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Hoegher's Rankings and Picks: WEEK THREE

I've discovered a good way to catch up on work: simply never leave! It's currently 8:30p as I write this, and I'm sitting in front of my desk (taking a break currently, but I was legitimately working! Kind of!). I brought a sleeping bag and everything. It's actually not too bad, all things considered.

THE RANKINGS

rk LW NCAA Team Conf Record Rating Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
1 2 GeorgiaTech ACC 1-0 1.793 1.776 6 0.060 1
2 44 ArizonaState Pac-12 1-0 1.585 1.396 23 0.060 1
3 1 Washington Pac-12 1-0 1.431 1.462 18 0.174 4
4 10 Wisconsin B10 2-0 1.431 1.261 40 0.101 3
5 6 Alabama SEC 1-0 1.410 1.842 3 0.364 7
6 4 Oklahoma B12 2-0 1.178 1.258 42 0.247 5
7 5 Oregon Pac-12 2-0 1.172 1.624 7 0.435 11
8 34 Stanford Pac-12 1-0 1.129 2.000 1 0.703 30
9 87 Memphis Amer 0-1 1.062 2.000 1 0.767 41
10 3 Baylor B12 2-0 1.029 1.512 15 0.484 13
11 18 UCLA Pac-12 1-0 0.950 1.785 5 0.727 35
12 28 CentralFlorida Amer 2-0 0.949 1.004 77 0.267 6
13 7 Tennessee SEC 2-0 0.939 1.238 46 0.394 9
14 52 Utah Pac-12 2-0 0.937 1.488 17 0.544 16
15 9 Louisville Amer 2-0 0.924 1.258 41 0.416 10
16 60 UtahState MWC 1-1 0.894 1.588 10 0.645 24
17 15 OklahomaState B12 2-0 0.833 1.562 11 0.681 28
18 58 WesternKentucky Sun 1-1 0.784 1.833 4 0.924 66
19 12 Michigan B10 2-0 0.752 1.610 8 0.790 46
20 16 Arizona Pac-12 2-0 0.712 0.967 86 0.391 8
21 75 Auburn SEC 2-0 0.692 1.591 9 0.833 50
22 8 Duke ACC 2-0 0.608 1.071 67 0.530 14
23 23 NotreDame Ind. 1-1 0.595 1.329 29 0.726 34
24 14 BowlingGreen MAC 2-0 0.592 1.361 26 0.753 39
25 57 Vanderbilt SEC 1-1 0.586 1.211 50 0.647 25

And the rest of the Big Ten...

rk LW NCAA Team Conf Record Rating Adj Off rk Adj Def rk
31 84 Nebraska B10 2-0 0.542 1.505 16 0.912 63
38 51 PennState B10 2-0 0.483 0.976 82 0.557 17
57 45 MichiganState B10 2-0 0.236 0.774 102 0.583 18
61 41 Northwestern B10 2-0 0.194 1.271 39 1.061 88
72 108 Illinois B10 2-0 0.078 1.398 22 1.309 108
78 55 OhioState B10 2-0 0.001 0.876 91 0.875 59
85 59 Iowa B10 1-1 -0.069 0.855 92 0.920 64
86 89 Indiana B10 1-1 -0.104 1.426 20 1.551 119
110 53 Minnesota B10 2-0 -0.441 0.917 89 1.389 115
120 104 Purdue B10 1-1 -0.861 0.388 126 1.132 91

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

It's early in the season. Things probably look a bit strange. Don't worry about it. I tried to make this point last week, but maybe I wasn't clear enough, so here it goes again: Unlike most football ranking enthusiasts, I try to eliminate pre-season projections from my system as soon as possible. That means that every team has 1-2 games worth of data that's plugged into my set of Excel tables - and that's all. That's not very much to go on (in fact, it's so few games worth of data that I actually can't implement my full SOS adjustment). So please (and especially for the picks down there VVV) do not take these seriously. There a couple reasons why I choose to go bare bones as soon as the first few games roll around, and none of them are because I think these rankings are at all accurate two weeks into the season.

For one, I enjoy the absurdity of seeing teams like Western Kentucky and Duke rate out in the Top 25. College football is a pretty stratified sport, teams more or less secure themselves in the same tier every year, and that'll become apparent once a few more weeks pass. But like me sprinting out at the start of a half-marathon, the early season offers a brief bit of time for others to have their five seconds of glory.

