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College Football Transitivity Rankings and Awards - Week 12

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Some upsets opened up things at the very top, but overall the SEC holds strong in this week's Transitivity Rankings.

The Seminoles grabbed the top spot in this week's Transitivity Rankings
The Seminoles grabbed the top spot in this week's Transitivity Rankings
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to the Transitivity Rankings, where we use transitive arguments as a basis for ranking every FBS team. If this is your first time here, you'll want to check out this introductory post. Otherwise, let's dive into this week's results.
Combined Transitivity Rankings - Week 12
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
1 Florida State Arrow_up2 1.0 1 1 126 3.51 0 NaN 9 0
2 Marshall Arrow_up4 1.5 2 1 126 4.52 0 NaN 9 0
3 Alabama - 4.5 5 4 125 3.14 122 8.57 9 1
4 Mississippi Arrow_down1 5.0 5 5 125 3.14 122 7.59 7 2
5 LSU Arrow_up2 6.5 7 6 125 3.30 122 7.57 6 4
5 Mississippi State Arrow_down4 6.5 10 3 125 3.39 122 9.55 8 1
7 Auburn Arrow_down5 8.0 4 12 125 3.11 122 6.66 7 3
8 Georgia Arrow_up6 8.5 3 14 125 3.06 122 6.62 8 2
9 Oregon Arrow_up2 9.5 8 11 125 3.34 122 6.79 8 1
10 UCLA Arrow_up1 12.0 9 15 125 3.35 122 6.55 8 2
11 Oklahoma Arrow_up2 13.0 17 9 125 3.55 122 6.95 7 3
12 TCU Arrow_up4 15.5 24 7 125 3.70 122 7.47 8 1
13 Arkansas Arrow_up30 16.0 19 13 125 3.65 122 6.63 4 5
14 Texas A&M Arrow_down6 17.5 13 22 125 3.48 122 5.81 6 4
15 Arizona State Arrow_down5 19.5 19 20 125 3.65 122 6.03 7 2
16 Michigan State Arrow_up6 20.0 15 25 125 3.54 122 5.68 7 2
17 Nebraska Arrow_down2 21.5 13 30 125 3.48 122 5.61 7 2
18 Utah - 23.0 15 31 125 3.54 122 5.58 6 3
19 Kansas State - 23.5 39 8 125 3.95 122 7.00 6 2
19 South Carolina Arrow_up14 23.5 22 25 125 3.66 122 5.68 4 5
21 Arizona Arrow_down1 24.5 26 23 125 3.72 122 5.80 8 2
22 Tennessee Arrow_up8 25.5 33 18 125 3.82 122 6.24 4 5
23 Notre Dame Arrow_down14 26.0 12 40 125 3.45 122 5.12 7 3
24 Florida Arrow_up8 26.5 29 24 125 3.76 122 5.71 5 4
25 Baylor - 27.5 39 16 125 3.95 122 6.48 7 1
26 Colorado State Arrow_down9 28.0 39 17 125 3.95 122 6.43 8 1
27 Wisconsin Arrow_up10 29.0 19 39 125 3.65 122 5.13 7 2
28 Ohio State Arrow_up1 30.0 11 49 125 3.42 122 4.93 9 1
29 Missouri Arrow_up12 32.5 18 47 125 3.62 122 4.98 7 2
30 Boise State Arrow_down9 34.5 36 33 125 3.86 122 5.46 8 2
31 Iowa Arrow_up14 35.0 22 48 125 3.66 122 4.94 6 3
32 Michigan Arrow_up14 35.5 29 42 125 3.76 122 5.07 5 5
33 Miami (Fl) Arrow_down7 36.5 38 35 125 3.94 122 5.19 5 4
34 Rutgers Arrow_up14 37.0 28 46 125 3.75 122 4.98 5 4
34 West Virginia Arrow_down3 37.0 42 32 125 3.96 122 5.50 5 4
