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Week 15 College Football SRS Ratings

I didn’t publish my college football SRS ratings last week, but with the conclusion of yesterday’s Army-Navy game, the college football regular season is over. But before we turn our attention to the Bowls, here is a look at the final regular season SRS ratings.

3Texas A&MSEC21218.242.460.610-2
4Kansas StB1211216.543.259.711-1
6Notre DameIND--1214.742.857.512-0
10South CarolinaSEC51212.541.954.410-2
12Oregon StP123129.64453.69-3
13Oklahoma StB1231211.142.553.67-5
14Southern CalP124127.944.552.47-5
15Florida StACC11319.332.65211-2
16Ohio StateB1011213.738.351.912-0
21Arizona StP125129.241.350.57-5
23Utah StWAC11217.732.149.810-2
25Fresno StMWC1121633.249.29-3
26Brigham YoungIND--1211.736.147.87-5
29Texas TechB126124.442.246.67-5
31Penn StateB105128.737.546.28-4
32San José StWAC21212.733.446.110-2
34West VirginiaB128122.343.545.87-5
35Boise StMWC21213.831.845.710-2
36Northern IllinoisMAC11318.52745.512-1
38Iowa StB129120.844.144.96-6
40Mississippi StSEC912638.344.38-4
41Michigan StB10712341.344.36-6
45Louisiana TechWAC31211.831.343.19-3
46Central FloridaCUS11311.431.542.99-4
47San Diego StMWC3129.832.642.49-3
48North CarolinaACC3121131.342.48-4
52Arkansas StSun1129.731.441.19-3
53Miami FLACC4121.639.340.97-5
57Georgia TechACC5132.936.939.86-7
61Kent StMAC21310.129.239.311-2
64North Carolina StACC6123.234.537.77-5
66Virginia TechACC7120.836.437.26-6
67Ball StMAC3124.931.836.79-3
73Western KentuckySun4122.731.3347-5
77Bowling GreenMAC5127.625.533.18-4
79Middle Tennessee StSun5120.531.832.28-4
81East CarolinaCUS4121.430.531.98-4
82Washington StP121112-11.843.531.73-9
85South FloridaBgE612-737.9313-9
89Ohio U.MAC6125.224.729.98-4
90Air ForceMWC5120.429.429.86-6
93Boston CollegeACC1112-9.438.228.82-10
96Texas St-San MarcosWAC412-431.927.94-8
98Western MichiganMAC712-1.829.227.44-8
99Colorado StMWC712-8.635.526.94-8
101Florida Int'lSun712-6.833.326.53-9
102Florida AtlanticSun812-8.735.126.43-9
103North TexasSun912-6.332.726.44-8
104New MexicoMWC813-4.830.525.64-9
105Wake ForestACC1212-11.537.125.65-7
106Central MichiganMAC812-3.528.625.16-6
110Texas-San AntonioWAC5122.62123.58-4
113Miami OHMAC1012-9.832.322.54-8
117South AlabamaSun1013-10.830.519.62-11
119Eastern MichiganMAC1212-14.63419.42-10
121Southern MissCUS1212-17.834.216.40-12
123New Mexico StWAC712-18.532.513.91-11

I’ve also updated the NCAA Games page, which displays every game in major college football this season.

The table below lists the Bowl matchups along with some SRS data squeezed in: the last four columns show the SRS rating of the favorite and the underdog, along with the difference between the two ratings (i.e., a projected point spread) and the average of the two ratings (essentially a ranking of how good the game is).

