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Hoegher's Rankings and Picks: WEEK FOUR

Hey y'all! You know, the Big Ten may not be the shining pedestal of quality football this year that we all hoped it would be. Non-conference embarrassments by Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan(s), Wisconsin, etc. The list goes on and on. It would be easy to let our conversations and discussions devolve into foul expletives and exclamations of lament of how our favorite teams and alma maters are failing us in the sporting world. The wonderful souls at BlackHeartGoldPants have certainly gone this route.

But I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately (because it's the greatest, obviously), and in honor of British sensibility I say: bollocks to all that. Who says we need to be down and glum this whole time? There are plenty of more weeks on the schedule to do that. So no angry kitty pictures this week. No, I'm going to try and put as positive spin on everything this week as I can. I advise y'all to put on your best Bama logic caps and join in the fun. Because you know what's the hidden blessing about enduring a rough non-conference season so far?

We're all still un-defeated in the Big Ten. ROLL TIDE BADGERS :)

My rankings follow. Full schedule adjustments have still not been added, but they will next week, just in time for conference season. And if you're wondering: that time-frame isn't based on anything more than my personal gut instinct :)

Rank LW NCAA Team Conf Record Adj Marg Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
1 1 FloridaState ACC 3-0 1.428 1.550 8 0.122 1
2 12 OklahomaState B12 2-1 1.396 2.104 1 0.708 40
3 5 Alabama SEC 3-0 1.368 1.524 10 0.156 2
4 6 ArizonaState Pac-12 2-1 1.111 1.659 5 0.548 18
5 39 SouthCarolina SEC 3-0 1.022 1.436 14 0.414 5
6 4 LSU SEC 3-0 1.012 1.721 3 0.709 42
7 21 Arizona Pac-12 3-0 0.995 1.442 13 0.446 10
8 3 TCU B12 2-0 0.981 1.167 50 0.185 3
9 16 Texas B12 3-0 0.879 1.422 15 0.542 16
10 54 Florida SEC 3-0 0.863 1.504 11 0.641 29
11 11 Utah Pac-12 2-1 0.861 1.404 17 0.543 17
12 18 Stanford Pac-12 3-0 0.850 1.265 36 0.415 7
13 14 TexasTech B12 3-0 0.835 1.328 29 0.493 13
14 8 GeorgiaTech ACC 2-1 0.829 1.383 22 0.554 20
15 38 NotreDame Ind. 3-0 0.789 1.373 25 0.584 22
16 58 TexasAM SEC 1-1 0.759 1.173 49 0.414 6
17 32 IowaState B12 3-0 0.744 1.109 60 0.365 4
18 71 USC Pac-12 2-1 0.744 1.375 23 0.631 27
19 15 Georgia SEC 3-0 0.742 1.579 7 0.837 57
20 19 Purdue B10 2-1 0.740 1.399 19 0.659 31
21 9 OhioState B10 3-0 0.732 1.352 27 0.619 26
22 25 KansasState B12 3-0 0.717 1.389 21 0.672 33
23 27 Louisville BE 3-0 0.703 1.320 32 0.618 25
24 63 Vanderbilt SEC 1-2 0.675 1.114 58 0.439 9
25 48 Missouri SEC 2-1 0.670 1.367 26 0.697 37

And the rest of the Big Ten follows, in what is a large gathering of warrior poets:

Rank LW NCAA Team Conf Record Adj Marg Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
28 20 Michigan B10 2-1 0.602 1.832 2 1.230 93
30 79 Northwestern B10 3-0 0.586 1.324 30 0.738 46
32 23 Illinois B10 2-1 0.542 1.005 77 0.462 11
43 65 Nebraska B10 2-1 0.428 1.278 35 0.850 58
46 42 MichiganState B10 2-1 0.400 0.893 92 0.493 12
54 56 Minnesota B10 3-0 0.250 0.947 85 0.698 38
75 45 Iowa B10 2-1 -0.009 0.684 116 0.693 36
81 59 PennState B10 1-2 -0.051 0.671 117 0.722 44
88 100 Wisconsin B10 2-1 -0.112 0.955 83 1.067 75
99 118 Indiana B10 2-1 -0.296 0.839 97 1.135 83

Some thoughts...

