Monthly Archives: September 2018
Here is this week’s poll. As a reminder, this is based on resume and projected resume only. Only teams featured in the AP Top 25 poll are counted and ordered. This week, I’m splitting into the following pods:
- The Established Monsters: Undefeated Teams with 2+ Wins vs. Ranked Foes
- The Emerging Monsters: Undefeated Teams with 1 Win vs. a Ranked Foe
- Texas: Texas
- The Unknown Potentials: Undefeated Teams with No Ranked Wins
- The Yeah-Sures: Teams with Losses
THE ESTABLISHED MONSTERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH 2+ RANKED WINS
1. LSU (Previous Rank: 1)
LSU’s resume looks stronger on the top-end than it did a week ago. Miami and Auburn continue to take care of business outside of losses to LSU and both teams were steady in my poll. October 13th will be a separation game one way or the other against Georgia.
2. Stanford (Previous Rank: 5)
Ugly and unlikely as it may have been, Stanford won against Oregon to pick up its second win over a ranked foe this year. If the Cardinal gets past Notre Dame this weekend it will claim my poll’s top spot next week.
3. Kentucky (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
Welcome to the show, Wildcats. Quietly two teams have emerged as actual contenders out of seemingly nowhere: Kentucky and Texas. We’ll get to the Longhorns later, but for now Kentucky’s two wins over ranked opponents and no losses puts Mark Stoops’ squad in truly elite company.
THE EMERGING MONSTERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH 1 RANKED WIN
4. Georgia (Previous Rank: 3)
Georgia isn’t downgraded here for an ugly (albeit, 14-point) win at Mizzou. But the Dawgs don’t have two ranked wins. I still think the win at South Carolina was better than anything the rest of this tier has done though.
5. Ohio State (Previous Rank: 2)
Stanford and UK leapfrogged Ohio State on account of now having two ranked wins (vs. the Buckeyes’ 1). Georgia made a move up because the TCU win is now less impressive.
6. Notre Dame (Previous Rank: 6)
No change here for the Irish. A win vs. Stanford this week means a big move up though.
7. Alabama Previous Rank: 8)
Bama finally got a win over a ranked opponent in Texas A&M but it wasn’t enough for a huge needle swing.
8. Texas (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
Texas has one of the ugliest losses of any top 25 team (season-opener to Maryland), but the Longhorns are 2-0 vs. the Top 25 thanks to wins over USC and TCU. Ultimately, I view this as two positives and one negative and that’s better than the host of teams with no positives in the form of wins over ranked foes.
THE UNKNOWN POTENTIALS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH NO TOP 25 WINS
Honestly, it’s tough to differentiate these teams so let’s just list ’em off:
9. Oklahoma (Previous Rank: 9)
10. West Virginia (Previous Rank: 10)
11. Penn State (Previous Rank: 11)
12. Clemson (Previous Rank: 15)
13. UCF (Previous Rank: 16)
14. Duke (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
15. California (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
THE YEAH-SURES: TEAMS WITH LOSSES
16. Auburn (Previous Rank: 17)
The loss to LSU is still the “best” loss in the country and the win over Washington is one of the best wins this category can claim.
17. BYU (Previous Rank: 18)
BYU handed out what has arguably been the ugliest loss of the year two weeks ago against Wisconsin. That counts for something.
18. Texas Tech (Previous Rank: Not Ranked)
I guess we just forget about the season-opening loss to Ole Miss?
19. Oregon (Previous Rank: 14)
The Ducks should be sitting in the top 4, but the Stanford game escaped. Either way, they’re still in a good spot if they can put it back together with only two ranked opponents remaining.
20. Miami (Previous Rank: 20)
Tough to move up from the bottom of the Top 25 when you have a slew of unranked teams (Texas Tech, Cal, Duke, Texas, Kentucky) moving in.
21. Washington (Previous Rank: 21)
UW could and should make a statement this week vs. BYU. But they need to put somebody away at some point.
22. Michigan (Previous Rank: 22)
23. Wisconsin (Previous Rank: 24)
24. Mississippi State (Previous Rank: 12)
25. Michigan State (Previous Rank: 25)
This team is butt.
That’s all I got/
I released my Top 25 yesterday, so what’s it imply about the playoff?
First, I think there are ultimately 21 contenders. The clear-cut group comes from the undefeateds:
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia
- Penn State
- Mississippi State
- Boston College
I also think these schools have a shot with some help:
- Auburn – Winning out may be enough to win the SEC West.
