Welcom back to the Transitivity Rankings. As always, if you're unfamiliar with how these posts work, please see this introductory post for an explanation. For the rest of you, let's jump straight to the rankings.
|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|
|71||North Carolina State||-||72.0||81||63||119||5.33||122||4.93||4||5|
|86||Middle Tennessee State||1||85.5||87||84||119||5.47||122||4.20||4||4|
|92||San Diego State||5||90.0||101||79||119||6.18||122||4.28||4||4|
|95||San Jose State||8||92.5||93||92||119||5.61||122||4.07||2||6|
|127||New Mexico State||1||126.5||126||127||1||1.00||125||3.34||1||8|
Most of my analyses for this week fit better in the Cluster Watch section, but I do want to make one observation here: Ask anyone to name the biggest upset of the week, and they'd probably cite Texas A&M's win over Auburn. Yet, in the transitive world, this game had almost no effect on the teams involved. The Tigers aren't any worse off in the CTR for dropping that game, as they stayed tight at number 2. In fact, had you flipped the result of that game, both the Tigers and the Aggies would have wound up in the exact same spot.
As the season progresses, we continue to see more and more teams enter the cluster, our term for 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 9 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 (teams ranked 1-8) 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.
As you can see, there was a lot of movement among top 20 teams this week. The reason? Texas's upset victory over West Virginia. That's right, a game largely ignored on the national stage was the primary mover in this week's CTR. Before this game, West Virginia was in the super-cluster. The loss to the Longhorns moved them to the cluster, along with every super-cluster team the Mountaineers owned win paths over: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, and Louisiana Tech. When Kansas State lost to TCU later that night, the Wildcats were also thrown into the cluster. So a number of teams that were in the top 15 last week lost their transitive dominance over many teams, and as a result some saw their rankings plummet.
Once in the cluster, the only things separating you from the rest of the pack are your average win and loss path lengths. If you've had good wins and no bad losses, you will stay relatively clean, as was the case with Oklahoma and TCU. If you've lost too may games or don't have any impressive wins, the situation is less rosy. This accounts for most of the big drops of the week, as Kansas State, West Virginia, Louisiana Tech, and Oklahoma State fell 15, 19, 24, and 35 spots, respectively. (Notre Dame also fell from the super-cluster this week due to their loss to Arizona State, but despite this they didn't lose any ground in the rankings.)
On the flip side, any sub-cluster team which beats a cluster team is rewarded by moving up to the cluster. Two sub-cluster teams were able to do just that on Saturday, as North Texas rolled Florida Atlantic and Appalachian State squeaked by UL Monroe. The Mean Green and Mountaineers were rewarded with 12 and 14 spot improvements in the CTR, respectively. However, the biggest beneficiary of these developments was actually Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles had beaten both North Texas and Appalachian State earlier in the season. As a result, they were awarded their own one-way ticket out of the sub-cluster, to the tune of a 21 spot rise over last week. That's good for the biggest jump of any team this week, and can perhaps help soothe the pain from the 63-17 shellacking they took from Marshall on Saturday.
Next week brings a handful of opportunities for the cluster to absorb a few sub-cluster or super-cluster teams. On the sub-cluster side, only SMU has a chance for promotion, through their tilt with South Florida. From the super-cluster side, the following matchups could see the cluster grow:
- LSU at Arkansas
- Auburn at Georgia
- Florida State at Miami (Fl)
- Marshall vs. Rice
- Texas A&M vs. Missouri
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.
This is the second consecutive Jekyll and Hyde award for the Eagles, who sit at spots 118 and 41 in the WTR and LTR, respectively. This difference of 77 spots is just clear of South Alabama (WTR 115, LTR 42, difference of 71), who once again came up just short.
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.
Eastern Michigan, Notre Dame
For the second week in a row, Eastern Michigan is on the source end for this award. Four teams were in contention on the destination end, as the shortest path from the Eagles to each of Arkansas, Clemson, Colorado State, and Notre Dame is 14 games long. My questionably accurate tie breaking system says the path to Notre Dame covers 9312 miles, about 2500 miles longer than any of the others. For reference, here's what the path looks like:
Eastern Michigan > Buffalo > Miami (Oh) > Kent State > Army > Ball State > Akron > Pittsburgh > Boston College > USC > Arizona > Oregon > UCLA > Arizona State > Notre Dame
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.
This makes four straight weeks that the Eagles have won this award. Their 119 win paths sum to 1110 total games, which is leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else.
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)
The race for these awards continues to be uninteresting, as Marshall has held the Atlas award for five weeks now, and Vanderbilt is keeping their wire-to-wire Coattail Rider bid intact. What's more interesting is the conference-by-conference breakdown. The Pac-12 has surpassed the Big 12 to become the second best conference by lowest CTR average, another development that can be traced back to West Virginia's loss to Texas.
|Conference||Avg Conference Rank||Atlas||Atlas Rank||Atlas Difference||Coattail Hanger||Coattail Rank||Difference|
|ACC||50.36||Florida State||3||47.36||Wake Forest||103||52.64|
|Big 12||40.70||Oklahoma||13||27.70||Texas Tech||70||29.30|
|Sun Belt||100.64||Arkansas State||56||44.64||Georgia State||128||27.36|
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 Buckeyes have now won this award three weeks in a row. Last week, I offered that a victory over Michigan State would improve Ohio State's CTR enough that they'd no longer be in contention for this award. I was wrong. The Buckeyes have a strong WTR (13), but in the LTR they still can't shake that Virginia Tech loss (which has looked worse and worse as the season progresses). Their mid-pack LTR ranking of 55 drags their CTR down to 29, 21 spots worse than their latest AP rank. Their closest competition this week comes from Baylor, who are 6th in the AP but only 25 in the CTR, a 19 spot difference.
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 Wolf Pack currently occupy the 26 spot in the CTR with a record of 6-3 on the season. Those three losses have come to Arizona, Colorado State, and Boise State. Among those teams the first two are AP top 25 teams, while Boise State is receiving votes. Combine decent losses with a number of solid (if unspectacular) victories, and you have a recipe for an under appreciated team. Other contenders for this award were Tennessee (CTR 30) and Florida (32).
KANSAS STATE WIN PATHS
It wasn't a great weekend for Wildcat fans. Before Saturday's loss to TCU, the Cats owned win paths to every Big 12 team, while none of their conference-mates could say the same. The TCU loss changed that, while the Texas - West Virginia game gave every cluster team access to K-State as well. As a result, the Wildcats lost their transitive advantages over most teams. Where the CTR was higher on the Cats than other rankings early in the season, they are now barely in the top 20.
As is customary, I'll finish the post with a diagram illustrating all of Kansas State's shortest win paths. You can use the accompanying depth list to help find teams in the diagram.
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, Indiana, Kent State, 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, Fresno State, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, UL Monroe, Memphis, Miami (Oh), Missouri, Navy, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Penn State, South Alabama, South Florida, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Troy, Texas State, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Wyoming
- Level 5: Arkansas, Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Rutgers, San Diego State, San Jose State, USC, Virginia
- Level 6: Arizona, Colorado, Colorado State, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan State, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington State
- Level 7: California, Miami (Fl), Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington
- Level 8: Duke, UCLA
- Level 9: Arizona State
- Level 10: Notre Dame
- No Path: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi, Marshall, Mississippi State, Texas A&M