After 3 ranked-vs-ranked games last weekend, there were going to be losses among the ranked Pac-12 teams. Fortunately for Oregon State, they stayed in the top-25 despite their loss; Colorado and UCLA were not so lucky. Still, the Pac-12 has 6 teams ranked again. Here are the ranked teams with the AP and Coaches poll rankings:
- Washington (7, 8)
- USC (8, 6)
- Oregon (9, 9)
- Utah (10, 10)
- WSU (16, 17)
- Oregon State (19, 21)
Both Colorado and UCLA are getting votes in both polls.
In the Massey Composite Ranking, Oregon State and UCLA dropped and WSU rose, as would be expected. Here is the “New Cool Chart” showing the rankings.
Some people might have expected Colorado to drop (possibly a lot) after their blowout by Oregon. Instead, they went up. But they weren’t in the top 25 before their blowout loss to Oregon, so they didn’t need to fall-although a rise seems strange. Arizona State and Stanford continue to race to the bottom.
And here is a picture just the Pac-12 teams in the top 25.
In this picture it is a little more clear that USC dropped in the rankings after their closer-than-expected win over Arizona State. UW holds steady at #4 while Oregon and Utah received slight bumps up.
The Massey Composite Ranking does include some of the advanced stats rankings. But the table below compares the Composite Rank with some of the the more widely viewed advanced stats rankings.
Ranking Comparison After Week 4
You could argue that ESPN’s FPI doesn’t like UW, Utah, WSU, or Colorado. And you can argue that the Beta Rank really doesn’t like Colorado. And Beta Rank surprisingly has Oregon State well ahead of WSU-it’s almost as if they didn’t watch that game.
Again I’ll point out that many of these rankings are still using data from last season. But, as they include games from this season, you can see how that is impacting the rankings. Here is an example of some teams that have risen because of their play so far this season.
Most positive change in overall F+ Rating from preseason projection to Week 4:— Brian Fremeau (@bcfremeau) September 27, 2023
Miami (#56 to #19)
Washington (#17 to #4)
Duke (#54 to #21)
Texas State (#122 to #93)
Rutgers (#96 to #65)
Weekly ratings progression (FEI and F+) for every team: https://t.co/dkc7lJOvRW pic.twitter.com/BwVMbfo7PH
The key thing to note on this for Husky fans is that UW has improved on both offense and also on defense-as you can see since UW has moved both to the right (offensive improvement) and up (defensive improvement). According to FEI (one of the components of F+) went from the 10th best offense to the 1st, and from the 53rd best defense to the 25th.
Husky fans have seen that UW’s offense has been outstanding so far this season. Many college football analysts are noticing as well. And the advanced stats are showing it, too. Here are some examples of where UW’s offense ranks nationally:
- Offensive FEI: #1
- Offensive F+: #1
- Points per drive: #2 (USC is #1)
- Available yards: #1
- Yards per play: #1
- Offensive Beta_Rank: #1
- Drive efficiency (Beta_Rank): #2 (#1 is Air Force)
- Explosive drives (Beta_Rank): 2 (#1 is USC)
- Play efficiency (Beta_Rank): #3 (#1 is USC, #2 is Georgia)
- Negative drives rank (Beta_Rank): #3 (#1 is USC, #2 is Georgia)
- Rush effectiveness (Beta_Rank): 122
- Pass effectiveness (Beta_Rank): #1
You can find the Beta_Rank rankings here: https://www.sharpcollegefootball.com/offensive-beta-rank (You will need to filter for the year 2023 to see the data from just this year.) You can find the others here: https://www.bcftoys.com/
Game Time Win Probability
Game time win probability is an attempt to predict the likely outcome based on what has happened so far in the game. A low percentage indicates that the team is likely to lose the game while a value around 50% indicates that the game could go either way. To be in considered “in control of a game” would be that you have a better than 50% chance of winning for most of the game; and if that value is even higher, then you are in more control.
Looking at game control in the first 4 weeks of the season.— Jared Lee (@JaredDLee) September 25, 2023
Washington has spent 62% of their game time with a win probability above 95%
*the play-by-play of some games are missing which can have a large impact on the results, especially with the small sample size pic.twitter.com/bAylCiCyPq
While some of that game control is a result of the opponent, being in control against inferior opponents is what you would expect from the top teams.
