Billingsley Wins Two National Awards
Recently released awards from the Prediction Tracker.com reveal two national awards for Richard Billingsley, owner of the College Football Research Center (CFRC.COM) and publisher of the Billingsley Report on Major College Football. The Prediction Tracker, owned by Todd Beck, is an independent organization that monitors the success of participating computer ranking systems across America. In operation since 2000, the list of monitored systems has grown from a handful to 72, and this coming season (2015) has been expanded to include the new FPI Rating system developed and published by ESPN. Richard Billingsley’s Billingsley+ Report, which utilizes margin of victory in calculations, took home the awards top prize of “BEST PREDICTIVE SYSTEM of 2014” along with “Smallest Average Game Bias” won by the the original Billingsley Report (which does not use margin of victory). The original Billingsley Report was used by the Bowl Championship Series for many years to assist in determining participating teams in the National Championship Game. The best predictive system is chosen from being the overall leader in several major categories. Billingsley finished only 6 games behind in another category, “Straight Up Wins” won by Ted Thompson’s Computer Adjusted Line. Billingsley has been ranking college football teams since 1970 and was the first pollster to run the entire history of college football (from 1869) through a mathematical formula. From 2001-2004 Richard collaborated in the development of the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, spearheaded by renowned editor and author Michael MacCambridge. Richard supplied the All Time Scores, Conference Standings and Poll Progressions for the Encyclopedia. His rankings were chosen by MacCambridge and published by ESPN in the encyclopedia as “computer national champions” and printed right next to the Associated Press and Coaches Polls in the Poll Progression section. Later, in a 2009 interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram MacCambridge was quoted ” I don’t know what his hidden ingredient is, I don’t know what the secret sauce is in Richard’s formula. But whatever it is it works very well and is very reliable. And that is a credit to, not his fandom, but to his professionalism and his intellect“. When informed of the awards Billingsley was somewhat shocked and very humbled. “Just to have my work out there in the same conversation with the great one’s, ESPN, USA Today, Dunkel, and Sagarin along with my other former BCS counterparts, Anderson/Hester, Massey, Wolfe and Colley was always enough for me. But this feels great. I’m very honored.” Often criticized by mathematicians for his lack of educational credentials (Billingsley has only a high school education and no formal mathematical training) the awards are some what a vindication for his 45+ years work in college football. In the book Death to the BCS, the authors quoted Billingsley as a “Hillbilly”. When asked to comment on the awards, CFRC Vice President Steve Billingsley said with a laugh, “score one for the “hillbilly”.
The Unthinkable – Will the SEC be left out of the CFP?
According to Billingsley’s conference comparison the SEC has been the leading most powerful conference in college football for 8 consecutive years (2007-2014), winning 7 consecutive National Titles in the process. But a chink in the Armour has emerged in the last two seasons. Florida State squeezed out a 34-31 win over Auburn in 2013, and last season, Alabama fell to eventual National Champion Ohio State 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl semi-final of the CFP. Coming through any Power 5 conference schedule unscathed is difficult, but near impossible in the SEC. This season, the way the schedules unfold regarding home/away conference games, Billingsley projects not only one loss, but two losses for every SEC team. The major question surrounding that potential scenario becomes…..how will the selection committee evaluate a two loss SEC team versus an undefeated or one loss team from another Power 5 conference, or the Group of 5? No one can really answer that question, but should that scenario occur, Billingsley projects there is a good chance the mighty SEC may lose out on the playoff altogether. Ohio State and TCU are projected to go undefeated, Michigan State and Baylor are projected with one loss, both losing only to the top 2 teams. Factor in a projected one loss ACC champion (Florida State or Clemson, take your pick) and you have 5 teams right away who would most likely be ranked ahead of a two loss SEC team. And less not count out the Pac 12. A one loss team in Oregon, USC, or Arizona State is not out of the question. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia and Tennessee are all CFP worthy…..on paper before the season starts that is. But a closer look at the schedules spell doom for all of those teams. Road games are brutal in the SEC and all of those contenders play road games with one another. Alabama plays at Georgia and Auburn. Auburn plays at LSU. Georgia plays at Tennessee and Auburn (in addition to a game at arch rival and ACC contender Georgia Tech). LSU plays at Alabama and Ole Miss. Ole Miss plays at Alabama and Auburn. Tennessee plays at Alabama. Billingsley projects Auburn to win the tiebreaker in the West and face Tennessee from the East with the two loss Tigers prevailing in Atlanta. If that scenario unfolds can Auburn, a two loss SEC Champion (the Tigers are also projected to lose at Arkansas) survive the cut and make a 4 team playoff? Unlikely says Billingsley, but it’s all pure speculation at this point. Billingsley’s pre-season rankings will be posted Saturday August 15, with the first week’s games being highlighted shortly there after. The season kicks off on Thursday September 2 with a host of games, most notably North Carolina/South Carolina in Charlotte, Michigan at Utah and TCU at Minnesota. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Oklahoma and Texas treading unfamiliar territory.
