Home > Sports > Ridley’s Rankings, Week 15: Championship Week Edition

Ridley’s Rankings, Week 15: Championship Week Edition

The regular season is now over. Conference championships have been decided. Where are we now? A place pretty familiar to where we’ve been in the past. A team with years of tradition (Notre Dame) faces off against an SEC power (Alabama). This will be the seventh time these teams have faced off, with Notre Dame surprisingly taking five of the first six (and most of these were against Bear Bryant). These teams pit terrifying defenses against light (ND) to qualified (Alabama) offenses. My guess is the first team to reach double-digits in points wins the game, because that will probably be all that’s needed.

With bowl season ramping up in just ten short days, as of this entry, I hope to have a bowl preview out in time to fill out your office pools (you know, if gambling was legal). Until then, here are the rankings.

(Editor’s Note: Ranking formula was altered this week to include a “Bad Loss” variable as well as eliminate all BCS components of the equation.)

  1. Notre Dame (100.00) – With an off week, nothing was expected to change for the Domers. They knew that even should Alabama beat Georgia, they were still secured a top-2 spot in the BCS, with #3 Georgia falling, in this circumstance, and Florida, at #4, having the week off. They’ll now face their toughest opponent since Stanford, a team that took them to the brink.
  2. Florida (98.78) – Florida? Yes, Florida. You can say all you want about ‘Bama winning the SEC and beating Georiga in what was essentially a home game for the Bulldogs, but Florida was still faced a tougher schedule while pulling off the same amount of impressive victories. If you’ve been following these rankings, you’ve seen how much the numbers favor the Gators. If you don’t believe me, check out the computer rankings that feed into the BCS formula
  3. Alabama (97.34) – Some of the questions I get asked about these rankings are “How could you pick X team to be above Y team” or vice versa. Let me just clarify that I don’t “pick” anything. I plug numbers into an equation and it spits out values. Could change the equation so that Alabama is ahead of Florida? Sure, but it’s not the formula that I think will provide the most accurate rankings. With that said, if you want to say ‘Bama is second, I won’t argue with you.
  4. Stanford (93.56) – Welcome to the second-tier of college football. Stanford has gone through a brutal four-week stretch, facing four ranked opponents, all of whom were in the top 17 at the time. Their record after that gauntlet: 4-0. Yet, even after this stretch, Stanford still hasn’t won over all its critics, largely due to the fact that three of those wins were by four points or less. Luckily for them, they drew the 8-5 Wisconsin Badgers to face in the Rose Bowl, a fate that will likely net them their first Rose Bowl title since 1972.
  5. Ohio State (93.25) – The Buckeye nation will probably spend the entire winter thinking “What If…?” after their undefeated Buckeyes were left out of the postseason due to bowl sanctions. However, their thoughts of OSU playing in the BCS Championship, had they been eligible, are likely pipe dreams. With a weak schedule, Notre Dame’s redemption and the nation’s SEC bias, the Buckeyes would’ve likely found themselves on the outside looking in. For further proof, check out the latest AP poll.
  6. Kansas State (93.11) – The Wildcats may’ve missed out on the BCS ‘Ship after their meltdown against Baylor, but they were able to rebound and claim the Big 12 crown against an increasingly fraudulent Texas team. This team is a perfect example fans’ unending need for more. In August, had you told the folks in Manhattan that their squad would win the Big 12 and play in the Fiesta Bowl, they would’ve been elated. Now, it seems like a team that fell a few steps short.
  7. Oregon (92.70) – Like K-State, who fell from title-contention just a few minutes before the Ducks, Oregon’s season wreaks of “what could’ve been.” After three straight Pac-10/12 championships, the Ducks headed into the season with BCS title aspirations. All of a sudden, the Ducks future looks a little bleaker. Although they’ll get the Fiesta Bowl (and its payday), they’ll be dealing with Chip Kelly-NFL rumors all offseason in addition to the possible NCAA sanctions stemming from alleged recruiting violations hanging over them as an ominous cloud. Word to the wise, enjoy the present Ducks fans.
  8. Texas A&M (90.85) – Congrats all around to one of the newest SEC members. In a year when they were presented with a new conference, coach and quarterback, the Aggies did the seemingly impossible: they succeeded. The Aggies, a constant middle of the pack Big 12 whose lost conference title was in 1998, moved to the SEC and not only competed, but won. Their two losses, both at the hands of Top-10 teams, were a combined eight points. Now, to prove it’s not a fluke, they get to face their old nemesis, Oklahoma, in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
