|Rank||Team||Change||Avg Rank||Win Rank||Loss Rank||Num Win Paths||Avg Win Path||Num Loss Paths||Avg Loss Path||FBS Wins||FBS Losses|
|70||North Carolina State||1||71.5||87||56||125||5.18||122||4.71||5||5|
|95||Middle Tennessee State||9||94.0||82||106||125||5.07||122||3.53||4||5|
|98||San Diego State||6||96.0||110||82||125||6.08||122||4.01||4||5|
|102||San Jose State||7||98.0||96||100||125||5.57||122||3.57||2||7|
|127||New Mexico State||-||126.5||126||127||1||1.00||125||3.24||1||8|
Before this past weekend, the non-Arkansas SEC West teams had only lost games among themselves, and as a result were always among the top teams in the CTR. This week, Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M lost to Georgia, Arkansas, and Missouri, respectively, ending the division's transitive dominance over the rest of the nation. But even with all these new win paths leading into the division, the SEC West continues to dominate the CTR top 10. Even Arkansas and Texas A&M are in the top 15. I was a little disappointed in this development, as I had hoped these losses might allow the CTR to spread the love a little more. But it appears the CTR is still impressed by the SEC's non-conference performances, and will likely continue to rate the conference highly unless they show poorly in their bowl matchups.
- Florida State survived another scare this weekend to remain undefeated. As their reward, the Seminoles find themselves in the top spot of this week's rankings.
- The week's biggest jump goes to Arkansas, whose upset over LSU moved them a surprising 30 spots up the rankings. The Razorbacks are now 13th in the CTR, which is... dumb. In general, the high rankings of mid-pack SEC teams LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida this late in the season represents my biggest gripe with this ranking system.
- The biggest drop this week belongs to Duke, who fell 24 spots after an upset loss to Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils, now ranked 48 in the CTR, actually still control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal, and will play Florida State for the conference championship should they beat UNC and Wake Forest in their final two games. Unseating a shaky Seminole team in the ACC championship would help gain back much of the ground Duke lost this week.
The cluster is what we call the large mass of teams in the middle of the rankings with the same number of win and loss paths. This week, the cluster covers all teams ranked between 3 and 123. The defining characteristic of the cluster is that every cluster team has a win path to every other cluster team. The super-cluster is the group of teams with no losses to cluster teams, and the sub-cluster teams (ranked 124-128) have no wins over cluster teams.
For the second week in a row, we saw a large group of teams from the same conference drop from the super-cluster into the cluster. This week, it was the SEC. Going into the weekend, each of Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M needed to win in order to keep themselves (plus Alabama and Ole Miss) in the super-cluster. As it turns out, all three of them lost. Mississippi State would have been spared a fall to the cluster had they beaten Alabama, but their loss to the Tide dropped Bulldogs along side their conference mates. As a result of the SEC's tumble, the super-cluster now consists of only two teams: Undefeated Marshall and Florida State.
In contrast to last week, however, the SEC's drop into the cluster was much less impactful on their rankings. Texas A&M was the worst off, falling six spots, but this drop is nothing compared to the 15-plus spot demotions many Big 12 teams faced last week. The reason is likely because the CTR prefers the SEC's non-conference performance to the Big 12's. Indeed, the Big 12 lost two non-conference matchups with the SEC. Had those games gone differently, the CTR might look quite different.
In the sub-cluster, only one team had the opportunity to enter the cluster over the weekend. That team was SMU, who blew a 13 point fourth quarter lead in a loss to South Florida. As a result, the sub-cluster stayed at five teams: Troy, Idaho, SMU, New Mexico State, and Georgia State.
Looking forward to next week, the following five games have the potential to alter cluster membership:
- Florida State vs. Boston College
- Marshall at UAB
- SMU at Central Florida
- Georgia State at Clemson
- New Mexico State vs. UL Monroe
Jekyll and Hyde Award
For the team whose performances in the WTR and LTR are most divergent. This one's for the team which has experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. Or perhaps the highest lows and the lowest highs.
Maximum length shortest win path.
