE; 17th DE; 9th SV; +187 Point Differential. Bold, Oklahoma State is playing as efficiently as anyone else in the country, the difference is they do not have a loss. With Baylor and Oklahoma still having to go to Stillwater the Big 12 Championship now runs through Stillwater, OK.

3 Iowa 9-0 (last week: tie-7)

30th OE; 13th DE; 16th SV; +147 Point Differential. Another bold selection here. All that remains between Iowa and a date at the Big 10 Championship Game is Minnesota and Purdue at home and a road game at Nebraska.

4 Ohio State 9-0 (last week: 2)

38th OE; 5th DE; 5th SV; +201 Point Differential. Last night Ohio State went through the motions in yet another lackluster total team performance. Sure they came away with the victory, but they remind me of Florida State from a year ago.

5 Baylor 8-0 (last week: 4)

1st OE; 45th DE; 4th SV; +259 Point Differential. Baylor seems to be able to plug and play anyone at QB. Escaping Manhattan was good for them, however now they must play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU in succession.

6 Oklahoma 8-1 (last week: 9)

12th OE; 10th DE; 3rd SV; +254 Point Differential. Oklahoma’s loss to Texas can not be explained, however it has seemed to lit a fire in the Sooners. They are blowing people out and these games are not even competitive.

7 Alabama 8-1 (last week: 10)

32nd OE; 1st DE; 1st SV; +151 Point Differential. What Alabama did to LSU should not be legal. The game was not as close to 30-16. Alabama’s good is really good, which makes the loss to Ole Miss even more unexplainable.

8 LSU 8-1 (last week: 3)

11th OE; 24th DE; 11th SV; +100 Point Differential. The National Championship dream is probably over, as well as Fournette’s dream of a Heisman Trophy. But does a Sugar Bowl bid help take some of the sting away? It might just do that like a good batch of New Orleans jambalaya.

9 Stanford 8-1 (last week: 13)

7th OE; 35th OE; 8th SV; +152 Point Differential. Stanford controls its own destiny. Still having Notre Dame and Utah on the schedule helps as long as those two keep winning as well.

10 Florida 8-1 (last week: tie-11)

46th OE; 4th DE; 12th SV; +126 Point Differential. Despite Florida struggling with Vanderbilt, they have an elite defense and if they ever get some offense to go with that…they’re good is sky high.

11 Notre Dame 8-1 (last week: 14)

5th OE; 46th DE; 7th SV; +126 Point Differential. Notre Dame has fought off the injury bug all year and still are alive with only the one loss at Clemson. Don’t sleep on the Irish, they still have a date with Stanford.

12 Houston 9-0 (last week: 16)

27th OE; 26th DE; 24th SV; +232 Point Differential. Houston may crash the New Year’s 6 party this season. They are the only Group of 5 conference member left that is unbeaten. They handled Vanderbilt 34-0…the same Vanderbilt who almost beat Florida.

13 Utah 8-1 (last week: 15)

43rd OE; 11th DE; 14th SV; +110 Point Differential. Utah grabbed a very good victory at Washington last night. Washington has one of the top 12 defenses in the country and Utah hung 34 on them. Utah can still make some major moves up the poll.

14 Mississippi State 7-2 (last week: tie-21)

18th OE; 19th DE; 17th SV; +157 Point Differential. Quietly Mississippi State has been putting together a very good season. Things will get a bit more noticed this weekend as Alabama visits Starkville.

15 North Carolina 8-1 (last week: 19)

6th OE; 59th DE; 21st SV; +194 Point Differential. Another quietly good team here, North Carolina now has a date with Clemson at the ACC Championship game if it can get by Miami at home then road trips to Virginia Tech and NC State.

16 Florida State 7-2 (last week: tie-11)

19th OE; 32nd DE; 19th SV; +118 Point Differential. Even though Florida State lost at the #1 team in the country, they are still alive for a New Year’s 6 bowl.

17 TCU 8-1 (last week: tie-5)

3rd OE; 62nd DE; 6th SV; +175 Point Differential. TCU got their butts kicked yesterday plain and simple. There is still hope to get to a major bowl, however the Playoff may have slipped away.

tie-18 Michigan 7-2 (last week: tie-21)

42nd OE; 9th DE; 13th SV; +171 Point Differential. Michigan is quietly going about its business after the Michigan State game and if they keep taking care of business, we all know where all the eyes will be once the Buckeyes are on the opposite sideline.

tie-18 Michigan State 8-1 (last week: tie-7)

21st OE; 39th DE; 22nd SV; +89 Point Differential. The Spartans have been in close games all season. Last night it finally caught up to them. A tune up against Maryland will help as the following game is against the Buckeyes.