Dec-15ArizonaNevadaAlbuquerque NMGildanNew Mexico4734.412.640.7
Dec-15Utah StToledoBoise ID(fka Humanitarian)Famous Idaho Potato49.836.413.443.1
Dec-20Brigham YoungSan Diego StSan Diego CAS.D. County Credit UnionPoinsettia47.842.45.445.1
Dec-21Central FloridaBall StSt Petersburg FLBeef 'O' Brady'sSt. Petersburg42.936.76.239.8
Dec-22Boise StWashingtonLas Vegas NVMAACOLas Vegas45.744.11.644.9
Dec-22Louisiana-LafayetteEast CarolinaNew Orleans LAR+L CarriersNew Orleans39.331.97.535.6
Dec-24Fresno StSMUHonolulu HISheratonHawaii49.23613.242.6
Dec-26Western KentuckyCentral MichiganDetroit MI(fka Motor City)Little Caesars Pizza3425.18.929.5
Dec-27San José StBowling GreenWashington DCNorthrop GrummanMilitary Bowl46.133.11339.6
Dec-27CincinnatiDukeCharlotte NC(fka Meineke Car Care)Belk43.533.310.238.4
Dec-27Louisiana-MonroeOhio U.Shreveport LAAdvoCare V100Independence39.429.99.534.6
Dec-27BaylorUCLASan Diego CABridgepoint EducationHoliday5150.50.550.7
Dec-28Texas TechMinnesotaHouston TXMeineke Car CareTexas46.634.811.840.7
Dec-28RutgersVirginia TechOrlando FL(fka Champs Sports)Russell Athletic39.737.22.538.5
Dec-29Arizona StNavySan Francisco CA(fka Emerald)Kraft Fight Hunger50.533.916.642.2
Dec-29RiceAir ForceFort Worth TXBell HelicopterArmed Forces30.729.8130.3
Dec-29West VirginiaSyracuseBronx NYNew EraPinstripe45.841.54.243.6
Dec-29TCUMichigan StTempe AZ(fka Insight)Buffalo Wild Wings46.444.32.145.3
Dec-29Oregon StTexasSan Antonio TXValeroAlamo53.650.6352.1
Dec-31LSUClemsonAtlanta GA(fka Peach)Chick-fil-A54.150.63.552.4
Dec-31Southern CalGeorgia TechEl Paso TXHyundaiSun52.439.812.646.1
Dec-31Iowa StTulsaMemphis TNAutoZoneLiberty44.941.33.743.1
Dec-31VanderbiltNorth Carolina StNashville TNFranklin American MortgageMusic City45.937.78.241.8
Jan-01Florida StNorthern IllinoisMiami FLDiscoverOrange5245.56.548.7
Jan-01GeorgiaNebraskaOrlando FL(fka Citrus)Capital One57.346.910.452.1
Jan-01NorthwesternMississippi StJacksonville FLTaxSlayer.comGator4544.30.744.7
Jan-01Oklahoma StPurdueDallas TX(at old Cotton Bowl)Heart of Dallas53.638.315.345.9
Jan-01South CarolinaMichiganTampa FLOutback54.449.25.251.8
Jan-01StanfordWisconsinPasadena CAVizioRose Bowl55.450.64.853
Jan-02FloridaLouisvilleNew Orleans LAAllstateSugar57.54017.548.8
Jan-03OregonKansas StGlendale AZTostitosFiesta65.159.75.462.4
Jan-04Texas A&MOklahomaArlington TXAT&TCotton60.657.33.358.9
Jan-05MississippiPittsburghBirmingham AL(fka PapaJohns.com)BBVA Compass44.940.14.842.5
Jan-06Arkansas StKent StMobile AL(fka GMAC)GoDaddy.com41.139.31.840.2
Jan-07AlabamaNotre DameMiami FLDiscoverBCS National Championship64.157.56.660.8

The SRS actually puts the Fiesta Bowl as the best Bowl game this year; of course, Oregon-Kansas State was the expected national championship game just four weeks ago. Using the SRS data, let’s preview some of the games:

Best non-BCS game: Cotton Bowl (Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma)

This one’s easy — the Sooners and Aggies are both top-eight teams, making this the third best game of the Bowl season.

Runners-up: The Chick-fil-A Bowl features a ton of future NFL talent between LSU and Clemson. The battle of the Tigers gives Clemson a chance to redeem itself after losing to another SEC team, South Carolina, in their last game of the season. The Alamo Bowl may not feature sexy teams, but Oregon State and Texas faced two of the toughest schedules in college football and came through with a combined 17-7 record. Neither team had a signature win in 2012, but in San Antonio one of these teams will build momentum towards 2013.

Biggest mismatch: Sugar Bowl (Florida vs. Louisville)

Much was made about Northern Illinois making the BCS, but the Huskies are not a bad team. And more importantly, they look to be a much better team than Louisville, who will be in the Sugar Bowl by virtue of winning the Big East. But if you’re looking for a blowout in a BCS game, keep your eye on the Sugar Bowl, not the Orange Bowl.

Runners-up: Navy looks to be overmatched against Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl; the Midshipmen simply aren’t very good, and rode an easy schedule with wins VMI, Air Force, Central Michigan, Indiana, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Texas State and Army to a Bowl game. The Heart of Dallas Bowl doesn’t look to be any more competitive. Oklahoma State isn’t as good as they were in 2011, but Mike Gundy’s squad is more than good enough to take care of Purdue. The Boilmakers don’t have the offense to keep up with a Cowboys team that ranks in the top five in both points and yards. Purdue fired head coach Danny Hope after the season; his assistants will coach the game, while incoming head coach Darrell Hazell will coach Kent State in the prestigious GoDaddy.com Bowl before heading to West Lafayette.

Worst game: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Western Kentucky-Central Michigan)

If you have to miss a Bowl game, this is it. WKU’s head coach Willie Taggart is headed to the University of South Florida while Central Michigan comes in as the worst team to make a Bowl. The Chippewas went 6-6 against a bad schedule — which included a win over an FCS school and SRS #124 Massachusetts — and won two other games by a combined four points.

