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Hoegher's Rankings and Picks: WEEK THREE

Guys, this may be a not-very-fun-year for me. On the one hand, that's part of the benefit of diving in the the college football jungle and developing rankings like this: I get to care about more teams than just my Badgers, so every weekend isn't completely filled with sad-ness*. On the other hand, seeing Montee Ball stuffed on 3rd and 2 because our O-Line decided to say "up yours" to Wisconsin tradition makes no one happy.

But still, I soldier on. As do we all, for with every new week comes a new opportunity to start a winning streak (Ohio State fans can be quiet here). May the Iowa's, Purdue's and Illinois' of the world also see success in the new future. Not Nebraska, though. That's what you get for speaking poorly of the Rose Bowl. LEARN TO LOVE IT.

(A reminder that the rankings and picks following the jump are of my own creation, and therefore should not be considered anything more than amateur. For more detailed and professional analysis of how exactly Wisconsin is going to go 1-11 this year, please see the always excellent Bill Connelly)

*SIDE NOTE: However (unlike my fellow Wisconsin fans) my favorite NFL team is leading their division currently. SUCK IT PACKERS, GO VIKINGS.

Because there are two weeks worth of data now, all pre-season assumptions have been discarded. However, I'm leaving off some of the schedule adjustments I normally use for these early weeks (until the conference schedule starts) to quell a bit of the quirk that would introduce. Not that it really matters, these aren't supposed to be meaningful so early in the season. To the rankings:

Rank LW NCAA Team Conf Record Adj Marg Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
1 3 FloridaState ACC 2-0 1.416 1.567 8 0.151 2
2 7 Baylor B12 1-0 1.368 2.000 1 0.632 34
3 27 TCU B12 1-0 1.340 1.415 19 0.075 1
4 32 LSU SEC 2-0 1.211 1.628 5 0.417 7
5 4 Alabama SEC 2-0 1.067 1.399 20 0.332 3
6 9 ArizonaState Pac-12 2-0 1.067 1.662 3 0.595 27
7 80 NorthCarolinaState ACC 1-1 1.056 1.618 6 0.561 22
8 38 GeorgiaTech ACC 1-1 1.047 1.454 16 0.407 5
9 2 OhioState B10 2-0 1.017 1.489 13 0.472 11
10 25 UtahState WAC 2-0 0.989 1.430 18 0.441 10
11 12 Utah Pac-12 1-1 0.974 1.388 22 0.414 6
12 1 OklahomaState B12 1-1 0.944 1.752 2 0.809 55
13 59 VirginiaTech ACC 2-0 0.897 1.384 23 0.488 13
14 22 TexasTech B12 2-0 0.897 1.373 25 0.476 12
15 50 Georgia SEC 2-0 0.839 1.374 24 0.535 19
16 43 Texas B12 2-0 0.834 1.203 50 0.369 4
17 5 NorthCarolina ACC 1-1 0.776 1.397 21 0.621 30
18 83 Stanford Pac-12 2-0 0.769 1.264 35 0.495 16
19 18 Purdue B10 1-1 0.724 1.236 43 0.512 17
20 53 Michigan B10 1-1 0.719 1.596 7 0.877 64
21 62 Arizona Pac-12 2-0 0.716 1.361 26 0.645 35
22 57 BoiseState MWC 0-1 0.714 1.300 33 0.586 25
23 29 Illinois B10 1-1 0.698 1.233 44 0.535 20
24 14 WestVirginia B12 1-0 0.693 1.484 14 0.791 52
25 24 KansasState B12 2-0 0.683 1.264 36 0.580 23

And the rest of the Big MAC Ten:

Rank LW NCAA Team Conf Record Adj Marg Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
42 20 MichiganState B10 2-0 0.447 1.103 64 0.656 36
45 68 Iowa B10 1-1 0.408 0.927 83 0.518 18
56 87 Minnesota B10 2-0 0.253 0.999 76 0.745 47
59 94 PennState B10 0-2 0.222 0.826 94 0.603 28
65 8 Nebraska B10 1-1 0.132 1.056 71 0.924 69
79 84 Northwestern B10 2-0 -0.011 1.075 68 1.086 78
100 105 Wisconsin B10 1-1 -0.463 0.829 92 1.292 98
118 98 Indiana B10 2-0 -0.789 0.852 90 1.641 118

Some thoughts...

I'm sorry Michigan State, but trust me when I say this will be rectified before long. The only reason y'all rank so low is due to the fact that Boise State has only had one game. So what will probably rate out as a very good performance only appears as average right now. So don't worry about it. Just beat Notre Dame next week (not necessarily a given).

