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The Predictable Human Voter Behavior Top 25 – Final

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The Predictable Human Voter Behavior

Chaos to Order – The Top 25 Unmasked

By Bartoo – The CFBMatrix & the man behind the curtain – 11|5|2013

A weekly study of the BCS Rankings & Past Voting Trends

I love psychology and I love to poke fun of emotional myths, legends and bias by fans.  When it all comes together, it’s time to troll. In college football the emotional bias and assumptions of the myopic fan is on it’s greatest display in the weekly top 25 rankings.

(((LISTEN))) How I am ranking the CFBMatrix Weekly Top 25

In my research into the top 25 trends, I found that there are 3 clear patterns to projecting a FINAL top 25.  Here they are in exact order of historic final rankings:

  1. Sort all the teams by total wins.  Teams with the most wins are ranked the highest
  2. Sort like-record teams by the following conferences in order SEC, PAC12, Big12/ACC*, Big Ten, AAC
  3. 12-0 Non-AQ teams from the MWC are treated below an 11-1 AAC team (expect Boise). For the rest of the non-AQ conferences, they are treated at the bottom of AQ teams with 2 more losses.  So put your 12-0 non-AQs with 10-2 AQ and 11-1’s with the 9-3s.

It is that simple.  Each week I will post the AP, then add the BCS rankings in week 8 and put them side by side with this weekly formula.  No bias, no emotion just all these human voters versus their human pattern.  If it turns out right, the chaos of early comparisons will morph into final rankings that are nearly identical.

*We might see a B12/ACC role reversal as trends are showing voters and computers increasingly liking ACC over the Big 12.  This is especially true on the elite end as FSU/Clemson are looking better than Texas/OU.  If the ACC has it’s elites on top and the Big12 continues to have surprise conference champs, this reversal will likely occur in 2013.

– Bartoo

Note for those that take the Top 25 seriously: This is a serious parody that pokes fun of human nature and the simple beauty that is understandable trend behavior.  If this goes as expected it will also show that having a human committee to control a ‘playoff’ will largely keep this ranking system intact and predictable

The Final Rankings

My AUDIO Breakdown)))

#1 & #2:  To no one’s shock, Florida State and Auburn finish 1-2.  An undefeated team and the best 1 loss team from the SEC.  That is exactly as I would have forecast in the behavior model.  And yes, if Ohio State won this past weekend, they would have been #2 followed by Auburn and Alabama.  In my opinion, those would have been your 4 teams in the playoff as well.   The top 4 this year?  FSU, Auburn, Alabama and Michigan State.  Keep in mind, that although the rankings don’t count, they will be under consideration as the committee needs to have a selection that is both understandable and close to public perception.

Click Here to see the 2013 BCS NCG Berth Contenders List

Conference Champ Rankings:  Right by the book on this one.  Conference champ with the most wins #1.  12-1 SEC over 12-1 Big Ten.  11-2 PAC12 over 11-2 Big 12.  Other than Alabama at #3, supporting the CFBMatrix idea that the SEC affiliation breaks all ties, the conference champions are right to voter/programmer lines.

Red-Headed Step Child:  Give the rankers a gold star for their SOS perceptions of the American conference as they treated the AAC like they were Conference USA 2.0.  The former Big East was completely dissed in the 2013 rankings.   The voters and programmers must have been praying for Louisville to lose.  Instead of the usual treatment of the Big East as the 6th tie breaker (i.e. 1 loss BE at the bottom of 1 loss rankings), they were dealt with as though they were from the old Mountain West or Conference USA as both 11-1 UCF and 11-1 Louisville were ranked behind all but one 10+ win team.

