Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 15

Here are the final regular season Gus+ Rankings.  (Army/Navy still needs to be added after they play on Saturday.)

If Gus were determining BCS pairings, conference champions remained and selections were made based upon the final Gus Rankings:

National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Ohio State
Orange Bowl: Missouri vs. Arizona State
Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Oklahoma State
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida

And, as expected, Miami (OH) runs away with the worst team in America award by nearly 11 points.

Worst Gus team to make a bowl game?  Colorado State at #88.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 14 (and 13!)

Gus took the week off last week!  Here are the Week 13 rankings.

Here are this week's rankings.

Prior to the weekend's conference championship games, the Gus BCS looks as follows:

National Championship Game: Missouri (SEC champion) vs. Florida State (ACC Champion)
Rose Bowl: Ohio State (Big 10 champion) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 champion)
Orange Bowl: Arizona State (At-large) vs. Baylor (At-large)
Sugar Bowl: Alabama (At-large) vs. Northern Illinois (At-large)
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State (Big 12 champion) vs. Central Florida (AAC champion)

For a breakdown of the selection procedures, check here.

How do I think it's going to shake out?  I predict the following:

National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State
Orange Bowl: Alabama vs. Baylor
Sugar Bowl: Missouri vs. Central Florida
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Northern Illinois

Really on the fence about Michigan State or Baylor in the Rose Bowl; I'm thinking they go for the traditional Big 10/Pac-12 match-up, though a blow-out loss by Michigan State to Ohio State (and a Baylor win) might change that.  The last at-large spot seems to be between Baylor, Oregon, and Clemson.  I think the Orange Bowl goes with Baylor; there is a Big 12/Big 8 historical connection there, and the offense/defense match-up should generate some interest.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 12

Here are this week's Gus Rankings.  Florida State assumes the top spot, followed by Alabama, Missouri, Stanford and Baylor.

Is it too soon to crown Miami (OH) the worst team in FBS football?  Their lead for the bottom spot continues to widen.

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 11

Here are this week's Gus Rankings. Alabama tops the rankings, followed by Stanford, Florida State, Missouri and Ohio State.  And, in what has become a weekly certainty, Miami (OH) holds a nearly 10 point lead on the bottom spot in the rankings.

As the end of the season is approaching, it's time for our first foray into the Gus BCS projections!  Should the season end today and the Gus+ were used in place of the BCS, which teams would go to which BCS bowls?

The champions of the following conferences automatically qualify for the following bowls:

• Atlantic Coast Conference - Orange Bowl
• Big Ten Conference - Rose Bowl
• Big 12 Conference - Fiesta Bowl
• Pac-12 Conference - Rose Bowl
• Southeastern Conference - Sugar Bowl

The BCS Bowls choose to fill their at-large spots in the following order: Orange, Sugar, Fiesta.  Further, a team taken from an automatic bowl qualification to play in the National Championship Game gets replaced before the at-large slots are filled in the order of finish in the final rankings.

So, without further ado...

National Championship Game: Alabama (SEC champion) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 champion)
Orange Bowl: Florida State (ACC champion) vs. Oregon (At-large #1)
Sugar Bowl: Missouri (NCG replacement #1) vs. Brigham Young (At-large #2)
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor (Big 12 champion) vs. Houston (At-large #3)
Rose Bowl: Ohio State (Big 10 champion) vs. Clemson (NCG replacement #2)

Alabama and Stanford are the top two teams in the rankings; Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State are the remaining conference champions (as they are the highest ranked in either of their conferences), and fall into their assigned slots.  Houston-- the highest ranked team from the AAC-- qualifies automatically but it chosen as an at-large for a bowl.  The Sugar Bowl, having lost Alabama, choose its replacement first and goes with the highest ranked eligible un-claimed team-- and that's #4 Missouri.  The Rose Bowl selected next to fill the void created by Stanford, and they select #7 Clemson.  The Orange Bowl gets the first at-large choice and selects #8 Oregon.  Teh Sugar bowl chooses next and is forced to pass on #9 Texas A&M (no more than two teams from the SEC), #10 Virginia Tech (no more than two teams from the ACC),  #11 Auburn (no more than two teams from the SEC), and settles on #12 Brigham Young.  The Fiesta Bowl chooses last and must choose the champion from the AAC, #18 Houston.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 10

Here are this week's Gus Rankings.  Florida State's victory of Miami last weekend give them a one-hundredth of a point edge over Missouri.  Ohio State, Stanford and Alabama round out the top 5.

