College Football Realignment

College Football is in turmoil. Texas A&M has fled the Big 12 and joined the Southeastern Conference. So the Big 12 is now down to nine teams. And Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech are expected to leave as well. Are we witnessing the beginning of the super-conferences? Will the Big 10 expand again? Will they go after the remnants of the Big 12 or will they invade the Big East or ACC? Will the Big East and ACC join forces to produce their own super-conference? And where in the heck does Notre Dame fit in all this realignment mess? Will this be the end of major college football as we know it?

The consensus says we will wind up with 4 super-conferences consisting of 16 teams each. I don’t like that. Too many schools will be left out of this. What happens to a school like Boise State? College football is eating itself. This is capitalism at its worst. Unfortunately, the NCAA has little control over the conferences. In an ideal world, the NCAA would be in charge, and they would decide what conference a school belongs to. What we need is a football czar. Television rights need to be split. Conferences and schools should not be getting their own television packages.

In my own fantasy world, I would be the czar of college football. I would create the following system for major college football. I would have 4 major conferences. Each conference would have 2 divisions with 9 teams in each division. You would play all 8 opponents in your division. You win your division if you have the best record in your division and play the other division winner in your conference for the conference championship. Each of the four conference champions would play in a national semi-final game. The games would be played at the higher seeded schools. A national championship game would be played two weeks later. The money from the national championship game would be split amongst all 72 schools. A playoff! What a concept!

Here is my breakdown of conferences and divisions:

North Conference

Division 1 Division 2
UConn Ohio St
Pittsburgh Michigan
Rutgers Michigan St
Syracuse Indiana
Penn St Purdue
Boston College Northwestern
Cincinnati Illinois
Maryland Wisconsin
Notre Dame Minnesota

East Conference

Division 3 Division 4
Virginia Tech South Carolina
Clemson South Florida
North Carolina Florida St
North Carolina St Tennessee
Miami Florida
Virginia Kentucky
East Carolina Georgia
Georgia Tech Central Florida
West Virginia Louisville

South Conference

Division 5 Division 6
Alabama TCU
Auburn Texas
Ole Miss Texas Tech
Mississippi St Texas A&M
LSU Baylor
Tulane Oklahoma
Arkansas Oklahoma St
Southern Miss Missouri
Houston Nebraska

West Conference

Division 7 Division 8
Iowa Washington
Arizona St Washington St
Iowa St Oregon
Kansas Oregon St
Kansas St Boise St
Arizona Stanford
Colorado California
Utah UCLA
BYU USC

I’m allowed to dream, right?

NCAA Final Four predictions

So we’re down to the Final Four. It’s been one of the most exciting basketball tournaments ever.  Poor Butler.  Last year’s Cinderella team. No Cinderella this year. Oh, they’re back in the Final Four again. But this time, they’re being overshadowed by VCU.  Butler and VCU will face-off in the first semi-final game next Saturday.  Should be a defensive struggle.  And in the other bracket will be a couple of well-known powers, Kentucky and UConn.

Based on my latest rankings, we have two very exciting basketball games in store.  UConn is ranked #6 and Kentucky is ranked #8. Butler is ranked #34 and VCU is ranked #41.  But ignore the rankings.  On March 7th, my rankings had UConn at #13, Kentucky at #29, Butler at #57, and VCU was ranked #76.  Here are the current power ratings for each school:

  1. UConn 61.935
  2. Kentucky 61.761
  3. Butler 59.898
  4. VCU 59.543

Based on these ratings, here are the chances of each team advancing to the championship game:

  1. Butler 52.04%
  2. UConn 51.00%
  3. Kentucky 49.00%
  4. VCU 47.96%

Nobody is a clear favorite in either game.  These should be tremendous games.  So who’s the favorite to win it all?  Well, based on my ratings, here is the breakdown:

  1. UConn 31.86%
  2. Kentucky 30.15%
  3. Butler 20.27%
  4. VCU 17.76%

So it seems that the winner of the UConn/Kentucky matchup has the best chance to win the national championship.  But I wouldn’t put money on it.  Butler and VCU have proven that they not only can play with anyone, they can beat anyone.  It should be a fun ride!

My College Football Rankings are out!

Its the first weekend of October and I’ve published my first rankings of the year in college football.  Thanks to Virginia Tech’s loss to James Madision this year, Delaware and James Madison are currently ranked in the Top 25.  This should change as the year goes by.  The biggest surprise is that Alabama is not my number 1 team yet.  That goes to Arizona for now.  Alabama comes in at number 2 and Iowa comes in at number 3 with their only loss coming at Arizona.  Rounding out my top 5 are Oregon at number 4 and TCU at number 5.  The rest of my top 10 are Boise State, Ohio State, Missouri, Stanford and Kansas State.

