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The Book 2016: Week 13

Back to the argument of Best vs Most Deserving and is the CFP committee and The Book true to its mission? BC 7 1/2 point dog at Wake.

USC is hot, but are they either 'best or most deserving'?
USC is hot, but are they either 'best or most deserving'?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Just two more rankings to go and we will have our final College Football Playoff rankings and with it, the participants in the 3rd CFP as well as the New Year's Six Bowl games.  While the committee's top four of Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson have not changed this week, neither has The Book's top four of Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Wisconsin.

If you watched the selection show tonight, the overarching theme was "Best vs Most Deserving" or to put it another way, "how do you define best?".  Maybe this will all work itself out in the wash, but this year more than the first two, there is a definite lack of transparency into how those decisions are being made and potentially ignorance of it's goal of selecting the four best teams comparing:  championships won, strength of schedule, head to head competition and comparative outcomes against common opponents.

There were clearly arguments on both sides and it is one of the reasons I believe the best way to do is indeed most deserving.  Otherwise, why play the games?  Now college football is not the NFL, but in the league, there is no discussion of whether a team is better than another and ignore the record, as Bill Parcells said, "you are what your record says you are".

Yes, the NFL schedule is unbalanced, but the level of unbalance is far less than what college football offers, but it will be an awfully bitter pill for say Penn State to endure should they win the Big Ten East, the Big Ten title and then see Ohio State in the playoff with them on the couch in State College, holding both the conference championship and the head to head against a team in their own division.

Another point to consider is the concept of how a committee views a win or loss against an opponent.   It is has been clearly expressed that a good win is weighed more heavily than a bad loss and at least up until tonight, when Kirby Hocutt referenced a Wisconsin win against an LSU team no longer in the committee's rankings as impressive, that was clear.  Which leads to those wins and losses against teams in the rankings as major factor in how teams are ultimately ranked.

I will argue that is not necessarily the right way to do it.

Teams change over the year, whether they evolve or devolve, sometimes through injury or just the way they are playing, looking at a team in the moment when you played them can't be overlooked.  For instance, a team wins a game against a good team, but while that team was playing a backup QB. Or hot teams, like Clemson's win over a smoking hot Louisville, who although still a strong win, won't look as good because the body of the work for the Cardinals has been devalued a bit with last week's loss to Houston.

Now The Book looks to quantify this and although I think it is something that is impossible to put a formula around, does a pretty good job of trying to address.  I am going to run another set of rankings for next week and see how this changes looking at a rank based on where teams are now as opposed to where they were at the time of the game, which is how things are calculated today, and see what we see for results and see how much more closely they match the committee's point of view.

With that I bring you Michigan.  Most everyone has Michigan ranked much higher than either our strength of record or power poll has with the Wolverines #3 across the CFP, Sagarin and Massey rankings.  For us though, it is a question of both who you played and when you played them.  Michigan never made it higher than number four in our rankings and then took a loss to what our power rankings viewed as the #48 team in the country in Iowa and took a tumble.  After that they beat an Indiana team ranked #59.  As most know, there isn't much of a differentiation between the top 10 teams or so after Alabama, but not getting a ton of credit for wins against Colorado (#41 at the time) or Penn State (#47 at the time) is what is most definitely preventing the Wolverines from ranking higher.  The other interesting thing about UM is that it's not just their strength of record, but their power ranking is also lower than one would expect.  Struggling as a big favorite against Michigan State and Indiana and losing to Iowa, didn't help.

UPDATE: I did run the other set of ratings, where we look at where teams are now as opposed to when the games were played and not surprisingly, one of the biggest benefactors, was Michigan.  Using this concept, Michigan moves from #9 to #4 in the base rankings and from #9 to #5 in the combined.

Boston College finishes the regular season in Winston-Salem against Wake Forest and the Book has done a pretty great job of predicting BC games this year, going 7-2-1 against the Vegas spread (no line for Wagner).  This week, The Book likes Wake Forest, with the Deacs giving 7.4 to BC with Vegas showing Wake a 3 1/2 point pick.

Enjoy the games and Go Eagles!

Note:  the Massey composite rankings are as of Tuesday evening, November 22.