The Outliers:  The voters/programmers just smacked the ACC Coastal division this year unlike any other Big 5 conference.  The numbers pointed to that division being the worst coached in all of college football and the rankings back it up.  Duke, at 10-3, was treated like an old Big East team that won the conference.  10-3 Arizona State is #14 and Duke was ranked behind all the 9-3 teams from other major conferences and even behind 8-4 SEC teams.  To back it up a 9-3 Miami team was not even in the top 25.  This is VERY rare that a Big 5 team with that record is left out of the final ranking.  I would never have bet on that scenario.  But they too are from the ACC Coastal.  Replacing the Canes was 8-4 Texas A&M.  They were my #26 team in the human behavior formula and thus off 5 spots in the ranking comparison.  Only Duke, 9 spots and Miami, 6 spots were off in the final by a greater margin.

SEC needs another conference game?  What are you talking about Willis?!?!  With just 8 conference games the SEC teams are #1 for 1 loss teams, #2 & #3 in 2 loss team ranks, #1 in 3 loss rankings and have the only two 4 loss teams in the final top 25.    What about this perception and ranking makes you think the SEC needs 9 conference games?  You think it’s needed because that is what you are told.  If you believe that perception is reality, then the reality is the SEC is strongly favored by all humans (voters & programmers alike) at every level of ranking teams.  The playoff committee will only change this for the sake of change and that is not in their best interests.

Dead On:  11 teams are slotted from the formula exactly as the final poll ranks them and outside of the 3 aforementioned outliers, the other 11 are within 3 spots of their final ranking.  In every loss total grouping the SEC and the PAC12 occupy the #1 and #2 slots and own 12 of the 25 ranking positions.

Next 5 in:  I already touched on A&M being at #26 in my human behavior formula and Miami at 9-3 not in the BCS final rankings.  The other 4 teams that fell one win short of a top 25 finish were, in order, Washington, Texas, Notre Dame and Nebraska all at 8-4.

Don’t expect much change: While the media and the committee are all talking sweeping changes, they still must make decisions that are understandable and generally acceptable to the masses.  Therefore, I maintain that today’s top 4 will not be dissimilar to a playoff committee decision, nor will OOC scheduling strength ever be more than a rare factor in the decision process.

Total Human Behavior Top 25 vs BCS Rankings Top 25 Matches: 24

final bcs rankings

Week 1

(((LISTEN))) Breakdown of the first rankings

Everyone is 0-0 so it is based on conference for the pre-season.   All hail the top 25 made up entirely of SEC and Pac12 teams.  Funny thing is 11 of them are in the pre-season top 25 from all the ‘respected’ voters.  Teams are ordered in conference by overall national talent rankings from the CFBMatrix

Matching Number of Same Rankings: 3

Total Matrix Top 25 in Poll & USA Today Top 25: 13

preseason top 25s

Week 2

(((LISTEN))) Breakdown of week 2 rankings after Week 1 loses

Georgia, Kentucky, TCU, Mississippi State, WSU, Oregon State, Cal and Vandy all booted from the Week 1 Top 25 Matrix style rankings.   Welcome in the best 1-0 from the Big12 and even the top 2 from the ACC.  Clemson and Florida State enter the top 25 at #24 and #25.  Can they keep winning to move up in the coming weeks?

In just one week, the top 25 matching teams went from 11 to 16.  The Chaos is already starting to consolidate.

Matching Number of Same Rankings: 4

Total Matrix Top 25 in Poll & USA Today Top 25: 16

week 2 top 25s

Week 3

(((LISTEN))) Breakdown of week 3 rankings after Week 2 loses

The Human Behavior predictability Chaos to Order took a step back this week.  Only 13 of the 25 matched the other top 25 polls in college football.  No matter.  The Big Ten and Louisville will be in the rankings in a few weeks and it will really start to take shape.

Total Matrix Top 25 in Poll & USA Today Top 25: 15

week 3 top 25s

Week 4

(((LISTEN))) Breakdown of week 4 rankings after Week 3 wins and loses

Not unexpectedly, Tennessee, Kansas and Utah drop a game and out of the CFBMatrix top 25.  these teams were replaced by the last undefeated ACC in Maryland and the top two recruiters in the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan.

