This week there was a nightmare in Norman, a recurring nightmare in Nashville, Kirk Herbstreit gets it wrong, and of course, the popular polls are as funny as ever.
Norman, Oklahoma is in tornado alley but Saturday it was struck by a Cyclone – the Iowa State Cyclones, to be exact. Consistent with their stereotype, the Big 12 teams lit up the scoreboard on offense and played matador defense. Congrats to the Cyclones who weren’t intimidated by their more influential league-mates.
In Nashville, Vanderbilt’s nightmare continued as Georgia crushed the Commodores almost as badly as Alabama had a week earlier. In Ann Arbor, the Spartans rained on Jim Harbaugh’s parade again, and the Nebraska Black Shirts were bloodied by Wisconsin’s fourth quarter barrage. But the two best performances of the weekend were produced by the Cougars and Buckeyes, both of which graded out at over 100.
On the other hand, the Ugly Win award was shared by Clemson (73.41) and TCU (73.26). TCU dropped from No. 4 to No. 9 in our rankings partly because they struggled against West Virginia and partly because their earlier victories have lost value. Oklahoma State is no longer in the top ten, West Virginia is no longer in the top 25, and SMU and Arkansas have fallen out of the top fifty. The RPG system continuously updates Strength of Schedule based upon what has been learned, and does not reward a team for wins over teams that were once highly regarded but are now lightly regarded.
Possibly the biggest story of the weekend was the Twitter tiff between Washington Head Coach Chris Peterson and the usually level-headed and thoughtful and insightful Kirk Herbstreit. Peterson complained that Husky games were broadcast after east coast poll voters had gone to sleep each Saturday night. Peterson claimed the telecast schedule put his Huskies at a disadvantage. Herbstreit was not sympathetic as he defended his network. Don’t worry, Coach, the RPG system has your back. We don’t care what time you play, only how well you play. For the second week in a row, the RPG system has Washington at No. 2, just 2.57 points behind Alabama and 1.19 points ahead of third place Ohio State.
That’s right, after consecutive weeks with grades over 100, the Buckeyes have leapfrogged the poll voters’ favorites. But they’ve lost a game, you say. That’s true, but they lost to a top team and their average playing performance grade for six weeks of actual football is better than that of teams that have consistently won ugly. You know who they are. The RPG system doesn’t rank records, it ranks playing performances.
This week we’ve added Washington State (No. 10), Miami (No. 12) and Auburn (No. 13) to our rankings and we dropped LSU and Florida State. If LSU can beat Auburn next Saturday we’ll add them back but their flukey escape from the Swamp against overrated Florida was not encouraging.
You can see this week’s full rankings at www.nemosnumbers.com/football-rankings/.