This is also how Indiana (at 2-0) can rate out as one of the worst teams in the FBS (not that I think that's really wrong). They've played a FCS team (Indiana State), which obviously doesn't help. Additionally, nice as their game against Massachusetts was (45-6), the other game the Minutemen were involved in ended 0-37 in Connecticut's favor. So some tempering of excitement may be in order still.

Doctors now say cheese and corn cause cancer. Or maybe it's the new coordinators. No matter what it is, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are all acting like they touched that basketball from Space Jam. Has anyone ever seen these new coaches? Do they bear any resemblance to these guys?

Not the rabbit. He's cool.

Space Jam reference quota aside, this is ridiculous. I projected UCLA's offense to rank 86th, they put up 36 pts on the Blackshirts (you wear that name with pride and think about what you've done should you besmirch it, Nebraska). Iowa State isn't terrible (projected defensive rank: 55th), but 6 pts on two field goals? Yeesh. And, of course, the Badgers. We need not refresh their struggles here. Thank God our new punters and kickers aren't terrible.

So of those three teams, who's most likely to turn it around? I'll have to go with Nebraska for my guess. I didn't project Iowa to be great on offense anyway, and that's before considering the wonders that Greg Davis brings to the table. Wisconsin was supposed to have a good offense, but when the fault lies with an O-Line performing like a 1st graders vs 5th graders Red Rover game (guess which one), I don't know how much can be done. I also don't know how 330 lb linemen can be pushed around like that, but wonders never cease. Nebraska may have just run into an unexpectedly good offense in UCLA, so I'll ride with them for now.

Even though it's early, you can still see some of the teams falling into place. LSU and Alabama fall in right by each other at 4 and 5, respectively, and they will inch their way up the table in the coming weeks, if not this week. Ohio State rates out 9th right now, actually a bit high for them I think (I still think mid-to-low teens), and I'm pleased to see Boise State still sticking around the Top 25, where I think they still deserve to be.

Early season over-rateds, though? Florida State should enjoy their top slot for now, but I expect them to come a-tumbling-down. Two games against - not even good - FCS teams is a very easy way to move your way up this list, but not a very good way to stay atop this list. TCU also (obviously) ranks too high, also because of a FCS team opponent. And forget what I said about Utah last week, any team that loses at home [EDIT: whoops, shouldn't make assumptions] to Utah State doesn't deserve to be considered a conference title contender. I will maintain this statement when Wisconsin loses to the Aggies next week in Camp Randall.

pre-emptive angry kitty picture

PICKS TIME!

As I said last week, these early season rankings and picks have little actual merit. So despite the fact I went 10-2 on my Big Ten picks (25-6 overall, 52-8 on the season), and I totally nailed Louisiana-Monroe over Arkansas (never doubt John L), that's more luck than anything else. Also, last week I had the benefit of some pre-season influence on my numbers - no more this time around. I anticipate a much worse outing this go round.

Team Opponent Winner Confidence
#1 Alabama Arkansas Alabama 99%
#2 USC #21 Stanford Stanford 90%
#3 LSU Idaho LSU 99%
#4 Oregon FCS Oregon 99%
#6 FloridaState WakeForest FloridaState 99%
#7 Georgia FloridaAtlantic Georgia 99%
#8 SouthCarolina UAB SouthCarolina 95%
#9 WestVirginia FCS WestVirginia 99%
#10 MichiganState #20 NotreDame NotreDame 55%
#11 Clemson FCS Clemson 88%
#12 OhioState California OhioState 99%
#13 VirginiaTech Pittsburgh VirginiaTech 99%
#14 Texas Mississippi Texas 99%
#15 KansasState NorthTexas KansasState 64%
#16 TCU Kansas TCU 99%
#17 Michigan Massachusetts Michigan 99%
#18 Florida #23 Tennessee Tennessee 54%
#19 Louisville NorthCarolina NorthCarolina 60%
#22 UCLA Houston UCLA 99%
#24 Arizona FCS Arizona 99%
#25 BYU Utah Utah 82%

And the rest of the Big Ten:

Team Opponent Winner Confidence
Illinois FCS Illinois 99%
Indiana BallState BallState 87%
Iowa FCS Iowa 98%
Minnesota WesternMichigan Minnesota 96%
Northwestern BostonCollege Northwestern 54%
PennState Navy PennState 97%
Purdue EasternMichigan Purdue 99%
Nebraska ArkansasState Nebraska 60%
Wisconsin UtahState UtahState 99%

For my Stupid Upset Pick of the week, I once again steered away from picking against the Badgers because I don't want to confront reality just yet. I've got Arizona State over Missouri. Here's to a better Big Ten weekend, y'all!

- hoegher

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