For second, these rankings are my hobby (perhaps I need to find a better hobby, but that's a conversation for another day). In that sense, it's like a puzzle. The puzzle isn't really complete until the last piece is put in. And at the beginning, you won't be able to make much of it. But bit by bit, pieces get moved around and fall into place, eventually starting to form a somewhat coherent picture. That's how you should think of these at the moment. On that note...

U-RAH-RAH WISCONSIN WOOOO. Look, Wisconsin isn't the #4 team in the nation. They are potentially the best in the Big Ten, but I think most reasonable Badger fans would put them a half-step below the Ohio State/Michigan/Northwestern trifecta at the moment. There's just pretty much no way for two shut-outs to not rate Wisconsin out that highly (witness Georgia Tech and Arizona State also sitting pretty in the Top 5). Since I expect Arizona State to score at least once (maybe twice if they're lucky!), that's going to bring Wisconsin back down from their stratospheric heights soon enough.

The same goes for Georgia Tech, a team that routinely ranks highly in the Hoegher Rankings early on after blitzing some crappy team for a billion points:

2012 - 59-3 over Presbyterian

2011 - 63-21 over Western Carolina, 66-24 over Kansas

2010 - Lost to Kansas. Doesn't fit the theme, I just wanted to point that out.

only to come crashing back down when they hit the ACC schedule and their triple option magic no longer works. But yeah, that'll get sorted out soon enough.

Welcome to the Atrocious Football Club, Purdue! Ya know, I wasn't high on Darrell Hazell before the season (I thought his tenure at Kent State was too short, and the MAC too crappy, to justify the positive feelings), but I certainly didn't think he'd approach Tim Beckman levels in his first season. But low and behold here we are and the Big Ten has entered the "Worst BCS Team in America" conversation. Your list of leading candidates:

125 - Connecticut

124 - South Florida

120 - Purdue

118 - Oregon State

112 - Kansas State

This list is still dominated by those teams that managed to be part of that FCS carnage in Week One, but it's nice to see the Big East American fall into a familiar step.

THE PICKINGS

Lines taken from 5Dimes.eu here, as of 2013-09-11. Home teams highlighted in blue.

Overcat Underdog Proj Winner Conf Line Hoegh Pick vs Spd
TCU TexasTech TexasTech 75% 3.0 -9.1 TexasTech
Oklahoma Tulsa Oklahoma 99% 24.0 41.8 Oklahoma
Auburn MississippiState Auburn 78% 5.5 10.3 Auburn
Utah OregonState Utah 99% 3.5 46.4 Utah
FresnoState Colorado FresnoState 69% 9.5 6.7 Colorado
USC BostonCollege BostonCollege 89% 14.0 -16.2 BostonCollege
Alabama TexasAM Alabama 99% 7.5 39.7 Alabama
SouthCarolina Vanderbilt Vanderbilt 73% 13.5 -8.1 Vanderbilt
Maryland Connecticut Maryland 99% 6.5 34.3 Maryland
Rice Kansas Rice 68% 7.0 6.3 Kansas

And the Big Ten games...

Overcat Underdog Proj Winner Conf Line Hoegh Pick vs Spd
Indiana BowlingGreen BowlingGreen 93% 2.5 -19.4 BowlingGreen
Iowa IowaState Iowa 99% 2.5 29.4 Iowa
PennState CentralFlorida CentralFlorida 83% 5.5 -13.0 CentralFlorida
NotreDame Purdue NotreDame 99% 20.5 40.6 NotreDame
OhioState California OhioState 77% 15.5 9.9 California
Michigan Akron Michigan 96% 37.0 22.0 Akron
ArizonaState Wisconsin ArizonaState 63% 5.5 4.3 Wisconsin
Washington Illinois Washington 99% 9.5 37.7 Washington
Nebraska UCLA UCLA 80% 4.5 -11.4 UCLA
Northwestern WesternMichigan Northwestern 87% 30.5 15.4 WesternMichigan

My Stupid Upset Pick of the Week is Boston College (+14) over USC. GO BEARS AND GO BADGERS.

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