Week 12 College Football Rankings

by Patrick Rhamey

Worth noting after Bama's defeat at the hands of the Aggies: the Network Rankings provided here, along with only two of the computer rankings, are the only rankings that have not listed Alabama number 1 this season.


  • Why Didn't Alabama Fall?!  Well, they did.  Look at Alabama's raw score this week (42.98) vs. their raw score last week (43.94).  Now look at the others.  Notre Dame's score climbed 3.65.  Florida increased 3.46.  Texas A&M with their tremendous win, jumped 7.47 (remember when you compare rankings that the BCS doesn't include Ohio State, so the BCS and the Network Rankings are in agreement with TAMU at #8).  Also remember, that a gain or loss for Bama (or any other team) is not solely because of the game played that week, but also due to how the teams they beat (or lost to) in previous weeks performed in their games.

  • Why Did Alabama only fall one point when they were defeated by a two loss team?!  Well, they fell by more than that.  The loss is counting for -2.58 if you open the spreadsheet.  Their win score goes up because teams that Alabama beat in previous weeks won.  For example, Alabama is getting a little boost this week for Michigan beating Northwestern.  Remember, it's the whole season that counts.  Alabama losing to A&M doesn't determine their rank by itself any more than their win against LSU last week meant they were number 1.  We have to take all the evidence together.  Every game counts because every game provides us a glimpse of evidence into each team's relative position.

  • Oregon?! Kansas State?! As with Bama last week, Oregon, though undefeated, has not provided evidence against sufficiently good teams (aka teams who win) to prove they are number one, or even better than Florida or Alabama.  Experts may deem them number 1 because of the "look test", but remember, the "look test" has also crowned so far this season both USC and Alabama #1 .  However, both Oregon and K State have perhaps the most difficult portions of their schedules still to come, giving them them plenty of opportunity to provide evidence.

  • Is there SEC Bias in the BCS?! I've seen a lot of people complaining about an SEC bias online (particularly Clemson fans).  The answer is no.  Taking Clemson as an example, the loss to Florida State is bad, because Florida State lost to NC State, and NC State looses to just about everyone.  It's only one loss, but it hurts.  To the contrary, The top SEC teams have only lost to other top SEC teams, meaning their losses are minimally costly.  The SEC is just that good.  That said, the BCS rankings, while very different than the rankings based on existing evidence presented here, don't appear to be biased against the SEC either (both the Network Rankings and BCS Rankings have 6 SEC teams in the top 10).  There is, I believe, a bias in the polls to try and represent the top teams in the main conferences highly where reasonable, so teams like Clemson, Oregon, and Kansas State are getting undue credit at this point in the season despite the poor quality of their wins.  Remember, I'm not saying Kansas State or Oregon isn't potentially the best team, they just haven't given as much evidence given the network of wins and losses as Notre Dame, or even the one loss SEC teams.

Explanation:  A Simple and Fair Ranking Based on Wins and Losses

Top 25 (Full Rankings)

Each team's win score (value of wins) minus loss score (cost of losses) in parentheses.

  1. Notre Dame (48.27)
  2. Alabama (42.98)
  3. Florida (42.53)
  4. Ohio State (41.96)
  5. Oregon (41.53)
  6. LSU (39.96)
  7. Georgia (39.67)
  8. Kansas State (39.36)
  9. Texas A&M (38.02)
  10. South Carolina (37.09)
  11. Louisiana Tech (32.86)
  12. Oklahoma (32.19)
  13. Mississippi State (28.87)
  14. Stanford (23.33)
  15. Oregon State (21.12)
  16. Texas (18.69)
  17. Texas Tech (17.77)
  18. Nebraska (17.64)
  19. Clemson (16.38)
  20. Michigan (15.76)
  21. UCLA (15.14)
  22. USC (15.08)
  23. Arizona (14.92)
  24. Iowa State (14.49)
  25. Washington (14.29)