20 USC 6-3 (last week: 23)

15th OE; 22nd DE; 10th SV; +134 Point Differential. It is hard not to rank the Trojans higher, however they have 3 losses and that is what is making them stay near the bottom of the Top 25. They are the 6th most efficient team in the country.

21 Ole Miss 7-3 (last week: 20)

14th OE; 36th DE; 15th SV; +177 Point Differential. After a wild finish against Arkansas, Ole Miss gets a week off to finish the season. Still have LSU and the Egg Bowl on the schedule.

22 UCLA 7-2 (last week: NR)

28th OE; 28th DE; 23rd SV; +104 Point Differential. UCLA still has hope, if Utah stumbles and they can handle USC the Bruins still have a shot at the Rose Bowl (home game for them).

23 Temple 8-1 (last week: 24)

66th OE; 16th DE; 39th SV; +140 Point Differential. It looked like Temple was having a Notre Dame hangover until they opened the floodgates and hung 60 on SMU. Still a very good team capable of playing anyone tough.

24 Wisconsin 8-2 (last week: NR)

49th OE; 23rd DE; 20th SV; +164 Point Differential. When your only losses are to Alabama and Iowa, you are having a pretty good season. A big game for second place with Northwestern this weekend will determine the bowl hierarchy that Wisconsin will get this January.

25 Boise State 7-2 (last week: NR)

41st OE; 15th DE; 26th SV; +194 Point Differential. Boise State year in and year out has become a contender for big time games. Can we get them into a bigger conference?

All Efficiency rankings taken from ESPN and all Strength of Victory rankings are straight from the Sagarin rankings

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Week 10 #Top25

Miami players celebrate an upset over Duke on the last play of the game…no it is not on the Hardwood it is on the Gridiron. When did we arrive at a point where this is even fathomable, let alone it plays out? Three straight weeks of October Madness are now behind us and now we are only days away from the committee releasing who’s in the drivers seat for championship glory. This poll may be close to that one, it may be way off. I know that in the end it will probably shake itself out. Starting this weekend TCU travels to Oklahoma State and LSU plays Alabama in T-Town. There is 2 contenders knocked off right there. I am not basing anything off of preseason rankings, I am using some metrics-offensive efficiency (OE) and defensive efficiency (DE). I will take the remaining strength of schedule (RSOS) into consideration somewhat. The one thing I like the most is we look at an eyeball metric: how good is your good? This week I am going to add in cumulative over under, I feel that shows how well a team has been playing the entirety of the season.

1 Clemson 8-0 (last week: 1)

5th OE; 2nd DE; 52nd RSOS; +184 point differential. Clemson is the only team in America that is playing with a Top 5 offensive and defensive efficiency. If they can get by Florida State, it should be smooth sailing into the Playoff.

2 Ohio State 8-0 (last week: 2)

38th OE; 6th DE; 32nd RSOS; +187 point differential. Ohio State was off, JT Barrett was suspended. Cardale Jones will play against Minnesota next week. Upset?

3 LSU 7-0 (last week: 3)

8th OE; 18th DE; 1st RSOS; +114 point differential. LSU was off this week. All eyes will be on Tuscaloosa, including GameDay, as LSU-Alabama renew their rivalry.

4 Baylor 7-0 (last week: 4)

1st OE; 43rd DE; 9th RSOS; +252 point differential. Baylor was off this weekend as well. A Thursday night affair in Manhattan might be a little trickier than you think without Seth Russell. We will see if Baylor can really plug-n-play with a new QB midseason.

tie-5 Oklahoma State 8-0 (last week: 8)

25th OE; 26th DE; 2nd RSOS; +167 point differential. I thought Texas Tech had the Cowboys yesterday. But Oklahoma State reeled off 70 on the Red Raiders and put themselves right in the mix for a Playoff berth.

tie-5 TCU 8-0 (last week: 6)

2nd OE; 51st DE; 22nd RSOS; +195 point differential. TCU blew out West Virginia on Thursday night and now that sets up a meeting with Oklahoma State. The winner will be in the drivers seat for a playoff.

tie-7 Iowa 8-0 (last week: 7)

31st OE; 9th DE; 56th RSOS; +139 point differential. Lets face it, Iowa is probably going to be undefeated heading into the Big 10 Championship game barring a major upset.

tie-7 Michigan State 8-0 (last week: 5)

23rd OE; 35th DE; 40th RSOS; +90 point differential. Michigan State had a bye last week, they have the worst point differential of any team we’ve covered so far.

