Sunday, December 7, 2014

Final SORTACUS Rankings

Saturday was an eventful day for the first ever college football playoffs, with all six teams under consideration playing.  Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State were all likely in with a win, but TCU, Ohio State, and Baylor were wrapped in a fierce battler for the fourth and final slot.

All six teams won their games, but the Buckeye's 59-0 demolition of a good Wisconsin team stood out as an Ohio Statement win.  It impressed the playoff committee enough to jump TCU when the final playoff bracket was revealed today. 

Was this a just decision?  Did Ohio State really deserve a spot in the playoffs, or did a big name team in a big name conference sneak their way in?  SORTACUS is a computerized ranking system that only uses wins and losses, therefore effectively ranking the most worthy teams as opposed to the best. 

Top 25

For the fourth consecutive week I am applying the Bayesian statistics of SORTACUS to rank college football teams.  These are the final rankings, using every regular season game involving two FBS teams.  Below are the Top 25.

Rank Team Record Rating
1  Florida St 12-0 25.31
2  Alabama 11-1 23.66
3  Oregon 11-1 22.37
4  TCU 10-1 20.77
5  Ohio St 12-1 19.93
6  Baylor 10-1 19.40
7  Mississippi St 9-2 17.77
8  Mississippi 8-3 16.39
9  Michigan St 9-2 15.83
10  Arizona 10-3 15.81
11  UCLA 9-3 15.31
12  Boise St 11-2 14.84
13  Kansas St 8-3 13.92
14  Auburn 7-4 13.85
15  Georgia Tech 9-3 13.42
16  Marshall 11-1 12.93
17  Missouri 9-3 12.67
18  Clemson 8-3 12.66
19  Georgia 8-3 12.49
20  Wisconsin 9-3 12.20
21  LSU 7-4 11.91
22  Arizona St 8-3 11.80
23  Colorado St 9-2 10.81
24  Louisville 8-3 10.75
25  Nebraska 8-3 10.59

It's extremely close, but SORTACUS has TCU emerging from the pack of three.  Why?  Largely because the Big 12 had a better year then the Big 10.  Both teams had weak out of conference schedules (although Minnesota was a nice win for TCU), but Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Texas form a better middle of the pack than Maryland, Rutgers, and Penn State.  Baylor's horrible non-conference schedule dropped them to number 6.

It's possible that the committee used a different criteria than I have.  In fact, it appears pretty likely that Ohio State's margin of victory yesterday was a big factor in their trip to the inaugural playoffs.  It should be noted however that Team Ranking's college football rankings have TCU at #3 and Baylor at #4, both ahead of Ohio State. 

Overall, the playoff committee seems to have done a fine job though.  Florida State, Alabama, and Oregon are the three teams that definitely deserve to be in the playoffs, and they are.  The committee then had to pick one from a tier of three, and although I believe the wrong team was picked it's clear there was only small separation between them.

How Is My Team Doing?

Schools I'm associated with don't show up in the top 25.  Not much has changed since last week, but here's where a few notable ones land:
Stanford:  35th, 6.51
Washington:  42, 4.94
Maryland:  47, 4.45
Iowa:  58, 1.66
Northwestern:  73, -1.43
Iowa St:  93, -7.62
New Mexico:  96, -8.28
Purdue:  100, -9.19
SMU:  125, -20.83 (Sorry Uncle Mark)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

SORTACUS Penultimate Rankings

It's late, so I'll do this quick.  SORTACUS is back again to rank the top 25 (really all, I only post 25) teams in college football.  These rankings use only win loss results, and answer which teams are the most deserving of a spot in the playoffs, not which teams are the best.

Top 25

Below are the top 25 in the SORTACUS rankings through the games of November 29.  With only a few games left the rankings won't change much before the end of the regular season.

Rank Team Record Rating
1  Florida St 11-0 24.13
2  Alabama 10-1 22.68
3  Oregon 10-1 21.04
4  TCU 9-1 20.58
5  Ohio St 11-1 18.56
6  Mississippi St 9-2 17.71
7  Baylor 9-1 17.56
8  Arizona 10-2 17.04
9  Mississippi 8-3 16.29
10  Kansas St 8-2 15.60
11  Michigan St 9-2 15.56
12  UCLA 9-3 15.35
13  Georgia Tech 9-2 14.45
14  Boise St 10-2 14.44
15  Auburn 7-4 14.08
16  Missouri 9-2 13.63
17  Wisconsin 9-2 13.51
18  Oklahoma 8-3 13.10
19  Clemson 8-3 12.80
20  Georgia 8-3 12.78
21  LSU 7-4 11.99
22  Arizona St 8-3 11.96
23  Marshall 10-1 11.23
24  Colorado St 9-2 10.80
25  Nebraska 8-3 10.77

As expected Mississippi State drops out of the top 4 after a loss to Ole Miss.  SORTACUS still recognizes the strength of the SEC West (or has a HUGE SEC BIAS!) and keeps the Bulldogs at number 6.  Once again however, SORTACUS's 4 most deserving playoff teams match the Playoff Committee's top 4.  Other notable features of the rankings include:

-TCU is well ahead of Baylor, again agreeing with the committee. Baylor's head to head win may have some value that SORTACUS doesn't see, but there is a pretty substantial difference.

-Ohio State is a clear number 5 team, and probably the most likely to sneak in if one of the top 4 teams loses next week.

-Wisconsin, Missouri, Georgia Tech, and Arizona all appear out of striking distance, even if an upset wins them a conference title.

All of these pale to one point the committee needs to see however:

Florida State Is Number One!

They have gone undefeated in a power conference, and played solid out of conference teams like Notre Dame, Florida, and Oklahoma State.  SORTACUS doesn't even know they're defending national champions, and still has them a clear number one!  Games are about winning and losing, not how pretty you look along the way, and the playoff committee is dancing on the edge of disaster with the Seminoles ranked number 4.

How Is My Team Doing?

Schools I'm associated with don't show up in the top 25.  Here's where a few notable ones land:
Stanford:  34th, 6.51     (Nice win over UCLA!)
Maryland:  46, 4.45     (Bad loss to Rutgers)
Iowa:  57, 1.80
Northwestern:  73, -1.37
Iowa State:  93, -7.58
New Mexico:  96, -8.20
Purdue:  99, -9.12