Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teams with the Best Chance to Finish the Regular Season Undefeated and Ranked 1 or 2

This is not strictly a commentary on how good a team may or may not be.  It also has a lot to do with schedules, and whether or not teams ahead of you are likely to fall.  Typically, having one's toughest games at home helps a lot, but this year there seem to be many exceptions.  So, with that, here are the teams with the best chance to finish the regular season undefeated and ranked 1 or 2.

1.  Alabama - The schedule is very favorable... except for Texas A&M on the road.  If the O-line doesn't figure out how to block soon, though, then all bets are off.

2.  Oregon - The biggest test is Stanford on the road in the Battle of the Big Birds.  Of course, Washington and Arizona away won't be easy either.

3.  Oklahoma State - Should be 9-0 when they go to Texas.  After that, the Cowboys finish with Baylor and Oklahoma at home.

4.  Florida State - Must visit Clemson and Florida, both unfriendly to visitors.

5.  Texas A&M - If they take down a Bama team that showed several weaknesses last week, then it should be smooth sailing until they pay LSU a visit.

6.  Louisville - Should be favored by a TD or more until they go to Cincinnati to finish the year.  In the meantime, they'll need some teams ahead of them to go down.

Highly ranked teams very unlikely to finish the regular season undefeated*:

1.  Ohio State - Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, plus most of the rest of the schedule is no cake walk.

2.  Stanford - It will take more than they have to navigate the last eight games without stumbling.

3.  South Carolina - Getting past a Georgia team with nothing to lose will certainly help, but probably not enough.

4.  Clemson - While the ACC may not always boast a lot of top ranked teams, there are few gimmes either.  The talking heads seem to put a lot of stock in beating Georgia by a home field advantage, but the SEC will get another shot when Clemson finishes up at South Carolina.

*About the only thing working in this group's favor is that when South Carolina faces Clemson, one of the two has to win.

What Was I Thinking?

There are times that I sometimes think that college football rankings and predictions must be the stupidest hobby I could have ever chosen.  I hate to disrespect my fellow hobbiests, but, as a group, we may be exceeded in paranoia only by the MUFON crowd.  Unlike the MUFON crowd, however, which is only paranoid about space aliens and the government, rankings and predictions hobbyists are paranoid about each other, which probably makes us the only hobby in the country where the hobbyists are afraid to communicate with each other.

We each act like we possess some secret formula that will cure cancer, change lead to gold, dissolve warts, make brussel sprouts taste good, end war, and silence Kirk Herbstreit, all with zero preservatives or calories.  Come on, people.  When you describe your ranking formula by saying you "look at this" and "look at that," that's a warning sign.  Plus, I hate to break the news, but most predictions are no better than numerical noise, and those that are better still suffer from a signal-to-noise ratio comfortably below -20dB.

I guess the best way to describe this hobby is with one of those hybrid words -- funny-sad.  Do they make an emoticon for that one?