Sharing and comparing my method for trying to beat the spread

I live in the Midwest which is Big Ten country. Once conference play starts virtually every Big Ten game is televised in my region and I commit myself to try and watch all of them. I have three televisions set up as some games are being played at the same time. I have no bias or affiliation to any Big Ten team as I am a lifelong Notre Dame fan (I include ND games in my viewing schedule as well). My comments and reports are qualified only by my love of the game and an extreme commitment to watching and following Big Ten football.

Friday, January 11, 2013


WHAT HAPPENED

The Big Ten went 2-5 in bowl games with Northwestern and Michigan St as the conference’s only winners. The good; Northwestern won their tenth game to cap off a successful season. The bad; three of the five conference teams that lost were either tied or had the lead going into the fourth quarter. The ugly; Purdue was completely annihilated, and Michigan lost by giving up a up a thirty-two yard touchdown pass with seventeen seconds left in the game. And this wasn’t some deflected contested pass reminiscent of the Wolverines victory over Northwestern earlier in the season. The receiver was wide open, caught the ball at about the three yard line, made a cut and went into the end zone untouched. My favorite team Notre Dame took a beating at the hands of Alabama in the BCS Championship game.
 

 

EXTRA POINT
GATOR HATER?
Alabama is the obvious undisputed champion, but has anyone considered the SEC schedule and Florida’s contribution to the Tide’s championship? After all, it was Florida’s victory over Texas A&M that paved the way for Alabama. There are six teams from the SEC ranked in the BCS top ten, three from each division (the East and the West). From the couch it appears to be more than a coincidence that the two division champions were the only teams among that group that didn’t have to play a ranked opponent from the opposite division. Is it not fair to assume that if Texas A&M had Alabama’s luxury of playing Tennessee or Missouri instead of Florida as one of its crossover games that the Aggies would have beaten the Vols or the Tigers and won the division by virtue of their head-to-head victory over Alabama? Just goes to show there’s almost always an element of luck in every championship season. 

 

KIS RANKINGS 

The final KIS rankings (see the tab at the top of this page) show little change despite all that’s happened during the bowl season. The top four teams were unchanged although both first place Notre Dame and second place Florida lost while third place Oregon and fourth place Alabama won. The margin, of course, closed considerably but in the end the OPP% made up the difference. Texas A&M and South Carolina both moved up two spots by virtue of their victories and Stanford lost some ground in the OPP% category and dropped a spot despite having won their bowl game. Ohio St didn’t play in a bowl game and dropped a spot to make room for Texas A&M. Oklahoma lost and dropped out of the top ten and San Jose St moved into ninth place with its first appearance of the season.
There is no substitute for head to head competition to determine a champion so obviously Alabama has earned the title of National Champion. Rankings should only be used when a substitute is necessary, as is often the case in college football due to the large number of participants. That having been said, the KIS rankings were both fun and successful to some degree, but obviously flawed in some ways. I don’t have a problem with OPP% being used as a category even though the argument could be made that some opponents on a team’s schedule could build a strong record by playing in a weak conference, thus inflating the number. An example of this instance would be how Florida St. improved their OPP% by playing an 11-1 Northern Illinois team while Stanford actually lost ground in the category by beating a 7-5 Wisconsin team. Was Florida St.’s victory worthy of making gains on Stanford? Debatable. Taking the category one step further to include the winning percentage of a team’s opponent’s opponents is something to consider but it does take some of the “simple” out of “Keep It Simple”. My argument is that Northern Illinois is an FBS school and the MAC an FBS conference and should be treated as such in any ranking system regardless of perceptions and opinions. If that’s not going to be the case then a separate division should be created for conferences that won’t be taken seriously at the FBS level.
The real question concerning OPP% is the value given to the category in the KIS system when compared to WIN%. Florida’s OPP% was .10 points better than Oregon’s. Is this enough to justify the Gator’s higher ranking even though Florida lost one more game than Oregon? And if not, what figure is enough? I do think that at some point strength of schedule should be a category that is capable of ranking a team over another with a superior record. Without such a possibility teams would have no incentive to schedule strong opponents. Perhaps assigning a certain amount of points per victory might be a better system than a winning percentage category. There’s not much difference in winning percentage between a 12-1 team and an 11-1 team. Going to “points per victory” would reward the 12-1 team for the extra victory. It would also correct the fact that Texas A&M went unpunished under the current system for playing not one, but two non-BCS opponents which left them with one less qualifying game played than the rest of the field.
So all in all, there’s room for improvement but the KIS system is a good start. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m for it if I can understand it and it doesn’t involve voting or opinions. 

TOP 25:

10-Jan
TOTAL
WIN%
OPP%
ROAD
W
L
1
Notre Dame
1.63
0.92
0.61
0.10
12
1
2
Florida
1.63
0.83
0.69
0.10
10
2
3
Oregon
1.62
0.92
0.59
0.11
11
1
4
Alabama
1.61
0.92
0.59
0.11
12
1
5
Texas A&M
1.60
0.82
0.63
0.15
9
2
6
Ohio State
1.57
1.00
0.49
0.08
12
0
7
Stanford
1.57
0.86
0.59
0.12
12
2
8
South Carolina
1.53
0.83
0.58
0.11
10
2
9
San Jose St
1.53
0.83
0.56
0.14
10
2
10
Kansas State
1.52
0.83
0.57
0.11
10
2
11
Georgia
1.49
0.85
0.54
0.11
11
2
12
Florida State
1.49
0.83
0.53
0.13
10
2
13
Clemson
1.47
0.83
0.53
0.10
10
2
14
Oklahoma
1.47
0.75
0.59
0.13
9
3
15
LSU
1.44
0.75
0.59
0.09
9
3
16
Utah St
1.43
0.83
0.46
0.14
10
2
17
Nebraska
1.42
0.69
0.61
0.12
9
4
18
Louisville
1.39
0.83
0.46
0.09
10
2
19
Boise State
1.39
0.85
0.41
0.13
11
2
20
Kent St
1.38
0.77
0.46
0.15
10
3
21
Oregon St
1.37
0.67
0.59
0.11
8
4
22
Northern Illinois
1.36
0.85
0.40
0.12
11
2
23
Tulsa
1.36
0.77
0.46
0.13
10
3
24
Northwestern
1.35
0.75
0.49
0.11
9
3
25
Cincinnati
1.34
0.73
0.51
0.10
8
3

 

STRONGEST SCHEDULE
KIS rank
OPP%
W
L
1
Florida
2
0.69
10
2
2
Missouri
46
0.67
4
7
3
Texas A&M
5
0.63
9
2
4
Notre Dame
1
0.61
12
1
5
Auburn
55
0.61
2
9
6
Nebraska
17
0.61
9
4
7
Michigan State
35
0.60
7
6
8
Michigan
27
0.60
8
5
9
Stanford
7
0.59
12
2
10
LSU
15
0.59
9
3

 

 

ROAD WARRIORS
KIS rank
ROAD
W
L
1
Kent St
20
0.15
10
3
2
Texas A&M
5
0.15
9
2
3
Miami (FL)
37
0.14
6
5
4
South Florida
54
0.14
2
9
5
San Jose St
9
0.14
10
2
6
Utah St
16
0.14
10
2
7
Toledo
28
0.14
8
4
8
Rutgers
33
0.14
8
4
9
Washington
38
0.14
6
6
10
Ohio 
43
0.14
8
4
11
Virginia Tech
44
0.14
6
6
12
TCU
45
0.14
6
6

 

 

THANKS FOR VIEWING

 

 

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