36 California Arrow_down2 38.0 47 29 125 4.15 122 5.66 4 5
37 Georgia Tech Arrow_down9 38.5 35 42 125 3.83 122 5.07 8 2
38 Clemson Arrow_down16 39.0 51 27 125 4.22 122 5.67 6 3
39 Washington Arrow_down4 39.5 60 19 125 4.38 122 6.04 5 5
40 Louisiana Tech Arrow_down1 40.0 70 10 125 4.66 122 6.94 7 2
41 Minnesota Arrow_down1 41.5 31 52 125 3.77 122 4.85 6 3
42 Kentucky Arrow_up4 42.0 57 27 125 4.32 122 5.67 4 6
43 Penn State - 42.5 24 61 125 3.70 122 4.56 6 4
44 Nevada Arrow_down18 43.5 46 41 125 4.12 122 5.11 5 4
45 Louisville Arrow_down9 44.5 44 45 125 4.06 122 5.06 6 3
45 Maryland Arrow_up3 44.5 34 55 125 3.82 122 4.75 5 4
47 Northwestern Arrow_up11 46.5 27 66 125 3.74 122 4.31 3 6
48 Duke Arrow_down24 49.5 45 54 125 4.06 122 4.84 7 2
48 Utah State Arrow_down11 49.5 49 50 125 4.18 122 4.91 7 3
50 Stanford Arrow_down9 50.5 63 38 125 4.42 122 5.14 4 5
51 Oregon State Arrow_up24 51.5 61 42 125 4.39 122 5.07 4 5
52 Oklahoma State Arrow_down2 52.0 70 34 125 4.66 122 5.38 4 5
53 Air Force Arrow_down1 52.5 48 57 125 4.17 122 4.68 7 2
54 USC Arrow_down1 53.0 54 52 125 4.30 122 4.85 7 3
55 Boston College Arrow_down5 54.5 37 72 125 3.86 122 4.23 5 4
56 Texas Arrow_up1 56.5 54 59 125 4.30 122 4.61 6 5
57 Washington State Arrow_down3 57.5 57 58 125 4.32 122 4.65 2 7
58 Iowa State - 58.0 65 51 125 4.46 122 4.89 2 6
59 Virginia Tech Arrow_down1 58.5 32 85 125 3.78 122 3.96 4 5
60 Northern Illinois Arrow_up5 59.0 53 65 125 4.27 122 4.33 7 2
61 UL Lafayette - 60.5 100 21 125 5.68 122 6.00 6 3
62 BYU Arrow_down7 61.0 43 79 125 3.97 122 4.04 6 4
63 Illinois Arrow_up1 61.5 54 69 125 4.30 122 4.25 3 6
64 Texas Tech Arrow_up6 62.5 89 36 125 5.25 122 5.16 2 7
65 East Carolina Arrow_down3 65.5 52 79 125 4.22 122 4.04 5 3
66 Cincinnati Arrow_up11 66.0 68 64 125 4.64 122 4.45 6 3
67 Indiana Arrow_up1 67.0 66 68 125 4.46 122 4.27 2 7
68 North Carolina Arrow_down5 68.5 61 76 125 4.39 122 4.11 4 5
69 Colorado Arrow_up9 70.0 103 37 125 5.81 122 5.16 2 8
70 North Carolina State Arrow_up1 71.5 87 56 125 5.18 122 4.71 5 5
71 Arkansas State Arrow_down15 72.5 76 69 125 4.93 122 4.25 5 4
71 Virginia Arrow_down5 72.5 72 73 125 4.68 122 4.20 3 6
73 Memphis Arrow_up3 73.5 73 74 125 4.72 122 4.13 6 3
74 Kansas Arrow_down6 74.0 88 60 125 5.23 122 4.58 2 7
75 Pittsburgh Arrow_down2 74.5 50 99 125 4.19 122 3.58 3 6
76 Bowling Green Arrow_up3 75.0 64 86 125 4.45 122 3.95 6 3
77 Wyoming Arrow_down10 75.5 67 84 125 4.60 122 3.99 3 6
78 Rice Arrow_down6 78.0 77 79 125 4.94 122 4.04 6 4
79 Toledo Arrow_down5 79.5 85 74 125 5.11 122 4.13 5 4
80 Syracuse Arrow_up2 80.0 97 63 125 5.63 122 4.50 2 7
81 Purdue Arrow_up1 80.5 78 83 125 4.96 122 4.00 2 7
82 UTEP Arrow_up7 81.0 93 69 125 5.52 122 4.25 6 4