Two teams that have been in my top 25 since week 1, Washington and Arizona State, surprise surprise, remain undefeated and move into the regular human polls top 25s.

With the addition of these teams the number of matching top 25 CFBMatrix teams to the regular polls move up to 18 teams.  It’s starting to get fun.

Total Matrix Top 25 in Poll & USA Today Top 25: 18

week 4 top 25s

Week 5

(((LISTEN))) Breakdown of week 5 rankings after Week 4 wins and loses

Not unexpectedly, NC State, Auburn, Arkansas and Arizona State all drop a game and out of the CFBMatrix top 25.  These teams were replaced by the last undefeated teams from the Big Ten (Northwestern and Minnesota) and the two highest ranked talented teams from the AAC left undefeated in Louisville and Houston.

Only UCF remains the last undefeated AQ team not yet in this human behavior top 25.  What I find interesting is that of the next 5 in line to move up, 3 out of the 5 are in the current top 25 right now.

With the addition of these teams the number of matching top 25 CFBMatrix teams to the regular polls move up to 19 teams.  It’s starting to get fun.

Total Matrix Top 25 in Poll & USA Today Top 25: 19

week 5 top 25s

Week 6

(((LISTEN))) Update on rankings through Week #5

6 teams in the Week #5 rankings lost this week.  One of them, Ole Miss, stayed in the top 25 because of the lack of undefeated teams to date and their affiliation with the SEC, which voters rank above all other conferences.

Arizona, Colorado, OK State, Georgia Tech and Minnesota all suffered predicted loses this week and dropped into the land of 1 loss teams.

Moving back into the rankings were SEC teams Florida, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, A&M and Ole Miss.  This was a big move and one that really started to show how voter and human behavior caves to the two simple things that drive the rankings.  Wins, loses and conference affiliation.

Each major national poll has 8 one-loss teams.  The Matrix Predictable Human Behavior ranks have 6.  Only 5 weeks in and it is already taking form of expectations.  You still think a ‘committee’ of expert humans is going to behave any differently next year?

Total Matrix Top 25 in Poll & USA Today Top 25: 22

week 6 top 25s

Week 8

(((LISTEN))) Update on rankings through Week #8

Finally!  The first BCS ‘poll’ and ranking have been released to compare to the Human Behavior Patterned Top 25 and it is brilliant.  With 7 week remaining in college football there is clearly going to be greater separation and granularity in the rankings as we go forward but the metrics through 8 weeks in comparing the CFBMatrix human behavior pattern rankings and the BCS are very close.

LOSERS:  A&M, South Carolina, LSU picked up their 2nd loses and all but LSU dropped from the human behavior top 25.  LSU, the highest rated in Matrix talent, stayed because there are no longer 25 one-loss or fewer teams in FBS football.

What Changed: In the last 7 years, voters and the computer programmers (with zero oversight) that make up these rankings have favored equal record Big 12 teams over ACC team.  Not any more.  The ACC has CLEARLY taken over the 3rd spot and will be pushing the PAC12 hard for the second spot.  Never before in a BCS ranking has every ACC team been ahead of every Big12 team on the board.  This behavior will be reflected in the forthcoming Human Behavior Top 25.  And for Big12 fans, don’t think for a second that you get that back any time soon.  Fans, voters and programmer behavior is very hard to change.  In my opinion, this is a profound statement about the perception of conference talent by the national media, fans, coaches and voters.

What Hasn’t Changed: Call it bias, call it a better conference, what you want to call the SEC, they are still strongly favored by human voters and computer programmers.  Of all the top 25 teams in the BCS on 3 have 2 loses year to date and those 3 teams? SEC, SEC, SEC.  That is all.

Non-AQ Luv: Fresno has beat Rutgers by a missed FG, Boise by 1 and a bunch of other no names and they are #17.  They will slowly climb on the back of a schedule of weak OOC games.  It is not much different fro NUI who has beat Iowa, Purdue and 5 other teams.  That is what undefeated does for you.  Oregon State is #25 but if undefeated they are top 10.  This whole SOS argument is folly.  If you want to get into the 4 team playoff anytime in the next 20 years, take your chances with 9 tough big 5 conference games and try to go undefeated.

