FanPost

Hoegher's Rankings and Picks: WEEK ONE

Hey y'all! Guess what?

(what)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS HERE. I'm so very excited you guys. I've got a whole schedule of football viewing options for this weekend, and I intend to be parked in front of some media device from Friday morning until Monday evening. (thank the heavens for the Internet (and ESPN3) so I can make up for all the games I'm going to miss) It will be glorious.

Anyway! In addition to my rankings, which I plan on sharing with y'all throughout the season (and you can tell me how wrong I may be with them), I'd also like to see how well those rankings perform at picking the games for each week. Don't worry, I won't clog up the FanPosts, I intend to join both those things (rankings and picks) into one post.

As this is WEEK ONE of the season, all these picks will be based on my pre-season rankings. For each week here-on-after, they'll be based on the current season rankings, with an important note: because I delight in the early week chaos, these rankings will be based ONLY on the field action from the current season. If that means that Indiana is ranked higher than Michigan next week because Indiana plays an FCS school while Michigan gets crushed by plays Alabama - so be it. It works itself out eventually :)

First! I made some adjustments to my pre-season rankings. The weight of the 2011 season was reduced, which shuffled the board a bit. Most noticeable is Ohio State's rise:

Rank NCAA Team Conf Proj. Rec Conf. Rec Adj Marg Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
1 Alabama SEC 11-1 7-1 1.113 1.567 2 0.454 1
2 LSU SEC 10-2 6-2 1.040 1.535 5 0.495 2
3 Oklahoma B12 10-2 7-2 0.968 1.564 3 0.596 4
4 Oregon Pac-12 11-1 8-1 0.966 1.742 1 0.776 25
5 OklahomaState B12 9-3 7-2 0.781 1.537 4 0.756 18
6 BoiseState MWC 11-1 8-0 0.752 1.363 13 0.610 6
7 Florida SEC 9-3 5-3 0.684 1.427 8 0.743 17
8 USC Pac-12 9-3 6-3 0.661 1.319 15 0.658 9
9 Wisconsin B10 10-2 6-2 0.659 1.486 7 0.826 31
10 Arkansas SEC 8-4 5-3 0.644 1.526 6 0.882 41
11 Stanford Pac-12 9-3 7-2 0.621 1.384 11 0.763 21
12 Georgia SEC 9-3 5-3 0.620 1.390 10 0.770 23
13 TCU B12 8-4 6-3 0.575 1.270 19 0.695 12
14 OhioState B10 8-4 5-3 0.543 1.144 33 0.601 5
15 Texas B12 8-4 5-4 0.539 1.160 31 0.621 7
16 Michigan B10 8-4 5-3 0.532 1.348 14 0.816 29
17 Missouri SEC 8-4 4-4 0.527 1.216 22 0.689 11
18 VirginiaTech ACC 9-3 6-2 0.524 1.165 30 0.641 8
19 WestVirginia B12 8-4 5-4 0.514 1.404 9 0.889 43
20 FloridaState ACC 9-3 6-2 0.502 1.206 26 0.704 13
21 PennState B10 8-4 5-3 0.493 1.067 45 0.574 3
22 NotreDame Ind. 7-5 1-1 0.488 1.197 29 0.709 14
23 MichiganState B10 8-4 5-3 0.484 1.206 25 0.722 15
24 SouthCarolina SEC 7-5 4-4 0.480 1.156 32 0.677 10
25 TexasAM SEC 7-5 4-4 0.470 1.277 17 0.807 28

And the rest of the Big Ten:

Rank NCAA Team Conf Proj. Rec Conf. Rec Adj Marg Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
26 Nebraska B10 8-4 4-4 0.442 1.200 27 0.758 19
38 Iowa B10 8-4 4-4 0.241 1.012 54 0.772 24
46 Illinois B10 7-5 4-4 0.161 0.951 67 0.790 27
63 Purdue B10 6-6 3-5 -0.018 0.969 64 0.988 58
69 Northwestern B10 5-7 3-5 -0.089 1.066 46 1.155 91
83 Minnesota B10 4-8 2-6 -0.238 0.901 76 1.139 86
101 Indiana B10 3-9 1-7 -0.431 0.933 69 1.365 111

Right. Okay, now that that stuff is squared away, on to the picks! I plan on doing picks for the AP Top 25 and (of course) the rest of the Big Ten. Why the AP Top 25, you ask? Because I think it's less of a sham than the Coaches Poll, and using my own Top 25 would be a bit presumptuous. Also, less interesting.

