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College Football Transitivity Rankings and Awards - 2014 Season Wrap

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Ranking FBS teams with the transitive property, one last time.

Don't worry, Jameis. We've got a soft landing spot for you here.
Don't worry, Jameis. We've got a soft landing spot for you here.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With the college football season now over, its time to take a look at the final set of Transitivity Rankings for 2014. In this space, we use only win/loss results and the transitive property to rank all teams in FBS (to mixed results, as you'll see). If you haven't read one of these posts before, or your memory has gotten fuzzy since last time, everything you need to know about the method can be found here. We lasted checked in at the end of the regular season, so changes referenced in the table are relative to each team's pre-bowl ranking.

2014 Final Combined Transitivity 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
1 Florida State - 2.5 3 2 127 2.71 123 5.72 12 1
2 Mississippi Arrow_up1 7.0 11 3 127 2.83 123 5.02 8 4
2 UCLA Arrow_up5 7.0 5 9 127 2.80 123 4.88 10 3
4 Michigan State Arrow_up6 7.5 8 7 127 2.81 123 4.95 10 2
4 Oregon - 7.5 2 13 127 2.65 123 4.75 12 2
6 Clemson Arrow_up6 8.5 11 6 127 2.83 123 4.97 9 3
7 TCU Arrow_up9 9.0 17 1 127 2.92 123 6.00 11 1
8 Alabama Arrow_down6 11.5 11 12 127 2.83 123 4.80 11 2
9 Arizona State Arrow_up10 13.5 16 11 127 2.91 123 4.83 9 3
10 Georgia Arrow_down1 14.0 14 14 127 2.84 123 4.72 9 3
11 Auburn Arrow_down5 15.0 15 15 127 2.87 123 4.59 7 5
12 Georgia Tech - 17.0 7 27 127 2.80 123 4.40 10 3
13 Ohio State Arrow_up9 17.5 1 34 127 2.36 123 4.24 14 1
14 Arkansas Arrow_up1 19.0 21 17 127 2.98 123 4.52 6 6
14 Mississippi State Arrow_down6 19.0 33 5 127 3.17 123 4.98 9 3
14 Texas A&M Arrow_up2 19.0 20 18 127 2.98 123 4.50 7 5
17 Utah Arrow_down1 20.5 23 18 127 3.02 123 4.50 8 4
18 LSU Arrow_down13 21.0 18 24 127 2.93 123 4.41 7 5
19 Oklahoma Arrow_down9 22.0 36 8 127 3.21 123 4.93 8 5
20 Baylor Arrow_up4 22.5 42 3 127 3.28 123 5.02 10 2
21 Arizona - 24.0 23 25 127 3.02 123 4.41 10 4
21 Boise State Arrow_up9 24.0 25 23 127 3.06 123 4.44 11 2
21 Missouri Arrow_up7 24.0 8 40 127 2.81 123 4.09 10 3
24 Wisconsin Arrow_up9 26.5 5 48 127 2.80 123 3.94 10 3
25 Louisville Arrow_down6 27.0 22 32 127 3.01 123 4.28 8 4
25 Notre Dame Arrow_down2 27.0 4 50 127 2.72 123 3.89 8 5
27 USC Arrow_down2 29.0 19 39 127 2.96 123 4.11 9 4
28 Tennessee Arrow_up10 29.5 30 29 127 3.14 123 4.34 6 6
29 South Carolina - 30.0 40 20 127 3.24 123 4.46 6 6
29 Stanford Arrow_up6 30.0 31 29 127 3.15 123 4.34 7 5
31 Florida Arrow_up2 31.0 37 25 127 3.22 123 4.41 6 5
31 Nebraska Arrow_down17 31.0 26 36 127 3.06 123 4.20 8 4
