2017 State of World Liberty Index

by Patrick Rhamey

The State of World Liberty Index was a combination of indices compiled originally in 2006 by Nick Wilson.  Since then, I've periodically updated the index.  My methodology is similar to the original with the following exceptions: I use only the civil liberties portion of Freedom House, economic liberty (Fraser/Heritage) is weighted evenly with social liberty, and the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Scores are of equal weight to each of the Freedom House Civil Liberties sub-components.  All changes are done with the purpose of creating the most accurate relative ranking of countries by the degree of liberty (economic and social) enjoyed by the average individual within the state or territory.  Note, the ranking is not reflective of, nor does it include, political or electoral rights.  Where data is available, territories or colonies (e.g. Hong Kong) are included.

Also please note, rankings used to create the below are typically delayed by one to two years.  So they do not reflect any recent events or changes in leadership that may have occurred within the past 6-12 months.

Full Rankings are here.

2017 Liberty by Quintile.  Colors represent countries grouped by quintiles in order of blue (top 20%), green (20-40%), yellow (40-60%), orange (60-80%), and red (80-100%).

2017swl

2017 Most Free Countries:
1. New Zealand
2. Switzerland
3. Canada
3. Australia
5. Norway
5. Sweden
5. Luxembourg
5. Finland
9. Netherlands
9. Ireland

2017 Most Oppressive Countries:
1. North Korea
2. Libya
2. Syria
4. Venezuela
5. Eritrea
6. Cuba
7. Turkmenistan
8. Equatorial Guinea
9. Central African Republic
10. Iran

2017 Five Year change in Liberty.  Blue is an increase in rank by >20 and green >10 since 2013.  Orange is a fall in rank of >10 and red >20 since 2013.

2017 Greatest 5 Year Increases:
1.  Cote d'Ivoire
2. Tunisia
3. Lesotho
4. Fiji
5. Georgia
6. Malaysia
6. Sri Lanka
8. Burkina Faso
8. Belarus
10. Togo

2017 Greatest 5 Year Declines:
1. Turkey
2. Guinea
3. Honduras
3. Lebanon
5. Zambia
6. Ghana
7. Maldives
7. Bahamas
9. Djibouti
9. Barbados

Post-Bowl Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Alabama holds on to number one even with the Clemson loss.  Clemson's wins, after beating Alabama and Ohio State) are more valuable, but Clemson's loss to Pitt is also more weighty, albeit the gap is quite narrow.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Clemson (+5)
  3. Ohio State (nc)
  4. Western Michigan (-2)
  5. Wisconsin (+1)
  6. Washington (-1)
  7. USC (+3)
  8. Michigan (-4)
  9. Stanford (+2)
  10. Florida State (+7)
  11. Penn State (-2)
  12. Oklahoma (+3)
  13. Tennessee (+6)
  14. Florida (+10)
  15. Northwestern (-1)
  16. LSU (+5)
  17. Minnesota (+1)
  18. Iowa (-6)
  19. South Florida (+10)
  20. Nebraska (-12)
  21. Georgia Tech (+6)
  22. Virginia Tech (+12)
  23. Utah (+3)
  24. Miami (+15)
  25. Colorado (-12)

Final End of Season Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Nothing changes in the final end of season ranking in the top 4.  If the CFPC is interested in sending the top four teams, those teams are Alabama, Western Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan.  Assuming they will overlook Western Michigan, they should add Washington.  

Typically in the top 5-10 you have a series of 1 loss teams with not-so-bad losses to either an undefeated team or another 1 loss team who lost to an undefeated team, and as a result, the conference championships tend to sort out these one loss teams before the final ranking is released.  This is not the case this year, beyond Alabama and Western Michigan, with all other teams having significant losses.  Further, while Western Michigan may have inferior wins to Alabama, Ohio State, or Michigan, they have better wins than Washington, as further evidence of their quality.  The chaos of this year, the most significant of any season since the Network Ranking began, highlights the importance of an unbiased, objective, evidence based method of organizing wins and losses to determine who truly earned a playoff berth.

