Welcome to one of the biggest college football Saturdays of the entire season. Six games between major poll and College Football Playoff ranking Top 25 teams are on tap this weekend, many of them with direct implications on who will still be alive in races for conference championships, bowl positioning and possible playoff spots.
The Book has a "unique" look, still at the Top 20, as we are still listing the Ole Miss Rebels as the #1 team in our poll. How could a two-loss team still sit in the driver's seat, you ask? Well, it isn't as crazy (boy I have used that line a few times this year already) as you may think.
The combined Massey ratings, all 115 of them, still show Ole Miss at #4 and four of those 115 have the Rebels in their top spot. So although we aren't nearly in the majority, others are still thinking the same way. So why? Let's ask what two key components, strength of schedule and preseason ranking have to do with where we sit today.
Preseason rankings appear to carry a huge weight. Think about it. Every one of the computer polls and even the human polls put out preseason rankings. These form the foundation from which teams rise or fall during the season. Teams that are highly ranked--take South Carolina as an example, or even Texas-San Antonio (relatively speaking in our poll)--then have the "luxury" of taking losses and not dropping or in some cases, rising as quickly as they should. Before week 1 of the season, it is truly speculation, based on no facts, but those speculations based on the formulas used by the computer polls, and even the internal formulas humans justify with, take time to adjust.
Strength of schedule is another one. How are you measuring SOS? Every poll then has a different strength of schedule and those, like the rankings themselves, are based on a subjective starting point that can be difficult to overcome. The other side of that is how you calculate SOS. This poll has SOS that is based on the ranking of the opponent at the time you played them, as opposed to recalculating it weekly based on where that opponent is currently ranked. Think about Pitt for instance. If you played the Panthers after the BC game, you were given credit for competing against the 28th ranked team in the country; this week, Pitt gets you value of #74.
That gets us back to Ole Miss. The Rebels started the season ranked #11 and have wins against teams ranked 25, 80, 69, 58, 7, 9 and 30 with their two losses to #6 Auburn and #11 LSU.That provides them with the #1 strength of schedule in the country according to our rankings (BC is at 57) so they have gained large points for those wins and dropped reasonably few for close losses.
Now that said, I believe this will probably be their last week in the top spot, also based on strength of schedule, as Ole Miss faces #193 (Sagarin) Presbyterian as a 56 point favorite. With the margin they had built over #2 (now Auburn) down to virtually nothing, it is likely whatever they do will move them down.
Just something to consider when you analyze how both computers and the selection committee figure these things out.
The Book and BC continue to be best buddies in 2014, with our math on the winning side again versus the Vegas spread last week, now 7-1 for the season. The Eagles and Louisville Cardinals on Saturday night at Alumni shows as a pick em, so we come down on the side of the Eagles in what should be another close one.
BC now sits at #7 in the ACC and #43 in the country, the high water mark of the season! Louisville enters at #33.
Against my better judgement I have put away my bathing cap and rubber ducky...there will be no bath. The Book went 27-22-1 .550 with 4 games the same as Vegas, enlarging our virtual wallet to the tune of 226-214-6 .513 with 27 the same. Almost enough for a decent Christmas!
This week's Sleeper and Toilet Bowl picks after getting on the right side with BC in the Sleeper (now 5-4) and knowing I was going down with Ga State (now 3-6), let's go with #103 Connecticut giving 3.5 at #123 Army (UConn -7) and #29 Iowa giving 2.5 at #46 Minnesota (Iowa -5)
Check out the polls and the spreads and enjoy your football Saturday!
|1||Ole Miss Rebels||7-2||4|
|3||Mississippi St Bulldogs||8-0||2|
|4||TCU Horned Frogs||7-1||7|
|6||Alabama Crimson Tide||7-1||3|
|7||Ohio State Buckeyes||7-1||13|
|8||Michigan State Spartans||7-1||11|
|10||Florida State Seminoles||8-0||6|
|13||Kansas State Wildcats||7-1||8|
|15||Marshall Thundering Herd||8-0||21|
|18||Arizona State Sun Devils||7-1||16|
|19||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||7-1||14|
|20||West Virginia Mountaineers||6-3||20|
Others receiving votes: Clemson, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Wisconsin
|1||Florida St. Seminoles||8-0||10|
|4||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||7-2||28|
|5||Duke Blue Devils||7-1||30|
|7||Boston College Eagles||6-3||43|
|8||Virginia Tech Hokies||4-5||60|
|10||North Carolina Tar Heels||4-5||65|
|11||NC State Wolfpack||5-4||67|
|14||Wake Forest Demon Deacons||2-6||106|
|at Auburn||21||Texas A&M|
|at Arizona St||6||Notre Dame|
|West Virginia||4||at Texas|
|at Florida St||21||Virginia|
|Marshall||32||at S Mississippi|
|at TCU||9||Kansas St|
|at Michigan St||2.5||Ohio St|
|Clemson||20||at Wake Forest|
|Georgia Tech||8||at NC State|
|at Boston College||E||Louisville|
|Other BC Opponents|
|at Colorado St||19||Hawaii|