Last season Miami and Oklahoma were the two most overrated teams in college football and they were overrated for classic reasons that repeatedly fool the “experts.” In the case of the Hurricanes, their won/lost record deceived the experts. The ‘Canes racked up ten straight unimpressive wins, playing poorly against weak competition, and repeatedly escaping with fortuitous comebacks. The experts thought that a 10-0 record meant they were the second-best team in college football. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. The Relative Performance Grading (RPG) system, which assigns a numerical grade to each playing performance, knew the Hurricanes were imposters. When the ‘Canes lost their last three games of the season, the experts were surprised, but RPG wasn’t.
The experts who vote in the AP poll ranked the ‘Canes No. 7 coming into this season despite the fact that none of the experts had seen them play. Yesterday, RPG saw them play and gave them a numerical grade for what they did (didn’t do) on the field of play. Again, the experts are shocked that a mediocre LSU team could smother the supposedly good Hurricanes but the RPG system merely recorded the ‘Canes’ desultory performance. In perhaps the worst half of football ever played, the Hurricanes failed to convert a third down (0 for 6) while allowing LSU to sustain drives with three fourth down conversions. The vaunted turnover chain never made an appearance for Miami. Miami’s numerical grade of 51.56 (on a scale of 1 to 100) probably puts them in the lower echelons of all FBS teams but we’re only ranking the AP Top Ten this week so Miami is dead last among its supposed peers. You’ll find Miami much higher in the AP poll because voters simply demote losers a few positions without any real logic being applied.
Last season’s other overrated team, Oklahoma, was overrated because of its impressive offense and the scintillating play of Baker Mayfield. The experts LOVE offense but the experts overlooked the fact that Oklahoma’s offensive stats were produced in a conference that played no defense. The experts also forgot that teams must also play defense. RPG balances offense and defense in calculating a playing performance grade. Oklahoma had the weakest defense among Top Twenty-five teams and therefore, was not as highly ranked by RPG as by the experts. According to RPG, Oklahoma was the one team that did not deserve a playoff bid.
In week one this season, the Sooners again piled up big offensive numbers, but unlike last season, they also played excellent defense in spanking Lane Kiffin’s FAU bunch behind the woodshed. As a result, the Sooners are No. 2 after one week of play.
The team that could be this year’s Oklahoma—great offense and poor defense—could be the Ohio State Buckeyes. They hung a double seven on Oregon State—which will impress voters—but only Miami played worse defense among top ten teams in week one. Ohio State’s defensive grade was 65.51 while Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Wisconsin all earned grades over 100. The Buckeyes were that bad against possibly the weakest Pac-12 team but did the experts notice?
Go to www.nemosnumbers.com to see how the AP Top Ten graded in their first games. No surprise, Alabama edged out Oklahoma for No. 1. Had they played only one quarterback—you know which one—their grade would have been higher and their margin over the Sooners would have been greater. Find a copy of Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics to read how the RPG system calculates the numerical grades that accurately rank college football teams.