A New Spin on the BCS: How Should Teams REALLY Be Ranked?

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A New Spin on the BCS: How Should Teams REALLY Be Ranked?

I’m not going to pretend that I completely understand the BCS and how its rankings are produced because I’m pretty sure that no one does other than the statisticians who generated the BCS formula.

However, I will do my best to forecast the rest of the 2007 season and try to predict (to the best of my ability) what the ultimate standings will be at the end of December.

Each current BCS top-10 team’s remaining schedule, key wins and losses, and other criteria will be analyzed and inserted into my own personal rankings formula (detailed below).

Key win rating (20%): each team’s key wins thus far will be given a grade of 1-10 (least impressive to most impressive) depending on location, final score, and overall performance of the opponent before and after that specific match-up.

Key loss rating (15%): each team’s key losses thus far will be given a grade of 1-10 (most unimpressive to least unimpressive) depending on the same criteria as a key win. For the undefeated teams, a grade of 11-13 will be given depending on the difficulty of each team’s schedule so far.

Projected Final Record (30%): each team’s final record will be projected including conference championships. The final record will be calculated as an overall winning percentage and plugged into the final equation. ((winning percentage) x 3) -# of losses=Rating.

Hypothetical Match-up Theory (35%): each team will be hypothetically matched up against the other nine top-10 teams and a victor will be determined (neutral sites of course). The overall record of these match-ups will be given a winning percentage and plugged into the final equation (winning percentage) x 3.5=Rating

Here is a breakdown of how each of the current top-10 teams will most likely finish up:

1. Ohio State (.942)
Does anyone REALLY believe that the Buckeye’s are the best team in the country?

The weakness of their schedule combined with the regression of the Big Ten conference this season has allowed Jim Tressell’s squad to advantageously rise to the top of one of the most cluttered and inconsistent top-10 polls in recent memory.

Key Wins: at Purdue

At the time, the road victory over the Boilermakers and former Heisman-hopeful Curtis Painter seemed impressive and solidified the Buckeyes as a legitimate top-5 team. Since then, the Boilermakers’ defense has been exposed by the Michigan Wolverines who put up 48 points this past weekend and the significance of OSU’s victory in West Lafayette has to be called into question. Rating: 5

Key Losses: N/A
Due to the lack of difficulty of the Buckeyes schedule so far, their undefeated record seems unjustified. Rating: 11

Ohio State will most likely lose at least one game this season possibly two. Including tough road games against Penn State and archrival Michigan. PFR: 10-2

Ohio State would most likely go 6-3 against the rest of the BCS top-10. Losing to LSU, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Rating: 2.33

2. South Florida (.920)
The sweetheart of the 2007 college football season has emerged from the shadows of the Big East conference. A program in its infancy, USF seems to be a legitimate contender, but will have to overcome the lack of a conference championship game in order to earn a spot in the National Title Game in New Orleans.

Key Wins: at Auburn, West Virginia

The surprising road victory in Jordan-Hare Stadium earlier this season introduced us all to the USF Bulls, but seemed to just be a blip on the radar screen in regards to the team’s actual potential. A road win over an SEC opponent especially over the likes of Auburn cannot be discredited. Rating: 9

Even though the Mountaineers have failed to live up to the hype over the last few seasons, WVU is still a perennial top-10 team. The Mountaineer defense has been its downfall, but we can’t deny the offensive weapons that Rich Rodriguez’s squad possesses in Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Noel Devine. Rating: 8

Key Losses: N/A
The Bulls scheduled difficult non-conference opponents (Auburn, UCF, and North Carolina) and have remained unscathed. Therefore, their undefeated record seems reasonably legitimate. Rating: 13

South Florida’s remaining schedule sets up rather nicely at first glance the Bulls can thank the Big East for that but this Thursday night’s game at Rutgers is one that I feel will truly test South Florida’s fortitude. I believe Rutgers will be able to do to USF what they did last year to West Virginia on Thursday and the result will be an even more jumbled top-10 poll. PFR: 11-1

I can’t see South Florida beating more than two of the current BCS top-10 teams. Defeating WVU and Arizona St. Rating: 0.777

3. Boston College (.891)
The Eagles are led by Heisman favorite Matt Ryan and seem to be the clear-cut favorite to win the ACC. A back-loaded schedule may prove to be too much for first-year head coach Jeff Jagodzinski. Not to mention the recent loss of OL Ryan Poles for the remainder of the season.