Surprise of the week?  BYU slides in at #6, ahead of, among others, undefeated Oregon and Baylor.

Potential BCS teams Fresno State (31) and Northern Illinois (39) sit well outside of the Gus+ Top 16.

And, at the other end of the spectrum, Miami (OH) keeps its stranglehold on the final spot with four games to play.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 9

Here are this week's Gus Rankings.  Alabama assumes the top spot, followed by Ohio State, Stanford, Missouri and Florida State.  The lowest ranked unbeaten team is Northern Illinois at 38; the highest ranked team without a win is Purdue at 101.  (Do note that the Boilermakers lone win on the season came against FCS Indiana State.)

Once again, Miami (OH) refuses to budge from its place at the bottom of the rankings.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 8

This week's Gus Rankings are here.  Missouri tops the list this week, followed by Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Stanford.

Surprise team of the week?  Utah, at 3-3, finds itself at #8, just a slot behind fellow 3-loss Georgia.  A close loss to Oregon State combined with wins over Stanford and BYU gets the Utes over the 11-point mark.

At the other end of the spectrum, Miami (OH)'s loss to Akron has given the RedHawks a commanding 5.5 point edge on the final spot.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 7

Here are this week's Gus Rankings.  A few notes:

- Georgia, at 4-2, still finds themselves at the top of the rankings.  Let's see how that's possible.  First off, both of their losses came to  teams that themselves have no losses.  So, no points to be lost there.  On top of that, one of their losses-- their first-- was close, by three points to Clemson.  A three point loss is actually a 23.8% win-- so Georgia receives a little less than a point (for this week, anyway-- these are flexible by week).  Their loss last weekend, to Missouri, was by 15 points and thus yielded a victory of just a shade under 1%-- but since Missouri also has no losses, Georgia gained about .03 points for that loss as well.

Interestingly, Georgia's overtime victory over Tennessee-- which Gus+ denotes as a 50% win and a 50% loss, yielded Georgia exactly 0 points this week (though provided the Volunteers with 0.5 points).

- Much the same could be said of LSU as well, as they find themselves at #2 with a loss to their record.  Their setback, to Georgia in fact, was by 3 points, and also counted as a 23.8% victory.  Because Georgia is not unblemished, on net this loss costs LSU about 0.8 points this week, but may well be a positive on net should Georgia continue to win football games.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 6

Here are this week's Gus Rankings.  Georgia maintains its grip on the top spot, with Florida State, Alabama, Stanford, and Ohio State rounding out the top 5.  At the bottom, Miami (OH) holds the distinction of being Gus' Worst Team in America.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 5

Here is this week in Gus+.  Alabama assumes the top spot, followed by Georgia, Florida State, Washington and Oklahoma.  New Mexico State, long a titan in the battle for the worst team FBS team in America, claims the bottom slot.  South Florida is the lowest ranked BCS school.

There are only a couple of teams perfectly tied in the rankings; the degree of separation this early in the season as compared to the traditional Gus Rankings is impressive.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 4

Here are this week's Gus Rankings, which are starting to round into shape even after only four weeks.  Georgia, Alabama, UCLA, and Arizona/Florida State/Oklahoma State sit at the top, while Air Force lays claim to the worst team in the country.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Gus+ Week 3

Here are this week's Gus Rankings.  Louisville tops the list, followed by Ohio (!), Oklahoma in third, and Arizona/Oregon/UCLA all tied for fourth.  New Mexico State, per usual, has staked an early claim to the bottom spot.

As wins and losses accumulate over the next few weeks, early-season close games should provide a bit more clarity.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2013 Gus Rankings: Introducing Gus+

Welcome to another year of the Gus Rankings!  As you know, the Gus Rankings are an objective ranking system that focuses on simplicity in generating a college football ranking for all 124 FBS full members.  You can find the original post here.  Given its simplicity, I've always thought that it's impressive how close to a more reputable computer ranking it ends up being.

