My goal, as it has been from the beginning, is to come up with a simple way to determine who's doing the best work in college football without the using crazy algorithms and without actually having needed to see the game. Am I there yet? Well, it's week 1. Not much to know.
The route I'm using at present involves an average strength of schedule determined by your oppoenents winning percentage and your opponent's opponents winning percentage averaged out with the point differential of the game.
For obvious reasons, I can't really do that this week. In fact, I'm not even going to start doing that until week 4, when there's something to work with.
In the meantime, for week 1, since the schedule is one game, I'm simply using an average of the talent on the field as determined by an aggregated winning percentage over three years' time. You're just in week one based on where everyone thinks you SHOULD be, and your performance over the next three weeks will largely determine whether everyone's expectations were valid or not.
Using the 3 year aggregate alone, I came up with a preseason that had Oregon #1, Alabama #2, with Ohio St, Boise St, and Stanford rounding out the top 5. It's meaningless and basically just shows which teams have won the most games over the last three seasons. Alabama falls below Oregon because 2010 still exists (sigh).
Averaging out winning percentages basically means that some matchups will inevitably not carry their own hype into the top 25. Clemson and Georgia for instance both have an aggregated win percentage of around .760 and when you take into account that the game was a relative stalemate, you're left with the winner being stuck at #32 and the loser hovering not terribly far below them at #42. If they do nothing more than maintain their average standard of play, they'll both be in the top 10 by the end of the year. The point system is set up that neither winning percentage (duh) or point differential can add up to an average of more than 100 pts per game. Anything above 40 means you almost certainly won your game (Clemson scored 40.36). The weaker the teams you play, the more points you have to score on them in order to stay at that number.
How many teams performed at 40+ points? Well Clemson came in at #32, so... 32.
Here's a tl;dr list of them (alphabetically, because rankings based on one game is just stupid): Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Arkansas St, Baylor, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington, and Wisconsin.
How many of those teams played FCS squads? Only seven. When dealing with FCS teams, my gut reaction was to pretend those games don't count, but then a team like Kansas St is stupid enough to schedule a game with 2-time defending FCS champion North Dakota St, and nobody thinks to remind them that this game is waaay more important to NDSU (who haven't lost to an FBS opponent since '10) than it will ever be to them. So... yeah, those games have meaning.
What I decided to do with FCS teams is this: I ignored all the irrelevant parts of their schedules (you know, the FCS parts of them), and relied solely on how well they performed against FBS competition. Then, I took that winning percentage and chopped it in half (I figure if NDSU were playing nothing but FBS teams, they'd win roughly half their games... like Virginia Tech last year, and probably by the same margins; they'd be a bowl team, which is more than I can say for, I dunno, Akron).
Oh fine, here's a meaningless Top 25:
#1- Louisville... beat Ohio 49-7, which may or may not mean anything. Ohio went 10-4 last year, and they're still being coached by Frank Solich, so for now, the win looks good. Points: 65.65
#2- Michigan... beat Central Michigan 59-9. This tells me nothing about either team. Points: 62.81.
#3- Washington... beat Boise St 38-6. With pretty much all of these games, we have no way of knowing yet if this means Washington is awesome or if it means Boise St finally sucks.
#4- Oklahoma... beat LA-Monroe 34-0. LA-Monroe can be pesky.
#5- Georgia Tech... beat Elon 70-0. This means little to nothing.
#6- Oregon... beat Nicholls St 69-3. Again...
#7- UCLA... beat Nevada 58-20. Nevada's one of those teams that always wins enough to go to some two-bit bowl game. This ranking seems right for UCLA just on principle.
#8- Alabama. We racked up 55.93. Which is really good. We covered the spread. We should be happy. Except we're not cause our offensive line either wet the bed or were forcibly made to eat broccoli spears during dinner while all the other kids were tearing into an ice cream cake. What I'm saying is the coaches went vanilla and never adjusted to Tech's defense, which is either sad (because our offense mentally can't handle anything right now... like, ANYTHING), or is brilliant (because they made our offense create bricks without straw, which is the equivalent of watching Rocky toss logs up a mountain in the snow while Dolf Lundgren tests super eighties strength equipment). Let's just thank the good Lord Texas A&M wasn't the FIRST game of the season this year.
Nobody cares about #9-25. Roll tide.