Simulated BCS Rankings Week Three: Ohio State Enters Top Five, Florida State Climbing


Like in years past, it takes a certain kind of result to truly convince everyone that the top preseason teams are truly worth of the spot. In recent years, those teams have often included Alabama and Oregon, and like in these past couple of years, the Crimson Tide and Ducks passed that early test.

Simulated BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Alabama Crimson Tide
2 Oregon Ducks
3 Clemson Tigers
4 Stanford Cardinal
5 Ohio State Buckeyes
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The respective victories over Texas A&M and Tennessee in week three staked Alabama and Oregon to a large lead in the early simulations of the BCS rankings. In fact, the distance between Alabama and Oregon, which is still around a sizable .04, is less than a third of the gap between Oregon and No. 3 Clemson.

How did we figure these simulated BCS rankings out? We made the following changes to the BCS formula, to account for the pieces we have and the pieces we’re missing:

  • We’ve replaced the Harris Poll, which wont be available until mid-October, with the AP Poll
  • We’re ONLY using the available, reasonably well-connected and up-to-date BCS computers, which at this point is just Massey’s non-BCS, Sagarin’s and Billingsley’s rankings. You’ll notice that at this point, “well-connected” means computer systems with a preseason bias and component. As the season progresses we can eliminate those rankings which hold such a bias as the teams become well-connected in 2013 alone.
  • Available computers, but not included: Massey’s BCS and Colley’s Matrix.
  • In total, we’ll say these rankings reflect the real BCS rankings with 50% accuracy

You might have noticed that Stanford and Clemson flip-flop again this week, thought their differences are small when you look at the bound either team would have to make an impact on the top two squads in the country.

Weeks of lingering in the lower regions of the computer rankings continues for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes are finally able to leap into the top five at No. 5 — up one spot — despite it’s much higher viewing in the polls.

LSU and Florida State also improve their lots, as LSU is up one spot and Florida State up two as we reach the halfway point in the first month of the season. Plenty of football to be played before the first BCS standings, but it’s a fun exercise…

Here are the simulated preseason BCS rankings at the end of the third week:

2013 Simulated BCS Standings — September 16

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Alabama Crimson Tide .9951
2 Oregon Ducks .9561
3 Clemson Tigers .8167
4 Stanford Cardinal .7939
5 Ohio State Buckeyes .7562
6 LSU Tigers .7464
7 Florida State Seminoles .7278
8 Georgia Bulldogs .7200
9 Texas A&M Aggies .6890
10 Oklahoma State Cowboys .5837
11 Louisville Cardinals .5830
12 South Carolina Gamecocks .5746
13 Oklahoma Sooners .5653
14 UCLA Bruins .4874
15 Michigan Wolverines .3713
16 Miami Hurricanes .3249


Simulated BCS Rankings Week Three: Georgia up to No. 4, Stanford to No. 5 as USC goes tumbling

A first major upset of the season always seems to re-center the focus of the college football nation. In 2012, that upset came courtesy of a Stanford victory over previously feared USC, and the rankings certainly reflect the impact of such a result.

Simulated BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Alabama Crimson Tide
2 LSU Tigers
3 Oregon Ducks
4 Georgia Bulldogs
5 Stanford Cardinal
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Most notably, USC tumbles in our latest simulated BCS rankings, which still have Alabama and LSU well above the rest of the competition. The surprises come almost immediately after that, however, as Georgia springboards past South Carolina into the top-five simulated BCS rankings.

Then at No. 5, Stanford appears on the strength of the nation’s second-best computer aggregate score, trailing only Alabama in that category. Despite not getting the bounce they might have expected after the upset of the No. 2 or No. 3 team in the country — depending who you asked — the Cardinal certainly enjoyed a bounce in the BCS rankings, landing at No. 5.

Finally seeing some support from the computers, Florida State enters the top 10, at No. 8. And Notre Dame, on the strength of their victory over previously loved Michigan State, also enters the top 10 of the simulated BCS rankings for the first time.

West Virginia is still suffering from a lack of support from the computers, sitting at No. 12 in the simulation despite No. 8 and No. 7 votes of confidence from the polls.

These simulated rankings are not necessarily the most accurate in terms of reflecting the actual components of the BCS, but they do give an interesting first look at the BCS picture.

Without the Harris Interactive Poll (1/3 of the formula) and two of the six computers (all six of which account for another third), these rankings are about 56 percent “complete.” What we do have, however, is the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, as well as early looks at Kenneth Massey, Richard Billingsley, Jeff Sagarin and the Colley Matrix, for what we’d call a 56 percent confidence that these rankings are a “good” reflection of the BCS.

Among the four computer rankings we’re using, only Kenneth Massey’s is the non-BCS version, as his non-margin of victory rankings are not well-connected enough yet to signify an accurate ranking. We’ll likely cross that threshold next week.

