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THE PONY EXPRESS AND THE AAC

The SMU Mustangs (7-0) have regained the top spot in my weekly college football rankings. The SMU Mustangs from the American Athletic Conference are one of two Group of Five (G5) FBS programs which are among the group of unbeaten. The other G5 program is Appalachian State (6-0) from the Sun Belt Conference. The most interesting factor associate with both of these G5 0-loss programs are, the REQUIREMENT to play scheduled games on short rest, like the NFL programs. This means after playing a Saturday game , they are required by ESPN to play on the off nights. This alone is a test to their athletic ability, preparation and mental fortitude to sustain a viable football product at the FBS level.

What the challenge for ANY G5 conference or program is the ability for the power brokers of college football, ESPN, the sports media members or “experts” of ESPN to speak and promote these programs along the same lines as the Power Five Conference programs and the mollycoddled SEC programs in the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia and so on. The facts about SMU and Appalachian State are, both FBS programs play a balanced schedule with 6 home games and 6 away games. SMU DID NOT schedule an FCS team this season, but Appalachian State did schedule an FCS program. One of the primary reasons the G5 programs schedule FCS games is due to the fact that P5 programs WONT or FEAR scheduling G5 programs, in a traditional non conference game on the road with the possibility of losing to a G5 program and conference.

Unlike the SEC who as a group of FBS programs within the SEC conference possesses a non conference home field advantage rate of 85.7% this season. This means that of the 56 Non Conference games scheduled for the SEC, 48 of them are home. Furthermore, 15 of those 48 home games are games scheduled versus FCS opponents. In addition to the SEC possessing this conference scheduling advantage, of the 14 SEC FBS programs, 6 of them; Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee all play 4 EXTRA HOME games within their non conference schedule this season. Furthermore, Alabama possesses a non conference home field advantage rate of 90.5% within their non conference scheduling advantage since 1996. Please tell me why they deserve to be ranked any higher than I have them ranked when they take FULL ADVANTAGE of their non conference schedule. This is another advantage and pure FACTS that the sports media fail to understand or use against the SEC in ranking advantage. No other FBS conference possesses this type of scheduling advantage.

The primary purpose of my college football rankings are two fold. One, to prove that the current college football rankings possess a true bias within the subjective assessment and vested interests with specific media outlets who “promote” only one conference. The second fold, is to prove that college football can possess and implement an expanded playoff format of 16 teams. Plus, prove that there are other credible FBS programs that have earned the opportunity to compete for, be called, hold the gold trophy, play for the $50 Million Dollars on the table that is associated with the title “National Champion”. This even includes the G5 programs as well.

As of this part of the college football season, there are currently 10 0-loss FBS programs, 23 FBS programs are now BOWL Eligible, this includes 15 1-loss FBS programs and there are 23 5- win FBS programs who will have the opportunity to earn bowl eligibility by this weekend. What we do not know is who will remain undefeated, how many will be bowl eligible and will all FBs programs at least earn 1-win. Those questions will be answered as the season plays out in the last half mile.

Below is the fourth weeks weekly rankings of the 2019 FBS college football season. With my rankings, there is ALWAYS movement and surprises. There are only a few more weeks left of the season where FBS programs scheduled their bye weeks or off weeks. This is start to balance out in win-losses and rankings.

GRID: Ranked Team(Record)– indicates the rank of the FBS program and their current record; OPP OVRL– indicates the combined records of each specific ranked FBS programs scheduled win loss records and percentage rate of the whole 2019 schedule;  OPP NC OVRL– indicates the records of each specific ranked FBS programs scheduled non conference games versus FBS programs combined season total of win loss records and percentage rate for and within that FBS ranked programs non conference schedule for 2019, NC ONLY– indicates the records of each specific ranked FBS programs win loss record and percentage rate of those FBS teams they scheduled associated within their non conference schedule ONLY to assist in non conference credibility strength of schedule, and CONF– indicates the combined records of each specific ranked FBS programs conference schedule win loss records and percentage rate to assist in conference strength of schedule:

RANK TEAM RECORDOVRL NC OPNC ONLYCONF
1 SMU (7-0)(44-38) .531(11-15) .423(6-9) .400(11-14) .444
2 OHIO STATE (7-0)(44-39) .530(8-13) .381(4-7) .364(18-20) .474
3 LSU (7-0)(46-31) .597(12-7) 632(4-5) .444(17-17) .500
4 OKLAHOMA (7-0) (41-34) .547(5-9) .357(2-5) .286(15-19) .441
5 MINNESOTA (5-0) (38-36) .514(6-6) .500(3-4) .429(15-22) .405
6 CLEMSON (7-0) (38-38) .500(9-12) .429(5-4) .556(13-18) .419
7 PENN STATE (7-0)(47-30) .610(8-6) .571(5-3) .625(20-18) .526
8 BAYLOR (7-0) (39-36) .520(3-11) .214(1-6) .143(15-19) .441
9 ALABAMA (7-0) (39-41) .481(8-9) .471(4-8) .333(14-19) .424
10 FLORIDA (7-1) (40-30) .571(6-8) .429(3-2) .600(16-16) .500
11 APPALACHIAN ST (6-0)(33-40) .452(8-12) .400(4-4) .500(10-12) .455
12 WISCONSIN (6-1) (49-35) .583(11-11) .500(5-7) .417(19-18) .514
13 CINCINNATI (6-1) (44-40) .524(16-12) .571(6-8) .429(8-17) .320
14 LOUISIANA TECH (6-1) (33-43) .434(8-13) .381(4-7) .364(13-14) .481
15 MEMPHIS (6-1) (43-34) .558(7-15) .318(3-8) .273(15-10) .600
16 BOISE STATE (6-1) (37-39) .487(10-11) .476(5-6) .455(11-15) .423
17 SAN DIEGO STATE (6-1)(32-43) .427(5-16) .238(2-11) .154(10-14) .417
18 UAB (6-1) (26-50) .342(3-18) .143(2-9) .182(13-10) .565
19 OREGON (6-1) (45-33) .577(10-4) .714(6-1) .857(17-21) .447
20 GEORGIA (6-1) (42-35) .545(10-10) .500(7-5) .583(16-18) .471
21 WAKE FOREST (6-1) (41-35) .539(7-12) .368(2-7) .222(17-16) .515
22 UTAH (6-1) (39-39) .500(5-9) .357(3-6) .333(17-20) .459
23 AUBURN (6-1) (53-26) .671(14-7) .667(6-5) .545(19-14) .576
24 NOTRE DAME (5-1) (49-35) .583(19-16) .543(10-6).625(17-14) .548
25 NAVY (5-1) (42-35) .545(12-9) .571(8-7) .533(16-18) .471