  9. South Carolina (89.34) – Like A&M, the Gamecocks also lost to Florida and LSU, although their defeats were by a combined 35 points, including a close 2-point loss to the Tigers, a loss that played a huge part in keeping them out of the SEC championship. The future is bright for South Carolina, though. With returning stud Jadaveon Clowney on defense and Dylan Thompson looking like the QB of the future, SC may be able to finally nab that elusive SEC title in the near future.
  10. LSU (88.75) – How is a team that has the same record as the two teams ahead of it, not to mentioned beat both of them, ranked below them? By playing, time and time again, down to the level of play of its opponents.  They beat Auburn, Ole Miss and Arkansas (teams with a combined 13 wins) by combined 15 points, including narrowly escaping an Auburn team that didn’t win an SEC game all year. The team has as much talent as anyone, but their focus leaves much to be desired.
  11. Oklahoma (86.82) – The Sooners barely missed a BCS bid, thanks to the unbelievable rise of Northern Illinois last week, but will still face a quality opponent in a marquis bowl. They can prove the Big 12’s legitimacy by taking care of business old running mate, Texas A&M, in the Cotton Bowl.
  12. Georgia (83.14) – With the exception of the Florida game (if you give them credit for causing the turnovers instead of blaming the Gators), Georgia played its best game of the season Saturday, in a loss. Nick Saban was so impressed with the ‘Dawgs, he still voted them third in the Coaches Poll.
  13. Oregon State (80.14) – Credit to Mike Riley for fielding an impressive seat in a year that he began on the hot seat. The Beavers are rewarded with an Alamo Bowl berth against a susceptible Texas squad.
  14. Florida State (79.62) – Big round of applause to Florida State, winners of the awful ACC. The Seminoles are sure to celebrate their first ACC crown since 2005, but as Florida showed them, they’ve still got a ways until they want to play with the big dogs.
  15. Clemson (79.51) – Tiger on Tiger action in this year’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl as Clemson tries to exact revenge against the SEC in the form of LSU.
  16. San Jose State (78.96) – Join me in a collective “Whhhaaaaaaat?” Yes, these little Spartans are actually ranked this high, thanks in part to a few good (but not great) wins and that they lost to an excellent Stanford team by only 3 points. With the exception of the Utah State game, their season was incredible.
  17. Northern Illinois (78.57) – The Huskies will be celebrating their MAC championship all the way to the Discover Orange Bowl when they get to prove their legitimacy against a Florida State team in search of the same thing. In other words, we’ll learn next to nothing.
  18. Kent State (77.44) – So close to a BCS bowl. Oh well, unlike NIU, at least they get to keep their coa…oh wait. Their coach just got a job at Purdue. Oh, the life of a “mid-major.”
  19. Michigan (76.13) – We’re to a four-loss team already? Yuuuuup. Michigan, unlike their Big Ten counterpart OSU, actually played teams. Their four losses: Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State. Everybody below them would also lose all four games (Wisconsin fans, shut up!)
  20. Utah State (76.08) – Two WAC teams, a conference that’s going defunct, in the top 20? God bless college football. Argue if you want, but a 10-2 team that loses both by a combined 5 points deserves this slot.
  21. Nebraska (75.80) – People thought Nebraska should plummet after the whooping they took to Wisconsin. I hope a drop of nine spots is enough to quench that thirst for blood.
  22. Ball State (75.00) – 9-3 (all loses to teams ahead of them) in a better than expected MAC conference does enough for my numbers to get them in the top 25.
  23. Boise State (74.89) – Boise State and Utah State’s resumes are remarkably similar. The difference: Utah State can put up points against decent teams. The same can’t be said about the Broncos. Also, that loss to Michigan State is looking worse and worse.
  24. Texas (74.32) – Looking at the Longhorns’ performance this year, it seems about right, but this team is too schizophrenic for me to argue they deserve this spot.
  25. Fresno State (73.77) – The Bulldogs had a sneaky good season this year under first year head coach Tim DeRuyter. They should be able to take care of SMU in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Honorable Mentions: Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, Arkansas State, Louisville, San Diego State

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