Assuming the CFPC is set on leaving out WMU, they should have Ohio State and Michigan play a rematch from the epic game a couple weeks back on a neutral field and let Washington try their hand at Alabama.  You send Penn State to the Rose and Clemson to the Orange because the evidence just isn't there with both teams having lost to Pitt.  Furthermore, in Clemson's case, their wins just aren't there either, having the worst quality best win (Florida State) among any of the teams the CFPC is likely to consider for the playoff.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama
  2. Western Michigan
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan
  5. Washington
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Clemson
  8. Nebraska
  9. Penn State
  10. USC
  11. Stanford
  12. Iowa 
  13. Colorado
  14. Northwestern
  15. Oklahoma
  16. West Virginia
  17. Florida State
  18. Minnesota
  19. Tennessee
  20. Washington State
  21. Houston
  22. LSU
  23. Texas A&M
  24. Boise State
  25. Florida

Week 13 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Following the Ohio State win over Michigan, and setting aside undefeated Western Michigan as the playoff committee is senseless, we see a very good case for two possibilities.  First, the Big 10 likely deserves 2 teams in the playoff, and an argument is better made for 3 if Wisconsin beats Penn State than 1.  Second, there is a very good argument, particularly if Penn State wins the Big 10, that Ohio State (and Michigan) be included and not the Big 10 champion.  Finally, at the moment, before knowing the outcome of conference championships, at present it would seem Washington is more deserving of a playoff spot than Clemson.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Western Michigan (nc)
  3. Ohio State (+1)
  4. Michigan (-1)
  5. Wisconsin (nc)
  6. Washington (+1)
  7. Clemson (+1)
  8. Nebraska (-2)
  9. Iowa (+3)
  10. USC (+5)
  11. Stanford (-2)
  12. Penn State (-2)
  13. Colorado (-2)
  14. Northwestern* (+2)
  15. Minnesota (+6)
  16. Florida State (+6)
  17. Oklahoma (+2)
  18. West Virginia (+6)
  19. Tennessee (-5)
  20. Washington State* (-2)
  21. Boise State (-4)
  22. Houston (+1)
  23. Texas A&M (+2)
  24. LSU (+6)
  25. Florida (-12)

Week 12 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

No changes in the top 4.  With continued chaos further down the rankings, it only highlights the problem of overlooking Western Michigan.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Western Michigan (nc)
  3. Michigan (nc)
  4. Ohio State (nc)
  5. Wisconsin (nc)
  6. Nebraska (+1)
  7. Washington (-1)
  8. Clemson (+1)
  9. Stanford (+2)
  10. Penn State (+2)
  11. Colorado (+3)
  12. Iowa (+1)
  13. Florida (+7)
  14. Tennessee (+4)
  15. USC (+7)
  16. Northwestern* (-1)
  17. Boise State (+2)
  18. Washington State* (-8)
  19. Oklahoma (+5)
  20. Louisville (-12)
  21. Minnesota (+7)
  22. Florida State (-1)
  23. Houston (+11)
  24. West Virginia (-8)
  25. Texas A&M (nc)

Week 11 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Poor Western Michigan.  No respect.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Rankings)

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Western Michigan (+2)
  3. Michigan (-1)
  4. Ohio State (+4)
  5. Wisconsin (+4)
  6. Washington (-1)
  7. Nebraska (+3)
  8. Louisville (-2)
  9. Clemson (-6)
  10. Washington State* (+1)
  11. Stanford (+4)
  12. Penn State (+2)
  13. Iowa (+17)
  14. Colorado (-1)
  15. Northwestern* (+10)
  16. West Virginia (+6)
  17. Troy (-10)
  18. Tennessee (+2)
  19. Boise State (-7)
  20. Florida (-1)
  21. Florida State (-5)
  22. USC (+2)
  23. Utah (+4)
  24. Oklahoma (+5)
  25. Texas A&M (-4)

*FCS wins and losses not included in network.

Week 10 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Gone is A&M.  Hello Western Michigan (Sorry Washington), though, as the weeks progress, if Washington can beat Wazoo and SC (as well as probably Colorado in the PAC 12 championship) they should easily move into the top 4 on their own.

The repercussions of A&M's loss to Mississippi State are far reaching, as Auburn's plummet illustrates.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Michigan (nc)
  3. Clemson (nc)
  4. Western Michigan (+1)
  5. Washington (+1)
  6. Louisville (+1)
  7. Troy (+2)
  8. Ohio State (+4)
  9. Wisconsin (+4)
  10. Nebraska (+1)
  11. Washington State* (+3)
  12. Boise State (+4)
  13. Colorado (+7)
  14. Penn State (+1)
  15. Stanford (+2)
  16. Florida State (+9)
  17. Auburn (-11)
  18. Arkansas (-8)
  19. Florida (nc)
  20. Tennessee (+2)
  21. Texas A&M (-17)
  22. West Virginia (+2)
  23. North Carolina (+5)
  24. USC (+2)
  25. Northwestern* (-2)

*Network does not include FCS wins or losses.

