2013-10-25 06:39

This week the first BCS standings were released.
As you know, the leading two on that list would play in the BCS Championship game, if this would be the final ranking.
The final ranking will be released after all regular season games are played; this week was basically only the start for weekly updates until the final ranking will be available.

The first release is always a big thing, since it is the first time, everybody can see, how all those other ranking systems beside the Coaches Poll, which is available since pre-season on a weekly basis, do rate the teams.
All of those other polls are basically only available since that week (or a week before for the Harris Poll) because they need some gamedays for the complete picture.
Except the Harris Poll, which is a big secret, all other involved Polls are computer algorithm based polls.
As far as I know, those polls normally are searching for a ranking which does minimize the error (means upsets on the field) which happen if all scheduled games are played according their algorithm and ranking. To do this kind of calculations, a save amount of games between all those teams are needed, so you can find a connection between ALL teams.

That means, if you take for example Alabama and you try to rate them and all their opponents, you need also the opponents of the opponents and so on.
After a few gamedays (normally 5-7) you can find such a connection between ALL teams. So after 8 weeks you get a nice first solution for whatever rules you rank the teams.
Those rankings are not final and they will change, the more games are played.
And then the rankings will get better. More data means better results.
The funny thing in this is that only with the final calculation you get the "real" rating, since for some teams the biggest, hottest or strongest opponent does show up on the last gameday.

For some conference the championship game does also help the ranked team big time (if they win) since it might happen that only THEN the team meets a high ranked team with all those juicy wins against eventually strong opponents and if you win against THAT team, it boosts you record more than a regular win.

But the first edition of the BCS ranking shows a bit, how those Polls do rate the games so far.

Quick compare:
In the non-BCS-relevant AP-Poll (which is one of the two major national championship crowning polls) the top 5 teams are:
Alabama with 55 #1 votes
Oregon with 3 #1 votes
Florida State got 2 #1 votes after their win against Clemson
Ohio State
Missouri as they skyrocketed after their wins against Florida and Georgia

The top 5 BCS teams are:
Florida State
Ohio State

You can argue that's not a big difference, right? All the same teams, only Oregon got jumped by Florida State.
True. But if this would be the final list, Florida State would play for National Championship, Oregon not.

But why did Oregon drop? They are at #2 in the AP-Poll and in the Coaches-Poll. But the computers do rank them only at #4!
The surprising leader in the computer ranking is Florida State getting 4 of 7 first place votes of the computer polls. Not Alabama.
Alabama is close but does in average only score the #2 spot with the computers.
What does that mean now?

Granted, not much, since there are a lot of games left to play and for example does Oregon play a few ranked teams (3-4) in the future, while Florida State has only 1-3 teams left to play, if they get into the ACC final and if Florida gets back in the rankings.

So those computers will recalculate from week to week and things might change in favour of Oregon (or any other team ..).

On the other hand this gives a nice first look.
So it's worth to take a look on those polls and study them.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 9

Saturday, October 26 7:00 PM ET
#12 UCLA @ #3 Oregon
A game which looks like the PAC 12 final preview.
So far the Ducks did so far destroy every team they played against. Not one was close at the end.
Still, they are in the conference on the same level as Oregon State and Stanford is only one loss behind both Oregon teams.
It's hard to imagine the Ducks will lose against these two teams, but you never know.
UCLA has only to fear one team for a PAC 12 South win, Arizona State. The rest is not only 1 or more losses behind; they do also look not THAT good as UCLA and Arizona State.
But since every conference game counts, of cause Oregon and UCLA would love to win this game here.
Chances for UCLA are not the best.
Oregon at home.
UCLA is a bit banged up on offense and will face a quite fast defense.
Will their QB be able to get rid of the ball, before he gets down?
Will he be able to get the ball to the RIGHT person on the field?

Football is a very strange sport.
If you look into historic games, you will find hundreds of games which were decided by 1 or a few key plays.
And you also will find hundreds of games which were decided because one team did play a bit better on every down, leading to a few more points and the win.
I'm expecting a mixture of both for this game.

I think Oregon will have that little bit extra to win the game over time.
But both teams are also capable of having that few big plays to turn the page.
It would be bad for UCLA if only Oregon would score that way in this game, since then we will see a blowout.
I hope for a more or less open game, which will be won at the end by the Ducks.

Saturday, October 26 7:00 PM ET
#21 South Carolina @ #5 Missouri
Hmmm. Let me get the facts.
Missouri at home without their starting QB.
South Carolina on the road without their starting QB.
Missouri perfect.
South Carolina with 2 losses.
I'm sorry, but I will not pick against Mizzou this week.
South Carolina is a strong football team but they do also have issues, going further than the missing QB.
The QB is just the icing on that somehow bad tasting cake called EXPECTATIONS.