33 Kansas State Arrow_down6 32.5 55 10 127 3.47 123 4.85 8 4
34 Oklahoma State Arrow_up5 33.0 50 16 127 3.39 123 4.56 6 6
34 Rutgers Arrow_down3 33.0 28 38 127 3.10 123 4.14 7 5
36 Colorado State Arrow_down1 36.0 51 21 127 3.40 123 4.46 9 3
37 North Carolina State Arrow_up6 38.0 35 41 127 3.20 123 4.07 7 5
38 Washington Arrow_down7 42.0 62 22 127 3.60 123 4.45 7 6
39 Marshall Arrow_up19 42.5 57 28 127 3.53 123 4.35 12 1
40 Penn State Arrow_up1 43.5 29 58 127 3.13 123 3.77 7 6
41 Iowa Arrow_down16 44.0 45 43 127 3.31 123 4.02 6 6
42 West Virginia Arrow_down5 44.5 56 33 127 3.48 123 4.28 6 6
43 Minnesota Arrow_down3 49.5 48 51 127 3.35 123 3.86 7 5
44 Louisiana Tech Arrow_up21 50.0 54 46 127 3.46 123 4.00 9 4
44 Maryland - 50.0 53 47 127 3.45 123 3.99 6 6
46 Utah State Arrow_up3 51.0 41 61 127 3.26 123 3.76 9 4
47 Air Force Arrow_up14 51.5 47 56 127 3.32 123 3.80 9 3
47 Michigan - 51.5 49 54 127 3.39 123 3.84 5 7
49 Duke Arrow_down8 52.0 45 59 127 3.31 123 3.76 8 4
50 Virginia Tech Arrow_up11 52.5 8 97 127 2.81 123 3.26 6 6
51 Northwestern - 53.0 32 74 127 3.16 123 3.50 4 7
52 Boston College Arrow_down7 53.5 27 80 127 3.08 123 3.39 6 6
53 BYU Arrow_down7 54.0 34 74 127 3.19 123 3.50 7 5
54 Iowa State - 55.0 75 35 127 3.96 123 4.22 2 9
54 Oregon State Arrow_down3 55.0 67 43 127 3.68 123 4.02 4 7
56 Kentucky Arrow_down1 55.5 74 37 127 3.91 123 4.18 4 7
57 Illinois Arrow_down9 57.5 39 76 127 3.24 123 3.46 5 7
58 Memphis Arrow_up11 58.0 60 56 127 3.57 123 3.80 9 3
58 North Carolina Arrow_down8 58.0 44 72 127 3.29 123 3.54 5 7
60 Northern Illinois Arrow_up1 59.0 59 59 127 3.56 123 3.76 10 3
61 East Carolina Arrow_up3 59.5 52 67 127 3.44 123 3.62 7 5
62 Miami (Fl) Arrow_down7 60.0 37 83 127 3.22 123 3.37 5 7
63 California Arrow_down4 60.5 70 51 127 3.71 123 3.86 4 7
64 Texas Arrow_down7 61.0 67 55 127 3.68 123 3.82 6 7
64 Texas Tech Arrow_down5 61.0 91 31 127 4.29 123 4.33 3 8
66 Nevada Arrow_down13 62.5 63 62 127 3.64 123 3.75 6 6
67 Cincinnati Arrow_down1 63.0 63 63 127 3.64 123 3.74 9 4
68 Virginia Arrow_down1 64.0 58 70 127 3.54 123 3.58 4 7
69 UL Lafayette Arrow_up3 65.5 78 53 127 4.00 123 3.85 8 4
70 Washington State Arrow_down3 69.5 73 66 127 3.89 123 3.69 2 9
71 Indiana - 71.0 61 81 127 3.59 123 3.38 3 8
71 Toledo Arrow_up2 71.0 77 65 127 3.99 123 3.70 8 4
73 Rice Arrow_up5 72.0 81 63 127 4.05 123 3.74 8 5
74 Wyoming Arrow_up3 74.5 81 68 127 4.05 123 3.60 3 8
75 Georgia Southern Arrow_up10 75.0 105 45 127 4.71 123 4.01 8 3
76 Western Kentucky Arrow_up5 76.0 66 86 127 3.65 123 3.37 8 5
77 Navy Arrow_up11 76.5 76 77 127 3.97 123 3.43 7 5
78 Kansas Arrow_down3 77.0 106 48 127 4.76 123 3.94 2 9
79 Central Florida Arrow_down6 78.0 63 93 127 3.64 123 3.30 8 4
80 Pittsburgh Arrow_down10 79.0 42 116 127 3.28 123 2.98 5 7