Week 9 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Better late than never.  The Network Ranking and the Playoff Committee are in agreement where it matters.

With Baylor's loss to Texas, there is only 1 Big 12 team in the Top 25: #24 West Virginia.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Michigan (nc)
  3. Clemson (nc)
  4. Texas A&M (+1)
  5. Western Michigan (+1)
  6. Washington (+3)
  7. Louisville (+5)
  8. Auburn (+6)
  9. Troy (+8)
  10. Arkansas (+5)
  11. Nebraska (-1)
  12. Ohio State (+7)
  13. Wisconsin (+7)
  14. Washington State* (-3)
  15. Penn State (+6)
  16. Boise State (-12)
  17. Stanford (+5)
  18. Iowa (+6)
  19. Florida (-3)
  20. Colorado (+3)
  21. LSU (+4)
  22. Tennessee (-15)
  23. Northwestern* (-5)
  24. West Virginia (-16)
  25. Florida State (+3)

*Network does not include FCS wins or losses.

Week 8 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

The tide rolls on.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Michigan (+2)
  3. Clemson (-1)
  4. Boise State (+2)
  5. Texas A&M (-2)
  6. Western Michigan (+1)
  7. Tennessee (+3)
  8. West Virginia (+7)
  9. Washington (-1)
  10. Nebraska (-1)
  11. Washington State (nc)*
  12. Louisville (nc)
  13. Baylor (+4)
  14. Auburn (+6)
  15. Arkansas (-2)
  16. Florida (nc)
  17. Troy (+1)
  18. Northwestern (+4)*
  19. Ohio State (-14)
  20. Wisconsin (+1)
  21. Penn State (+19)
  22. Stanford (-8)
  23. Colorado (+7)
  24. Iowa (-5)
  25. LSU (-2)

*Ranking does not include FCS wins or losses.

Week 7 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Alabama has now earned the #1 spot.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Alabama (+1)
  2. Clemson (+2)
  3. Texas A&M (-2)
  4. Michigan (-1)
  5. Ohio State (+5)
  6. Boise State (+1)
  7. Western Michigan (-1)
  8. Washington (nc)
  9. Nebraska (nc)
  10. Tennessee (-5)
  11. Washington State (+2)
  12. Louisville (nc)
  13. Arkansas (+9)
  14. Stanford (+4)
  15. West Virginia (+1)
  16. Florida (+7)
  17. Baylor (+3)
  18. Troy (+6)
  19. Iowa (+8)
  20. Auburn (+1)
  21. Wisconsin (-6)
  22. Northwestern (+3)
  23. LSU (+6)
  24. Idaho (+45)
  25. Florida State (-11)

*Note, wins and losses against FCS opponents are not included in the ranking.  This may have a significant impact on Washington State and Northwestern (and by extension, Idaho, Stanford, and Iowa).

Week 6 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Defeating last week's #1, Texas A&M is back in first place for the second time this season.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Texas A&M (+4)
  2. Alabama (+1)
  3. Michigan (+1)
  4. Clemson (-2)
  5. Tennessee (-4)
  6. Western Michigan (nc)
  7. Boise State (+1)
  8. Washington (+1)
  9. Nebraska (+1)
  10. Ohio State (+5)
  11. Virginia Tech (+15)
  12. Louisville (nc)
  13. Washington State* (+22)
  14. Florida State (+14)
  15. Wisconsin (-4)
  16. West Virginia (+9)
  17. North Carolina (+7)
  18. Stanford (+2)
  19. Georgia (+14)
  20. Baylor (-4)
  21. Auburn (+9)
  22. Arkansas (-7)
  23. Florida (-10)
  24. Troy (-7)
  25. Northwestern** (+13)

*Note, the Network doesn't include the negative effects of Washington State losing to Eastern Washington, as only 1-A teams are coded. They catapult upward this week due to defeating Stanford.  The absence of the EWU loss has no significant impact on Wash St.'s win network, but it does fail to capture loss network for Eastern Washington's impact.  However, because Eastern Washington has lost only to North Dakota State, who is undefeated, even if 1-AA teams were included, Washington State would probably remain in the top 25 for 1-A teams, albeit further down the list (this particular week).

**A similar issue lies with Northwestern's loss to Illinois State, who has lost 4 games in a row since defeating the wildcats.  Unlike Washington State, if 1-AA teams were included, Northwestern would be dramatically further down the ranking.  Ole Miss sits at #26.  Northwestern rose so much on a bye week because of Duke and Iowa's wins (and on down the chain).

