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Ratings vs. Efficiency: Another Utah win

A sign of the times has come. The first CFP rankings are out. The end is near. Enjoy it while it lasts, cause college football will be over quicker than it started. But at least there is still a month of regular season left. And LOTS of complaining for where a team is ranked. Well, let’s put some numbers with that whine, shall we?


CFP Rank

Team

Efficiency

Difference

1

Ohio State

1

0

2

LSU

5

-3

3

Alabama

2

1

4

Penn State

4

0

5

Clemson

3

2

6

Georgia

10

-4

7

Oregon

11

-4

8

Utah

8

0

9

Oklahoma

6

3

10

Florida

12

-2

11

Auburn

9

2

12

Baylor

19

-7

13

Wisconsin

7

6

14

Michigan

14

0

15

Notre Dame

21

-6

16

Kansas State

20

-4

17

Minnesota

18

-1

18

Iowa

15

3

19

Wake Forest

54

-35

20

Cincinnati

33

-13

21

Memphis

27

-6

22

Boise State

29

-7

23

Oklahoma State

24

-1

24

Navy

17

7

25

SMU

32

-7

I think this is the most colorful list yet. Which makes sense since we are getting closer to Christmas. Lots of overrated teams, which I think I pointed out before that overreactions tend to be the norm. That and a team with a better record will tend to be ranked higher than one with a worse record. Take Washington and Washington State for example. Efficiency ratings of 16 and 22 respectively. Unfortunately for them, they are losing games despite their overall efficiency. Win some and you’ll get ranked, pretty simple solution.

This paragraph is about the injustice of winning. Alright, the most overrated teams has 3 tied for 3rd. Baylor, Boise State and SMU all coming in at -7. Baylor is undefeated, but has not shown a particular knack for playing well, they are just able to win. (See solution above). Boise State and SMU, both have that one loss, but their competition is not at the same level. The efficiency ratings adjust for level of competition as well. Alright Cincinnati comes in at 2nd with -13. That’s pretty extreme, but nothing compared to Wake Forest who is first at -35. It isn’t gonna happen, but I would love for Wake Forest to play an efficient game against Clemson and knock them off.

Alright, the underrated folks are doing everything they can to garner some attention, but for different reasons, can’t get the ranking they are deserving of. Iowa, coming in at 3rd with a +3, not terribly underrated, but a bit more than others. The 2 spot is held by Wisconsin, who is still ranked rather high considering their record. An the most underrated team… Navy! They finally made it into the top 25 so I could throw them on this list. They have been playing pretty darn efficient football all season, but are just now getting the attention they deserve. Another service academy, Air Force is actually in the top 25 for efficiency as well, maybe we see them here with Navy by the end of the season.

The goldilocks zone is inhabited by the teams that are +/- 2 in ratings vs. efficiency. There are only 6 inhabiting this zone this week, which is the lowest number of the entire season I believe, but there is good reason which I will cover in a minute. Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Auburn, Minnesota and Oklahoma State are all in the zone. Oklahoma State was the most surprising to me, given they have 3 losses, the only top 25 team with that distinction. But they are playing pretty well, so ride that pony as long as you can Cowboys.

The gold stars go to the teams that perfectly match the rankings and efficiency, and this week, there are 4. The most there have been! Woo hoo! Maybe more sanity will prevail down the homestretch. Ohio State coming in at number 1 was no surprise to me. They have been playing the most efficient football for most of the season, and it’s not really close. I haven’t understood the LSU love, yes, they are great, but not #1 great. Penn State also gets a gold star. I have a feeling one of these 2 teams will be in the realms of the underrated on the evening of the 26th of November. My very own Utes get this distinction once again. I have lost count at how many times Utah has been gold star recipients, but they keep playing lights out (well enough lights went out against Washington for the W) so they keep inching up in both efficiency and rankings. And finally, the team that inspired all of this. Once the most overrated team in the country, at one point coming in at -53, is Michigan. They have really upped their game in October. I’m sure there is a way to isolate things by month, but I don’t know how, so I’m going to make the assumption that they have been playing at a top 10, possibly even top 5 level in efficiency for the past month. Keep trending that way and hand Ohio State their only loss of the season on the 30th. That would be delightful.

And now a final bit of opinion on the Utes. They got it done. After the first 16 or 17 minutes, the offensive line finally clicked. I think introducing Bam into the line caused a bit of a disruption there, cause once he went out is when things started to click. The defense did their awesome defensy stuff. I still can hardly believe those rushing d numbers. Completely possible to end the season at sub-50 ypg average by the end of the season. Colorado should really be the big boost to dropping that one. As for Moss, yes he is the boss. Though not as efficient as normal, still got his 100 yards rushing, and is now the #2 spot in receiving yards behind only Thompson. And finally Huntley. I have always liked this guy. I could go on at length about him, but despite his lack "flashy" performances, he is one of the best qb’s in the country. And if we are talking ratings vs. efficiency, wait… I would say he is one of, if not the most, underrated qb out there today. He is the #5 most efficient qb, but there are no opinion based rankings that come out weekly that I am aware of, so I will enjoy this chip on my shoulder, thank you very much. Enjoy some not Utah football things this weekend.

GO UTES!!!

PS - Thanks Oregon!