NOTE: There are 19 FBS programs ranked outside the Top 25 rankings, all of which possess overall records of (5-2).

Below is the second ranking grid which is based upon offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency of all FBS teams during the 2019 FBS college football season. I have performed this ranking for the past 5 FBS seasons and I only post the Top 25. This ranking is a subset of a group of categorical variables that assists in other aspects in ranking and assessing FBS teams ability to compare the validity against the Vegas spread and ESPN FPI Index.

GRID: Ranked Team(Record)– indicates the rank of the ranked FBS program and their current record;  OFF EFF– indicates the number of offensive possessions each ranked FBS program possesses compared to the number of times that each ranked FBS program scores; either by touchdown, field goal or safety; DEF 3– indicates the number of times each ranked FBS program defense held the opposition to not scoring in 3 successive possessions. Each 3 successive defensive stops of not being scored on equals 1 count; and GM CTR 3– indicates the number of times each ranked FBS program win was by a total of 3 possessions or more, which means by a total of 21 points or more:

RANK TEAM RECORDOFF EFFDEF 3GM CTRL
1 ALABAMA (7-0)(85-53) .624136
2 OKLAHOMA (7-0)(87-54) .621145
3 LSU (7-0)(93-55) .591185
4 OHIO STATE (7-0)(95-54) .568217
5 WASHINGTON STATE (4-3)(87-48) .55293
6 AIR FORCE (5-2)(77-42) .545112
7 APPLACHIAN STATE (6-0)(76-39) .513112
8 NOTRE DAME (5-1)(73-37) .507132
9 TEXAS (5-2)(90-45) .500102
10 WASHINGTON (5-2)(100-50) .500124
11 GEORGIA (6-1) (86-43) .500195
12 MEMPHIS (6-1) (92-45) .489123
13 WAKE FOREST (6-1) (90-44) .489131
14 IOWA STATE (5-2)(87-42) .48392
15 LOU-LAFAYETTE (5-2)(87-42) .48391
16 COASTAL CAROLINA (3-4)(81-39) .481102
17 UTAH (6-1) (79-37) .468153
18 SMU (7-0)(105-49) .467114
19 NAVY (5-1)(73-34) .466124
20 MINNESOTA (7-0)(84-39) .464123
21 CENTRAL FLORIDA (5-2) (102-47) .461173
22 PENN STATE (7-0)(94-43) .457204
23 CLEMSON (7-0)(97-44) .454215
24 BAYLOR (7-0)(93-42) .452131
25 WISCONSIN (6-1) (89-40) .449215

Many will argue why I do not have Alabama ranked higher than 9th. My reasons are simple. Alabama, RARELY schedules a non conference road game in a traditional setting. Alabama, consistently schedules an FCS game right before they play the annual rivalry with Auburn . Alabama, ranks with statistical rates and data of sub .500 in all four categories in which I use to assist in ranking. Alabama, ranks LAST in their overall strength of schedule within the SEC at a rate of .481. Alabama, ranks TIED for 12th/13th in their conference strength of schedule at a rate of .424. Alabama is tied with Kentucky and just ahead of Missouri within in this category. Yes Alabama is (7-0) for now, Yes Alabama still has to play LSU and Auburn, both of which I believe they will lose both. Those 2 losses alone should all but eliminate them from CFP discussion. I believe Alabama is receiving the benefit of the doubt because of who they are, the conference they are a member of and the vested interests in which ESPN has with the SEC. I bet if Ohio State were to play Alabama’s schedule and locations, they would still be (7-0). However, if Alabama were to play Ohio State’s schedule and locations, I think they would have trouble in the cold weather and not be (7-0).

The data and statistics do not lie. It does however provide a different perspective on how the reality of each FBS football team can be evaluated with an improved understanding. The subjective assessment in which coaches vote and rank are dependent on their credibility to rank efficiently without possessing a bias. Proving that no matter what your conference affiliation is, who your coaching friends are or what constituencies have financially backed you. Rankings are not meant to be miss leading but possess a true reality to how programs are performing against each other, at the same level of play and by the same rules.

As always, please cite the source in APA/MLA format if you use any of my information. To the sports media in print, television or radio; I am available for interview to discuss my college rankings, college football content and more specifically the college football playoffs. If you have any questions, comments or would like to discuss this further, reach out to me on twitter @cfbpoexpert or leave a comment in the comment section. I am also available for interview to discuss my perspective on college football and my research into expanding the playoffs for college football.

Sources:

SMU Pony Logo/Image (2019). Image retrieved off the World Wide Web, on October 20, 2019. Using the search engine Google, searching for SMU Image to use a part of my blog post.

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