This is the first time 2 teams that have lost to  1-AA teams have squeaked into the top 25 - usually if a team loses to a 1-AA team, they keep losing to 1-A teams and its not an issue.  In all likelihood this will resolve itself as both teams play out their seasons.  Why not code the 1-AA teams as well?  While it would make for a more comprehensive ranking, it would take too much time, and given the limited connections between 1-A  and 1-AA, would only improve things by the end of the season marginally.

Week 5 Network Rankings

by Patrick Rhamey

Week 5 saw some strong wins, catapulting 4 teams ahead of Texas A&M.

One thing to remember - the ranking is evidence based, not speculation based.  All we know this week is that Tennessee has shown more evidence through quality of wins than Alabama, not that Tennessee would beat Alabama if the two were to play.  Also note, Alabama's rise 5 spots isn't due entirely to beating Kentucky, but also (and more) due to Ole Miss and USC, both of which Alabama previously defeated, winning.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Tennessee (+1)
  2. Clemson (+1)
  3. Alabama (+5)
  4. Michigan (+5)
  5. Texas A&M (-4)
  6. Western Michigan (nc)
  7. Houston (+7)
  8. Boise State (+5)
  9. Washington (+15)
  10. Nebraska (nc)
  11. Wisconsin (-7)
  12. Louisville (-5)
  13. Florida (+2)
  14. Arkansas (-3)
  15. Ohio State (+8)
  16. Baylor (+4)
  17. Troy (+4)
  18. Miami (+12)
  19. Air Force (+20)
  20. Stanford (-1)
  21. Georgia Southern (+4)
  22. Maryland (+22)
  23. Navy (-11)
  24. North Carolina (+32)
  25. West Virginia (+4)

Week 4 Network Rankings

by Patrick Rhamey

Now that all college football teams are interconnected in some way, the first round of network rankings is available.  With a series of early, strong wins, there's a few surprises to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Top 25 (Full Ranking; Explanation)

  1. Texas A&M
  2. Tennessee
  3. Clemson
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Wake Forest
  6. Western Michigan
  7. Louisville
  8. Alabama
  9. Michigan
  10. Nebraska
  11. Arkansas
  12. Navy
  13. Boise State
  14. Houston
  15. Florida
  16. Arizona State
  17. TCU
  18. Florida State
  19. Stanford
  20. Baylor
  21. Troy
  22. Utah
  23. Ohio State
  24. Washington
  25. Georgia Southern

2016 State of World Liberty Index

by Patrick Rhamey

The State of World Liberty Index was a combination of indices compiled originally in 2006 by Nick Wilson.  Since then, I've periodically updated the index.  My methodology is similar to the original with the following exceptions: I use only the civil liberties portion of Freedom House, economic liberty (Fraser/Heritage) is weighted evenly with social liberty, and the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Scores are of equal weight to each of the Freedom House Civil Liberties sub-components.  All changes are done with the purpose of creating the most accurate relative ranking of countries by the degree of liberty (economic and social) enjoyed by the average individual within the state or territory.  Note, the ranking is not reflective of, nor does it include, political or electoral rights.  Where data is available, territories or colonies (e.g. Hong Kong) are included.

Full Rankings are here.

2016 Liberty by Quintile.  Colors represent countries grouped by quintiles in order of blue (top 20%), green (20-40%), yellow (40-60%), orange (60-80%), and red (80-100%).

2016 Five Year change in Liberty.  Blue is an increase in rank by >20 and green >10 since 2012.  Orange is a fall in rank of >10 and red >20 since 2012.

2016 Most Free Countries:

1.  New Zealand
2. Switzerland
3. Canada
4. Australia
4. Ireland
6. Finland
6. Netherlands
6. Denmark
6. Chile
6. Luxembourg

2016 Most Tyrannical States

1. North Korea
2. Syria
3. Eritrea
4. Turkmenistan
5. Cuba
6. Venezuela
7. Libya
8. Uzbekistan
8. Iran
8. Equatorial Guinea