80 UTEP Arrow_up3 79.0 87 71 127 4.24 123 3.55 7 6
80 Wake Forest Arrow_up1 79.0 70 88 127 3.71 123 3.34 2 9
83 Colorado Arrow_down8 80.5 119 42 127 5.28 123 4.04 2 10
84 UAB Arrow_up7 84.5 96 73 127 4.39 123 3.53 5 6
85 Old Dominion Arrow_up19 86.0 86 86 127 4.21 123 3.37 5 6
86 Houston Arrow_up16 87.0 67 107 127 3.68 123 3.15 7 5
86 Purdue Arrow_down6 87.0 83 91 127 4.07 123 3.32 2 9
88 Bowling Green Arrow_down2 87.5 72 103 127 3.84 123 3.24 7 6
89 Arkansas State Arrow_down5 88.5 78 99 127 4.00 123 3.25 6 6
89 Temple Arrow_down1 88.5 80 97 127 4.03 123 3.26 5 6
89 Vanderbilt Arrow_up10 88.5 109 68 127 4.90 123 3.60 2 9
92 UL Monroe Arrow_up4 89.0 100 78 127 4.57 123 3.41 4 8
92 Texas State Arrow_up1 89.0 99 79 127 4.50 123 3.40 6 5
94 San Diego State Arrow_down15 89.5 85 94 127 4.13 123 3.29 6 6
95 Akron Arrow_up3 90.0 84 96 127 4.12 123 3.27 4 7
96 New Mexico Arrow_up7 91.0 101 81 127 4.60 123 3.38 4 8
97 Appalachian State Arrow_down4 92.5 97 88 127 4.47 123 3.34 6 4
97 Fresno State Arrow_down10 92.5 90 95 127 4.28 123 3.28 5 7
97 Syracuse Arrow_down6 92.5 95 90 127 4.35 123 3.33 2 9
100 UTSA Arrow_up9 95.0 91 99 127 4.29 123 3.25 4 8
101 Ohio Arrow_down1 96.5 110 83 127 4.92 123 3.37 5 6
102 Middle Tennessee State Arrow_down1 97.5 93 102 127 4.32 123 3.24 5 6
102 Southern Miss Arrow_up2 97.5 112 83 127 4.97 123 3.37 2 9
104 Central Michigan Arrow_down9 100.0 88 112 127 4.27 123 3.03 6 6
105 Western Michigan Arrow_down17 102.0 97 107 127 4.47 123 3.15 7 5
106 Ball State - 102.5 89 116 127 4.28 123 2.98 4 6
106 Hawaii Arrow_up1 102.5 114 91 127 5.00 123 3.32 3 9
108 Florida Atlantic - 103.0 93 113 127 4.32 123 3.02 3 9
109 South Alabama Arrow_down12 103.5 108 99 127 4.89 123 3.25 6 7
110 Tulane Arrow_up5 105.0 103 107 127 4.63 123 3.15 2 9
111 Buffalo Arrow_up1 108.0 111 105 127 4.94 123 3.20 3 6
112 San Jose State Arrow_down1 110.0 116 104 127 5.02 123 3.23 2 9
113 North Texas Arrow_up2 111.5 113 110 127 4.99 123 3.11 3 8
114 Army Arrow_down2 112.0 104 120 127 4.69 123 2.87 3 7
114 Connecticut Arrow_down4 112.0 102 122 127 4.62 123 2.84 1 10
116 Florida International Arrow_up2 113.0 115 111 127 5.01 123 3.04 3 7
117 Kent State Arrow_down3 113.5 107 120 127 4.80 123 2.87 2 9
117 South Florida - 113.5 121 106 127 5.57 123 3.19 3 8
119 UNLV - 116.5 118 115 127 5.27 123 2.99 1 11
120 Miami (Oh) Arrow_down1 117.0 120 114 127 5.54 123 3.00 2 9
121 Massachusetts - 120.5 117 124 127 5.13 123 2.82 3 9
121 SMU - 120.5 123 118 127 5.61 123 2.92 1 11
123 Eastern Michigan - 121.5 124 119 127 5.93 123 2.89 1 10
124 Tulsa - 122.5 122 123 127 5.60 123 2.83 2 10
125 Troy - 125.0 125 125 3 1.00 124 3.25 3 8
126 Idaho - 126.0 126 126 2 1.50 125 2.99 1 10
127 New Mexico State - 127.0 127 127 1 1.00 126 3.04 1 10
128 Georgia State - 128.0 128 128 0 NaN 127 2.97 0 11

