Monthly Archives: August 2016

Week 1 College Football Viewing Guide

Get your DVRs ready. Five days in a row. The top three games during each time slot are listed below starting with the highest projected “watchability.” All times AZ.

THURSDAY

South Carolina at Vanderbilt
5:00 PM, ESPN
Overtime Watch

Appalachian St. at #9 Tennessee
4:30 PM, SECN

Oregon St. at Minnesota
6:00 PM, BTN

FRIDAY

Toledo at Arkansas St.
6:00 PM, ESPNU
G5 Game of the Week

K-State @ #8 Stanford
6:00 PM, FS1

Colorado vs. Colorado St. (in Denver)
5:00 PM, ESPN

SATURDAY DARK:30

Boston College vs. Georgia Tech (in Dublin, Ireland)
4:30 PM, ESPN2
Overtime Watch

SATURDAY MORNING

Western Michigan at Northwestern
9:00 AM, ESPNU
P5 vs. G5 Showdown / Overtime Watch

Missouri at West Virginia
9:00 AM, FS1

#15 Houston vs. #3 Oklahoma (at NRG Stadium)
9:00 AM, ABC

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

#16 UCLA at Texas A&M
12:30 PM, CBS
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

#18 Georgia vs. #22 North Carolina (in Atlanta)
2:30 PM, ESPN

 #5 LSU at Wisconsin (in Green Bay)
12:30 PM, ABC

SATURDAY EVENING

#1 Alabama vs. #20 USC (in Arlington)
5:00 PM, ABC

#2 Clemson at Auburn
6:00 PM, ESPN

San José St. at Tulsa
4:00 PM, CBSSN
Overtime Watch

SATURDAY LATE NIGHT

Arizona vs. BYU (in Glendale, AZ)
7:30 PM, FS1

Northern Illinois at Wyoming
7:30 PM, CBSSN

SUNDAY!

#10 Notre Dame at Texas
4:30 PM, ABC

MONDAY!!

#4 Florida St. vs. Ole Miss (in Orlando)
5:00 PM, ESPN
Game of the Week

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Top College Football Games of Week 1

Games are ranked like recruits: 5 stars, 4 stars, and 3 stars. Just like in recruiting, 2-star and 1-star games won’t be given much attention.

Games are ranked using a super-scientific system comparing the overall quality of the two teams and the closeness of the match-up. The quality of each team is found using Brian Fremeau’s, Bill Connelly’s, and ESPN’s advanced stats ranking systems.

PICK RESULTS

All Games Pct. Upset Picks Pct.
Last Week N/A N/A N/A N/A
Overall N/A N/A N/A N/A

Without further ado: the games. All times AZ. Picks in CAPS.

GAME OF THE WEEK 

#4 FLORIDA ST. vs. #11 Ole Miss (in Orlando)
Mon., Sep. 5, 5:00 PM, ESPN

FOUR-STAR GAMES 

#16 UCLA at TEXAS A&M**
Sat., Sep. 3, 12:30 PM, CBS
Upset Special / Overtime Watch

#1 ALABAMA vs. #20 USC (in Arlington)
Sat., Sep. 3, 5:00 PM, ABC

THREE-STAR GAMES

#18 GEORGIA vs. #22 North Carolina (in Atlanta)
Sat., Sep. 3, 2:30 PM, ESPN

Western Michigan at NORTHWESTERN
Sat., Sep. 3, 9:00 AM, ESPNU
G5 vs. P5 Showdown / Overtime Watch

Boston College vs. GEORGIA TECH (in Dublin, Ireland)
Sat., Sep. 3, 4:30 AM, ESPN2
Overtime Watch

#10 NOTRE DAME at Texas
Sun., Sep. 4, 4:30 PM, ABC

Missouri at WEST VIRGINIA
Sat., Sep. 3, 9:00 AM, FS1

#1 ALABAMA vs. #20 USC (in Arlington)
Sat., Sep. 3, 5:00 PM, ABC

#2 CLEMSON at Auburn
Sat., Sep. 3, 6:00 PM, ESPN

Arizona vs. BYU* (in Glendale, AZ)
Sat., Sep. 3, 7:30 PM, FS1

*Upset picks
**Vegas favorite despite lower ranking
***Vegas underdog despite higher ranking

Most OVERRATED and UNDERRATED teams going into 2016

I took a composite ranking from Bill Connelly’s (S&P+), Brian Fremeau’s (FEI), and ESPN’s (FPI) projected 2016 advanced stats ratings and compared them to the AP preseason poll*. Here are the results.

MOST OVERRATED: #15 HOUSTON

MOST UNDERRATED: MISSISSIPPI ST.

*I assigned rankings to all teams receiving points in the AP poll. For example, Miami got 159 points and was the first team to not get a ranking, so for the purposes of this, I ranked them as AP #26.

Note: I gave the computers a pass on Baylor. They have the Bears ranked #14, but they’re not aware of the off-season drama and understandably have probably overrated them.

MOST OVERRATED

TEAM AP RANK ADV. STATS COMPOSITE RK. DIFF.
Houston #15 #37 +22
TCU #13 #28 +15
Iowa #17 #32 +15
Michigan St. #12 #23 +11
Ohio St. #6 #12 +6

MOST UNDERRATED

TEAM AP RANK ADV. STATS COMPOSITE RK. DIFF.
Mississippi St. N/A (#43) #25 -18
Arkansas N/A (#35) #19 -16
Nebraska N/A (#37) #24 -13
USC #20 #8 -12
Auburn N/A (#33) #22 -11
Georgia #18 #9 -9
Oregon #24 #17 -7
Texas A&M N/A (#27) #21 -6
Ole Miss #11 #6 -5
Washington #14 #10 -4

Projected Best Games to Watch 2016 Edition – Version 2.0

Brian Fremeau released his projected 2016 FEI ratings and now we have our third data point for ranking our games. The other two data points used in the previous projections are Bill Connelly’s S&P+ and ESPN’s FPI projected ratings.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this is to have a list of the games that on paper should be the most fun to watch. The projected game quality is not based on rankings or opinions. It’s based on the percentile of the sums and differences of each rating system’s values. The difference is weighted at 80% of the sum percentile. Those are then averaged to get an overall game rating.