The Sooners and Longhorns dominated their respective conferences for decades (the Big 8 and SWC), and when the Big 12 was formed, the two rivals became conference foes and battled for the South Division title 10 out of the 14 years the conference was split into divisions. But times have changed. The super powers are not so super anymore. Texas last won the title in 2009, Oklahoma in 2010 and a long 4 year drought has ensued since. Texas has fallen on very hard times. An unthinkable 5-7 record in 2010 was followed by 4 straight mediocre years for the Horns (by Texas standards anyway). Things have not been quite so dire for Oklahoma. Sooners made a run for the crown in 2012 and 2013, but slipped mightily to 8-5 in 2014. The preseason polls in 2015 have Oklahoma picked 3rd behind TCU and Baylor, with Texas jockeying for 4th or 5th with Oklahoma State. Has the great era of the Red River Rivals ended for good? I doubt it. Given time, Charlie Strong is bound to bring the Longhorn program back to Texas standards, and Oklahoma, well, Sooner magic is just a QB away. Still, 2015 seems to belong to the Frogs and Bears and we may be talking about more than a conference title. As reported earlier, Billingsley believes TCU will win the National Championship, out dueling Ohio State in the CFP. Baylor could be in the mix just as easily should the Bears survive a road trip to Amon Carter Stadium in late November. Mark your calendars, the November 27 meeting between TCU and Baylor could be the college game of the year. Billingsley projects Oklahoma to finish 9-3, falling to Tennessee in Knoxville, TCU at home, and Baylor in Waco. Things may not be quite as easy for Texas. Rebuilding the Longhorn program will take some time. Billingsley projects Texas to finish 7-5 with losses at Notre Dame, at TCU, Oklahoma in Dallas, at West Virginia, and at Baylor. The games with the Sooners and Mountaineers are very winnable though, and an 8-4, or 9-3 season would be considered a breakthrough for the Longhorns. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Will the Southern Surge finally unseat the Pac 12 North?
The Pac 12 expanded to 12 teams in 2011 and the North division has won all four championship games (two by Stanford and two by Oregon). But with USC, UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State gaining strength, things could be much different in 2015. Oregon and Standford are projected to once again battle for the North Division crown with Billingsley predicting Oregon to go on and win the conference title, but the Ducks may still miss out on the CFP. Oregon must travel to East Lansing in September and play their toughest conference game of the year against Arizona State in Tempe. Even a predicted revenge win in the Pac 12 championship game might not be enough to land a two loss Duck team in the top 4. Arizona State may be the best shot the Pac 12 has to send a representative to the CFP this year. If they can get by Texas A&M in Houston opening weekend and beat UCLA on the road, then follow up with a win in the Pac 12 title game, a 13-0 Sun Devil team would be hard pressed to nose out of the playoff. But Billingsley is projecting Arizona State to fall on all 3 counts, leaving the Sun Devils with a very respectable 10-3 record. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Nebraska and the Big 10. A good fit or a colossal bust?