We took a computer aggregate without eliminating any of the four available to keep extra transparency, but kept the formula for the human elements intact while subbing the AP Poll for the Harris Poll.

The first BCS rankings will be available in October, but for now, this will have to do. Enjoy!

Check out the full simulation worksheet. These simulated ranking reflect the following formula:

BCS Score = (AP Poll Score/1500 + Coaches Poll Score/1475 + Computer Poll Aggregate/100)/3

Here are the simulated rankings after week three:

Simulated BCS Standings — September 16

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Alabama Crimson Tide .9918
2 LSU Tigers .8940
3 Oregon Ducks .8339
4 Georgia Bulldogs .7706
5 Stanford Cardinal .7337
6 Oklahoma Sooners .7305
7 South Carolina Gamecocks .6889
8 Florida State Seminoles .6202
9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish .6103
10 Florida Gators .5708
11 Clemson Tigers .5523
12 West Virginia Mountaineers .5520
13 Texas Longhorns .5377
14 Kansas State Wildcats .5118
15 USC Trojans .5018
16 TCU Horned Frogs .3481


USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week Three: USC slips, while Oregon climbs to No. 3 and SEC domination continues

After the season’s first major upset, USC plummets to No. 12 in the most recent USA Today Coaches’ Poll as Stanford climbs to No.11 following their upset victory.

Oregon takes over USC’s previously held No. 3 position, with No. 4 Florida State and No. 5 Oklahoma rounding out the poll’s top five.

The SEC lands their normal top two here, as Alabama claims 54 first-place votes and a .996 vote share, while LSU claims the other five, with a .957 vote share. Georgia is up to No. 6, while South Carolina grabs the No. 8 spot.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – September 16

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1470 .996
2 LSU Tigers 1411 .957
3 Oregon Ducks 1339 .908
4 Florida State Seminoles 1240 .841
5 Oklahoma Sooners 1201 .814
6 Georgia Bulldogs 1150 .780
7 West Virginia Mountaineers 1114 .755
8 South Carolina Gamecocks 1071 .726
9 Clemson Tigers 955 .647
10 Texas Longhorns 869 .589
11 Stanford Cardinal 868 .588
12 USC Trojans 779 .528

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — September 16th

Note: These projections are from Sept. 16, 2012. Check out the most recent BCS projections. 

One loss should not define a team’s season, especially not one that happens early in the year. Say, one in the third week. But a loss in college football, where the BCS reigns supreme? That might be a different story.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Oregon vs. LSU
Rose Bowl USC vs. Michigan
Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl West Virginia vs. Michigan St.
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In fact, never in the history of the BCS has a Pac-12 team advanced to the BCS title game after suffering a regular season loss. At any point in the season.

So yep, the bowl picture shuffles. And shuffles severely. Let’s see what happens next week.

BCS National Championship Game: LSU Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. Oregon Ducks (BCS No. 2)

Comment: One USC loss, and suddenly the pack of four teams head and shoulders above the rest of the country is now three. Oregon slides up, and with LSU and Alabama on a collision course for each other, running the table might easily mean a berth in the national title game for the Ducks.

Rose Bowl: USC Trojans (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: Just three weekends into the college football season and the Big Ten already seems an unsolvable enigma. Michigan comes out in the first week and looks silly against Alabama. Wisconsin is unable to move the ball in a shocking loss to Oregon State. Then Michigan State can’t hang with Notre Dame. So who’s the class of the Big Ten? At least for now, it’s Michigan, who heads to the Rose Bowl on an auto-bid.

A 10-win USC is still strong enough to convince the always game Rose Bowl to call the Trojans into town.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)

Comment: Alabama ran ramshackle through the Arkansas defense and continues to look every bit the defending national champion. But should they lose to LSU, the Sugar Bowl is a nice, soft landing spot. Oklahoma sat at home, probably watching in awe as the Tide ripped the Razorbacks apart. Would the Sooners like to see the Tide in New Orleans?

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)

Comment: Whatever monkey Wake Forest had proven Florida State’s back in the past few years was dealt with early on Saturday, and the Seminoles cruised their way to a victory, again looking the part of ACC champs. A showdown with Clemson next weekend will go a long way to proving that.

Louisville survived a fourth-quarter scare from North Carolina, and the Big East is looking a bit reinvigorated these days, with the Cardinals leading the way.

Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers (Big 12 Champion) vs. Michigan State Spartans (At-large selection)

Comment: West Virginia looks every bit the role of Big 12 champion, while Michigan State had a hard time even putting up the three points they scored against Notre Dame. But you can’t simply forget the first two weeks of the season, where the Spartans looked strong. A 10-2 or even a 9-3 Michigan State squad might be a strong at-large contender.