Yes, you read that correctly. Your 2014 CTR National Champions are the Florida State Seminoles, Rose Bowl blowout notwithstanding. And the real national champions? Well, though Ohio State holds the best win rating in the nation, the ever-unforgiving CTR is still caught up on that Virginia Tech loss. Consequently, the Buckeyes hold a loss ranking of 34, accounting for the low combined rank of 13.

In other developments, the CTR's SEC West uber-crush has been toned down a bit, though the entire division is still in the top 20, and Ole Miss actually moved up a spot to number 2 despite getting crushed in the Peach Bowl. Arizona State got a big boost after beating Duke in the Sun Bowl, jumping 10 spots. Nebraska's Holiday Bowl loss to USC was strangely impactful, spelling a 17 spot drop in the CTR.

In a certain sense, the CTR did well on a macro level. Every top 25 team is at least receiving votes in the AP poll, so you could say that the CTR is able to identify the top group of teams in the nation. Specific slotting, though? Sometimes it's not so good (Ohio State, UCLA, Clemson, most of the SEC West).

AWARDS

We're giving out a few more awards this week. No more categories have been added, rather in each category we'll hand out a "Season Achievement" award. This award goes to the team in each category with the most weekly awards over the course of the season.

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:
Largest difference between WTR and LTR.

Winner:
Virginia Tech

Season Achievement:
Colorado, San Jose State (3 wins)

Notes:
I've been waiting for the Hokies to take this one for some time now. See that line in the description, where it says the winner "has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows?" Well, Virginia Tech checked both boxes, beating the eventual National Champions in September while also losing to an awful Wake Forest team in the ugliest game of the season. In between was a bunch of "meh", but those to results were enough to earn the Hokies a WTR of 8 and an LTR of 97, an 89 spot difference.

Colorado and San Jose State share the season achievement awards, each having earned weekly honors on three occasions. San Jose State was the early season enigma, winning three of the first four Jekyll and Hyde awards, while Colorado's three titles came in the last three weeks of the regular season.

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:
Colorado, TCU

Season Achievement:
Eastern Michigan (4 wins as the origin), TCU (3 wins as the terminus)

Notes:
Colorado, Florida International, and Vanderbilt were all in contention for the final Are We There Yet award, each owning 9-game shortest win paths to TCU. To settle this dispute, I turn to my questionably accurate tiebreaker system, which tries to determine the real-life distance one would travel on each path. Colorado's path, covering nearly 4500 miles, edged out FIU's 4300 mile path to take the award. The argument for the Buffaloes over the Horned Frogs looks like this:

Colorado > Massachusetts > Ball State > Akron > Pittsburgh > Virginia Tech > Ohio State > Michigan State > Baylor > TCU

This was TCU's third week on the destination end of the Are We There Yet award, letting them edge out UTEP and Mississippi State for Season Achievement recognition. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan was the only team to appear on the source side more than once this year, easily earning themselves a Season Achievement honor.

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:
Eastern Michigan

Season Achievement:
Eastern Michigan (6 wins)

Notes:
Eastern Michigan took this awards five weeks out of six in midseason, and are back on top after a two week hiatus. Their 127 shortest win paths sum to a total of 753 games, putting them comfortably above second place SMU (712 games total). This also gives the Eagles six total Frequent Flyer victories on the year, easily the most of any team, earning them yet another Season Achievement award.

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.

Winners:
Boise State (Atlas), Vanderbilt (Coattails)

Season Achievement:
Marshall (7 Atlas wins), Vanderbilt (12 Coattail wins)

Notes:
Boise State, the lone Group of Five representative in the New Year's Six bowls, takes their second consecutive Atlas award. Those two awards put them in a tie for second place (with Northern Illinois) in the Season Achievement category, where they were blown away by Marshall. The Thundering Herd managed seven straight Atlas titles after beginning the season with an 11-0 record, easily outpacing their C-USA brethren in the CTR over that run.

