Like everyone else, the SRS now has Alabama atop its standings. Here are the full SRS ratings after five weeks1
The Big 10 essentially exited the national scene when Michigan State lost to Notre Dame in week three; with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for bowl consideration and Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa each losing in weeks one or two, the 2-0 Spartans seemed like the B1G’s only hope for a national contender in 2012. Michigan State lost to Notre Dame two weeks ago and to Ohio State on Saturday, leaving Northwestern and the Buckeyes as the last remaining undefeated teams in the conference. The Wildcats could conceivably escape Happy Valley and the Gopher Hole with a 7-0 record. It’s a very, very longshot, but with no Ohio State (or Purdue, I suppose) on the schedule and Nebraska at home, it’s at least conceivable for Wildcat fans to think the team will compete for, at a minimum, a conference championship. More realistically, following Northwestern’s first loss, most of the country can continue ignoring the Big 10 without second thought. (And no, I’m not expecting Purdue to last in the SRS top 20 for very long. Sorry, Chris.)
I noted last week that the SEC East was on the road back to respectability; nothing has changed this week. Florida was off this week, but Georgia and Tennessee played a mutually beneficially game where the Volunteers looked like a top-ten team while the Bulldogs escaped with a win. South Carolina overcome a miserable first half to put away Kentucky with ease, while Missouri at least avoided embarrassment by holding off UCF. We can at least hope that the SEC Championship Game this year will be more than simply a tuneup for the West Champion on their way to the national title game. But until proven otherwise, the most important game of the year will take place on November 3rd in Baton Rouge.
The only top-fifteen team to lose this week was Stanford, which could be damaging to the reputation of the Pac-12 as a conference. With USC losing to Stanford and now the Cardinal falling to Washington, Oregon may need style points to reach another national title game. Oregon’s nonconference games were filled with flour and sugar, and defeating Stanford, USC and Oregon State may not pack much sizzle.
Florida State avoided a stumble down in Tampa against South Florida; for the long-term view, the Seminoles win over Clemson last week all but locked up the Atlantic Division. The November 24th matchup against Florida should have more meaning for FSU than any contest in recent memory, but we’ll need to see FSU avoid stumbling before getting to that point. The rest of the conference, save Clemson, is still filled with question marks. Miami has now won consecutive games featuring crazy finishes, which is an improvement over where they’ve stood over the past few years. The Hurricanes are at least interesting to watch, and should give Notre Dame a tough run this weekend. But Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech look lost: the Hokies have lost to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the last three weeks, while Georgia Tech followed up last week’s heart-breaking loss against Miami with a dud against Middle Tennessee State, falling 49-28.
Texas’ win over Mississippi looks better this week after the Rebels kept it respectable in Tuscaloosa, and the win over Oklahoma State last night was significant. But that just raises the stakes for this weekend when the Longhorns face West Virginia. If you haven’t heard by now, the phrase “video game numbers” has been replaced by “Geno Smith numbers”, after the Mountaineer quarterback completed 45 of 51 passes for 656 yards and 8 touchdowns. West Virginia gained over 800 yards of offense, and we can expect more Big 12 shootouts in 2012. But Texas actually has a defense — at least by the conference’s standards — and will be the toughest test for West Virginia yet in 2012.
The best and the worst of week 5
The table below gives good insight into how the SRS works and serves as a useful scan of the notable events of week five. Here’s how Texas A&M’s row reads. The Aggies won 58 to 10 over Arkansas. Texas A&M was at home (1) and won (1). The margin was 48 points, and the MOV for SRS purposes was 34.5 (the average of 24 and 45, taking three points off for home field); both schools are in the SEC, and it was an FBS game. Arkansas’s rating is 30.3, which means A&M’s SRS score for this game was 64.8 (34.5 + 30.3).
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The award for worst game by a BCS school this weekend goes to Illinois, who got blown out at home by Penn State. Best game by a non-BCS school clearly goes to MTSU, who not only upset Georgia Tech but did so by three touchdowns.
Putting aside Texas-San Antonio — 5-0 against three FCS schools, South Alabama and New Mexico State — who are the worst remaining undefeated teams? Ohio, Cincinnati, and Rutgers look like the worst undefeated teams so far, but it’s early. As for UTSA, they may even run their record to 6-0 at Rice in two weeks, but should get a rude awakening against San Jose State on October 20th. And in the warmup act to the Game of the Century II, there’s a decent chance Mississippi State and Alabama will both be 7-0 heading into their game on October 27th at Bryant–Denny Stadium.
- Note that I called the Oregon-Washington State game when Oregon was up 51-19 late in the 4th quarter. [↩]