Chaos Rankings

Friday, January 27, 2012

Take That Deep Blue

Or Watson, or HAL, or whatever your preferred computer personification might be. When it comes to picking bowl games, it turns out that we humans still know better than computers. Or at least, I know better than the computer program I wrote. Which actually doesn't sound as impressive, and might even be somewhat damning. At any rate, here's how the Annual Bowl Catastrophe shook out:
My Gut Reaction Picks - 27/35 correct
Chaos Rankings Pure Rank Picks - 23/35
Chaos Rankings SOS-Scaled Picks - 18/35
The picks above are based solely on picking the winner, not on picking the correct spread (via Chaos Rankings) or picking with the Vegas spreads. That the SOS-Scaled picks did worse than the Pure Rankings picks I suppose isn't terribly surprising. The rankings already have an SOS component built in, so adjusting the actual on-field numbers by that amount is somewhat tantamount to double-counting the schedule strength values. Still, I'm surprised that my own first look picks did better than the Chaos Rankings inspired picks. Of the 8 incorrect picks I made, 4 games were decided by less than 1 score, and 1 was a 10 point differential. The remaining three were truly catastrophes - WVU mauling Clemson, SMU manhandling Pitt, and Northern Illinois running all over Arkansas State.

Monday, January 09, 2012

2011-2012 Final Rankings

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Chaos Rankings National Champions: The Alabama Crimson Tide. They are the first 2-time champion in the 7 year history of Chaos Rankings. This was also the narrowest margin not just between #1 and #2 but between the entire top 3, being separated only by about 0.0065 points. In fact the gap between 1 and 5 was one of the smallest we've ever had, coming close to the game between 1 and 2 in some previous years. Tonight's game may have been incredibly one-sided and mind-numbingly dull, but on the whole, it's been a terrific season and there were some great bowl matchups. Hate to end the year on a sour note, but at least we have a lot of great memories to look back on while we endure the next ~8 college football-less months.

Previous Rank
Score Change
11.000000Alabama (12-1)30.081843
20.997358Houston (13-1)20.077803
30.993547LSU (13-1)1-0.006452
40.939343Oklahoma State (12-1)40.060629
50.937971Boise State (12-1)50.060716
60.886694Oregon (12-2)80.060637
70.871114Wisconsin (11-3)6-0.003909
80.859418Stanford (11-2)70.002307
90.835903Michigan (11-2)90.055079
100.824888Southern Miss (12-2)110.06136
110.821218South Carolina (11-2)140.069602
120.820294TCU (11-2)120.060239
130.803345Arkansas (11-2)180.068209
140.795528Michigan State (11-3)160.056089
150.784887Oklahoma (10-3)190.06061
160.782158Virginia Tech (11-3)100.003013
170.773376USC (10-2)170.034959
180.750591Northern Illinois (11-3)230.072333
190.749854West Virginia (10-3)240.075014
200.74728Georgia (10-4)15-0.002189
210.741571Cincinnati (10-3)220.059559
220.738255Arkansas State (10-3)13-0.013567
230.736595Baylor (10-3)250.063715
240.718782BYU (10-3)280.060155
250.71021Temple (9-4)310.071152
260.707639Florida State (9-4)300.059237
270.705891Toledo (9-4)290.051268
280.704423Kansas State (10-3)20-0.00304
290.678889Ohio (10-4)320.056062
300.671542Clemson (10-4)21-0.018595
310.664714Missouri (8-4)360.063844
320.660743Rutgers (9-4)370.064436
330.649033Nebraska (9-4)26-0.013988
340.64237Penn State (9-4)27-0.018158
350.6195Texas (8-5)460.067913
360.611644Georgia Tech (8-5)33-0.00499
370.608662Louisiana Lafayette (9-4)450.055844
380.605496Louisiana Tech (8-5)34-0.003832
390.604539San Diego State (8-5)35-0.004537
400.579373North Carolina State (8-5)480.048827
410.577981Tulsa (8-5)39-0.003072
420.576863Utah (8-5)500.049661
430.576238Florida International (8-5)38-0.008396
440.565367Notre Dame (8-5)41-0.009592
450.557883Texas A&M (7-6)550.05279
460.556391Wyoming (8-5)40-0.018783
470.554119Nevada (7-6)43-0.006677
480.548186Virginia (8-5)42-0.014539
490.541157Auburn (8-5)610.063644
500.537622SMU (8-5)620.061715
510.53067California (7-6)44-0.022506
520.526681Air Force (7-6)49-0.003748
530.525192Mississippi State (7-6)590.044218
540.518757North Carolina (7-6)47-0.018121
550.51619Illinois (7-6)650.053308
560.51183Iowa (7-6)51-0.010429
570.510395Purdue (7-6)680.055194
580.50902Louisville (7-6)54-0.003441
590.507924Western Michigan (7-6)52-0.01129
600.507734Utah State (7-6)53-0.005748
610.502793Florida (7-6)690.049568
620.495782Western Kentucky (7-5)630.023551
630.482321Arizona State (6-7)57-0.011524
640.482219Washington (7-6)56-0.013102
650.477532Miami (6-6)670.018355
660.472741Vanderbilt (6-7)58-0.009741
670.47248Marshall (7-6)730.056071
680.470084Ohio State (6-7)60-0.007681
690.458761South Florida (5-7)710.016739
700.455721Northwestern (6-7)64-0.011307
710.451353UCF (5-7)720.017529
720.44614Wake Forest (6-7)70-0.002845
730.445761Pittsburgh (6-7)66-0.015593
740.429056Eastern Michigan (6-6)750.020917
750.425355Navy (5-7)760.01787
760.424199Hawaii (6-7)770.017333
770.404637Connecticut (5-7)780.016691
780.404402Tennessee (5-7)790.018151
790.402619Texas Tech (5-7)810.018441
800.40058Ball State (6-6)820.022968
810.392478Iowa State (6-7)74-0.015919
820.389723Syracuse (5-7)830.017278
830.386164North Texas (5-7)840.017259
840.378297Kent State (5-7)850.019284
850.373188San Jose State (5-7)860.015337
860.371048UCLA (6-8)80-0.014755
870.367993East Carolina (5-7)870.017453
880.363501Bowling Green (5-7)890.018076
890.361202Louisiana Monroe (4-8)880.011915
900.346546UTEP (5-7)900.017763
910.333459Kentucky (5-7)940.016659
920.331973Washington State (4-8)910.010408
930.33189Miami (Ohio) (4-8)930.01403
940.331231Arizona (4-8)920.012233
950.308984Rice (4-8)950.015862
960.288759Boston College (4-8)960.01102
970.251415Army (3-9)970.00843
980.251342Fresno State (4-9)980.00841
990.250003New Mexico State (4-9)990.010424
1000.245526Buffalo (3-9)1000.00934
1010.236413Oregon State (3-9)1010.007072
1020.218899Duke (3-9)1020.005745
1030.21718Colorado State (3-9)1030.007338
1040.207717Central Michigan (3-9)1040.009668
1050.201938Minnesota (3-9)1050.007727
1060.196477Troy (3-9)1060.007956
1070.191078UAB (3-9)1070.010444
1080.182425Maryland (2-10)1080.0043
1090.173677Colorado (3-10)1090.005264
1100.144276Middle Tennessee State (2-10)1100.003468
1110.137451Mississippi (2-10)1110.006299
1120.121323Idaho (2-10)1120.003973
1130.114186Memphis (2-10)1140.00635
1140.11208Kansas (2-10)1150.007377
1150.111357UNLV (2-10)1130.003402
1160.098279Tulane (2-11)1160.003548
1170.088192Indiana (1-11)117-8.48E-4
1180.025566Florida Atlantic (1-11)1185.71E-4
1190.013691Akron (1-11)1194.31E-4
1200.000000New Mexico (1-11)1200.000000