CFP COMMITTEE STYLE RANKING
RANK TEAM RECORD POWER COMBINED CFP SAGARIN MASSEY
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 10-0 1 1 1 1 1
2 Ohio State Buckeyes 10-1 2 2 2 2 2
3 Clemson Tigers 10-1 4 4 4 4 4
4 Wisconsin Badgers 9-2 8 6 6 8 6
5 Oklahoma Sooners 9-2 6 5 8 7 9
6 USC Trojans 8-3 3 3 12 10 10
7 Colorado Buffaloes 9-2 7 7 9 11 7
8 Washington Huskies 10-1 5 8 5 5 5
9 Michigan Wolverines 10-1 10 9 3 3 3
10 Oklahoma State Cowboys 9-2 15 14 10 19 22
11 Penn State Nittany Lions 9-2 11 10 7 15 8
12 Florida State Seminoles 8-3 12 11 14 13 13
13 Louisville Cardinals 9-2 9 12 11 6 11
14 Stanford Cardinal 8-3 18 13 24 16 16
15 West Virginia Mountaineers 8-2 30 23 18 26 25
16 Western Michigan Broncos 11-0 27 33 21 22 12
17 North Carolina Tar Heels 8-3 16 16 - 24 26
18 Nebraska Cornhuskers 9-2 35 25 16 30 18
19 Virginia Tech Hokies 8-3 22 21 - 23 27
20 Florida Gators 8-2 20 19 15 20 15
21 Auburn Tigers 8-3 21 20 13 12 14
22 Boise State Broncos 10-1 48 38 19 32 17
23 Houston Cougars 9-2 28 27 20 25 21
24 Navy Midshipmen 8-2 29 29 25 50 32
25 Washington State Cougars 8-3 14 15 23 14 19
26 Texas A&M Aggies 8-3 36 28 - 17 23
27 South Florida Bulls 9-2 39 35 - 40 28
28 Arkansas Razorbacks 7-4 34 26 - 37 36
29 Utah Utes 8-3 31 31 22 31 31
30 Pittsburgh Panthers 7-4 19 18 - 28 29
31 Tennessee Volunteers 8-3 25 24 17 21 20
32 Georgia Bulldogs 7-4 46 37 - 53 42
33 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 7-4 33 34 - 47 44
34 LSU Tigers 6-4 13 17 - 9 24
35 Miami-Florida Hurricanes 7-4 17 22 - 18 30
36 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 8-3 40 41 - 48 35
37 Minnesota Golden Gophers 8-3 38 39 - 44 34
38 Iowa Hawkeyes 7-4 24 32 - 29 33
39 Wyoming Cowboys 8-3 64 55 - 73 47
40 Kansas State Wildcats 6-4 23 30 - 33 43
41 BYU Cougars 7-4 26 36 - 34 41
42 Toledo Rockets 9-2 58 56 - 51 39
43 Troy Trojans 8-2 77 70 - 72 48
44 Temple Owls 8-3 41 43 - 43 37
45 San Diego State Aztecs 9-2 32 45 - 38 38
46 Appalachian St. Mountaineers 8-3 67 65 - 58 45
47 Ole Miss Rebels 5-6 43 40 - 27 46
48 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 8-3 44 47 - 49 40
49 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 8-3 53 58 - 60 51
50 Memphis Tigers 7-4 49 51 - 45 49
51 Air Force Falcons 8-3 78 76 - 70 54
52 South Carolina Gamecocks 6-5 74 69 - 74 68
53 Kentucky Wildcats 6-5 63 59 - 68 59
54 TCU Horned Frogs 5-5 57 54 - 35 52
55 Texas Longhorns 5-6 55 52 - 46 64
56 Northwestern Wildcats 5-6 42 42 - 42 50
57 Arizona State Sun Devils 5-6 71 62 - 56 63
58 Old Dominion Monarchs 8-3 84 83 - 88 67
59 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 6-5 66 63 - 69 66
60 Baylor Bears 6-4 60 60 - 41 53
61 Indiana Hoosiers 5-6 50 49 - 57 56
62 Vanderbilt Commodores 5-6 47 50 - 63 58
63 California Golden Bears 4-7 68 61 - 62 69
64 N.C. State Wolfpack 5-6 54 53 - 52 60
65 UCLA Bruins 4-7 45 44 - 36 55
66 New Mexico Lobos 7-4 79 81 - 89 72
67 Arkansas State Red Wolves 6-4 73 77 - 77 65
67 UCF Knights 6-5 70 71 - 59 62
69 Oregon Ducks 4-7 52 48 - 55 57
70 Idaho Vandals 6-4 93 90 - 100 75
71 Ohio University Bobcats 7-4 85 86 - 85 74
72 Boston College Eagles 5-6 75 73 - 78 81
73 Duke Blue Devils 4-7 56 57 - 66 78
74 Central Michigan Chippewas 6-5 87 84 - 91 79
75 Syracuse Orange 4-7 83 75 - 82 85
76 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-7 37 46 - 39 70
77 SMU Mustangs 5-6 82 78 - 81 76
78 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 4-7 61 64 - 61 73
79 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 7-4 91 92 - 84 77
80 Maryland Terrapins 5-6 88 82 - 75 71
81 Colorado State Rams 6-5 69 72 - 71 61
82 Eastern Michigan Eagles 6-5 95 94 - 101 84
83 Texas Tech Red Raiders 4-7 65 74 - 64 83
84 Oregon State Beavers 3-8 62 67 - 67 80
85 South Alabama Jaguars 5-5 119 114 - 103 92
86 Hawaii Warriors 5-7 113 102 - 110 99
87 Army Black Knights 6-5 99 98 - 80 89
88 Iowa St. Cyclones 3-8 59 68 - 65 87
89 Miami-Ohio Redhawks 5-6 81 89 - 99 91
90 Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 5-6 90 88 - 96 90
91 North Texas Mean Green 5-6 112 103 - 112 97
92 Akron Zips 5-6 118 113 - 104 95
93 Illinois Fighting Illini 3-8 86 85 - 87 93
94 Cincinnati Bearcats 4-7 98 95 - 94 94
95 Michigan State Spartans 3-8 51 66 - 54 82
96 Purdue Boilermakers 3-8 89 91 - 102 105
97 Northern Illinois Huskies 4-7 80 87 - 83 86
98 Missouri Tigers 3-8 76 80 - 76 88
99 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 4-6 97 101 - 109 104
100 Virginia Cavaliers 2-9 72 79 - 79 103
101 UNLV Rebels 4-7 92 97 - 98 102
102 Arizona Wildcats 2-9 94 93 - 86 98
103 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 5-6 109 110 - 95 101
104 East Carolina Pirates 3-8 102 100 - 92 107
105 FIU Panthers 4-7 110 111 - 119 116
106 ULM Warhawks 4-7 123 120 - 121 109
107 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2-9 108 99 - 116 110
108 Nevada Wolf Pack 4-7 111 115 - 114 117
109 Kansas Jayhawks 2-9 96 96 - 106 120
110 Connecticut Huskies 3-8 105 105 - 107 113
111 Ball State Cardinals 4-7 106 109 - 105 108
112 New Mexico State Aggies 3-7 116 117 - 124 118
113 Tulane Green Wave 3-8 103 106 - 97 106
114 Georgia Southern Eagles 4-7 114 116 - 93 96
115 Charlotte 49ers 4-7 126 122 - 122 119
116 Bowling Green Falcons 3-8 101 107 - 113 111
117 Utah State Aggies 4-7 100 104 - 90 100
118 San Jose State Spartans 3-8 107 108 - 108 112
119 Kent State Golden Flashes 3-8 104 112 - 117 114
120 Florida Atlantic Owls 3-8 122 123 - 123 124
121 Rice Owls 3-8 121 124 - 125 123
122 Georgia State Panthers 3-8 115 118 - 111 115
123 Massachusetts Minutemen 2-9 120 119 - 118 122
124 Marshall Thundering Herd 3-8 117 121 - 115 121
125 Texas State Bobcats 2-8 128 128 - 128 127
126 Texas-El Paso Miners 3-8 127 127 - 126 126
127 Buffalo Bulls 2-9 124 126 - 127 128
128 Fresno State Bulldogs 1-10 125 125 - 120 125