Runners-up: The Armed Forces Bowl is low on talent with Rice and Air Force but it should at least be competitive. Meanwhile, the state Louisiana struck out this season. In Shreveport, in the Independence Bowl, Louisiana-Monroe (SRS #59) comes in as a heavy favorite over Ohio (SRS #89). We’ve already hit on how the Sugar Bowl looks to be a snoozefest; the other game in New Orleans, the R+L Carriers Bowl, doesn’t look much better. Louisiana-Lafayette, the third best team in the Sun Belt, against East Carolina, the fourth best team in Conference USA, doesn’t pack much punch. On the bright side, New Orleans does get the Super Bowl in a couple of months.

Closest game: Holiday Bowl (Baylor vs. UCLA)

Two games after Christmas, fans of offense get the best present of the year. Let’s not forget that with Robert Griffin III, Baylor beat Washington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl; the 123 points were the most ever scored in regulation in a Bowl game. Baylor is one of just two teams this season to allow over 500 yards a game and the Bears led the nation in total yards, while UCLA is quite capable of getting into a shootout. The Bruins scored at least 36 points in 8 different games, but also allowed 35 points on four different occasions.

Runners-up: The Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl may not bring a lot of juice with it, but Northwestern and Mississippi State are two evenly-matched and well-coached teams. The Wildcats have won 10 games just twice in their history — in 1903 and 1995 — giving them a chance to make history in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs are looking for their second nine-win season in three years after hitting the 9-win mark just twice between 1977 and 2009.

  • George

    Hi Chase, great post as usual and an informative read as ever. Definitely agree re: Florida and Louisville, I would say that you have to feel that this will be at least a two score game and I see Florida covering by at least 14 (spread in the UK is 13.5). FSU had a fairly similar schedule but had a higher Mov and that was an 11 point game (admittedly at Florida) but 17.5 feels about right. It’s not like Louisville will be benefiting for some extra time before the Bowl Games (like WVU did last year) to bed in a new system.

    Incidentally I finally got the SRS working (I had a formula the wrong way round reading the wrong column so the OSRS didn’t converge instead of converging). Out of interest how long does it take your College Football SRS to converge?

  • Chase Stuart

    Do you mean how many iterations? I set it at 950 iterations, but you probably don’t need that many. Since I do it in Excel, I just picked a high number to be safe.

    • George

      Hi Chase – thanks for the response, but I was wondering time-wise not iteration-wise, e.g. my NFL one converged in under a minute, the one I did for College (about 10 times the amount of teams, and about 20 times the number of games effectively) took several hours and I just wondered if it was a case of I have an old laptop (or if several hours was indicative of how long the process takes)?

      Incidentally just putting a couple of things about ratings systems together, if you solve the home field advantage out the Mathletics way and add that into an SRS sheet (offsetting your margin of victory appropriately, without weighting or capping), it will give you the identical numbers to the Mathletics method (so the SRS essentially gives you the same rating – the SRS, plus two extra variables in MOV which you could calculate yourself anyway and a realistic SOS). It also bypasses the problem of Excel Solver’s variable limit.

      • Chase Stuart

        It might be an old laptop issue.

        I use Excel 2010 and have a Lenovo laptop; it takes about 2 minutes to run the 950 iterations. Once it’s done, you then want to paste the values so it doesn’t re-run the iteration again.

        • George

          Thanks for the info – I think my 7 year old Mac (and Excel 2004) is starting to show it’s age and get a touch grumpy about doing this kind of thing. I was just really surprised that some (30 – 40 team sized) problems converged so quickly and at speed (via SRS or Solver), and thought it may be a case of just the size of the problem (e.g. when I “solved” something with Solver with about 200 teams in it, the problem took about 45 mins, so I thought 3-4 hours was long but not unreasonable). Incidentally I also switch iterations off once it converges to prevent the re-iteration issue (I also paste the values onto a separate sheet). Thanks for all of your advice on this though.

      • Richie

        George, what sort of Excel tools do you use to calculate the NFL SRS? I consider myself fairly adept at Excel, but I wouldn’t even know where to start in setting this one up.

        • George

          Richie, I’ve only been doing this for about a year (and considered myself fairly adept at Excel as well a year ago – but the amount I’ve learned about in the last year has been loads more than I knew 12 months ago). Somewhere via a google search, I ended up finding out about Wayne Winston (try “use solver to rate sports teams” as a start) and ended up buying his book Mathletics. Doing the Winston method (described in his Microsoft Office tutorial) will essentially get you the same numbers as the SRS for the NFL, but won’t split out the MOV or SOS components (you just get the SRS rating). Found out about the SRS about a year ago as well, and only figured out my mistake in Excel about a week ago (so am still learning about it).