At Matlab Geeks we crunched through all 15 weeks of AP voting and tabulated how college football teams were ranked throughout this season. Non-surprisingly, the automatic BCS qualifying conferences had the most number of teams ranked throughout the year, with a great portion of them coming from the Big 10 and SEC. We also looked at our version of “strength of schedule”. We investigated each Division 1 team and looked at their week by week opponent and how many votes that opponent received the week they played and also during the final week of voting. Oregon State ended up having the toughest schedule, while several teams played the entire year without playing a single team that received any votes, much less any ranked teams. Read on for some pretty graphs/charts and some Matlab tips for how to perform the analysis.
First, the week by week rankings of 8 of the big conferences. We disregarded the smaller 4 conferences (Independent, Sun Belt, MAC, Conference-USA) since they hardly received any votes during the year. (Interestingly these are the same teams that many of the big schools play to boost their own rankings… see our previous post for more on this).
While there were several movers and shakers this year, the 5 most over-rated teams? Florida, Texas, Iowa, Alabama and Miami. The 5 most under-rated teams included Stanford, Auburn, Michigan State, Nevada and Missouri.
Strength of schedule is a controversial topic for most fans, and while this following graph isn’t made to settle the debate, hopefully it provides more fodder to fuel the fire. The gray bars for each team indicates their opponents ranking (cumulative AP votes) on a week by week basis. The markers indicate their opponents votes during the week 15 rankings. We’ve used Matlab to sort each college football team by conference as well.
Again, we want to reiterative that these votes are subjective, as teams with higher records and greater point differentials (things that often go hand in hand) will of course garner greater votes. Teams from the Pac 10, who play 9 in conference game and often play stronger out of conference foes, end up having more losses and therefore fewer votes in the AP. This cumulative effect can effect all other conference teams AP ‘strength of schedule’. Of course their are teams like UCF who still didn’t schedule anyone worth noting. Another interesting phenomen is the low opponent rankings of the entire Big East. With Connecticut in a BCS game too…
For interpretations sake, teams like Notre Dame played a tough schedule (based on AP votes) when investigating their opponents week 15 votes (marker). But on a week to week basis, they seemingly played a weaker schedule. We don’t want to make the decision for you, but use either rankings to make your own arguments.
Next time… Money + College Football!