This year, and henceforth, we're going to try something a little bit different.  Every year, a new wrinkle or two is going to be added to the Gus Rankings to attempt to correct for a perceived shortcoming in the original rankings.  In keeping with the original spirit of the Gus Rankings, additional adjustments will be 1) objectively defensible to the largest extent possible, and 2) completely transparent in terms of how the calculations are done.  Don't know the algorithm that Sagarin uses for his ratings?  Don't worry-- that'll never be the case here.  The downside is we're losing a bit of the simplicity that made the rankings straight-forward and easy to interpret.  I will do my best to arrange to have the original Gus Rankings alongside the new and improved Gus Rankings, so whatever flavor of Gus you enjoy (or ranks your team higher) you can have at the ready.

I had large plans for this year's adjustments-- enough to work on to provide several years of improvements.  I think some of them could 1) take some more thought on the objectivity front, and 2) could definitely take some thought on how to implement them so as to minimize the week-to-week effort on my end.  So patience here will win out.

Nevertheless, I believe taking a piecemeal approach can prevent anything too drastic from happening on the fly-- after all, I only have so much Excel ability.  Further, adding in different features at different times should give a sense for how adjusting for different factors play into the rankings at the end of the day.  I view it as an experiment in power rankings-- and since mine are the only ones I know of that straddle the line between silly-in-construction and break-out-the-supercomputer-to-calculate-them, I think there's something to be taken from different aspect of a power ranking.

With that out of the way, here's what's changed to generate this year's rankings-- Gus+.

- I've been struck in the past at how much an end of the game scenario can really swing things for a team.  It's not terribly surprising-- after all, when the only thing that counts is your opponents' wins or losses, a flip from one to the other is going to be a big deal.  But I don't think that should be such a violent swing.  So this year's adjustment deals with that issue.

- Many power rankings deal with margin of victory; Gus+ now does the same.  We view close games as part victory and part loss.  Now, point differential across the entire spectrum of scores shouldn't all have the same impact.  In terms of the chances of winning a game, a field goal to extent a lead to 5 points is much more impactful than a field goal to extent a lead to 53 points.  So, all wins over 16 points will be considered 100% wins.

Is 16 arbitrary?  Yes.  But that's two touchdowns and two two-point conversions, and that's what we're going with.

Games within 16 points are assigned a percent win and a percent loss for each team; one team's percent victory is their opponent's percent loss and vice versa.  I considered a range of functional forms to capture this-- something that needed to have a fairly high rate of change around closer scores and then flattening out as it approached 16.  The inverse hyperbolic sine provides this form quite nicely-- and is certainly defensible as objective as, conveniently enough, I did not derive the distribution of the inverse hyperbolic sine.

- Overtime games have always bothered me.  We judge the vast majority of games on sixty minutes of game play.  Why are there a subset of games where we consider more time?  That seems arbitrary to me, especially in a power rankings format. So all overtime games, regardless of winner, are now 50% victory and 50% loss.  Whether the team ultimately won or lost will play a role in the secondary effects of your other opponents' rankings but not directly within the overtime game.  The secondary effects aren't trivial in theory-- maybe these games need to be considered pseudo-ties moving forward, with all of the appropriate adjustments therein-- though in practice there have been exactly three overtime games in the first two weeks.  It's something to think about moving forward.  That is how ties will be dealt with this year.

- Without further ado, here are this season's first Gus+ Rankings.

- As always, the early portion of the season does not lead to much variation in the rankings.  Generally this falls by the wayside after a few weeks; the adjustment for margin of victory should bring about enough variation perhaps a week or two sooner.  There is considerably more variation this year as compared to last year's Week 2 rankings.

- It is interesting to me that the largest score is 1; basically, no team has recorded two significant victories over two teams that, in each of their other games, recorded victories themselves.  I'm fairly certain I've got everything arranged properly-- there is a team at -2 (Idaho!), and, since the reverse of the above statement could be made, I think the calculations are accurate.  And to be fair, only 2 teams had 2 points (or, more accurately, more than 1 point) at this juncture last year, so we're not entirely away from normalcy here.

Comments welcome!  I'm excited to see how it all shakes out.