For each game, I'll make a pick, and (since it's the pre-season) I'll also display a probability. This represents the likelihood that the chosen team wins the game. For a lot of these games (like LSU - North Texas), that'll be 99% (99% being my cap, since I feel there should always be a chance of an upset. See: Appalachian State 2007). For other games (like Clemson - Auburn) that'll be closer to 50%. For a general rule of thumb, 65% likelihood is roughly equivalent to a team being favored by a TD. 50% is obviously a pick 'em. Extrapolate out from there, if you so choose.

Okay, I've talked enough:

Team Opponent Winner Probability?
#1 USC Hawaii USC 99.0%
#2 Alabama #8 Michigan Alabama 80.2%
#3 LSU NorthTexas LSU 99.0%
#4 Oklahoma UTEP Oklahoma 99.0%
#5 Oregon ArkansasState Oregon 99.0%
#6 Georgia Buffalo Georgia 99.0%
#7 FloridaState FCS FloridaState 99.0%
#9 SouthCarolina Vanderbilt SouthCarolina 67.9%
#10 Arkansas FCS Arkansas 99.0%
#11 WestVirginia Marshall WestVirginia 89.0%
#12 Wisconsin FCS Wisconsin 99.0%
#13 MichiganState #24 BoiseState BoiseState 64.0%
#14 Clemson Auburn Clemson 50.1%
#15 Texas Wyoming Texas 98.9%
#16 VirginiaTech GeorgiaTech VirginiaTech 73.5%
#17 Nebraska SouthernMississippi Nebraska 64.6%
#18 OhioState MiamiOH OhioState 93.5%
#19 OklahomaState FCS OklahomaState 99.0%
#21 Stanford SanJoseState Stanford 99.0%
#22 KansasState FCS KansasState 99.0%
#23 Florida BowlingGreen Florida 96.7%
#25 Louisville Kentucky Louisville 59.8%

And the rest of the Big Ten

Team Opponent Winner Probability?
Illinois WesternMichigan Illinois 67.6%
Indiana FCS Indiana 78.4%
Iowa NorthernIllinois Iowa 69.8%
Minnesota UNLV Minnesota 72.3%
Northwestern Syracuse Northwestern 55.3%
PennState Ohio PennState 88.7%
Purdue FCS Purdue 99.0%

Cool beans! Couple thoughts:

Yes, some of these teams are ranked a bit more optimistically than they should be. This is the issue with not looking at returning starter data when making pre-season projections. It happens. For the record: I did not pick Boise State in my Stupid Upset Pick competition (see: EDSBS), even though every thing on my Excel sheets was telling me to do so. I picked Nevada over California (California is favored by 10.5 pts, which is way too high).

Florida is not one I think is too optimistic, though. If they can figure out their QB situation (which, granted Muschamp isn't really on a good track with right now) they will be really good. They're my pick to represent the SEC East, only partially because I think Georgia will choke away their easy schedule and expectations like they usually do.

Also: Southern Mississippi. Watch out for them Nebraska. That 20 pt spread lies to you. If I were a betting man, I'd put all my apples on the South Hawkeyes to cover (NOTE: not responsible for any money lost following poor advice given here).

Yep Michigan: 20% chance. If it makes you feel better, that's pretty close in line with the Vegas odds, (80% ~ 15 pts). In all honesty, I will be extremely impressed if you keep it within 10 pts. Sorry, but Alabama's really good. And you can't tell me Dennard is a better passer than Jordan Jefferson.

Big Ten 10-2 projected though! Don't f(ri)ck it up Northwestern. Also you Minnesota. You lose to New Mexico State AT HOME, I won't trust you until you prove otherwise. And Michigan State (as stated before) has a very good chance against Boise State. Beware of Chris Petersen, though. He's crafty.

FOOTBALL. Well, I'm going to spend all weekend glued to various screens, hoping that I won't be proven silly come Tuesday. Even in that case: IT'S BACK. OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER. Enjoy the the weekend, y'all :)

(Oh, if Wisconsin loses on Saturday, expect my post next week to be full of spelling errors, because I will be drinking away the pain for the next seven days).

- hoegher

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