Next 5 in:  The only two teams the human behavior poll is missing from the BCS ranks are Texas A&M and South Carolina.  Both are on the list for the next 5 in at 5-2.  Any loss by a 1 loss team in the current human voter behavior top 25 will be bumped for an SEC team.

Don’t expect much change: The BCS top 25 you see today is very likely to be mostly intact on December 1st.  Sure the order may change, but there are only 16 non-SEC teams with just 2 loses and only 8 not in the PAC12 or SEC with 3 loses.

Total Human Behavior Top 25 vs BCS Rankings Top 25 Matches: 23

week 9 top 25s

Week 10

LOSERS:  In the last couple of weeks, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Nebraska and Oregon State were all dropped from the top 25 due to loses.   Ironically Michigan and Nebraska play this week in what should be a brutally ugly game but the winner will be in the driver seat for a top 25 finish.  The loser will be on track for an incredibly disappointing season.

What Has Changed as Predicted: In the last 7 years, voters and the computer programmers (with zero oversight) that make up these rankings have favored equal record Big 12 teams over ACC team.  Not any more.  The ACC has CLEARLY taken over the 3rd spot and will be pushing the PAC12 hard for the second spot.  Never before in a BCS ranking has every ACC team been ahead of every Big12 team on the board.  This behavior will be reflected in the forthcoming Human Behavior Top 25.  And for Big12 fans, don’t think for a second that you get that back any time soon.  Fans, voters and programmer behavior is very hard to change.  In my opinion, this is a profound statement about the perception of conference talent by the national media, fans, coaches and voters.

Go Fish: While it is not rank for rank perfect, the top 11 of the BCS is a near mirror of this 3 step ranking process.  There are still 4 weeks to sort it out as each week the rankings match more and more.

Unloved and Underranked?  At a glance I see 3 parties that could have a beef with the current ranks.  Oklahoma State and Michigan State, both with one loss, are behind two 7-2 SEC teams (MSU behind a third Texas A&M).  This is a great example of exactly why a 12-1 SEC could finish ahead of 13-0 Ohio State and would finish ahead of 12-0 Baylor.  The other group is the American Conference.  Not only did UCF beat Louisville and is still ranked behind them with a better OOC schedule, they are both behind undefeated MWC and MAC teams.  There is zero love for the first and last year of AAC football.

Ohio State or Baylor? This seems to be playing out as fun debate on twitter and forum boards as to “What If” OSU and BU are the only two undefeated teams behind a 13-0 Alabama, FSU or Oregon?  Immediately I would say Baylor as the trend in the BCS is to favor Big 12 conference teams over Big Ten conference teams with LIKE records.  I can also look at the current BCS top 25 and see Oklahoma State and Michigan State both with one loss and OKState ahead of MSU.  But 6-2 Wisconsin is ahead of 7-2 Texas Tech.  However, their records WILL NOT be like at the end as OSU gets 13 games versus just 12 for Baylor.  But consider the rest of this thoughts as to why OSU 13-0 gets in over 12-0 Baylor.

  • OSU has already beat Wisconsin (who is in the top 25) and the Badgers remaining schedule is set up for them to finish in the top 25.
  • OSU, in the 13th game, could be facing a top 10 Michigan State team that needs to beat the Cornhuskers, Minnesota and Northwestern.
  • Baylor still has to face Texas Tech, OK State and Texas.  If they win those games it will only serve to knock the Big12 farther down the ranking system and thus hurting their profile.
  • Baylor had a garbage of an OOC schedule.  It was so bad some SEC programs were jealous.  That may be very costly.  Please keep in mind that OSUs was no prize pig either.  Florida A&M, San Diego State, Buffalo and Cal.   Not a lot better than BUs 3 plus Kansas
  • On top of that the entire Big 12 had the worst per game OOC strength of schedule in big 5 conference football.
  • And if you are yet to see the potential value of 12 or more teams in your conference plus a championship game I am gonna punch ya.