- BYU – Winning out with two Top 10 Wins (Wisconsin, Washington) and another Top 25 Wins (Boise State) does it.
- Texas A&M – All we know at this point is A&M isn’t better than Clemson. So there’s a shot.
- Miami – Can still win the ACC.
- Michigan – Can still win the Big Ten.
- TCU – Needs to leapfrog three Big 12 schools, but that’s no more unlikely than Auburn’s odds.
I think Wisconsin and Michigan State are out on account of awful losses. I think UCF is out because of its schedule. There are a slew of undefeated schools lurking outside of the Top 25 that could make moves. I’m thinking specifically of Cal (3-0 start with a win over BYU) and Mizzou (undefeated entering admittedly weak SEC East play).
DYC Poll Implied Playoff:
Right now the top four seeds are:
- LSU – LSU has two Top 10 wins away from home. When will someone else be able to say that? It could be a while. The Tigers’ schedule is brutal but they’ve done everything you could ask of them thus far.
- Ohio State – I think LSU may have the two best wins in the country. Ohio State’s win over TCU may be the third-best. Michigan State and Michigan do not appear to be what some expected (both languishing at the bottom of every Top 25 poll), and Wisconsin seems conquerable yet again if the Badgers represent the other division in the Big Ten title. So Ohio State needs to do two thing: 1. Beat Penn State and 2. Not step on its own manhood along the way (against one of the Michigan schools or anyone else). That’s probably the most straight-forward and navigable to-do list of any contender.
- Georgia – The Bulldogs should enter a date with LSU undefeated and if the Tigers do the same (equally likely), the Dawgs will get real points for that win. It’s hard to see Kirby’s team missing the SEC Championship and I think they have a one-game window of grace (be it a loss to Auburn in the regular season or a loss in the conference championship game).
- Oklahoma State – The Big 12 is wide open but the Cowboys looked more impressive than Oklahoma (narrow win vs. Iowa State) and TCU (loss to Ohio State) this past weekend and have earned the right to be the Big 12’s representative. What changes that? Well, losing to a combination of TCU, Oklahoma and West Virginia. Or, a rally by another conference. Put bluntly: If Stanford beats Oregon next week, they’ll be in this spot.
DYC Adjusted Playoff Projection:
- Alabama – As strong as LSU has looked, the Tiger hype has mostly been built upon scheduling. Alabama would be 3-0 by much wider margins against the LSU schedule. Alabama looks as good as ever at this juncture.
- Ohio State – All of the above applies.
- Oklahoma State – I think the Big 12 is wide open and I’ve been wrong about Oklahoma so far this year, but I think some folks were wrong about OK State too. Thus far, they look every bit as deserving of a playoff spot as the Sooners.
- Georgia – Again, LSU has looked strong but I don’t feel any differently about Georgia’s trip to Baton Rouge than when the season began. I just think Georgia will get a hell of a lot more credit for the win.
That’s all I got/
DudeYouCrazy Top 25 – September 18: Georgia Checks In at No. 3, Ohio State Jumps Big, Auburn Crashes and Wisconsin Craters
At this juncture, you could probably break any Top 25 poll into 5 tiers:
- Undefeated teams with multiple wins vs. Top 25 opponents.
- Undefeated teams with one win vs. Top 25 opponent.
- Undefeated teams with no wins vs. Top 25 opponents.
- Teams with a single quality loss vs. the Top 25, but otherwise unblemished records or a Top 25 win paired with a bad loss.
- Teams who are ranked (because polls need 25 spots) despite losses to unranked teams.
For this week’s edition of the DYC Top 25, I’m going to use those tiers. Understand, that my methodology has not changed in terms of evaluating each team. But, I think adding those frameworks will make things interesting.
Also, I’m moving my Playoff Predictions to a second post. That will go live Wednesday morning.
THE MONSTERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE TOP-25 WINS
1. LSU (Previous Ranking: 1)
If you pretend to care about resumes, I don’t know how the hell you could have anyone else at the top of your poll. LSU is the only team in the country with more than one Top 25 win, and that only tells part of the story. Both of LSU’s opponents were actually ranked in the Top 10 when they played. Both teams are still ranked and are likely to remain ranked for some time (Miami won’t play another ranked team until October 26, assuming Boston College remains ranked. Auburn seems built to stay relevant). Further, both big wins came away from the cozy confines of Death Valley. No one can touch that! These are literally the two best wins in the country so far. What would be the Tigers’ greatest threat (four more ranked opponents on tap during the regular season) could be a real quill in the cap so long as they keep winning. And for now, the Tigers get a bit of a breather (LA Tech, Ole Miss and Florida) before taking on Georgia in what should be a matchup between undefeated Top 5 teams. Oh, and that game is at home for LSU.