Colored maps modified from images at outline-world-map.com

Post-Bowl Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

No surprises here.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama (+2)
  2. Clemson (-1)
  3. Ohio State (+2)
  4. Notre Dame (-2)
  5. Stanford (+4)
  6. Oklahoma (+2)
  7. TCU (+4)
  8. Iowa (-4)
  9. Michigan State (-2)
  10. Michigan (+7)
  11. LSU (+9)
  12. Ole Miss (+17)
  13. Wisconsin (+8)
  14. Utah (+1)
  15. Houston (-3)
  16. Navy (-2)
  17. Northwestern (-11)
  18. Baylor (+15)
  19. Georgia (+5)
  20. Florida (-2)
  21. Mississippi State (+2)
  22. Texas A&M (-6)
  23. Oklahoma State (-10)
  24. West Virginia (+4)
  25. Toledo (+9)

 

End of Regular Season Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

The questions "who had the best overall season?" and "who are the conference champions?" grant, unsurprisingly, somewhat different answers.  Below, in rank order, are teams listed according to network analysis of their overall body of work in the 2015 season.

The conference championship week provides an illustration of how second and third degrees of separation can affect overall ranking.  For example, Oklahoma State, who had a bye week like most of the Big 12, experiences a decline due to Texas defeat of Baylor, who was one of the Cowboys' two losses.  The Texas-Baylor game more firmly enmeshes Baylor in the network of losses, increasing the negative impact of OK St.'s loss to Baylor on their ranking.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking): 

  1. Clemson (nc)
  2. Notre Dame (+1)
  3. Alabama (+1)
  4. Iowa (-2)
  5. Ohio State (nc)
  6. Northwestern (nc)
  7. Michigan State (+1)
  8. Oklahoma (-1)
  9. Stanford (nc)
  10. Memphis (+1)
  11. TCU (-1)
  12. Houston (+3)
  13. Oklahoma State (-1)
  14. Utah (+3)
  15. Texas A&M (-2)
  16. Michigan (nc)
  17. Florida (-3)
  18. Navy (nc)
  19. Florida State (+2)
  20. LSU (-1)
  21. Wisconsin (+2)
  22. UCLA (+6)
  23. Mississippi State (+2)
  24. Georgia (+2)
  25. Texas Tech (+4)

Network Ranking - Week 13

by Patrick Rhamey

Notre Dame falls from number one, but they're still popular with the network.  While the Stanford loss increases their loss value more than twenty fold, they still have the best value wins of any team in the FBS.

Understanding, of course, that their entrance into the playoff is politically unlikely with the CFPC, Ohio State in the 5 spot provides some interesting possibilities.  If Florida beats Alabama, could Ohio State get into the playoff?  Should be interesting.

With Navy's loss, Bama is now in.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Clemson (+2)
  2. Iowa (nc)
  3. Notre Dame (-2)
  4. Alabama (+1)
  5. Ohio State (+4)
  6. Northwestern (+2)
  7. Oklahoma (+5)
  8. Michigan State (+2)
  9. Stanford (+9)
  10. TCU (+4
  11. Memphis (+4)
  12. Oklahoma State (-5)
  13. Texas A&M (-2)
  14. Florida (-8)
  15. Houston (+5)
  16. Michigan (nc)
  17. Utah (+7)
  18. Navy (-14)
  19. LSU (+2)
  20. Baylor (-1)
  21. Florida State (+13)
  22. Temple (+5)
  23. Wisconsin (+6)
  24. West Virginia (+6)
  25. Mississippi State (-12)

 

Network Ranking - Week 12

by Patrick Rhamey

Still some football to played - though the sudden appearance of OU (WHO LOST TO TEXAS!!!) in the CFPC's ranking is a touch peculiar.  With the game against Stanford on the horizon, a good opportunity is still available for Notre Dame to climb into the playoff, combined with the possibility of an OU loss in Bedlam. 

With Ohio State's fall from grace, Navy sneaks into the top 4, highlighting that the Midshipmen have really been ignored.  With their one loss to Notre Dame, however, they're under-ranking is very closely tied to the under-ranking of the Irish.  Politically, however, it would be difficult for the committee to agree to have Clemson, Notre Dame, and Navy, given the Tiger beat the Irish who beat the Midshipmen, all in the playoff.  Unfortunately, political necessity and evidence based merit are at times incompatible.