Conference realignment created a lot of of strange looks in college football over the last 25 years. So strange that old timers barely recognize the conference landscape anymore. In the early days conferences were created with regional ties being a great consideration. Bound together, teams in particular regions created a larger voice, and therefore more recognition on a national scale. Teams in the Midwest banded together to create the Big 10 in 1896 (then formally known as the Western Conference) and stole the show away from the Ivy League which had dominated the sport since it’s inception in 1869. To win the Big 10 was virtually an assurance of being considered as a mythical national championship throughout the early 1900’s. Other regions followed suit, the Missouri Valley in 1907 (the forerunner of the old Big 8), the Rocky Mountain in 1910 (the forerunner of the now defunct WAC and current Mountain West), the Southwest Conference in 1915, and the original Southern Conference in 1922, (the forerunner of the ACC and SEC). Winning a conference title brings relevance to a program,not just regionally, but on a more national scale. There was a time Nebraska was one of the most feared, nationally prominent football programs in America. The Cornhuskers, along with Oklahoma, dominated the Big 8 for almost 70 years. From it’s creation in 1928 until it’s disbanding after the 1995 season (68 titles), either Nebraska or Oklahoma won or shared the conference title an amazing 58 times (Oklahoma 30, Nebraska 25, with 3 shared between the two). During those years the Cornhuskers won 5 national championships in the Billingsley Report and staged one of the nation’s premier dynasties winning 3 national championships in four years (1994,1995,1997). When the Big 12 was formed in 1996 it was hailed as America’s strongest conference, boasting Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, 3 of the nations premier teams who had won a combined 15 National Championships. The ultimate downfall may have been disagreements between Texas and Nebraska (which were widely reported), but there was never harmony in the conference from the beginning. The loss of the Nebraska/Oklahoma rivalry was a loss not only to the conference, but college football as a whole. The Huskers and Sooners were a Thanksgiving weekend tradition. Of all the lost rivalries due to realignment, Oklahoma/Nebraska is the greatest (although Texas/Texas A&M runs a close second). What created Nebraska’s decline is certainly up for debate, but things were never the same after Tom Osborne retired in 1997. Frank Solich did an admirable job, but slipping to 7-7 in 2002, which included a 3 game season ending skid, was hard for Husker faithful to stomach. After Solich things got even worse. Under Bill Callahan Nebraska sank to an unthinkable 5-6 season in 2004, the worst since 1961 (3-6-1). The fact is, Nebraska has lost it’s luster. That’s tough to say coming from someone like myself that grew up worshiping Bob Devaney and cherishing Big Red football, but it’s the truth. At least it’s my truth. Moving to the Big 10 was supposed to turn things around. A new day, a new era, but the same old story has played itself out. Bo Pelini took over in 2008 and led the Cornhuskers through the transition into the Big 10 in 2011, but 7 consecutive 4 loss seasons have tarnished the reputation of this once dominant force in college football. Pelini coached his last game in 2014 and in a shocking twist, Nebraska hired Mike Riley away from Oregon State. Is this the coach Nebraska faithful have been longing for? Off season reports are very favorable about Riley’s attitude and his relationship with the players. Nebraska has not been able to establish the same intensity with a Big 10 rival like the ones they held with Oklahoma, Colorado, and Missouri, but rivalries take decades to build. Last week Kansas State’s Bill Snyder commented that if the Big 12 expands they need look no further than Nebraska. There is certainly some validity to that train of thought from the Big 12’s perspective, but all Nebraska needs to right the ship is a Big 10 conference championship. Is that something the Huskers can accomplish with a first year coach? It’s not likely with Big 10 heavyweights Ohio State and Michigan State waiting to battle from the conference’s Eastern Division, but Nebraska’s chances for winning the Big 10 Western Division crown are good, and getting to the Big 10 Championship game would be a huge boost for the program. The Huskers host Wisconsin in Lincoln on October 10th, a game that is crucial in the race for the Western Division Crown. Not only are Ohio State and Michigan State battling for the Big 10’s Eastern Division, but for National honors as well. Given that the game will be played in Columbus, I’m giving the slightest edge to Ohio State, projecting the Buckeyes to go undefeated and land as the #1 seed in the college football playoff. But don’t count Michigan State out. As a one loss team, with the only loss coming on the road to the #1 seed, I’m projecting Michigan State to be a solid choice for the playoff as well. One of the more interesting story lines to watch this season will be who finishes 3rd in the Big 10 West race, Michigan, rejuvenated by Jim Harbaugh, or Penn State, rebounding under James Franklin. The Nittany Lions host the Wolverines on November 21 so Penn State has a slight edge. I’m projecting a 10-2 season for Penn State and 8-4 for Michigan. