~ ~

Thursday, November 5, 2015


College football needs a playoff system at its highest level. A minimum of 16 teams should be invited, if not the full 24 teams that are included in the lower divisions of the NCAA. But for now, top-level college football is still held hostage by the money-grubbing Bowl-game "owners" who just won't let go of their post-season monopoly business.

That said, the official rankings came out this week and listed Michigan State at #7, behind two teams with losses, despite their perfect record of 8-0. As long as we're subjected to polls, the voters should be required to rank teams within groups based on their record. So this week, all of the 8-0 teams should be in the first group, followed by the 7-0 teams, then the 7-1 teams, etc. But that's not the way they do it.

We can see that Mark Dantonio is not letting the madness cause him any sadness, which is good, and it looks like his perspective is trickling-down to his players. In other words, the Spartans don't seem bugged by the low ranking.

How "low" is it for MSU to be #7? The guy in charge cited the number of wins a team has against opponents with a winning record, so let's run the numbers:
  1. #1 Clemson has defeated 4 teams with a record over .500
  2. #2 LSU has defeated 3 teams with a record over .500
  3. #3 OSU has defeated 3 teams with a record over .500
  4. #4 Alabama has defeated 4 teams with a record over .500
  5. #5 Notre Dame has defeated 3 teams with a record over .500
  6. #6 Baylor has defeated 1 team with a record over .500
  7. #7 Michigan State has defeated 5 teams with a record over .500
Two teams ranked ahead of MSU, Alabama and Notre Dame, are not undefeated. The teams that Alabama has beaten have a composite record of 37-29, while the teams Notre Dame has knocked off have a combined record of 28-28. The Spartans are unbeaten, and the teams they have defeated have a composite record of 35-30.

So no, there is no particular logic and rationale to these rankings, no matter how lofty the reputations of the smaller group of voters may be.

Most of you already knew most of this, but we put it together here for your quick and convenient reference.

Includes top-ranked team records


  1. Fun facts...

    The best win for MSU was an opponent with 6 wins.
    The best win of every team above MSU had 7 wins, except Baylor which was a 5 win opponent. Clemson and LSU both notched wins over a pair of 7-win teams.

    MSU's worst win was against a 2-win team.
    Clemson's worst win was versus a 3-win team, OSU a pair of 2-win opponents and the other 4 teams above MSU had worse. Baylor 1-win and no win opponents, Notre Dame, a 1-win opponent, Alabama, 1-win, LSU 1-win.

    Only Clemson had a composite opponent win-loss record (0.56716) that was higher than MSU (0.53846) when just the teams beaten were considered.

    Every team above MSU stands as No. 1 in their division (or conference) except Alabama and Notre Dame (only 1 foot in the ACC).

    So what is the problem?

    Margin of victory. One can look at the raw PF-PA or one can do a MoV%.
    MoV% is merely PF-PA divided by the total points scored by both teams (PF+PA).

    Clemson 39.49%
    LSU 26.51%
    OSU 43.59%
    Alabama 37.34%
    Notre Dame 25.11%
    Baylor 41.72%
    MSU 20.27%

    In other words, style points and no shut outs.

    1. Thank you MSU76. I would agree those are "facts", though I would dispute how "fun" they are. (LOL)

      But it is consistently interesting how you can use STATISTICS to prove and disprove and to generally learn things. You have successfully quantified what we all have seen with our "eye test".

      Too bad, because MSU certainly could have run several teams off the field early in the season just by passing throughout the game, as UM did to build their annual reputation.


Please sign in using the method most convenient for you. We do not receive your login information. This function is provided by Blogger.