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Hoegher's Rankings and Picks: WEEK TWELVE (picks update!)

Went out way too fast in my half-marathon this morning, but I still managed to stagger to a time bettering my goal. I'm celebrating by drinking beer, obviously.

THE RANKINGS

rk LW NCAA Team Conf Record Rating Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
1 1 FloridaState ACC 9-0 1.438 1.987 3 0.418 3
2 2 Baylor B12 8-0 1.400 2.252 1 0.604 13
3 3 Alabama SEC 9-0 1.305 1.539 11 0.292 1
4 4 Oregon Pac-12 8-1 1.165 1.862 5 0.581 11
5 6 OhioState B10 9-0 1.128 1.860 6 0.613 14
6 5 ArizonaState Pac-12 7-2 1.044 1.965 4 0.760 37
7 8 Wisconsin B10 7-2 0.963 1.374 18 0.454 4
8 7 Louisville Amer 8-1 0.924 1.260 29 0.417 2
9 10 Missouri SEC 9-1 0.845 1.509 13 0.635 19
10 9 Clemson ACC 8-1 0.842 1.552 10 0.666 21
11 14 Washington Pac-12 6-3 0.830 1.349 21 0.542 8
12 11 TexasAM SEC 8-2 0.815 2.057 2 1.064 82
13 16 Stanford Pac-12 8-1 0.788 1.302 24 0.545 10
14 17 Auburn SEC 9-1 0.775 1.396 17 0.619 15
15 15 GeorgiaTech ACC 6-3 0.769 1.336 22 0.583 12
16 12 CentralFlorida Amer 7-1 0.749 1.492 14 0.708 28
17 13 BYU Ind. 6-3 0.747 1.372 19 0.625 16
18 18 LSU SEC 7-3 0.707 1.568 9 0.801 43
19 22 OklahomaState B12 8-1 0.684 1.430 16 0.721 33
20 20 Georgia SEC 6-3 0.678 1.591 8 0.847 50
21 21 SouthCarolina SEC 7-2 0.650 1.259 30 0.629 18
22 19 Miami ACC 7-2 0.624 1.531 12 0.852 52
23 24 MichiganState B10 8-1 0.597 0.962 69 0.465 5
24 23 USC Pac-12 7-3 0.588 1.068 52 0.543 9
25 27 UCLA Pac-12 7-2 0.565 1.250 32 0.693 26

And the Big Ten in particular...

rk LW NCAA Team Conf Record Rating Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
5 6 OhioState B10 9-0 1.128 1.860 6 0.613 14
7 8 Wisconsin B10 7-2 0.963 1.374 18 0.454 4
23 24 MichiganState B10 8-1 0.597 0.962 69 0.465 5
35 37 Indiana B10 4-5 0.407 1.832 7 1.334 111
46 40 Michigan B10 6-3 0.302 1.243 34 0.928 64
48 45 Iowa B10 6-4 0.291 0.935 74 0.675 22
51 44 PennState B10 5-4 0.243 0.929 76 0.710 30
53 54 Nebraska B10 7-2 0.211 1.105 49 0.894 61
56 62 Minnesota B10 8-2 0.183 0.971 67 0.799 42
59 60 Northwestern B10 4-5 0.142 1.027 61 0.888 60
75 76 Illinois B10 3-6 -0.058 1.165 43 1.228 105
115 115 Purdue B10 1-8 -0.749 0.480 122 1.153 91

A primer on what goes into these rankings can be found here. Some thoughts...

BAYLOR BAYLOR BAYLOR BAYLOR BAYLOR. Sorry, had to get that out of my system. Part of the reason why I love Baylor so much is that non-blue bloods never get the chance to compete for a national championship. The closest has probably been Oregon, but they at least had two decades of Nike $$$$ to get them up there. Oklahoma State got passed up by an Alabama team that placed second in its division, just to make the point more clear. So when a team like Baylor comes along - undefeated and legitimately good (get out of here Fresno State) - I am going to be on that like flies to honey.

In Baylor's case, the offense gets a lot of the attention. If I wanted, I could expand upon how it really is, compared to rest of my database (and it is truly bonkers). But Baylor has had a great offense for three years running now, with three different quarterbacks running the show. The offense is not why Baylor is suddenly in the BCs conversation. That honor goes to the defense. 13th in the nation (whether or not you believe that's a valid assessment of Baylor) isn't world beating, but it's certainly miles ahead of where they were last year. And with the offense Baylor has going, 13th is more than enough to get the job done.