Yes, Florida State is still #1. Even ahead of Alabama (and somewhat strangely, Oklahoma State) .They've played some pretty low quality opponents (two FCS and Wake Forest), yes. But they've looked utterly unstoppable in doing so. They've given up 3 pts total. THREE. That's impressive no matter who you play. And considering the trouble the Demon Deacons have given the Seminoles in recent years, that's fairly impressive. Given the play of Florida State thus far and Virginia Tech's... whatever that was... at the hands of Pittsburgh, I'm thinking Florida State might actually be "back." (whatever that means)

As for Alabama? Well (barring a complete collapse by Michigan against Notre Dame this week and continued John L-ing by Arkansas), I have full confidence they'll take their rightful place at the head of this list next week. Which should give encouragement to Michigan fans. As rough as their tour of Jerry World went, it stands up pretty tall to the 0-52 shut-out at home that Arkansas just endured. Alabama is in a class of their own right now, and that's fine. Bonus points for everyone else: we don't have to sign our souls over to the diminutive devil that is Nick Saban.

The face of joy/1000 gray-shirted souls burning

At least we're not Colorado. However well (or not) the first few weeks have gone for the Big Ten, we still have some positives to point to. We went 10-2 last weekend! Everyone has a win - even Penn State (SIDE NOTE: the reports of Penn State's imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated. They are not going to suddenly turn into Akron, and they've performed okay these first few weeks. Not great, but not eye sore inducing either. End SIDE NOTE). Buffaloes fans, though? Yeesh... [/tugs collar] They lost to Colorado State - who is 0-2 vs San Jose State and North Dakota State otherwise. They lost to Sacramento State - who got blown out by New Mexico State in Week One. They lost to Fresno State 69-14, but they were down 55-7 at the half.

Colorado might seriously be the worst BCS team of all time. Right now, that honor goes to the late 90's, early 00's Rutgers teams (the 2001 Rutgers team lost 80-7 to a 3-9 West Virginia squad, for example). And it's early season and all, but 2012 Colorado rates out right in that range of futility right now. Remember: it could always be worse. Though they have lots of pot there to help prevent memories from being preserved.

Utah, I have no idea what to do with you.You're solid in Week One, and I think you deserve to be considered a serious challenger to USC in the Pac-12 South. Then you lose to Utah State - granted, glass houses and whatnot - and I write you off. You latest act is to knock off a decent BYU team three separate times (which I totally called, but didn't really believe would happen). Schizo, all of you.

In the interest of positive thinking, though, I will choose to use this as evidence that Utah State is a top tier program and Wisconsin proved itself worthy of their ranking. When BYU beats Boise State in Idaho next week, this will mean that - through liberal use of the transitive property - Wisconsin > Boise State, therefore Wisconsin is a co-conference favorite with Michigan State, just as the prophecies foretold.

Northwestern, our shining star. Just a short bit here, but three victories against BCS programs is legit, and the #30 ranking here agrees. Also: Northwestern > Vanderbilt => Big Ten > SEC. Q.E.D.

PICKS TIME!

I made a slight change to my "confidence" calculations in the past week, after looking at several more years worth of data (yay computers!). Pick 'em is still obviously 50% confidence, but a 7 pt favorite corresponds to 70% confidence, 14 pt favorite corresponds to 85% confidence, 21 pt favorite corresponds to 95% confidence, and the cap of 99% occurs right around 25 pts. Just for those that were wondering...

I performed surprisingly well last week (26-4 overall, 82-12 on the season) even 11-1 in the Big Ten - WOO GO BADGE- ahem. I think you'll see the results of my prowess in the OTE Predictions competition. I totally won last week, and I really wish they still gave out prizes for the weekly winners. Any poor performance this week is obviously an aberration and should be ignored.

Team Opponent Winner Confidence
#1 Alabama FloridaAtlantic Alabama 99%
#2 LSU Auburn LSU 96%
#3 Oregon #22 Arizona Arizona 75%
#4 FloridaState #10 Clemson FloridaState 99%
#5 Georgia Vanderbilt Georgia 55%
#6 Oklahoma #15 KansasState KansasState 58%
#7 SouthCarolina Missouri SouthCarolina 74%
#8 WestVirginia Maryland Maryland 52%
#11 NotreDame #18 Michigan NotreDame 64%
#13 USC California USC 97%
#14 Florida Kentucky Florida 87%
#16 OhioState UAB OhioState 99%
#17 TCU Virginia TCU 98%
#19 UCLA OregonState UCLA 74%
#20 Louisville FIU Louisville 93%
#21 MichiganState EasternMichigan MichiganState 99%
#23 MississippiState SouthAlabama MississippiState 88%
#24 BoiseState BYU BYU 71%
#25 Nebraska FCS Nebraska 99%

And the rest of the Big Ten:

Team Opponent Winner Confidence
Illinois LouisianaTech Illinois 97%
Iowa CentralMichigan Iowa 99%
Minnesota Syracuse Minnesota 67%
Northwestern FCS Northwestern 99%
PennState Temple Temple 53%
Wisconsin UTEP UTEP 58%

I could be making so much money if I actually followed these picks for the Wisconsin games. Against the spread, that is.

- hoegher

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