THE ESTABLISHED CONTENDERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH ONE TOP-25 WIN
If you had to start a pool of College Football Playoff Contenders, you’d want to look at two things: 1. Who has accomplished a lot already? and 2. Who hasn’t eliminated themselves and still have upside based on schedule strength? I would argue that the first two tiers of this analysis (LSU above and the teams below in this section) have established good enough track records through three weeks (remember, that’s 25% of the season) to tout established track records and answer the first call based on the first prompt: Who has accomplished a lot already? After all, these are teams on track for 12-0 seasons with 3-4 wins over quality opponents. Obviously, much of that will change, but for now all we can go off of is the season’s first three weeks.
2. Ohio State (Previous Ranking: 11)
There are a number of rankings here that seem to justify my stance that this poll is unbiased. Ohio State is the first one of them. I hate Ohio State. But I can’t argue with the quality of their win over TCU. Saturday’s victory (at a neutral site) was probably the best non-LSU win of the year. I’m not going to sing a sad song for Urban Meyer or pat the program on the back for overcoming adversity that was self-created and not adverse enough, but the team kept on trucking without Meyer and there’s something to be said for that (as it relates to the players).
3. Georgia (Previous Ranking: 3)
Georgia should have jumped Clemson in the AP Poll after Week 2 but somehow there was a lag there. Either way, I still think Georgia’s win vs. then-ranked South Carolina on the road was the fourth most impressive win of the season by a currently-undefeated team. Stanford’s win vs. USC looks devalued based on the Trojans’ collapsing as does VA Tech’s win over Florida State. Notre Dame’s win over Michigan wasn’t more valuable than Georgia’s win over South Carolina in my poll last week, and the Irish aren’t getting helped by a narrow win over Vandy. The fifth-best win this year by an undefeated team is actually OK State over Boise State, but the home-field advantage there slightly cheapened it compared to UGA’s win on the road.
4. Oklahoma State (Previous Ranking: 15)
At this juncture, all Oklahoma State has done is beat Boise State. But the Cowboys absolutely demolished the Murder Smurfs. A 44-21 win vs. Boise State just doesn’t happen. That’s the sole reason why the Cowboys propelled so high. This win could be cheapened if Boise State falls out of the Top 25 or fails to pan out, but the Broncos have a very manageable schedule and I think this game will look even better (if BSU keeps winning as expected) before it looks worse. Further, the Cowboys are in a good spot until November when they finally play another ranked team. They’re only going to go down as a result of other teams’ wins. That’s an OK spot to be in if you’re already in the Top 5. Make other teams work to supplant you.
5. Stanford (Previous Ranking: 4)
Look, it doesn’t help that USC is trash and that win has been devalued. But the real reason Stanford fell this week was because OK State had a better win. The Oregon game this week could vault Stanford into elite company with LSU as the Cardinal could be one of just two teams with two Top 25 wins.
6. Notre Dame (Previous Ranking: 5)
The close game to Vandy didn’t help, but again, this was about OK State moving up more than it was about the Irish falling.
7. Virginia Tech (Previous Ranking: 6)
Same thing as ND. This is less about the FSU win looking like nothing of note and more about OK State putting up a huge win.
POISED CONTENDERS: UNDEFEATED TEAMS WITH NO TOP-25 WINS
So far we’ve hit on seven contenders for the College Football Playoff. Through 25% of the season, those seven teams have two things in common: 1. Undefeated Records and 2. Top 25 wins. These teams hit on one of those qualifications: undefeated records. All of them, with the exception of #16 UCF, should be considered CFP contenders because they have enough Top 25 meat on their bones down the line.
8. Alabama (Previous Ranking: 9)
Bama’s thrashing of Ole Miss was impressive, but is not ultimately a tie-breaker or a reason why the Crimson Tide is at the top of this list. In reality, the Tide was at the top of this list last week too. Nick Saban’s squad is just up a spot because two teams (Auburn and Arizona State) lost and one team (Oklahoma State) jumped up a category. The Tide is in a perfect spot right now with a damn-good team (duh!) and a sweetspot of 4 ranked opponents lurking (all from the SEC West). Bama controls its own destiny in every way.
