No “SEC, SEC” chants could be heard as Temple scored a stunning road win on the new SEC Network. Rutgers carried the Big Ten banner for the first time, traveling to the Left Coast for a big upset against the Pac-12. The first college playoff season started in shocking fashion as Thursday night closed with conference ratings that looked backward; 1, American (former Big East) +47; 2, Big Ten +22; 3, Sun Belt -2; 4, Pac12 -3; 5, SEC -6; 6, ACC -7; 7, Mountain West -19.
Conference USA and the Mid-American start Friday, while the Big 12 is focused on Oklahoma State’s opener against defending National Champion Florida State Saturday. All 65 teams facing non-conference FBS opponents in this opening week are on the table below as early games will determine how strong the case will be at the end of the year for teams’ arguments for being included in the first ever four-team playoff.
The ratings table below builds on Massey Ratings to evaluate each conference’s rating each week based on the following factors:
1. DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY. The degree of difficulty for each game gives the point difference the AVERAGE FBS team would expect if they played the same opponent in the same venue. The average team would expect to lose by 8 points playing in Seattle against Washington State, so Rutgers kicked off with a +8 for degree of difficulty.
2. CONFERENCE RANK. Rutgers is 11 points worse than the average team in the Big Ten, so the Big Ten gets an extra +11 for the game since they are not represented by one of their stronger members. Add the two together and the Big Ten started the Rutgers game with a +19 (obviously Ohio State at Washington State would have given the Big Ten a much better chance in the game since Ohio State is 11 points better than the average Big Ten team so would have had to start with a -11 instead of +11).
3. FINAL MARGIN. The first two numbers are added to the actual result, so the Big Ten would get an above-average rating if Rutgers had just stayed with 19 of Washington State. But when Paul James broke through for the go-ahead touchdown to finish with 173 yards rushing in a 41-38 upset, Rutgers actually added another +3 for the margin of victory to give the Big Ten a +22 for the game. The only higher score was the +47 for the American after Temple’s PJ Walker (pictured) threw for over 200 yards to give the Owls their first win over an SEC team since 1938 by a 37-7 margin.
4. MEDIAN of ALL CONFERENCE GAMES. The Big Ten is favored in five games this week, and has two slight underdogs in Wisconsin (vs. LSU) and Penn State (vs. Central Florida). The SEC had already scored a more typical +27 earlier in the day for Mississippi’s lopsided win over Boise State, which would have given the SEC a slight edge over the Big Ten, but Temple’s win over Vanderbilt gave the SEC a horrendous -39 for the loss to a team that went 2-10 last year – giving the conference a two-game average of -6.
5. % CHANCE OF WINS/EXPECTED RECORD FOR WEEK. In addition to the GAME SCORE, the table adds the percent chance of a win in each game to determine the conferences anticipated record for the week. The SEC was expected to go 6-2 or a little better as their percent chance of winning added up to 6.19 for the eight games. However, Vandy had a 91% chance of winning and Mississippi had a 70% chance to give them an estimated 1.61 wins for those two games – so Vandy’s loss could make 6-2 rough with Georgia, LSU and Tennessee all having roughly 50-50 games. The ACC was expected to go 4-2 this week, but that included the 69% chance that Wake Forest had. By the same token the Sun Belt was only expected to go 1-4, but with ULM’s upset favored Troy could get them a second win as the favorite vs. UAB.
Here are the ratings and the remaining games for teams against non-conference FBS schools this weekend.
|Houston||Amer||74%||UT San Antonio||CUSA||-8||-7||-15|
|UCF||Amer||56%||Penn St||Big 10||5||-12||-7|
|Florida St||ACC||69%||Oklahoma St||Big 12||20||-23||-3|
|NC State||ACC||76%||Ga Southern||SB||-18||13||-5|
|Michigan||Big 10||98%||Appalachian St||SB||-24||-3||-27|
|Nebraska||Big 10||85%||FL Atlantic||CUSA||-9||-3||-12|
|Northwestern||Big 10||77%||California||Pac 12||-9||1||-7|
|Ohio St||Big 10||81%||Navy||Ind||2||-11||-9|
|Penn St||Big 10||44%||UCF||Amer||7||0||8|
|Purdue||Big 10||84%||W Michigan||MAC||-26||16||-10|
|Rutgers||Big 10||19%||Washington St||Pac 12||8||11||3||22|
|at least 5-3||5.29||-4|
|Oklahoma||Big 12||99%||Louisiana Tech||CUSA||-20||-9||-29|
|Oklahoma St||Big 12||31%||Florida St||ACC||28||-10||19|
|Texas||Big 12||86%||North Texas||CUSA||-4||-2||-6|
|West Virginia||Big 12||7%||Alabama||SEC||25||9||34|
|at least 3-2||3.17||0|
|FL Atlantic||CUSA||15%||Nebraska||Big 10||11||-6||5|
|Louisiana Tech||CUSA||1%||Oklahoma||Big 12||22||5||28|
|North Texas||CUSA||14%||Texas||Big 12||15||-11||4|
|Southern Miss||CUSA||99%||Mississippi St||SEC||12||12||25|
|UT San Antonio||CUSA||26%||Houston||Amer||5||-6||-1|
|W Kentucky||CUSA||33%||Bowling Green||MAC||0||-6||-6|
|at least 4-6||4.26||2|
|Bowling Green||MAC||67%||W Kentucky||CUSA||-3||-16||-19|
|W Michigan||MAC||16%||Purdue||Big 10||-8||11||3|
|Colorado St||MWC||44%||Colorado||Pac 12||-1||-3||-4|
|Fresno St||MWC||14%||USC||Pac 12||19||-8||11|
|at least 2-5||2.12||2|
|California||Pac 12||23%||Northwestern||Big 10||7||19||26|
|Colorado||Pac 12||56%||Colorado St||MWC||-3||14||11|
|USC||Pac 12||86%||Fresno St||MWC||-1||-3||-4|
|Washington St||Pac 12||19%||Rutgers||Big 10||-6||5||-3||-4|
|Alabama||SEC||93%||West Virginia||Big 12||1||-11||-10|
|Mississippi St||SEC||99%||Southern Miss||CUSA||-27||4||-23|
|at least 6-2||6.19||-1|
|Appalachian St||SB||2%||Michigan||Big 10||11||6||17|
|Ga Southern||SB||24%||NC State||ACC||-4||0||-4|
|at least 1-4||1.24||2|