However, Bama has snuck up on the top 4.  With a win in the Iron Bowl and the SEC Championship, the Network Ranking's evidence based perspective and the CFPC's expectation/political perspective may align for the Tide.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Notre Dame (nc)
  2. Iowa (+1)
  3. Clemson (-1)
  4. Navy (+4)
  5. Alabama (+5)
  6. Florida (+5)
  7. Oklahoma State (nc)
  8. Northwestern (+4)
  9. Ohio State (-5)
  10. Michigan State (+7)
  11. Texas A&M (+2)
  12. Oklahoma (+3)
  13. Mississippi State (+6)
  14. TCU (-5)
  15. Memphis (-9)
  16. Michigan (+4)
  17. Toledo (+6)
  18. Stanford (+4)
  19. Baylor (+5)
  20. Houston (-15)
  21. LSU (-5)
  22. UCLA (+4)
  23. Washington State (+2)
  24. Utah (-6)
  25. Ole Miss (-4)

Network Ranking - Week 11

by Patrick Rhamey

Committee desperately wants Bama in the top 4, but with that loss to Ole Miss looking progressively worse, its a hard empirical case to make.  Bama climbs three spots with their win over Mississippi State, but are in a distant #10.

Mike Leech's fighting cougars have cracked the top 25.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Notre Dame (nc)
  2. Clemson (nc)
  3. Iowa (nc)
  4. Ohio State (nc)
  5. Houston (+2)
  6. Memphis (-1)
  7. Oklahoma State (-1)
  8. Navy (+2)
  9. TCU (-1)
  10. Alabama (+3)
  11. Florida (+1)
  12. Northwestern (+3)
  13. Texas A&M (+6)
  14. Wisconsin (+4)
  15. Oklahoma (+8)
  16. LSU (-2)
  17. Michigan State (+4)
  18. Utah (-1)
  19. Mississippi State (+1)
  20. Michigan (+5)
  21. Ole Miss (+3)
  22. Stanford (-6)
  23. Toledo (+6)
  24. Baylor (-13)
  25. Washington State (+6) 

Network Ranking - Week 10

by Patrick Rhamey

So falls Michigan State.  In the wake of Michigan State and LSU's losses, Notre Dame rises to the top.  Even when discounting their win quality by the Clemson loss, their total body of work surpasses every other team in the country.  The Big 12, however, despite two undefeated teams (#6 Oklahoma State & #11 Baylor), can't break into the top 4 due to their overly squishy schedules.  Put simply, the combined quality of Oklahoma State's wins are not even as good as that of Memphis, even after subtracting the effect of the Navy loss.  

Now, Oklahoma State/Baylor have more room to grow than Memphis or Houston (as do the leading teams in the SEC and PAC 12), but the dissatisfying position of the Big 12 in the overall CFB Network is persistent. As for the reason, we can compare their out of conference opponents which strongly influence the positioning of the conference relative to other clusters in the network.

Baylor - #102 SMU and #103 Rice
Oklahoma State - #71 Central Michigan and #122 UTSA

vs.

Memphis - #24 Ole Miss, #36 Bowling Green, #126 Kansas
Houston - #61 Louisville, #111 Texas State, #70 Vanderbilt

Just as a matter of logistics, it would be pretty difficult to play worse non-conference opponents than Baylor.  Art Briles really went out of his way to schedule the worst teams he could short of scheduling nothing but FCS opponents.

As for the SEC, the Ole Miss loss to Arkansas punished Alabama, even if they beat LSU.  Why?  Because Bama lost to Ole Miss and Ole Miss lost to Arkansas, Alabama is now subsumed in the loss networks of such teams as Toledo and Texas Tech.  Not good SEC, not good at all. But, still much better than the train wreck that is the PAC 12.

Remember, the network ranking is not arguing Memphis is "better" than Oklahoma State, just that they have a more impressive total body of work at this point in the season.  Also keep in mind much of this will necessarily change.  While Clemson should be alright (unless they go Clemson on us), Notre Dame still has to play Stanford, Iowa and Ohio State will eventually come to blows (assuming Ohio State makes it past Michigan and Sparty), Memphis and Houston will square off, and Oklahoma State will face Baylor, who still has to play TCU, and both of them have yet to play Oklahoma. 

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Notre Dame (+1)
  2. Clemson (+1)
  3. Iowa (+1)
  4. Ohio State (+3)
  5. Memphis (+1)
  6. Oklahoma State (+9)
  7. Houston (+10)
  8. TCU (+4)
  9. Temple (+4)
  10. Navy (+11)
  11. Baylor (+7)
  12. Florida (-3)
  13. Alabama (-5)
  14. LSU (-9)
  15. Northwestern (+9)
  16. Stanford (+6)
  17. Utah (+8)
  18. Wisconsin (+2)
  19. Texas A&M (-8)
  20. Mississippi State (-1)
  21. Michigan State (-20)
  22. Penn State (-6)
  23. Oklahoma (+5)
  24. Ole Miss (-14)
  25. Michigan (+1)