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech battle for ACC Crown
The race for the Atlantic Coast Conference title is up for grabs in 2015. After being dominated by the Seminoles for three consecutive seasons, the loss of Florida State QB Jameis Winston and an influx of talent among other conference contenders over the last few years is making this year’s race a very competitive contest. Scheduling will factor heavily into these hotly contested conference games, with Clemson having an edge by playing Georgia Tech and Florida State at home. The Tigers are projected to be undefeated and ranked highly in the polls by the time Florida State rolls into Death Valley, but even playing at home may not be enough for Clemson to avoid an upset at the hands of Florida State on November 7th. Should Clemson prevail over Florida State en route to an undefeated season, however, the Tigers would most likely earn a spot in the 4 team playoff. Georgia Tech gets Florida State at home and is projected to beat the Seminoles (giving Florida State their only loss on the regular season), but lose to Florida State in a rematch in the conference title game. Virginia Tech may have the easiest path among the contenders by not playing Florida State or Clemson, but the Hokies must travel to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets on November 12. They are projected to lose to Georgia Tech, but a win there would most likely seal a Coastal Division crown for the Hokies. Keep an eye on North Carolina State. Although it’s unlikely they could upset Florida State or Clemson, a win at Virginia Tech on October 9th could propel the Wolfpack to a 10 win season. Duke is expected to have a slight drop in talent but the schedule is favorable. An early season contest at home with Northwestern, along with home games against Miami and Pittsburgh later in the season are all winnable games and crucial for Duke’s win total to reach 9. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Boise State leads Group of Five
The Boise State Broncos are the top candidate to lead the “group of five” conference teams into the “New Year’s Day Six” Bowls. Projected to sweep a 13 game schedule, Boise will teeter closely on the edge of the four team College Playoff. Winning the Mountain West Conference will not be a slam dunk, but the Broncos have all the ingredients to go undefeated. Overall, the talent is certainly there with17 returning starters (9 on offense and 8 on defense), and a proven coach. Both bode well for the Broncos. The schedule however is tricky and doesn’t set up extremely well for Boise State. Their toughest games will be played in the first two weeks of the season. The opening game against Washington is at home, but the Huskies represent the greatest threat of a loss on the Bronco schedule, not a great way to start a season. Next up is a visit to Provo. This is a dangerous game for the Broncos. Brigham Young will be good, maybe very good if Taysom Hill is completely healthy and running the Cougar offense with the same great leadership and pin point accuracy that he did in early 2014 before he broke his leg against Utah State. A 2-0 start for Boise should create enough momentum to carry this team through a tough MWC schedule, but a loss of one, or certainly both, could spell disaster before the season even unfolds. The Mountain West, Mountain division crown, will most likely be decided in back to back road games for the Broncos against Colorado State and Utah State in mid October. San Diego State and Nevada will battle for the Western Division title. Marshall, Western Kentucky, Rice and Louisiana Tech are projected to battle for the top spot in Conference USA. Cincinnati and Houston will battle in the American, but watch out for Temple. Billingsley projects the Owls to go 9-3 with the only conference loss early in the season at Cincinnati along with non conference losses to Penn State and Notre Dame. Not bad for a team kicked out of the defunct Big East for being perceived as not good enough. Bowling Green, Toledo and Northern Illinois will duel it out in the MAC, but keep your eye on an improved Western Michigan. The