I relent and conform to the System
In an effort to try and prove my point, or at least stick my guns, I submitted my first Top 25 last year to www.Stassen.com as part of their pre-season composite top 25. I slapped one together and put it out there. It was a list of the 25 best teams that included projects wins, best coaching and strength of schedule. I had tossed out Boise, TCU and the rest because they don’t play a quality schedule. Period. You can’t compare it. But I showed that the voters careless about SOS and more about Ws. Fine. Maybe I am softening to conform. Maybe guy’s having huge years like Bill Snyder with KState last year or the fact that the current system is biased and manipulated to media expectations and I would rather have a weak team play it’s way into a playoff than allow the current BCS 1.0 and 2014s 2.0 to survive any longer. What do you think?
Do non-AQs belong in the Top 25 with a poor SOS?
That is not to say that they cannot be good. Bill Snyder, more than anything else, probably combined, proved that great coaching – I am talking to you COY voting morons! – can have a huge year. But CBS and K State had 10 wins against AQ teams to get into the top 25. In the last 6 years, 24 non-AQs made with 24 combined wins over any AQ school. Enough of my soap boxing that sorry subject. It is what it is. If I can bark about the PAC12 and their non-conforming 9 game conference schedule, I can make an effort conform to the system as well.
BCS Top 25 non-AQ Rules for Ranking
- There have been 24 non-AQs in the last 6 years in the final BCS top 25 poll. One year there was 3 and another 5. The rest has 4 teams. BUT this year TCU is no longer among the non-AQ. The best non-AQ coach is off the board. The logic trend is to take the average of 4 and cut it to 3 with the TCU loss.
- Here is a bit of rare writer subjectivity on this subject. When looking at the rankings I see that non-AQs seem to fall into two categories. I call them nonAQ1 and nonAQ2. Here is how I break them down.
- NonAQ1 teams are treated like a 7th AQ conference. These are teams that are perceived to have AQ qualities and talent without AQ schedules. Examples Boise State, BYU, TCU (formerly) and to a slightly lesser extent Houston and Southern Miss. You rank these team last for other AQs with equal records or -1 one game lower (11-1 nonAQ1 may be at the bottom of 10-2 AQs).
- NonAQ2 teams are the rest of the teams. This would be the San Diego States, Ohios, Toledos, et al of the FBS world. These teams are spotted anywhere from -2 to -3 games below AQ win loss levels. Example: A 12-0 SDSU team would be at the bottom of the 10-2 AQs in the ranking position. 12-0 Ohio is likely at the bottom of the 9-3 AQs in the low 20s.
- NonAQ1 must project to 9-3 or better. NonAQ2 10-2 or better
Let’s see if I can find a 9+ win prediction in the masses. While the exercise annoys me, it is a necessary step in building a final BCS top 25 ranking prediction. It is a national trend that you can fight but not win. Here is how I see the odds breaking down in finding 3-4 non AQ teams with 9-3 or hopefully 10-2+ records.
Here is a -1 game NonAQ2 conference. Easily the best talent levels of any non-AQ conference in 2012. I know UCF is the big buzz team but folks are only picking them due to returning starter number and that USM and Houston have new head coaches. But UCF is terribly coached and their depth has taken huge declines in the last two years.
UCF: Nope. Tough schedule, bad coach, declining recruiting. I don’t see the 10-2 record needed to bust into the Top 25.
USM: Fedora, other than last year, was terrible. Terrible. I don’t think a new head coach should hurt too bad. The talent at Southern Miss is improved over the last 5 years. The season schedules lays out for an 11-0 run after losing to the Cornhuskers.
Houston: You have to love the schedule. What a POS! Which is perfect in the BCS top 25 rankings. I know they have a new head coach but that schedule is a dog. Anything under 9-3 is a #fail for Cougar fans.
Best odds from Conference USA: USM and Houston
By adding Hawaii and Fresno State, this conference, at least on CFBMatrix paper, has become very balanced in talent. Let’s start by tossing out Air Force, Nevada (scary good coach), UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State and Wyoming. These are all teams with no reputation and NonAQ2s. None will get to 10-2.
Boise State: They get a very good schedule by hosting most of the better conference opponents. After losses to Michigan State and Southern Miss, this team looks to be no better than 9-3 with one conference loss.
Fresno State: 9-3 is the talent/schedule projection. But a new coach, new identity should drop them to 8-4 and out of top25 consideration.
Hawaii: Good talent but point shaving issues and tough schedule eliminate the Warriors from consideration
San Diego State: 9-3 on Matrix paper but, and it pains me to say this, a win versus Washington or Boise State plus 9 others they should win, gets them to 10-2 and into the top 25.
Potential from the MWC: Boise State (9-3) and San Diego State (9-3)
They are all terribly weak teams and a 12-0 season would be needed to crack the top 25. Nothing like that here. move along.
This is a nonAQ2 conference through and through. They start -3 games in the hole and need to go at least 11-1 to consider sneaking in to the top 25. Toledo has the best schedule and talent. Central Michigan and Bowling Green are not far behind. Toledo projects to a potential 10-2 and my conference favorite, Bowling Green projects to 9-3. Neither record is good enough to get into the top 25.
Like the MAC, the Sun Belt needs a team making an 11-1 run to crack the top 25. The only one, talent and schedule wise, that could do it is Troy. But they are coming off a year that would get most short term coaches fired with one of the greatest talent fails in recent years. FIU has a very good schedule getting to play one of the worse AQs in Duke, an under performer in Louisville and an under coached UCF team. FIU is a media darling as well (barf) for whatever reason. This is the only team in the Sun Belt with a shot at the top 25 with total wins over 11.
BYU - A 7-5 on talent and 8-4 with coaching. But as a NonAQ1, a 9-3 season gets them into the top 25. Their average game is weak and all but 2 games are winnable. The first game may be a key for both of those teams season in 2012. CBM has just 5 upset wins in the last 4 years and is below average at home. Of all the teams, this is the one I will regret putting in or out of the final top 25 breakdown
Notre Dame – 10-2 on CBFMatrix paper with talent and schedule. 9-3 with coaching and who know what is going on behind the scenes to make this a huge mess in South Bend. My favorite number for Notre Dame in 2012 was 8.5. That is not going to be enough to get them into the final top 25 BCS rankings?
My favorites for final Top 25
Boise State – Good schedule. Talent still better than most, proven coach and given a pass as AQ by computers. 9-3 and they are in.
San Diego State – Good schedule with above average talent in MWC. They just need to take care of business in 9 predicted wins and figure out a way to beat Fresno, Boise or Washington. A win over UW and 9-3 instead of 10-2 gets them into the Top 25
Houston – Still very talented in conference and the schedule is an abomination. Anything under 10-2 is a #Fail. Getting extra bump due to being in the MWC and past history.
USM – Even more talented than Houston, just a tougher schedule. Key victories can help them with a 9-3 record if they can win at home versus Louisville and Boise State. They split those two and go 9-3 to possibly squeak in.
FIU - Biggest top 25 dark horse but too many variable to consider.
BYU – Good schedule. Lots of potential but Bronco just hasn’t been that good the last 4 years. Tempting
Notre Dame – A good coach and good trends and this is a easy lock for the top 25. Out with 8, in with 9. Dang it!
Three or four of these teams will be in my final Top 25 predictions for 2012. Be heard. Vote up your top 3 to crash it!