On a final note to this random and open discussion, consider the enormity of the Wisconsin/BYU in the computers.  OSU beat Wisconsin.  BYU is still scoring on Texas.  Badgers beat Cougars or vice versa, I would bet it has a huge impact on the rouge computer rankings.  That is some beautiful college football transitive result math.

One loss teams with a shot?  It is not unthinkable that FSU, Alabama, Oregon, Baylor and Ohio State can each lose a game leaving us with a cluster of one lose teams.   However, many can be eliminated right now. Clemson and Miami already lost to FSU so they would be out.  Oregon, if a one loss team, would have a likely lost to Stanford so they would be behind The Tree.   One loss Missouri, Auburn or Alabama?  Only one can win the SEC and that would be one half of the NCG.  11-1 Baylor? Nope.  They would be out.  12-1 Ohio State would be viable only if FSU, Stanford and Oregon each had two loses.  So to answer the question of WHAT IF everyone had 1 loss?  It’s 4 teams.  The SEC champ fills one berth and a 12-1 FSU, Stanford or Oregon fills the other spot.

Non-AQ Luv: Fresno has beat Rutgers by a missed FG, Boise by 1 and a bunch of other no names and they are #17.  They will slowly climb on the back of a schedule of weak OOC games.  It is not much different from NUI who has beat Iowa, Purdue and 7 other teams.  That is what undefeated does for you.  This whole SOS argument is folly.  If you want to get into the 4 team playoff anytime in the next 20 years, take your chances with 9 tough big 5 conference games and try to go undefeated.

Next 5 in:  The only two teams the human behavior poll is missing from the BCS ranks are Texas Tech and Wisconsin.  Both are on the list for the next 5 in with two loses.  Yes I know Wisconsin is not listed but they are #6 in and Michigan/Nebraska loser will fall behind them this week (if Wisky wins).  Any loss by a 1 loss team in the current human voter behavior top 25 will be bumped for an SEC team.

Don’t expect much change: The BCS top 25 you see today is very likely to be mostly intact on December 1st.  Sure the order may change, but there are only 9 other teams not in the top 25 with just 2 loses and only 10  with 3 loses.

Total Human Behavior Top 25 vs BCS Rankings Top 25 Matches: 23

week 10 top 25s

Thru Week 12

Update:  13 weeks ago in the pre-season, this human behavior test was started with only 13 of the top 25 matching the major ranking indexes.  Today 24 of 25 teams match the BCS top 25, 13 of them are within 2 spots of their BCS ranking and 21 of 25 are within 3 spots.  Each week the gap has closed and there are just 3 weeks to go.

Losers:  Since week #10 we have seen only Notre Dame and Texas Tech tumble out of the BCS top 25.  The formula did not have Texas Tech in there in that week so no loss.  Arizona and Notre Dame did fall out of the human behavior formula top 25 in the last 2 weeks.

Winners:  Minnesota and Duke jump into the human behavior top 25 this week.  Duke [8-2] is the only team in the H.B. top 25 not in the BCS top 25.  Their spot in the BCS is taken by 8-3 USC.  This is a bit of a surprise as Duke is from the ACC, which to this point in the season has been the clear #3 conference amongst the voters and computers.

What Has Changed as Predicted: In the last 7 years, voters and the computer programmers (with zero oversight) that make up these rankings have favored equal record Big 12 teams over ACC team.  Not any more.  The ACC has CLEARLY taken over the 3rd spot and will be pushing the PAC12 hard for the second spot.  Never before in a BCS ranking has every ACC team been ahead of every Big12 team on the board.  This behavior will be reflected in the forthcoming Human Behavior Top 25.  And for Big12 fans, don’t think for a second that you get that back any time soon.  Fans, voters and programmer behavior is very hard to change.  In my opinion, this is a profound statement about the perception of conference talent by the national media, fans, coaches and voters.