Georgia Southern is out after a two-week run, and in their place are the Ragin' Cajuns. UL Lafayette holds an unfortunate WTR of 100, but a respectable LTR of 21. That 79 spot spread is 13 spots wider than that of their closest competitor, Colorado (WTR 103, LTR 37, difference 66).
Are We There Yet Award
Not all shortest paths are created equal. Sometimes, teams have to work very hard to claim a win path, meandering tirelessly among the season's results before the path is earned. This one goes to a pair of teams for whom the shortest win path between them is longer than all other shortest paths.
Maximum length shortest win path.
South Alabama, Mississippi State
The number of the week is 14, which is the length of the shortest win path to Mississippi State from Georgia Southern, UL Monroe, South Alabama, and Texas State. The tiebreaker gives the nod to South Alabama, whose path to Mississippi State covers 9709 miles, or just over 250 miles longer than Georgia Southern's path to the Bulldogs. A representative path looks like this:
South Alabama > Appalachian State > Arkansas State > Utah State > Wyoming > Florida Atlantic > Western Kentucky > Bowling Green > Indiana > Missouri > Texas A&M > Auburn > Mississippi > Alabama > Mississippi State
Frequent Flyer Award
If you took all of one team's shortest win paths, and made them actual travel itineraries, for which team would you be making the most stops? To win this one, you need to have a lot of win paths, but you don't want them to be too short.
Largest sum of shortest win path lengths.
After a four week reign, Eastern Michigan has finally been unseated for this award. UL Monroe wins by virtue of their 125 win paths covering 908 total games. Coming in second place was UNLV, whose 125 win paths sum to 884 total games.
Conference Atlas & Coattail-Rider Awards
There are two awards here, one for the team which does the most to carry its conference's reputation on its shoulders (Atlas), and another for the conference black sheep who most disgraces his comrades (Coattail-Rider).
The team whose CTR is highest above/farthest below the average among teams in its conference.
Marshall (Atlas), Vanderbilt (Coattails)
New week, same story for the Atlas and Coattail-Rider Awards. Here's the conference-by-conference breakdown, in which we see the Big Ten gaining ground on the Big 12 in terms of lowest average rank.
|Conference||Avg Conference Rank||Atlas||Atlas Rank||Atlas Difference||Coattail Hanger||Coattail Rank||Difference|
|ACC||56.14||Florida State||1||55.14||Wake Forest||106||49.86|
|Big Ten||40.86||Michigan State||16||24.86||Purdue||81||40.14|
|MAC||97.69||Northern Illinois||60||37.69||Kent State||121||23.31|
|Sun Belt||102.82||UL Lafayette||61||41.82||Georgia State||128||25.18|
We Are Not Impressed Award
This award goes to the AP top 25 team whose reputation is most at odds with their transitive resume. Whatever human pollsters see in this team, the CTR is not buying the hype.
The AP top 25 team whose ranking drops the most when compared to CTR.
The AP brought the Trojans back into the rankings this week, allowing USC to win this award for the first time since week 8. Compared to their AP ranking of 24, Southern Cal's CTR rank of 54 represents a 30 spot difference. Their closest competition for the award was Duke, who is sitting at 25 in the AP but 48 in the CTR, a difference of 23.
Desserpmi Ton Era Ew Award
Like the We Are Not Impressed Award, but opposite. Indeed, the name of this award is "we are not impressed" backwards.
The highest CTR among teams receiving no votes in the AP poll.
The CTR's season-long love affair with the SEC West turned into a crush on the entire conference this week. CTR 19 South Carolina's two closest competitors are Tennessee (CTR 22) and Florida (CTR 24). I think it's safe to say the CTR got these ones wrong.
KANSAS STATE WIN PATHS
The Wildcats stood firm in the CTR this week, maintaining last week's ranking of 19. They come by this ranking via a strong LTR of 8, but a middling WTR of 39. Luckily, the Wildcats have a few opportunities to boost their WTR in the coming weeks, with games against West Virginia and Baylor.
You'll find K-State's shortest paths diagram below, along with the depth guide. Hopefully you know what to do with them by now. See you next week.
Click to embiggen. - jeffp171/Bring on the Cats