9. Oklahoma (Previous Ranking: 8)
Bama has done more than OU this season. It’s just that simple. There’s not a discernible spread between where either team would ultimately end up if they both balled out from here on out, but Bama has the tougher schedule ahead. Further, Bama’s best win (Ole Miss) is probably better than OU’s best win (UCLA) and Bama’s worst win (either the 50-point route of Ark. State or the 37-point win vs. Louisville) is better than OU’s worst win (10 points vs. Iowa State).
10. West Virginia (Previous Ranking: 10)
Coincidentally, West Virginia didn’t play last week and the Mountaineers didn’t move in the rankings. That’s not by design but it worked out that way.
11. Penn State (Previous Ranking: 12)
The Nittany Lions move up solely on the basis of other teams’ losses. What a terribly Big Ten thing to do.
12. Mississippi State (Previous Ranking: 16)
This is another one where my own personal views are not reflected. Do I think Mississippi State should have moved up this week? Hell no. Do I think Miss State is a Top 12 team? No way. But here they are. And they’ll probably hover around here (or higher) until they lost to Auburn on October 6.
13. Boston College (Previous Ranking: NR)
Do I think BC is a Top 15 team? Nope. But to the Eagles’ credit, they’re 3-0 and actually have a schedule that could support them if they somehow win against #21 Miami, #13 VA Tech and #3 Clemson. My gut is Boston College goes no better than 1-2 in those games and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose to an unranked team and disappear altogether. This week’s game vs. Purdue is only a 7-point line, which isn’t all that broad and NC State seems like a game to circle on October 6. But for the time being, the process puts BC here and I can’t argue with it,
14. Oregon (Previous Ranking: 20)
This seems a little bit high to me, but not offensively so. ESPN’s FPI gives the Ducks a 43.5% shot at upsetting Stanford and the spread is somewhere between a pick-em and 1 point in favor of Stanford. So if that bears out, Oregon could potentially jump to a Top 5 spot next week. That’s a lot of conjecture, but if Oregon is a stretch as a Top 15 team at this point, I’d argue that Stanford is an even bigger stretch to be in the Top 5. So both resumes seem a bit inflated.
15. Clemson (Previous Ranking: 19)
Why is Clemson below Oregon? Well, that Texas A&M win (and it was a win) just doesn’t help Clemson. A&M was unranked at the time Clemson won by two points. Hell, A&M was unranked the week after. Oregon has thrashed un-ranked opposition and the same can’t be said for Clemson at this juncture. The best thing that happened to Clemson this week is that Boston College moved into the Top 25. So now, Clemson could play a ranked team this regular season. Yes, just one. And no, it doesn’t seem likely that BC will remain ranked into mid-November.
16. UCF (Previous Ranking: 20)
At this point, UCF can still move up in the rankings because other teams can still lose games without beating a Top 25 team and remain in the Top 25. It happened to Wisconsin and TCU this week. It previously happened to Michigan State, Michigan, Washington and Miami. As mentioned before, Texas A&M has no Top 25 win and has a loss and somehow moved into the Top 25 this week. As long as teams with losses and no quality wins can remain ranked, they will continue to be ranked below undefeated teams in my poll. But as soon as those teams start getting some Top 25 wins, UCF will fall again. Why? Because UCF still has zero ranked opponents on its schedule this year. And if you think that’s everyone else’s problem and not UCF’s, ask yourself which programs were scared to schedule UCF after the Kinghts posted a 6-19 record from 2015-2016? And remember most games are scheduled 2-3 years out. Or just read my thoughts from last week.
THE GOOD LOSERS: TEAMS WITH TOP-25 LOSSES or TOP 25 WINS PAIRED WITH NON-TOP 25 LOSSES
17. Auburn (Previous Ranking: 2)
Auburn fell hard, but the Tigers have to based on my methodology. That being said, this poll is proving to be much more agile than the standard AP Poll and Auburn remains in a really good spot for three reasons. First, the Tigers’ win over Washington remains one of the best wins in the country. Secondly, the Tigers loss to LSU is the single-best loss in the nation — it was a one-point loss to the top team in my poll, the team that was ranked 12th at the time by the AP and the team currently ranked 6th by the AP. Third, Auburn has a slew of big games that can make up ground and the Mississippi State matchup looks incredibly winable in a few weeks. Auburn is a contender still in the real world, just not right now in this poll.
