The BCS banned the use of victory margins in college rankings more than decade ago, resulting in the New York Times (see story here) replacing two other computer services in the BCS ratings. We let the reader decide–offering a “Method 1” without victory margins, which shows the Pac-12 as the best conference in Week 1 (see this post). When victory margins are included in our “Method 2,” Tennessee secured a No. 1 ranking for the SEC with a median score of 26 in the system explained here, while Baylor’s blow out of SMU left the Big 12 a close second at 24. The Big Ten in a distant third place at 8, followed by the Pac-12, which was knocked down three spots from their Method 1 ranking due to closer-than-expected wins.
For advocates of victory margins, not including them is the equivalent to awarding a “participation trophy.” If a team goes out and proves they are 60 points better than another team–fine. For others, a the BCS system in the early years included bad sportsmanship as Virginia Tech and Florida rolled up enormous victory margins against weak opponents to move up in the rankings and qualify for the BCS championship. On the flip side, victory margins also reward teams and conferences for excellent showings against great teams–which is why the Big 12 benefits greatly this week from West Virginia and Oklahoma State coming close to knocking off the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country on the same day. In Method 2 those games were both great showings for the conference by earning scores of “24” and “13” (0 is an average game in Method 2). In Method 1, the “close but no cigar” analogy says a loss is a loss and the Big 12 was only 3-2 for the weekend against other FBS schools.
In Method 1, the Pac-12 gets credit for going on the road to win games as far apart as Charlottesville to the east and Hawaii to the west, with a big upset by Cal of Northwestern in Illinois. In Method 2 every Big 12 performance of the week was impressive, while the Pac-12 had weak (below 0) performances in four of seven games. In that system the narrow margins of victory against weak teams (17-16 Washington over Hawaii), only one offensive score by UCLA in a narrow win at Virginia, Colorado’s loss to Colorado State, and Washington State being upset by Rutgers. Those kept the median score low despite the very impressive margins rolled up by Cal, USC, and Arizona on a day that neither Oregon or Stanford was in action against other FBS schools.
So pick your poison–if you want Victory Margins included, the SEC was No. 1 and Big 12 right behind at No. 2. If you do not want them included, then the Pac-12 was No. 1 followed by the SEC. Below are the ratings based on Method 2, with slight adjustments for Method 1. Below that are all of the team results and the Game Score they earned their conference in Week 1.
|Rnk||Conference||Median||Average||Method1 – Wins|
The following is the actual conference score for each game played, starting from the most impressive performance by a conference team (for the American Athletic, Temple’s 30-point win over Vanderbilt when given only a 9 percent chance of winning) to the worst performance (Houston being stunned by UTSA). The number to the far left is the margin of victory, followed by the conference team, their chance of winning the game, their opponent and the conference that team is in, the predicted margin of the average FBS team if they had the same opponent in the same venue (“Diff” means the average team loses by 13 at Vandy), how good the team is in relation to the conference (Temple is 4 points worse than the average CUSA team). Finally, the number to the right indicates the overall ranking based on adding up the other numbers in the same row.
The overall average Rating is below zero because of very low ratings against BYU and Notre Dame this week for two teams.
|-2||UCF||56%||Penn St||Big 10||5||-12||-9|
|-20||Houston||74%||UT San Antonio||CUSA||-8||-7||-35|
|6||Florida St||69%||Oklahoma St||Big 12||20||-23||3|
|1||NC State||76%||Ga Southern||SB||-18||13||-4|
|3||Rutgers||19%||Washington St||Pac 12||8||11||22|
|5.29||at least 5-3||10|
|-6||Oklahoma St||31%||Florida St||ACC||28||-10||13|
|3.17||at least 3-2||19|
|28||W Kentucky||33%||Bowling Green||MAC||0||-6||22|
|20||UT San Antonio||26%||Houston||Amer||5||-6||19|
|-32||Louisiana Tech||1%||Oklahoma||Big 12||22||5||-4|
|-49||Southern Miss||99%||Mississippi St||SEC||12||12||-24|
|-31||North Texas||14%||Texas||Big 12||15||-11||-27|
|-48||FL Atlantic||15%||Nebraska||Big 10||11||-6||-43|
|4.26||at least 4-6||-7|
|-9||W Michigan||16%||Purdue||Big 10||-8||11||-6|
|-28||Bowling Green||67%||W Kentucky||CUSA||-3||-16||-47|
|14||Colorado St||44%||Colorado||Pac 12||-1||-3||10|
|-39||Fresno St||14%||USC||Pac 12||19||-8||-28|
|2.12||at least 2-5||-11|
|-3||Washington St||19%||Rutgers||Big 10||-6||5||-4|
|49||Mississippi St||99%||Southern Miss||CUSA||-27||4||26|
|10||Alabama||93%||West Virginia||Big 12||1||-11||0|
|6.19||at least 6-2||15|
|-1||Ga Southern||24%||NC State||ACC||-4||0||-5|
|-38||Appalachian St||2%||Michigan||Big 10||11||6||-21|
|1.24||at least 1-4||-22|
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