82 Western Kentucky Arrow_up4 81.0 57 105 125 4.32 122 3.54 5 5
82 Western Michigan - 81.0 85 77 125 5.11 122 4.09 6 3
85 Central Florida - 81.5 69 94 125 4.66 122 3.73 5 3
86 Navy Arrow_up2 85.0 79 91 125 5.02 122 3.76 4 5
87 South Alabama Arrow_down7 86.5 112 61 125 6.10 122 4.56 6 4
88 UAB Arrow_up8 88.0 84 92 125 5.10 122 3.75 4 5
89 Central Michigan Arrow_up1 88.5 75 102 125 4.84 122 3.56 6 4
89 Temple Arrow_up2 88.5 74 103 125 4.82 122 3.55 4 5
91 Akron Arrow_up1 90.0 80 100 125 5.02 122 3.57 3 6
92 Georgia Southern Arrow_down11 90.5 114 67 125 6.33 122 4.30 7 3
93 Hawaii Arrow_down1 91.5 95 88 125 5.55 122 3.84 2 8
94 Vanderbilt Arrow_up8 92.0 106 78 125 5.92 122 4.06 2 7
95 Middle Tennessee State Arrow_down9 94.0 82 106 125 5.07 122 3.53 4 5
96 Ohio Arrow_up2 94.5 97 92 125 5.63 122 3.75 4 5
97 Appalachian State Arrow_up11 95.0 101 89 125 5.78 122 3.82 4 4
98 Houston Arrow_down1 96.0 81 111 125 5.06 122 3.43 4 4
98 San Diego State Arrow_down6 96.0 110 82 125 6.08 122 4.01 4 5
100 Florida Atlantic Arrow_down1 97.0 82 112 125 5.07 122 3.37 3 7
101 Old Dominion Arrow_up6 97.5 92 103 125 5.47 122 3.55 3 6
102 San Jose State Arrow_down7 98.0 96 100 125 5.57 122 3.57 2 7
103 UTSA - 100.0 91 109 125 5.43 122 3.49 3 7
104 Southern Miss Arrow_down4 102.0 107 97 125 6.00 122 3.66 2 8
105 Ball State Arrow_down4 104.0 90 118 125 5.34 122 3.13 2 6
106 Fresno State Arrow_down1 104.5 111 98 125 6.09 122 3.66 3 6
106 New Mexico Arrow_up2 104.5 113 96 125 6.16 122 3.67 3 7
106 Wake Forest Arrow_down3 104.5 115 94 125 6.50 122 3.73 1 8
109 UL Monroe Arrow_up2 105.0 123 87 125 7.26 122 3.87 3 7
110 Texas State Arrow_down4 105.5 121 90 125 7.06 122 3.81 4 5
111 Tulane Arrow_down3 106.0 102 110 125 5.79 122 3.46 2 7
112 North Texas - 107.5 109 106 125 6.03 122 3.53 2 7
113 Florida International Arrow_up2 108.0 104 112 125 5.85 122 3.37 3 6
114 Army Arrow_down2 108.5 94 123 125 5.54 122 2.98 3 6
115 Buffalo Arrow_up6 109.5 105 114 125 5.86 122 3.31 2 6
115 Connecticut Arrow_down1 109.5 99 120 125 5.64 122 3.12 1 7
117 Massachusetts Arrow_up6 112.5 107 118 125 6.00 122 3.13 3 7
117 South Florida Arrow_down1 112.5 117 108 125 6.57 122 3.50 3 6
119 Miami (Oh) - 116.5 119 114 125 6.77 122 3.31 2 8
120 Eastern Michigan Arrow_up2 118.0 120 116 125 6.85 122 3.20 1 8
121 Kent State Arrow_down3 119.0 116 122 125 6.52 122 3.03 1 9
121 Tulsa Arrow_down4 119.0 118 120 125 6.74 122 3.12 2 8
123 UNLV Arrow_down4 119.5 122 117 125 7.07 122 3.17 1 9
124 Troy - 124.0 124 124 3 1.00 123 3.67 3 7
125 Idaho - 125.5 125 126 2 1.50 124 3.15 1 9
126 SMU - 126.0 127 125 0 NaN 123 3.28 0 9
127 New Mexico State - 126.5 126 127 1 1.00 125 3.24 1 8
128 Georgia State - 127.5 127 128 0 NaN 126 3.38 0 9