But even Marshall's seven straight trophies pales in comparison to the achievements (?) of Vanderbilt, who won the Coattail-Rider award every single week I gave one out. And it usually wasn't close. As it stands now, the Commodores sit at number 89 in the CTR, about 64 spots worse than the average SEC squad. Their closest competition is Colorado, who is only 48 spots worse than the Pac-12 average. Vandy dominated the Coattail stats like that all year, and fully deserve their Season Achievement award.

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:
Memphis

Season Achievement:
Baylor, Ohio State (3 wins)

Notes:
After a wild Miami Beach Bowl victory and a 10-3 season, Memphis holds the final spot in the AP's top 25 poll. The CTR, however, sees the Tigers as decidedly mediocre, slotting them at number 58. That's a big difference, 33 spots to be exact, perhaps the biggest differential we've seen this season.

But don't get too down, Tiger fans. Considering the history of the We Are Not Impressed award, I wouldn't get too worked up over this development. You see, the Season Achievement award in this category is split between Baylor and Ohio State, which makes for pretty good company. Both teams won this award on three separate occasions. In Baylor's case, the CTR never liked their non-conference wins very much. The issue with Ohio State comes down the that loss to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (It sounds worse when I use their full name, right? Are they even Division I?) which I feel like I've had to bring up in this space nearly every week since it happened.

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:
Tennessee

Season Achievement:
Louisiana Tech (3 wins)

Notes:
Of all the teams overlooked by AP voters, the CTR likes Tennessee best. The Volunteers finished the season 7-6, but all but one of those losses cames to ranked teams. None of their wins were particularly noteworthy, but accounting for the CTR's love of all things SEC, you can see how they might end up with this award.

The Season Achievement award goes to Louisiana Tech, who took the weekly award three times mid-season. That they're here is a bit of a fluke, though. See, the way the CTR works, it completely ignores all results against FCS teams. This was great for Louisiana Tech, who lost an early-season game against FCS Northwestern State in September. They lost other non-conference games as well, but they were against highly-ranked (at the time) Oklahoma and Auburn. Thus, until a late November loss to Old Dominion, the CTR couldn't really penalize the Bulldogs for anything. AP voters, meanwhile, were paying attention to the Northwestern State loss and wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole. Thus Tech stayed in contention for this award most of the season.

KANSAS STATE WIN PATHS

When I first started posting these, the CTR was rating Kansas State consistently higher than almost any other outlet. I didn't create this system with that goal in mind, but it was a nice side benefit, and it made me happy. Now that aspect is gone completely, as the CTR hasn't seen the Cats as even a top 25 team since November. The Alamo Bowl loss to CTR number 2 UCLA didn't hurt much, but it still sent K-State down slightly to number 33, their worst ranking of the season.

As my parting gift, I leave you with the final K-State win path diagram and depth list. With Florida State's Rose Bowl loss, the Cats finish the season claiming a win path to every FBS team, with no path using more than seven games.

Click to embiggen. - jeffp171/Bring on the Cats

  • Level 1: Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, UTEP, West Virginia
  • Level 2: Baylor, Central Michigan, Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, New Mexico, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Tulsa, Toledo, UTSA, Washington
  • Level 3: Arkansas State, Appalachian State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, California, Colorado, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia State, Hawaii, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Kent State, Kentucky, UL Lafayette, Massachusetts, Miami (Oh), Michigan, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Purdue, Rice, South Carolina, South Florida, SMU, Syracuse, TCU, Tulane, UAB, UNLV, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan, Wyoming
  • Level 4: Air Force, Akron, Army, Arizona State, Boston College, BYU, Central Florida, Connecticut, East Carolina, Florida, Fresno State, Georgia, Idaho, UL Monroe, Memphis, Miami (Fl), Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Marshall, Navy, Nevada, Notre Dame, Rutgers, South Alabama, San Diego State, San Jose State, Temple, Troy, Texas State, Utah, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wisconsin
  • Level 5: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Boise State, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado State, Duke, Georgia Southern, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Virginia
  • Level 6: Arizona, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Oregon
  • Level 7: Florida State