18. BYU (Previous Ranking: NR)
Auburn sits atop this group because its loss wasn’t that bad. BYU sits atop this group despite a bad loss (21-18 to Cal). They’re here, though, because the beat an allegedly elite Wisconsin team. That’s not a shot at BYU. The Cougars deserved that win. Stats are a mixed bag from the contest (Wisconsin led in total yardage and time of possession), but these three things are true: 1. The best running back in this game was not Jonathan Taylor (26 carries for 117 yards); it was Squally Canada (11 carries for 118 yards and 2 TDs). 2. BYU was more clutch on the road: fewer turnovers, fewer penalty yards, better kicking. 3. ESPN is fake news. First, the network tried to tell me that BYU hoped to be Wisconsin someday as the clock ticked down on a BYU win over Wisconsin. Now, ESPN.com says Rafael Gaglianone didn’t miss any field goals against BYU. I saw it happen. He. Missed.
19. Texas A&M (Previous Ranking: NR)
Yeah. Sure. The Aggies should have been ranked after the close loss to Clemson IMO but I guess that win over Louisiana-Monroe put voters over the top. Either way, what A&M lacks in quality of wins (hence, trailing BYU) it has in spades in terms of quality losses (the Clemson loss is the second-best loss this year behind only Auburn’s loss to LSU).
20. Miami (Previous Ranking: 23)
A loss to LSU is increasingly excusable. The Hurricanes are above Washington simply because LSU is so far (disproportionately at this juncture) above Auburn (the team that beat Washington).
21. Washington (Previous Ranking: 21)
The BYU game looks a little bit more interesting now, assuming BYU keeps it together against McNeese State. So the Huskies should bounce back up. The win over Utah was half-way respectable.
22. Michigan (Previous Ranking: 22)
I really don’t have anything to say. This is right for what the Wolverines have and have not accomplished. They can prove a lot of haters (myself included) wrong if they win some games against some good football teams. But they won’t play a ranked team for four more weeks.
23. TCU (Previous Ranking: 14)
I think TCU is a better football team than Michigan, but a 12-point loss to Ohio State (my #2 and the AP’s #4) is slightly worse than a seven-point loss to Notre Dame (my number six and AP number seven). Further, Michigan has more shots (four games vs. ranked teams as opposed to three for TCU) to make up ground sooner (next ranked foe for TCU is 10/20).
GOTTA HAVE SOMEBODIES:
Somebody has to be ranked. In fact, 25 somebodies have to be ranked. Based on year-to-date performance that is the only reason these teams are in the Top 25.
24. Wisconsin (Previous Ranking: 13)
The loss to BYU was ugly. Period. Ranked teams, particularly teams ranked 6th by the AP, should not lose home games to unranked teams who were .500 heading into the contest. Wisconsin was favored by 23 points. This loss all but eliminates Wisconsin from the playoff in my opinion. That may seem harsh, but I’d bet anything that BYU doesn’t end the year ranked above where they currently are, and I think the Cougars will drop out of the Top 25 with a loss to Washington in two weeks. This loss will damage Wisconsin the way the Iowa loss damaged Ohio State last year. Sure, the Buckeye loss to the Hawkeyes was by a wider margin, but that game was on the road against a team that was 6-3 and went on to win eight games, and Ohio State had three quality wins over Top 25 foes. Wisconsin lost at home to a team that is 2-1 and BYU plays a distinctly non-Power 5 schedule. Based on current rankings, Wisconsin would need to run the table and win the Big Ten to have three Top 25 wins. Why on earth would anyone expect that?
25. Michigan State (Previous Ranking: 25)
The Spartans still have the worst track record of any team in the Top 25. The loss to Arizona State looks even dumber now that the Sun Devils are unranked again.
Here’s the poll summary:
|AP Rank||Team||Dude’s Rank||Previous Week|
That’s all I got/
I’m a big fan of “relative” statistical valuations. I like to see how teams perform against opponents relative to their season-long average. Obviously, the more games we see the more important and relevant those season-long averages become. But two games into the year, it’s worth taking a look at one matchup in particular: Missouri and Purdue.