The rankings are pretty volatile and will change quite a bit throughout October.

My rankings

See how I compare against other rankings on Kenneth Massey’s College Football Ranking Comparison.

As always, I want to thank Peter Wolfe for providing the scores that allow me to do my rankings!

My college rankings are out. (A week early)

I’m publishing my college rankings a week early this season. No surprises. LSU and Oklahoma are at the top. My Hokies are #17 but I predict they will fall over the next three weeks. Why? They face UNC, Clemson, and Duke in their next three games. UNC and Duke will kill their strenght of schedule and Clemson will probably just kill them.

If Tech doesn’t find an offense soon, its going to be a long season.

Greatest upset ever? Not hardly.

By now, everybody knows about Appalachian States shocking win over Michigan last Saturday. Most of the media is calling it perhaps the greatest upset in college football history. While it makes for great headlines, its far from it. I’ll try and explain.In 1978, the NCAA split up Division I football into two divisions: I-A and I-AA. I don’t know what the criteria was in deciding who went to what division, but it seems like the “major” conferences went to I-A. So when you hear the media say that no Division I-AA school has ever beaten a ranked I-A team, remember that its going back less than 30 years. Who knows what upsets took place in the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s.Michigan came into this season with a preseason ranking of #5. Why? Who knows. They lost most of their defense. Its amazing how quickly the media forgets about defense.Appalachian State won back to back National Championships in Division I-AA in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, there were 119 schools in Division I-A. There are about the same number of schools in Division I-AA. Should we assume that every Division I-A school is better than every Division I-AA school? Not hardly. Division I-AA schools win quite often against Division I-A opponents. It’s reasonable to assume that there is overlap between the two divisions if you were to rank them from top to bottom. In fact, my computer rankings do just that. And Michigan finished #6 in my 2006 rankings. So where was Appalachian State? If we use the philosophy that all Division I-A schools are better than all Division I-AA schools, then Appalachian State should have been ranked #120 since they were the best school in Division I-AA and there are 119 schools in Division I-A. But in my final computer rankings, Appalachian State was ranked #54. They finished ahead of the following Big 10 schools: #58 Purdue, #75 Indiana, #79 Michigan State, #88 Northwester and #106 Illinois. In fact, they were ranked ahead of 66 schools in Division I-A.So when the media claims Appalachian States victory of Michigan as the greatest upset ever in college football, they are really doing Appalachian State a disservice. It was a big upset, but it is far from the biggest of all time. It just sounds good that a I-AA school knocked off a “traditional” power like Michigan.So what IS the greatest upset in college football history? It’s a matter of personal opinion, but I can point to one game, particularly, in the last 30 years. On October 17, 1998, Temple visited Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech. Temple came into this game 0-6. Virginia Tech was 5-0. Oddsmakers made Virginia Tech a 36 point favorite. In my computer rankings, Virginia Tech was ranked #6 at this point in the season. Temple was ranked #143. Temple was worse than a lot of Division I-AA schools that year. Virginia Tech raced out to a 24-0 lead before Temple scored just before halftime to cut the lead to 24-7. Temple fought back in the second half and won the game 28-24. To this day, it remains the biggest upset according to oddsmakers. Virginia Tech fans have decided that this game never happened and refuse to acknowledge it today!So there you have it. Give Appalachian State its due. It was a great victory. But it was not the greatest upset in history. That happened in Blacksburg on an October day in 1998.

Don't blame the computers for putting Rutgers #2

The new BCS rankings are out and all the sports writers are complaining that Rutgers is #2 in the computer rankings. Well, its what you asked for. You took out the margin of victory. This is what is left. All you have to do is look at Jeff Sagarin’s rankings and Kenneth Massey’s rankings. Compare their BCS rankings with their unmodified rankings which DO take into account the margin of victory. Rutgers is #2 in both Massey’s and Sagarin’s BCS rankings. Ohio State is #6 in Massey’s BCS rankings and #3 in Sagarin’s BCS rankings. But with margin of victory factored in, Rutgers falls to #6 in Massey’s rankings and #8 in Sagarin’s rankings. Ohio State moves to #1 in both.

You can view all the computer rankings on Kenneth Massey’s College Football Ranking Comparison.

The fact is, writers don’t want facts to get in the way of their opinions. And they think they can more accurately rank schools than the computers can.