AAC = Non-AQ:  In nearly every past BCS ranking the American Conference [old Big East] was dumped at the end of like record AQ programs.  For example: A 10-2 Rutgers team would be at the bottom of the 10-2 teams.  However, this year the AAC teams are being treated like a Non-AQ conference as 1 loss UCF and 1 loss Louisville are at the bottom of the 2 loss teams.  Not that it really matters as only one gets the auto-BCS bid, Louisville will be a 7.5 win ACC team next year and UCF will be send back to the minors.

Extra Love?  NIU and Stanford are being helped by their last 2 years of  success.  A 2 loss PAC12 team ranked ahead of all other 2 loss teams including the SEC teams?  Wow.  That is very rare in the BCS ranking history.  A 10-0 MAC or Sun Belt or Conference USA team being ahead of nearly every 2 and 3 loss team in the country is very uncommon.  However the success NIU has had the last 3 years with Lynch at QB has kept their perception and given them a boost by the voters.  Unless of course you believe that their huge wins over Purdue and Iowa boost their phantom SOS to levels unheard of in the MAC.  And speaking of SOS…..

SEC needs another conference game?  What are you talking about Willis?!?!  With just 8 conference games the SEC teams are #1 for undefeated teams, #2 & # 4 in 1 loss team ranks, #1 & #2 in 2 loss rankings and #1 and #3 in 3 loss ranked teams.    What about this perception and ranking makes you think the SEC needs 9 conference games?  You think it’s needed because that is what you are told.  The fact is with 126 FBS teams, only 3 to 4 out of conference games and 8 to 9 conference head to head match ups at 2 different possible locations, there over 3.9 BILLION different out of conference scheduling combinations amongst just the 126 FBS teams.  The lack of head to head match ups renders ANY SOS  rankings and calculations statistically invalid except to those that used their bias to create and those that accept to believe it is accurate.

One loss teams with a shot?  It is not unthinkable that FSU, Alabama, Oregon, Baylor and Ohio State can each lose a game leaving us with a cluster of one lose teams.   However, many can be eliminated right now. Clemson already lost to FSU so they would be out.  Oregon, if they finish a one loss team, would have their only loss versus a top 10 Stanford.   One loss Missouri, Auburn or Alabama?  Only one can win the SEC and that would be one half of the NCG.  11-1 Baylor? Nope.  They would be out.  12-1 Ohio State would be viable only if FSU, Stanford and Oregon each had two loses.  So to answer the question of WHAT IF everyone had 1 loss?  It’s 4 teams.  The SEC champ fills one berth and a 12-1 FSU, Stanford or Oregon fills the other spot.

More Non-AQ Luv: Fresno has beat Rutgers by a missed FG, Boise by 1 and a bunch of other no names and they are #17.  They will slowly climb on the back of a schedule of weak OOC games.  It is not much different from NUI who has beat Iowa, Purdue and 7 other teams.  That is what undefeated does for you.  This whole SOS argument is folly.  If you want to get into the 4 team playoff anytime in the next 20 years, take your chances with 9 tough big 5 conference games and try to go undefeated.

Next 5 in:  The only team the human behavior poll is missing from the BCS ranks is USC and they are #26 in the human behavior rankings.  After USC, it is 8-2 Cincinnati, Texas, Miami and Notre Dame all with 3 losses and all needing to win out to finish in the final top 25.

Don’t expect much change: The BCS top 25 you see today is very likely to be mostly intact on December 1st.  Sure the order may change, but there are only 7 other teams not in the top 25 with just 3 loses and at 9-3, that will get you in the final top 25 in most years.  On the waaaayyyyyy outside but still looking in are 8-2 East Carolina and 8-2 Ball State.  Definitely don’t need the Pirate crazies asking where they are on the list.

Total Human Behavior Top 25 vs BCS Rankings Top 25 Matches: 24

week 12 top 25s

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