Here is a week by week look at the CFP style top 4:

TOP 4 - WEEK BY WEEK
AFTER WEEK #1 #2 #3 #4
1 Houston Wisconsin Florida State Texas
2 Alabama Wisconsin Texas Arkansas
3 Alabama Ohio State Texas A&M Houston
4 Texas A&M Alabama Wisconsin Stanford
5 Texas A&M Alabama Clemson Tennessee
6 Texas A&M Alabama Clemson Michigan
7 Alabama Clemson Texas A&M Ohio State
8 Alabama Clemson Texas A&M West Virginia
9 Alabama Clemson Ohio State Michigan
10 Alabama Clemson Ohio State Washington
11 Alabama Ohio State Clemson Wisconsin
12 Alabama Ohio State Clemson Wisconsin

THE ACC/CFP RANKINGS
RANK TEAM REC MASSEY SAGARIN
1 Clemson 10-1 1 1
2 Florida State 8-3 3 3
3 Louisville 9-2 2 2
4 North Carolina 8-3 4 5
5 Virginia Tech 8-3 5 4
6 Pittsburgh 7-4 6 7
7 Georgia Tech 7-4 8 8
8 Miami 7-4 7 6
9 Wake Forest 6-5 10 11
10 North Carolina State 5-6 9 9
11 Boston College 5-6 12 12
12 Duke 4-7 11 10
13 Syracuse 4-7 13 14
14 Virginia 2-9 14 13

Records shown against the Vegas spread (starting next week) utilize the Danny Sheridan opening line.  The spreads below are ones created by the Book.

Last Week's record:  Won 29 Lost 29 Tied 0 .500 winning percentage
Season record:  Won 316 Lost 312 Tied 10 .503 winning percentage


NATIONAL/ACC SPREADS
FAVORITE SPREAD UNDERDOG
LSU 8.3 at Texas A&M
at Western Michigan 13.2 Toledo
at North Carolina 20.3 NC State
Houston 3.4 at Memphis
at Iowa 7.9 Nebraska
Boise State 8.3 at Air Force
Washington 2.2 at Washington State
at Wake Forest 7.4 Boston College
at Miami 20.6 Duke
at Pittsburgh 30.9 Syracuse
at Virginia Tech 23.7 Virginia
at USC 26.3 Notre Dame
at Alabama 28.1 Auburn
at Florida State 9.5 Florida
at Georgia 2.4 Georgia Tech
at Louisville 28.5 Kentucky
at Colorado 17.7 Utah
at Stanford 53.2 Rice
at Clemson 39.5 South Carolina
Tennessee 3.9 at Vanderbilt
at Ohio State 14.5 Michigan
at Penn State 24.2 Michigan State
at Wisconsin 21.0 Minnesota