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)

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