A game with a #5-ranked team vs. #12-ranked team might get a lot of hype on ESPN, but have a lower overall game score than a game featuring #14 vs. #16. The #5 team could be leaps and bounds better than #12 whereas #14 and #16 are both good teams but are more evenly matched and thus will often get a better game quality score (because it should be more fun to watch).

A good example of this is the Bama vs. Ole Miss game below. The number two-ranked team vs. #6 looks like it should be a more highly-ranked game, perhaps, than #11 UM vs. #13 tOSU. However, while both Bama and Ole Miss look to be great teams, what rankings don’t tell you is how far apart each ranking is. In other words, rankings are not linear. The difference between #1 and #2 is not the same as the difference between #2 and #3 or #3 and #4 and so on. In this case, #2 is WAY better (on paper) than #6. So this game gets a good team quality score (18 out of 18) but a worse match-up score (13 out of 18) and thus the lower overall game ranking (87.7%). (For comparison, UM vs. OSU has a 15/18 team quality score and an 18/18 match-up score for an overall game score of 90.7%.)

And yes, this is biased against your team, division, conference, region, state, etc.

Five-star games are those with overall game ratings in the top 10%, four-star are in the top 25%, and three-star are in the top 45%.

The rankings are a composite of the three rating systems.

Here’s an explanation of the numbers I’m using to rank the games.

The change in the game’s rank is in parenthesis.

TOP 25 GAMES TO WATCH OF 2016

Five-Star Games 

1. #2 Alabama at #1 LSU (–)
Saturday, November 5

2. #6 Ole Miss at #1 LSU (+1)
Saturday, October 22

3. #7 Tennessee at #9 Georgia (+2)
Saturday, October 1

4. #9 Georgia at #6 Ole Miss (+2)
Saturday, September 24

5. #8 USC at #11 Washington (+2)
Saturday, November 12

6. #8 USC at #14 UCLA (+2)
Saturday, November 19

7. #11 Michigan at #13 Ohio St. (+2)
Saturday, November 26

Four-Star Games 

8. #3 Clemson at #5 Florida St. (-6)
Saturday, October 29

9. #5 Florida St. vs. #6 Ole Miss (in Orlando) (+2)
Monday, September 5, 5 PM, ESPN

10. #14 Notre Dame at #8 USC (+2)
Saturday, November 26

11. #8 USC at #14 Stanford (+7)
Saturday, September 17

12. #2 Alabama at #6 Ole Miss (-8)
Saturday, September 17

13. #14 Stanford at #18 Oregon (+8)
Saturday, November 12

14. #10 Baylor* at #4 Oklahoma (+10)
Saturday, November 12

15. #14 Stanford at #11 Washington (+1)
Saturday, September 30

16. #14 Stanford at #14 UCLA (-2)
Saturday, September 24

17. #18 Oregon at #8 USC (N/A)
Saturday, November 5

18. #2 Alabama at #7 Tennessee (-8)
Saturday, October 15

19. #14 Stanford at #14 Notre Dame (–)
Saturday, October 15, NBC

20. #14 UCLA at #21 Texas A&M (-5)
Saturday, September 3

21. #13 Ohio St. at #25 Michigan St. (N/A)
Saturday, November 19

22. #21 Texas A&M at #23 Auburn (-2)
Saturday, September 17

23. #5 Florida St. at #17 Louisville (N/A)
Saturday, September 17

24. #13 Ohio St. at #4 Oklahoma (+1)
Saturday, September 17

25. #2 Alabama vs. #8 USC (in Arlington, TX) (-2)
Saturday, September 3

*I’m not sure how informed the computers are about the Briles scandal. The Bears are probably overrated here because of all of the drama, but I’m just going to stick with what the numbers say for now.

TOP 20 GROUP OF FIVE GAMES TO WATCH OF 2016

Four-Star Games 

1. #34 BYU at #31 West Virginia
Saturday, September 24

2. #34 BYU at #35 Utah
Saturday, September 10

Three-Star Games 

3. #23 Mississippi St. at #34 BYU
Friday, October 14, 6 PM

4. #40 Washington St. at #30 Boise St.
Saturday, September 10

5. #34 BYU at #30 Boise St.
Thursday, October 20

6. #60 Western Michigan at #45 Northwestern
Saturday, September 3

7. #34 BYU at #25 Michigan St.
Saturday, October 8

8. #46 South Florida at #56 Syracuse
Saturday, September 17

9. #14 UCLA at #34 BYU
Saturday, September 17

10. #46 South Florida at #61 Temple
Friday, October 21

11. #46 South Florida at #63 Cincinnati
Saturday, October 1

12. #17 Louisville at #39 Houston
Thursday, November 17

13. #39 Houston at #63 Cincinnati
Thursday, September 15

14. #54 Arizona vs. #34 BYU (in Glendale, AZ)
Saturday, September 3

15. #61 Temple at #41 Penn St.
Saturday, September 17

16. #69 Northern Illinois at #46 South Florida
Saturday, September 10

17. #56 Appalachian St. at #62 Georgia Southern
Thursday, October 27

18. #65 Toledo at #60 Western Michigan
Friday, November 25

19. #62 Georgia Southern at #60 Western Michigan
Saturday, September 24

20. #74 Bowling Green at #65 Toledo
Saturday, October 15