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.

Other thoughts:

  • 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.

CLUSTER WATCH

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

AWARDS

Jekyll and Hyde Award

Description:
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.

Measure:
Maximum length shortest win path.

Winner:
Louisiana-Lafayette

Notes:
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

Description:
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.

Measure:
Maximum length shortest win path.

Winners:
South Alabama, Mississippi State

Notes:
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

Description:
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.

Measure:
Largest sum of shortest win path lengths.

Winner:
Louisiana-Monroe

Notes:
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

Description:
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).

Measure:
The team whose CTR is highest above/farthest below the average among teams in its conference.

Winner:
Marshall (Atlas), Vanderbilt (Coattails)

Notes:
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
AAC 96.91 East Carolina 65 31.91 SMU 126 29.09
ACC 56.14 Florida State 1 55.14 Wake Forest 106 49.86
Big 12 40.50 Oklahoma 11 29.50 Kansas 74 33.50
Big Ten 40.86 Michigan State 16 24.86 Purdue 81 40.14
CUSA 84.62 Marshall 2 82.62 Florida International 113 28.38
MAC 97.69 Northern Illinois 60 37.69 Kent State 121 23.31
MWC 75.50 Colorado State 26 49.50 UNLV 123 47.50
Pac-12 35.75 Oregon 9 26.75 Colorado 69 33.25
SEC 20.64 Alabama 3 17.64 Vanderbilt 94 73.36
Sun Belt 102.82 UL Lafayette 61 41.82 Georgia State 128 25.18
We Are Not Impressed Award

Description:
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.

Measure:
The AP top 25 team whose ranking drops the most when compared to CTR.

Winner:
USC

Notes:
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

Description:
Like the We Are Not Impressed Award, but opposite. Indeed, the name of this award is "we are not impressed" backwards.

Measure:
The highest CTR among teams receiving no votes in the AP poll.

Winner:
South Carolina

Notes:
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

  • Level 1: Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, UTEP
  • Level 2: Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, New Mexico, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Tulsa, Toledo, UTSA, West Virginia
  • Level 3: Arkansas State, Appalachian State, Ball State, Baylor, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia State, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Kent State, Kentucky, UL Lafayette, Maryland, Massachusetts, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rice, South Carolina, SMU, Tulane, UAB, UNLV, Utah State, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan
  • Level 4: Air Force, Akron, Army, Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, BYU, Connecticut, East Carolina, Florida, Fresno State, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, UL Monroe, Memphis, Miami (Oh), Minnesota, Missouri, Middle Tennessee State, Navy, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio, Penn State, South Alabama, South Florida, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Troy, Texas State, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • Level 5: Arkansas, Auburn, Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Southern, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio State, Rutgers, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, Texas A&M, USC, Virginia
  • Level 6: Arizona, California, Colorado, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, Miami (Fl), Mississippi, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State
  • Level 7: Alabama, Arizona State, Oregon, Utah
  • Level 8: Mississippi State, UCLA
  • No Path: Florida State, Marshall