They showed in several games, that they are beatable.
UCF did almost beat them. An AAC-team ....
That's not how a national title contender should play.
Mizzou on the other hand did everything right.
Every challenge was bested, every team was beaten. Regardless of injuries. THAT's how you should play as a contender.

I'm still not convinced we do see here a dominant team, but such a team as the Tigers are at the moment can only be beaten by themselves, not by the opponent.
I'm not expecting such a down game against a ranked opponent.
Tigers win.

Saturday, October 26 10:30 PM ET
#6 Stanford @ #25 Oregon State
This looks a bit like a trap for Stanford.
A strong team, got his warning loss already by Utah, does visit the other team out of Oregon.
That's right. That other team.
I think the Beavers are always under the radar, at least since the Ducks did rise to such a powerhouse.
But the Beavers did only lose once so far (against a FCS team, which does help the "weak" image) and they are perfect in the PAC 12 so far.

At the moment they are right behind the Ducks in the PAC 12 North and they could win the division.
But only if they win against the upcoming teams, first in line Stanford.
They did win against UCLA last week, rebounded from the Utah upset.
So how will they play against Oregon State? Will they take them lightly?
If that happens, they will go down.

The Beavers got better and better every game and they will not take Stanford for granted.
Here is why I think Stanford will win.
They will not come into the house and play lightly. They will play as they should. 100%.
That Utah game was difficult, midterms were on the University and that time is not easy for institutions as Stanford or Notre Dame.
Failing such exams will not help your college career, so you also have to focus on that, too.
It showed against UCLA, and it will show against the Beavers.

No exams in sight means 100% football in your head, means 100% Cardinals football, and THAT's more than Oregon State can handle.
Cardinals win.

Saturday, October 26 3:30 PM ET
#10 Texas Tech @ #15 Oklahoma
Texas Tech did everything right.
I hope they send their former coach, who bailed for Cincinnati, flowers, every gameday.
Because that new coach did form a team, capable of winning the Big 12.

They are not through yet and I doubt a Red Raiders Big 12 title, but so far .... perfect.
This week a tough test, against Oklahoma on the road.
There are not many home sites harder to conquer as Norman, Oklahoma.
So ... better bring your A game.
The Red Raiders did that in 2011 and did upset the Sooners, but this season the Sooners are the underdogs, at least if you believe the rankings and standings.

Oklahoma did lose against Texas and that's why they are behind Texas Tech.
I'm not sure that Sooners team is what was advertised in preseason, which did sound like the Big 12 favourite.
But I'm sure they can beat the Red Raiders. For sure at home.
I expect a close game, with a Sooners win.

Saturday, October 26 3:30 PM ET
Michigan State @ Illinois
A bit of an odd game, but at the moment a crucial one.
The situation is this:
Illinois seems to have a nice rebounding season, they were bad last season and did only win 2 games, non in the Big 10.
This season they won 3 so far (but not so far in the Big 10) and did challenge every Big 10 team so far on the schedule, which were Wisconsin and Nebraska.
There is now shame losing against such teams, since they are playing for a Big 10 championship, not for a mid-field position.
Now the Illini have to play the Spartans.

Michigan State did so far win every game, except against Notre Dame.
For me they did not look like a team, leading the Big 10 and which is in the driving seat for a Big 10 division championship.
But they are, at the moment.
They will face some tough teams in the next few weeks, so this division championship might be out of sight sooner than later.
I wanted to give you the chance to see the Spartans.

It might happen, this game is the beginning of the end of the dream, it might happen they can dream a bit further or they will really win the division.
The Spartans do have a quite good defense, but the Illini can score against tough defenses, as they did show against Nebraska and Wisconsin.
I think Michigan State will fall, here and now.

They will of cause still be a pain in the ass to play, but they will not win the division and it starts here.
I pick the Illini.

Saturday, October 26 10:30 PM ET
#17 Fresno State @ San Diego State
I picked this game as the 6th game, since both teams are unbeaten in the MWC and it might decide the division.
Fresno State did so far handle every team coming and San Diego State did fall only to non-conference foes.

If this would be at Fresno, I wouldn't have picked it, but it's played in San Diego and that's the only chance the Aztecs will get.

Will it be enough?

I doubt it, but Fresno State might need more effort to win this.
I'm expecting a high scoring close game with a Bulldogs win.

‘Til next time

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Tags: Block of Granite

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