Here, a quick-and-dirty comparison of Baylor's defensive performances (pts/gm, yds/ply):

pts/gm yds/play
Opponent season vs Baylor season vs Baylor
Buffalo 30.9 13 5.35 4.84
LouisianaMonroe 22.2 7 4.99 3.64
WestVirginia 25.3 42 5.34 5.25
KansasState 34.0 25 6.29 5.56
IowaState 22.4 7 4.41 2.90
Kansas 15.9 14 4.34 3.71
Oklahoma 28.9 12 5.67 3.43

stats via CFB Stats

Obviously, this is incomplete, but I didn't really want to spend time going into every single detail of every Baylor game. Still, the one real blemish in there is the 42 pts given up to West Virginia. Considering that game was 56-14 at the half (with 7 pf West Virginia's points coming via fumble return), I'm not going to read too much into that one.

I don't actually think Baylor is better than Alabama or Florida State, but I do think that they are in the conversation besides. Obviously, all bets are off if they lose - as it is for most title contenders (Alabama has a special hall pass for this) - but I'll be hoping they get the credit they deserve. If they get Fresno State in the Fiesta Bowl, though...

More opportunities for criticism: the Pac-12 is pretty good. It's pretty apparent that my metrics look favorably on the Pac-12, with six teams in my Top 25 (and that's not counting Arizona and Utah, who come in at #27 and #28, respectively). For some people, this cause some bothersome results, such as #6 Arizona State, #11 Washington, #any USC. I'm not going to pretend the ordinal rankings here are perfect, but there is a reason so many Pac-12 teams pop up, despite common opinion.

Here is the Pac-12's non-conference record (manually calculated, so feel free to check me): 29-6 (includes FCS games, Stanford still has to play Notre Dame).

Of those 6 losses, two are from California (to Ohio State and Northwestern). California sucks and isn't a relevant part of the Pac-12 = awesome equation anyway. Another is Oregon State's loss to Eastern Washington (FCS). Oregon State's better than that loss would suggest (actually, that loss is probably the one thing keeping them out of the Top 30), but I'm not going to defend a FCS loss, no matter the opponent. Oregon's State's hardly the only BCS school to have an FCS loss, though (Bill Snyder says hello!).

That leaves two losses to Notre Dame (USC and Arizona State), both of which were on the road (ish in Arizona State's case) and close games (14-10 over USC, 37-34 over Arizona State). Notre Dame isn't a great team this year, but they are still plenty decent enough to where a loss isn't anything to be ashamed of (right, Sparty?). The final loss, 24-31 to Auburn by Washington State, just looks better and better as the year goes on.

I don't keep conference specific adjustments (a game against Iowa State is treated the same as a game against Utah State), but a relatively strong non-conference record across the Pac-12 is going to have some residual effects as those teams go against each other. I probably haven't convinced you that Utah is any good, but I hope I've given some understanding as to why the Pac-12 is looked upon the way it is.

Goddammit Iowa, you let Purdue score 14 pts. Now they only need 40(ish) pts in their last three games to overcome 1981 Northwestern futility. THAT'S NOT ENOUGH. The rest of your week in BCS Worst.

#115 - (B10) - Purdue

#112 - (AAC) - Connecticut

#111 - (AAC) - South Florida

#105 - (AAC) - Temple

#101 - (B12) - Kansas

THE PICKINGS

Lines taken from 5Dimes.eu here, as of 2013-11-11. Home teams highlighted in blue.

Overcat Underdog Proj Winner Conf Line Hoegh Pick vs Spd
NorthernIllinois BallState BallState 67% 7.0 -5.9 BallState
Clemson GeorgiaTech Clemson 56% 10.5 2.1 GeorgiaTech
UCLA Washington Washington 71% 2.5 -7.5 Washington
Stanford USC Stanford 66% 3.5 5.6 Stanford
Auburn Georgia Auburn 58% 4.0 2.7 Georgia
FloridaState Syracuse FloridaState 99% 38.5 34.3 Syracuse
Miami Duke Miami 62% 3.0 3.8 Miami
OklahomaState Texas OklahomaState 71% 3.0 7.5 OklahomaState
Louisville Houston Louisville 80% 15.5 11.3 Houston
Baylor TexasTech Baylor 99% 27.0 29.2 Baylor

And the Big Ten games...

Overcat Underdog Proj Winner Conf Line Hoegh Pick vs Spd
Wisconsin Indiana Wisconsin 88% 21.0 15.7 Indiana
OhioState Illinois OhioState 99% 32.0 33.5 OhioState
Northwestern Michigan Michigan 63% 3.0 -4.5 Michigan
PennState Purdue PennState 99% 21.5 28.0 PennState
MichiganState Nebraska MichiganState 79% 6.5 10.9 MichiganState
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