PURDUE’S OFFENSE vs. MISSOURI’S DEFENSE
Purdue’s Offense Relative to Opposition
Purdue has racked up 948 yards of offense against two opponents, Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. Northwestern and Eastern Michigan have each played an additional game this season and in those two contests surrendered a total of 687 yards of offense. Quite obviously, Purdue’s total in two games (948) is a lot more than was racked up by outside competition against Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. In fact, the total is 38% above the outside season-long averages. The translation: Purdue’s offense is good. Purdue has racked up 138% of expected offensive yardage. But is Mizzou’s defense good too?
Missouri’s Defense Relative to Opposition
Missouri has allowed a total of 525 yards of offense to Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. Wyoming has averaged 327.5 yards of offense in two non-Mizzou games and Tennessee-Martin racked up 461 yards in its only other game (ironically, against MTSU). Thus, the two teams combine for 788.5 yards of expected output. This total is, notably, well above the total gained against Missouri, which implies that Missouri’s defense is, in fact, good. At least so far. Missouri is allowing 66.6% of expected yardage to opponents.
Again, this data is rough because there’s not a lot to go off of as we enter Week 3. Nonetheless, let’s look at the data two ways:
- If Purdue is averaging 474 yards of offense per game (which is true) and Missouri is allowing an average of 66.6% of teams’ offensive averages (also true) and both truths hold constant, Purdue would rack up 315.6 yards.
- If Missouri is allowing 262.5 yards per game (which is true) and Purdue is amassing 138% of teams’ average yards allowed (also true) and both truths hold constant, Purdue would rack up 362.2 yards.
If I average those out, we’re reaching a projected yardage total of 338.9 yards for Purdue.
What about the other side of the ball? Let’s do the exact same thing.
MISSOURI’S OFFENSE vs. PURDUE’S DEFENSE
Missouri’s Offense Relative to Opposition
Missouri has racked up 1,154 yards of offense against two opponents, Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. UT-M and Wyoming would allow a combined average of 765.5 yards of offense across two games. Quite obviously, Missouri’s total in two games (1,154) is a lot more than was racked up in outside competition against UT-M and Wyoming. This total is 50.8% above the outside season-long averages. The translation: Missouri’s offense is really good. Mizzou has racked up 150.8% of expected offensive yardage. But will Purdue put stop the Tigers in their tracks?
Purdue’s Defense Relative to Opposition
Purdue has allowed a total of 817 yards of offense to Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. These two teams have combine for 854 yards of output in their two other games. This total is slightly higher than the total allowed by Purdue, which implies that Purdue’s defense is slightly better than expectation. Purdue is allowing 95.7% of expected yardage to opponents.
As I said, this data is light in depth and therefore quality. Nonetheless, let’s look at the data the same two ways:
- If Missouri is averaging 577 yards of offense per game (which is true) and Purdue is allowing an average of 95.7% of teams’ offensive averages (also true) and both truths hold constant, Mizzou would rack up 552.0 yards.
- If Purdue is allowing 408.5 yards per game (which is true) and Mizzou is amassing 150.8% of teams’ average yards allowed (also true) and both truths hold constant, Mizzou would rack up 615.8 yards.
If I average those out, we’re reaching a projected yardage total of 583.9.
Frankly, the most likely outcome of this experiment is that all the data gets thrown out the window. The existing sample size is too small to be anywhere close to predictive.
But, if you do believe the data, then you’d be expecting a relatively high-scoring game with a lot of offense (nearly 925 yards in total). But one team, Missouri, should run away with the thing thanks to a yardage advantage of roughly 150.
Also, I don’t know that this will hold true, but it is worth noting that Purdue has had a terrible time scoring the ball this season.
- The Boilermakers have scored just 46 points (not good) on 948 yards of offense (pretty good) for an average of one point scored for every 20.6 yards of offense.
- Meanwhile, Missouri has scored 91 points (good) on 1,154 yards (very good) for an average of one point scored for every 12.7 yards gained.
You can’t read too far into the data, but if those numbers hold the final score based on projected yardages above would be something like Missouri 46, Purdue 16.
I don’t think this will get that one-sided. But I do think Missouri will win and comfortably cover the seven-point spread on the road. Why does that matter? Well, if you’re reading this you’re probably a Georgia fan and you’re probably sick of hearing lies about a weak Georgia schedule. There’s an outside chance that Missouri could move into the Top 25 in time for Georgia’s trip to Faurot Field.