Broncos early schedule is brutal with projected losses to Michigan State, Ohio State and Georgia Southern, but winning a key road contest at Ohio in mid season could turn this team around just in time for late season, back to back games at conference contenders Northern Illinois and Toledo. In a surprise, Appalachian State is picked in the Sun Belt due to the fact the schedule sets up so well. All the other contenders, Georgia Southern, La. Lafayette, and Arkansas State must travel to Boone NC. Boise State is a safe bet for the New Year’s Six Bowl spot even with one loss, but two losses by the Broncos opens the door to a host of other possibilities. The way the schedules play out in the group of five conferences (in terms of projected wins and losses) Marshall, Western Kentucky, Rice, Cincinnati, Houston, Bowling Green, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Colorado State, Utah State, San Diego State, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern all could easily contend for that coveted bowl spot. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Billingsley Tabs TCU for Title
Richard Billingsley projects the TCU Horned Frogs to win it all in 2015. All things considered, coaching, returning starters, scheduling, and perhaps most importantly, motivation, TCU is picked to win the National Championship in a showdown with Ohio State. The Buckeyes will finish ranked ahead of TCU in the final regular season rankings, but Billingsley cites TCU’s overall hunger for a title that has eluded them since the AP bestowed a National Championship on the 1938 Horned Frog team as the deciding factor. Michigan State and Florida State are projected to join Ohio State and TCU in the 2015 College Football Playoff as the #3 and #4 teams respectively. The Spartans only loss on the season is projected at Ohio State. The Seminoles are projected to lose at Georgia Tech in the regular season but win in a rematch with the Yellow Jackets to win the ACC title. Auburn, Boise State and Baylor will be nipping on the heels of Florida State for the final playoff spot but in the end Billingsley believes the Seminoles will prevail. Once again the schedule strength may plague Baylor. The Bears are projected to lose only at TCU, but play a schedule ranked #57, almost identical to the final regular season schedule strength of 2014 (#59). Although projected to go undefeated, Boise State’s schedule will also be a factor. The Broncos are projected to play a schedule ranked #77 in the nation compared to the Seminoles #45. An undefeated Boise State would most certainly be in contention for the playoff, but it’s unlikely they would get the nod over Florida State or Auburn. The Broncos greatest hope for gaining that coveted #4 spot is for Washington and Brigham Young to have exceptional seasons, and the Mountain West conference overall, (but particularly fellow conference contenders Air Force, Nevada, Colorado State, Utah State and San Diego State) to have great success in their non-conference schedules. That scenario would significantly boost Boise State’s strength of schedule in the eyes of the selection committee along side public outcry for playoff inclusion. Auburn on the other hand is projected to play the #1 most difficult schedule in the nation. Unfortunately it may also take a toll on the eventual SEC champion which is projected to finish the season with two losses, one at LSU in September, and at Arkansas in October. The rating margin between #4 Florida State, #5 Auburn and #6 Boise State is razor thin, all projected to finish neck and neck with 319 points, but if these win-loss totals hold true, and taking into consideration the Seminoles would be the ACC champ with only one loss and Auburn the SEC champ with two losses, the nod would most likely go to Florida State. In the coming weeks each conference race will be evaluated and posted, and the official pre-season rankings will be unveiled so stay tuned. In the meantime….let the debate begin!. Projected Final Regular Season Rankings Projected 2015 Game by Game Results
Making the Grade: Evaluating Billingsley’s 2014 Projections
In July of 2014 former BCS Pollster Richard Billingsley released projections for every regular season game on the schedule. How well did he do? Let’s take a look. Using the following grading scale, you be the judge. A+ = An exact match of projected wins, losses A = One game difference B = Two game difference C = Three game difference D = Four game difference F = Five or more game difference The 2014 tally is as follows: A+ = 16 A = 31 B = 33 C = 19 D = 18 F = 11 Follow these links to see how Billingsley fared on every FBS team for 2014: Final Total by Grade Final Total Alphabetical Team by team 2014 projection Richard Billingsley’s 2015 Projections will be posted in late July.
