The top six in the C Ratings remain the same as last week; #1 TCU had too big a lead to be terribly affected by Utah’s loss to Notre Dame. So instead, let’s talk about the chaotic Big Ten race, where I think I actually heard one person on ESPN (I think it was Kirk Herbstreit… I’d say it was on BCS Countdown but I don’t think I watched it this week… was it on PTI?) call #4 Ohio State the best team in the Big Ten if not one of the best in the country. The bandwagon is gaining steam, folks!
Of course, for them to have a chance at even a BCS bowl they probably need #14 Wisconsin to lose, so did the Badgers earn the respect the BCS has been giving them with the way they racked up 83 points on Indiana? Well… not really. As I’ve said in the past, the C Ratings have two curbs on running up the score in the A and B Ratings. Wisconsin didn’t get the benefit in the B Ratings because Indiana sucks (A Rating = .176), and they didn’t get the benefit in the A Ratings because they allowed 20 points. The real margin of victory was 63, which is still impressive if sometimes matched by other guarantee games, but those other guarantee games have scores of 63-0, not 83-20. So the score ratio Wisconsin got was only (63/83)=.759, which translates into the A Rating calculation as .8795, impressive but not overly so, and even the relatively minor A Rating can’t budge much this late. Wisconsin’s A Rating only went from .602 to .627, and while its C Rating more than doubled, the gaps between teams increase in the upper echelons of the ratings, so the Badgers only moved up three spots.
Other notes on this week’s C Ratings:
- #7 Oklahoma nestles right up behind #6 Oklahoma State, setting up a potentially huge Bedlam game for the Big 12 South title, thanks to a squash of 5-5 Texas Tech. #9 Nebraska gives the Big 12 three Top 10 representatives, actually a step down for them, as they put themselves three scores ahead of Kansas by only a point in the final Kansas-Nebraska Act game. #8 Stanford takes a step down with a tight pull-out against Arizona State.
- I have to rant a little about margin of victory, since the BCS’ prohibition of it in the computer rankings has finally come back to the forefront. We can be so concerned with running up the score that we can ignore that just the possibility of running up the score shows how great you are. Not factoring in margin of victory means the BCS can look the other way with teams that beat good teams but have trouble beating teams they should beat easily. Last year Iowa beat Northern Iowa and Penn State by similar scores. This year #15 LSU is putting on a whole new spin on success. It’s not the BCS’ fault they could have grabbed the SEC West title ahead of #10 Alabama if #5 Auburn lost out, including to the Tide – that’s not anyone’s fault unless you want to come up with entirely new schema for conference titles – but it is the BCS’ fault that they’re 5th and could have gone to the BCS Title Game, ahead of TCU and #2 Boise State teams everyone agrees should be given a chance, if they had won the SEC Title Game. (Although picking them ahead of Bama for the Sugar Bowl is a whole other issue.) Auburn and #17 South Carolina isn’t as big as some recent SEC Title Games, but it’s still probably the biggest game of championship week.
- ACC Madness! Two down, one to go, and #11 Virginia Tech has reached the point where they would need to lose to Virginia too to not go to the ACC Title Game. I’d love to see them play a BCS at-large in the Orange Bowl, but they’ll probably be fed a minnow champion from the good but full-of-too-much-parity Big East (the magic 8-ball has come up “yes, #23 West Virginia can play in the Top 25 this week”) that could come down to a mess of tiebreakers (a five-way tie isn’t a possibility but a three-way tie is), and we’ll have yet another year of no one caring about the Orange Bowl. Meanwhile, #22 NC State is the only team in the Atlantic in the Top 25, and control their own destiny if they win out. Maryland, though, is a must-win no matter who wins between Florida State and Maryland this week or even if the Pack lose to their rivals (though if the Pack do lose they’re certainly rooting for Maryland).
- This is really a holding pattern week before the big games next week. Besides the Iron Bowl, and the game that could decide who goes to the Cotton Bowl between LSU and #12 Arkansas (don’t be surprised if the Hogs win), there will also be the big game between #13 Nevada and Boise State.
- #16 Missouri got back on the winning track against Kansas State, but with #24 Texas A&M the only other Big 12 team in the Top 25 that isn’t in the Top 20, and Nebraska needing two losses to lose the North, what exactly are the Tigers playing for? A&M was propelled by a huge win over a good Baylor team and now gets a huge game with Nebraska, but Missouri shouldn’t get its hopes up. Nebraska’s other remaining opponent is lowly Colorado, in both teams’ final Big 12 regular-season game.
- There is one reason that would be sufficient to explain why I keep considering changing the C Rating formula: independents. Notre Dame is a team in negative B Points just sitting there in the middle of a number of teams in positive B Points because their C Rating isn’t depressed by other teams in their conference with lower ratings. #18 Navy has its ratings depressed by being in the “military conference” with Army, but Army is on the first page this year as well. Navy is still good, with only three losses, and their B Rating would still be sufficient for the Top 25, but still, they have three losses despite Air Force being the only team they’ve played in positive B Points.
- Do you think the Big Ten is happy they don’t have any more of these chaotic conference title races after this year? #20 Iowa isn’t even involved with two conference losses and they beat one of the teams, #19 Michigan State, that’s just a spot ahead of them.
- Arizona tumbles off the Top 25 (but just barely; there’s still a huge gap to Oregon State at #49) so #21 USC is the last Pac-10 team on the Top 25. (Actually, now that I think about it, even if USC were disqualified the C Ratings would still have three Pac-10 teams, just a different three…)
Best game of week: #4 Ohio State @ #20 Iowa, 3:30pm ET, ABC
Complete C Ratings