Right now, only five SEC teams are ranked (#1 Alabama, #3 Georgia, #7 Auburn, #12 LSU, #16 Mississippi State), and that’s a relatively small number compared to recent history. Hell, one week ago, Florida and South Carolina were also ranked. Had Carolina upset Georgia (which some idiots expected) and Florida taken care of business (which everyone expected) and had Texas A&M squeezed out a few more points, there might be eight ranked SEC teams. Point being, I would expect another SEC team to get ranked sooner than later. 3-0 SEC teams often get noticed. Other point being: I’d expect someone from the East to move in. It’s probably a jump to think Mizzou would get there (Kentucky seems more likely at the moment thanks to the Florida win, a likely victory over Murray State this week and I think a good shot at beating Miss State on 9/22), but it’s at least worth hoping for.
Even more broadly, I think it behooves Georgia to 1. Win out and 2. Have someone from the East rise up to a ranked spot. I think the Tigers may be the best mid-term bet for that and I do think they’re a better team than Kentucky and Vanderbilt (the only other undefeateds in the East).
That’s all I got/
If you followed my picks in Week 1, you made money. If you followed my picks in Week 2, you also made money. Last week I was 6-4 against the spread. For the year, I’m sitting at 14-8-1. You can follow the picks all year here. Or check the recap on the Tweets:
A quick check-in on schedule strength and elite games.
Through last week, 12 teams had played in Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups. Four of those teams hailed from the SEC, which was more than any other conference. The ACC and Pac-12 each had three. The Big Ten had 1 team in a ranked vs. ranked matchup and Notre Dame represented one such game. This week, we get three ranked vs. ranked games:
- LSU at Auburn
- Boise State at Oklahoma State
- Ohio State at TCU
The involvement of such games by each conference will now stand as follows:
- SEC: 6 (Auburn x 2, LSU x 2, Georgia, South Carolina)
- ACC: 3 (Miami, Florida State, VA Tech)
- Pac-12: 3 (Washington, Southern Cal, Stanford)
- Big Ten: 2 (Michigan, Ohio State)
- Big 12: 2 (Oklahoma State, TCU)
- Mountain West: 1 (Boise State)
- Independent: 1 (Notre Dame)
I mentioned this in relation to my inaugural Top 25 Poll, but all that really matters in terms of schedule strength is games against Top 25 opponents. It’s interesting that the SEC is criticized for weak early-season scheduling but the conference has played twice as many Top 25 vs. Top 25 games as any other conference.
With that out of the way, here are the games and the picks.
3:30 p.m. #12 LSU at #7 Auburn (-9.5) (CBS)
We still don’t know much about either of these teams, so I’m working on two theories: 1. Any team with talent and a semblance of preparation could have beat Mark Richt and Miami in Week 1 because Mark Richt is the coach at Miami. 2. Auburn is starting slow (which it always does) and this year’s slow start was a win over a Top 10 Washington team. If I buy into those two preconceived notions, Auburn is the better team. But 9.5 points still seems large. Further, I feel like if this game is ugly, it plays to LSU’s advantage. My professional gambling advice would actually be to take the LSU money line (+295) because I do think there is a better than 1-in-3 or 1-in-4 chance LSU makes it ugly enough to win. But this column isn’t about moneylines. So I’m hedging a bit.
Picks: Auburn outright and LSU +9.5
3:30 p.m. #17 Boise State at #24 Oklahoma State (-2.5) (ESPN)
Boise State came out of the gates HOT this year. Troy was a trendy upset pick in Week 1, but the Broncos won 56-20 thanks in no small part to four forced turnovers. Last week, Boise State galloped to a 62-7 win over UConn. Even more impressive than the final score: Boise State outgained UConn 818 to 193. Neither of those numbers are typos. Boise State ranks 4th nationally in total offense (617 per contest) and Oklahoma State is sitting in first place (675 per game), so this should be a shootout, but to an extent I think the Broncos are more seasoned. Frankly, I think this line is spot-on, but I’m going against it. Either way, this should be a fun game to watch. If it’s not, I think that bodes well for the Broncos.
Picks: Boise State outright and Boise State +2.5
7:00 p.m. #4 Ohio State (-13) at #15 TCU (ABC)
TCU is probably the Top 15 team I know the least about. Ohio State is probably the Top 15 team that everyone in the country most hates right now. So I’m going with the people. Nah, I can’t quite do that. I think Ohio State is too explosive on offense (though I’d love to be wrong). I do think TCU will cover though. How’s that for analysis?
Picks: Ohio State outright but TCU +13.
That’s all I got/