Prohibitive Favorite

Did some number crunching this afternoon, and given the large gulf between LSU and Houston/Alabama in the rankings thus far (including all bowl games besides the Controversial Crystal Football Bowl), it's quite likely LSU will remain in the #1 spot even with a loss. It's possible for Alabama to win and not jump Houston, and it's also possible for Alabama to end up at #1, but both scenarios require statlines that seem totally out of sorts with the last meeting in November. Stranger things have happened, but assuming a close game, an Alabama win would probably leave them stuck in 3rd place, with Houston in second and LSU in first.

CCF Bowl Scenario 1
Alabama - 15 points, 250 yards, 0 TOs
LSU - 9 points, 200 yards, 1 TO
Result - 1) LSU, 2) Houston, 3) Alabama

CCF Bowl Scenario 2
Alabama - 30 points, 350 yards, 0 TOs
LSU - 6 points, 200 yards, 2 TOs.
Result - 1) Houston, 2) Alabama, 3) LSU

CCF Bowl Senario 3
Alabama - 35 points, 400 yards, 0 TOs
LSU - 9 points, 200 yards, 3 TOs
Result - 1) Alabama, 2) Houston, 3) LSU

Scenario 1 shows that just simply winning won't be enough. It certainly closes the gap, but won't change the current rankings. As you can see between scenario 2 and 3, even a dominant Alabama performance may not be enough depending on how the final game stats shake out. Alabama's and Houston's score are so close together that, in general, anything that hurts LSU will also help Houston. So it will take a lot to push the Tide over the Cougars.

As much as I love defense, the game in November was pretty boring. Reminded me a lot of the awful ACC Championship game between Wake and Georgia Tech that was won 6-3 by the Demon Deacons. Here's hoping for a little more offense and a little more excitement. A 13-10 game would be vastly superior to the 9-6 OT snoozer. Many other bowl games this season have delivered great matchups and exciting finishes, so hopefully the last one will do the same.