2014 Razorbacks Shatter Strength of Schedule Record
Arkansas’ 2014 schedule broke the All Time Record in strength set just last year by Stanford. The Razorbacks played a record 8 teams ranked in the Top 25 in the Billingsley Report and in the AP, 6 of those in ranked in the Top 10. Additionally, only Nicholls St. and UAB ranked outside the Top 42 in the nation in the Billingsley Report at the time the game was played. Arkansas’ strength of schedule in 2014 gained 135.740 points on Billingsley’s scale, eclipsing Stanford’s 130.669 set in 2013. For decades the 1983 Auburn schedule of 123.684 and 1987 Florida’s 124.695 were the benchmarks of schedule comparison, but the addition of conference championship games in the early to mid 1990’s began a rise in schedule points by adding an extra game into the calculations. The addition of games through the semi final and championship games of the new College Football Playoff is sure to do the same thing. It’s amazing that several early seasons still remain on the Top 50 list including 1945 Michigan (# 24), 1973 Kansas (#29), 1970 Alabama (# 30), and two Oklahoma teams, 1975 (# 36) and 1973 (# 44). The 1975 Sooner team won a National Championship. The 1945 Michigan team played only a 10 game schedule, fewest of all the Top 50 entries. If the Wolverines had played today’s standard 13 game schedule (including a Bowl Game), and had played even reasonable teams, ranked in the #50-75 range, the Wolverines 1945 entry would most likely reach the Top 3 of this current list. Billingsley’s strength of schedule rating is based on an accumulation of points derived from the rating and rank of each opponent on the day the game was played. Also of note, Oregon’s 2014 strength of schedule ranked # 3 All Time. This is an early indicator of the reflection of the new playoff structure as the Ducks played a 15 game schedule. Follow the links below to view the Top 50 list and individual team schedules throughout history.
Notre Dame Holds on by a thread over Alabama in Top Programs List
The College Football Research Center’s All Time Top Program list was released Monday, February 23 and Notre Dame held on to a razor thin margin over surging Alabama, 268.7 points to 268.1. Although Notre Dame has garnered 3 more Billingsley National Championships than the Tide, the majority of those came before 1970. Since the report is an average of the entire history of a program’s rating (relative strength) it has taken decades for Alabama to move within striking distance. Most of the Tide’s success has come since 1960. The Fighting Irish have lead the Top Program list since it’s inception in 1970, Richard Billingsley’s first year to publish rankings. But Alabama, fueled by 5 consecutive Top 10 finishes in this decade including two in the top 5 and two national championships (back to back in 2011, 2012), the Crimson Tide have positioned themselves for a takeover of the Top spot. If Alabama continues it’s dominance this fall, and Notre Dame does not improve on their recent performance, Billingsley’s projection is The Crimson Tide will become the #1 Football Program of All Time after the completion of the 2015 season. But that was not the only noteworthy news in the release. Ohio State jumped their hated rival Michigan, “that team up North” as Woody Hayes would put it, leaping from #4 to #3. This is the first time in the history of the list that Ohio State has ever ranked higher than the Wolverines. Michigan was a solid #2 in the report for over 40 years, but has slipped two spots in the last two reports alone. Jim Harbaugh’s return hasn’t come a day too soon for Michigan fans. To view the entire report, click on the link below. The All Time Scores and Schedules (Section 2 of Billingsley’s Encyclopedia) is in progress and will be updated soon.
Billingsley Praises Selection Committee
The College Football Selection Committee released their Top 25 (version 3) on Tuesday night. I released my set of 3 rankings on Sunday afternoon. The Top 4 were identical in the Committee rankings and my Billingsley Personal poll, which is how I would have voted if I were on the Committee. So for this week anyway, I have nothing but praise for the Committee’s bravery in jumping Oregon over Florida State and placing TCU over Alabama . It gives me hope they might actually be accomplishing something of great value behind those closed doors, but we have 4 more weeks to go before the final verdict is in. I guess, in spite of all my concerns and worries, I have to say the Committee is doing a pretty good job so far. I cringe when I say that because I know my opinion could easily do a 180 come December 7th. My personal decision to rank Oregon ahead of Florida State was an easy one. The Ducks have played a far superior schedule (#12 to #41), and have performed more impressively in those games. The decision to rank TCU ahead of Alabama was very difficult, and, as Jeff Long put it, “razor thin”. But the bottom line, at least for this week, TCU’s performance over Kansas State was more impressive. In making a comparison between the two, these were the strong points I considered; both have one loss, both lost to high ranked opponents on the road(#9 