9 Oklahoma 7-1 (last week: 10)

12th OE; 12th DE; 11th RSOS; +218 point differential. Oklahoma has taken over the title “Best 1 loss team in the country”. They have a tune up game against Iowa State before traveling to Baylor.

10 Alabama 7-1 (last week: 12)

28th OE; 1st DE; 34th RSOS; +137 point differential. Alabama got an off week to prepare for the LSU game. This has the feel of a national quarterfinal game.

tie-11 Florida 7-1 (last week: 14)

32nd OE; 3rd DE; 55th RSOS; +124 point differential. Florida is now the clear cut favorite to get to the SEC Championship game from the East. If they can defeat in-state rival Florida State and win the SEC, they will have made a real good case to the committee.

tie-11 Florida State 7-1 (last week: 15)

14th OE; 34th DE; 37th RSOS; +128 point differential. Florida State bombed its way to victory with a backup QB. Now they have Clemson in the way of them and another ACC championship run.

13 Stanford 7-1 (last week: 9)

9th OE; 37th DE; 18th RSOS; +120 point differential. Stanford struggled in the wet night in Pullman. Having to rally to earn a 30-28 victory over Wazzou. Still a threat for the playoff.

14 Notre Dame 7-1 (last week: 13)

6th OE; 52nd DE; 47th RSOS; +114 point differential. Notre Dame was lucky to escape Philadelphia with a victory. Temple proved that on any given Saturday they can play with the big boys.

15 Utah 7-1 (last week: 11)

43rd OE; 17th DE; 36th RSOS; +99 point differential. Utah still has a chance to get to the Pac 12 Championship game, win it and win its way into the Playoff. A lot of things will need to fall right.

16 Houston 8-0 (last week: 17)

24th OE; 31st DE; 71st RSOS; +229 point differential. Houston may be the best non power 5 conference team this season. After shutting out Vandy, they are making that case.

17 Memphis 8-0 (last week: 18)

13th OE; 68th DE; 61st RSOS; +170 point differential. Memphis plays a home game with Navy, then travels to Houston and Temple. We will see where they are after the next 3 weeks.

18 Toledo 7-0 (last week: 16)

51st OE; 24th DE; 65th RSOS; +145 point differential. Toledo plays the next 3 Tuesday’s in succession. This will either give the committee something to look at or make them forget because of a loss. Toledo has to be perfect.

19 North Carolina 7-1 (last week: 20)

11th OE; 59th DE; 20th RSOS; +159 point differential. North Carolina is now in sole control of it’s own destiny after defeating Pitt and watching rival Duke lose to the U on one of the craziest plays of the season.

20 Ole Miss 7-2 (last week: 23)

20th OE; 19th DE; 3rd RSOS; +178 point differential. Ole Miss has played its way back into the conversation for an at-large New Year’s 6 bowl game.

tie-21 Michigan 6-2 (last week: 24)

59th OE; 7th DE; 48th RSOS; +138 point differential. Michigan needed a goal line stand to hang on against Minnesota and claim the Little Brown Jug. Good win, and it keeps the Wolverines in the conversation for an at-large New Year’s 6 bowl game.

tie-21 Mississippi State 6-2 (last week: 25)

18th OE; 22nd DE; 5th RSOS; +139 point differential. Do not sleep on the Bulldogs, remember they still have Dak at QB and a lot of skill position players.

23 USC 5-3 (last week: NR)

10th OE; 28th DE; 33rd RSOS; +126 point differential. I can’t for the life of me explain why a group who’s good is this good has 3 losses. I fully expect USC to win out and go 9-3 on the season. If you pull up FPI, which is where I get all my efficiencies, USC is playing at the 5th highest efficiency overall in the nation.

24 Temple 7-1 (last week: 19)

82nd OE; 11th DE; 77th RSOS; +120 point differential. Temple played very well against Notre Dame. They have a chance to win their conference still and perhaps even make the committee think about them later on this season.

25 Texas A&M 6-2 (last week: NR)

55th OE; 25th DE; 60th RSOS; +60 point differential. Somehow the Aggies change QB’s midseason and the offense wakes up just like last season. If they’d ever be consistent for 1 whole season they’d be dangerous.

All efficiency and strength of schedule rankings taken from ESPN

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