Key Wins: N/A
The combined record of BC’s Division I-A opponents this season is 15-18; not including their win over I-AA UMass (5-1). In the context of a National Championship race, I cannot bring myself to believe that any of these victories so far are impressive. That doesn’t mean that the Eagles’ upcoming games won’t merit acknowledgement if they can manage to put together a few victories. Rating: 1

Key Losses: N/A
BC’s weak schedule somewhat disproves their overall record. Rating: 11

Once again, BC’s schedule is extremely back-loaded and their mettle will truly be tested in the coming weeks. Matt Ryan and Co. have to go to Blacksburg this weekend and still have FSU, Miami, and a road trip to the “other” Death Valley (Clemson) on their schedule. With Wake Forest suddenly playing like they did last season, the Eagles better put together some victories if they want to reach Jacksonville for the ACC Championship Game which they’ll probably lose anyway. PFR: 9-4

I honestly cannot see the Boston College Eagles defeating ANY of the other BCS top-10 teams. They are simply too unproven and I am unable to give an appropriate diagnosis of this team’s potential and realistic capabilities until they begin to play more formidable opponents. Actually, I think they could beat Arizona St. Rating: .389

4. LSU (.840)
Prior to their recent loss in Lexington, the Bayou Bengals were considered to be the best team in the country and were apparently head and shoulders above the rest of the country. But as soon as Les Miles’ fourth-down luck ran out, the Tigers fell back into the ranks of the beaten and must begin to play better if they want to celebrate a National Championship homecoming in the Super Dome come January.

Key Wins: Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Florida
All of LSU’s key wins have taken place in Baton Rouge this season; however, that doesn’t take anything away from their overall performance so far this season.

LSU dominated the Hokies on national television by a score of 48-7 and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. The Hokies did struggle at the onset of the season, but have since turned it around and “Beamer Ball” is alive and well. Rating: 7

The Tigers struggled against the Gamecocks on a rainy day in September and needed a fake field goal to squeak by South Carolina. Since then, the Gamecocks were able to beat the Kentucky Wildcats in Columbia and are in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. Rating: 7

5 for 5 on fourth downs, another fake field goal, and two late Gator turnovers allowed the Tigers to defeat Florida still an impressive victory. Rating: 8

Key Losses: at Kentucky

LSU’s trip to Lexington proved to be fatal and the future play of Kentucky will determine the severity of this past weekend’s loss. The Tigers played well enough to win, but couldn’t keep depending on fourth-down conversions in order to win games. The loss proves that this LSU team is a much different one on the road. Rating: 7

I can see LSU beating every team in the top-10 because they are that talented, but since they were unable to defeat Kentucky (who is in the top-10) their projected record against the BCS will suffer. Rating: 3.11

LSU has already played the through the toughest part of their schedule and if they can get by Auburn this Saturday night at home, they will most likely march onto Atlanta without any difficulty. However, the two most likely opponents for the Tigers in the SEC Title Game are teams that they’ve already played and defeated (Florida and South Carolina) and we all know how hard it is to beat the same team twice in one season. PFR: 11-2

Oklahoma (.762)
The Sooners are one “Boulder hiccup” away from being atop the standings that’s all that really needs to be said. A somewhat favorable schedule may prove to be Oklahoma’s strongest asset.

Key Wins: Texas, Missouri

A dominating performance in the Red River Shootout against the Longhorns was actually more impressive than the 28-21 final score suggests. Even though the game lacked its normal luster due to losses by both teams the week before, the Sooners proved themselves as the class of the Big XII a conference that Kansas is undefeated in. Rating: 7

Oklahoma denounced all belief in Chase Daniel’s run for the Heisman Trophy in Norman last Saturday after defeating the Missouri Tigers by a score of 41-31. OU once again established themselves as the best team in the Big XII regardless of Kansas’ 6-0 start. Rating: 8

Key Losses: at Colorado

All that separates the Sooners from an undefeated season is a last-second field goal against the Buffaloes back in September. Oklahoma’s loss in Boulder is somewhat cataclysmic due to the recent ineptitude of Dan Hawkins’ team. There was no excuse other than looking ahead to the Texas Longhorns for the Sooners to lose to Colorado…but they did. Rating: 3

The Sooners have the easiest road of any BCS top-10 team and the only potential loss could come at the hands of the offensive-minded Texas Tech Red Raiders. Assuming that OU can take care of the defensive-impaired Red Raiders, they will be playing in yet another Big XII Championship Game. Their most likely opponent will be either Kansas or Kansas St. teams that the Sooners match up well against. PFR: 12-1

The Oklahoma Sooners have the ability to beat all of the teams in the BCS top-10; however, I think that they would lose to a faster LSU team with a bit more experience. Rating: 3.11 

Look for teams 6-10 on Thursday as well as the complete predicted top-10 rankings.

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