Baylor, #11 Ole Miss) and strength of schedule is almost identical (#19 for TCU, #22 for the Tide). Alabama’s win being in overtime was not a factor against them. I think the fact they were playing in one of the most hostile environments in College Football far outweighs the fact it went into overtime. In fact, it was almost enough, in my mind, to sway things in the Tide’s favor. My biggest disappointment this week really, has been listening to the commentaries of various sportswriters and broadcasters in an uproar that Baylor is not ranked ahead of TCU. Not a single computer program in America is more sensitive to head to head competition than the Billingsley Report. It is the very core of the system. However, along with that built in comparison, there is some common sense programmed in as well. I think the nation’s journalistic elite must have a very short memory. They are somehow forgetting Baylor lost to West Virginia. That, my friend, was no one’s fault but Baylor’s……it’s certainly not the Horned Frog’s fault. Right now there is no justification for Baylor being ahead of TCU. It’s Baylor’s responsibility, through strength of schedule, to overcome that loss to an inferior team. And the schedule comparison is certainly in favor of the Horned Frogs which hold a huge advantage, #19 to #61. That may change, as Baylor still has to play#46 Oklahoma State, #80 Texas Tech and #18 Kansas State, which is a superior schedule to TCU’s #98 Kansas, #99 Iowa State and # 41 Texas. A late surge in strength of schedule and a declared conference championship (based on the head to head game) for Baylor may be enough to switch the two, but certainly not at this stage. At this point in the season I only know one thing for sure…..if I hear the phrases “body of work” or “eye test” one more time I’m going to vomit all over ESPN. Translated, they both mean “this is the way my human biased mind sees it”. Of course, having said that, you must realize the Billingsley Personal Poll is a “superior eye test”. I’m sure that makes you want to vomit too. This week’s projections below.
Huge Weekend of College Football Ahead
This may be the biggest weekend of college football we have seen this season. Virtually half of the Top 25 teams play one another in pivotal conference games that will shape the national landscape as well. #14 Kansas State travels to Fort Worth to face # 9 TCU in what ultimately could decide the Big 12 crown. The Wildcats are the biggest hurdle left for the Horned Frogs as only Kansas, Texas and Iowa State remain on the Froggies schedule. The Thanksgiving game against the Longhorns in Austin could be a little tricky for TCU, but they will certainly be favored. Kansas State has a much harder road ahead with games remaining at West Virginia and at Baylor, with a home game against Kansas in between. Also in the Big 12, # 15 Baylor travels to Norman to take on the # 22 Sooners, the team originally touted as Big 12 favorites. Oklahoma has lost nail biters to TCU and Kansas State. #10 Michigan State and # 12 Ohio State square off in East Lansing. The Buckeyes have an opportunity to make amends for the inexplicable early season loss to Virginia Tech and the Spartans will be looking to impress the selection committee with a quality win after dropping an early season loss at Oregon. # 8 Notre Dame invades Tempe to tangle with a very hot Arizona State team ranked # 7. The Sun Devils are in an excellent position to win the Pac 12 South and a non conference win over the Irish would certainly enhance their profile nationally. Oregon, which moved into the all important #4 position in the playoff rankings this week, travels to Salt Lake City to take on a very tough # 16 Utah team. The Utes are still smarting from a crushing 3 point overtime loss at Arizona State last Saturday night. # 17 UCLA has a dangerous road test at # 32 Washington. In the mighty SEC (just kidding folks), # 3 Auburn hosts # 21 Texas A&M. The Aggies are 6-3 with losses to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. The # 5 Crimson Tide travels to Baton Rouge for a key conference game with # 6 LSU. The Tigers have turned turned their season around after two early losses to Mississippi State and Auburn followed by a huge win over Ole Miss. If LSU wins, and Alabama goes on to beat Mississippi State and Auburn, the SEC West will be turned upside down. Follow the links below for all of Billingsley’s Projections.
Oregon Pounds Stanford 45-16
Finally, Oregon put it all together Saturday and the result was the demolition of a Stanford team that had become a nemesis for the Ducks over the last two years. The win possibly positioned the Ducks as one of the Top Four teams in the college football playoff as the nation awaits the vote of the Selection Committee which will be released Tuesday. Oregon has been in Billingsley’s Top Four for the last two weeks. Florida State returned to the number one rank in the Billingsley Report, edging out Mississippi State by virtue of a win over a slightly higher ranked opponent (#36 Louisville on the road vs #58 Arkansas at home). The Bulldogs are still ranked #1 in Billingsley+ which factors in margin of victory, and in Billingsley’s Personal poll.