One site which measures game control does it on a game-by-game basis. (https://www.bcftoys.com/2023-gr/) It rates and ranks every game between FBS opponents (not FBS vs FCS). The top-rated game so far has been Notre Dame’s game against Navy. But, UW’s four games this season all rank among the top 25 of all games ranked this season. As a comparison, no other school has more than two of the top 25 games (although Michigan has 3 of the top 26).
Top 25 Game Ratings After Week 4
|5||1.85||Ohio State||Western Kentucky|
|12||1.59||Fresno State||Kent State|
|13||1.56||Texas A&M||UL Monroe|
|15||1.47||Florida State||Southern Mississippi|
|25||1.31||Penn State||West Virginia|
Interestingly, one team is on the list as both a winner and loser: LSU. Their win against Mississippi State was #7 while their loss to Florida State was #11 (for Florida State). Also note that one team is on their twice as the loser: Tulsa. They lost to both UW and to Oklahoma. The other teams that are on as the winner multiple times (besides UW) are Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Florida State, Michigan, and Texas.
Most of the teams in the AP Top 25 are listed above, which should not be surprising. (No team above is not in the AP Top 25.) There are some top 25 teams that are not listed. Here is a list of them with their highest game rating.
- Georgia: 35 (Ball State)
- Utah: 38 (Florida)
- North Carolina: 48 (Minnesota)
- WSU: 57 (Wisconsin)
- Miami, FL: 27 (Miami, OH)
- Oregon State: 53 (San Jose State)
- Ole Miss: 56 (Georgia Tech)
- Tennessee: 40 (Virginia)
- Missouri: 74 (Kansas State)
- Kansas: 90 (Illinois)
I’m not sure that you can read too much into the game ratings because they are dependent on the opponent. But, you have to wonder that a team like Oregon State didn’t have more game control over a team like San Jose State. Also, Kansas’ best was against Illinois-not against Nevada (that was #279); why weren’t they able to control the game against Nevada any better?
How well does game control relate to winning games? Maybe not a lot. But I will note that one team last year had 4 of the top 25 games: Georgia. (#1 vs Oregon. #2 vs TCU. #3 vs South Carolina. #8 vs. Vanderbilt). Top teams can control games-especially against inferior teams. That is likely why so many analysts are now rating UW so highly-because they are not just winning, but they are dominating (controlling their games).
Week 5 Game Projections
There are 5 Pac-12 games this weekend. (Both UCLA and WSU are off this weekend.) There is only one game between ranked teams: this Friday’s game between Utah and Oregon State. Three of the remaining 4 games are between a ranked team and an unranked team; and one game is between two unranked teams. Here are some projections for these games and how they have changed since the preseason.
Pac-12 Week 5 Projections
|Visitor||Home||ESPN Preseason Favorie||ESPN Current Favorite||Massey Current Favorite|
|Visitor||Home||ESPN Preseason Favorie||ESPN Current Favorite||Massey Current Favorite|
|Utah||Oregon State||Utah (53%)||Oregon State (58.3%)||Utah (57%)|
|USC||Colorado||USC (92.8%)||USC (89.7%)||USC (80%)|
|Oregon||Stanford||Oregon (82.8%)||Oregon (96.6%)||Oregon (89%)|
|Arizona State||California||California (69.5%)||California (88.3%)||California (74%)|
|Washington||Arizona||Washington (66.8%)||Washington (85.6%)||Washington (83%)|
Not surprisingly, most of the games have a heavy favorite, with the one game between ranked teams as the exception. And in that game, ESPN’s FPI has changed the team favored from Utah to Oregon State since the preseason.
The Pac-12 continues to be a conference with some great teams. Any of the top 7 teams could win the conference and even go to the CFP (although that would require running the table for Oregon State and UCLA).
Most of the top teams in the Pac-12 are winning primarily with their offenses, and especially their QB’s. However, there are still a lot of football games to be played in the Pac-12. What happens when a team like USC (with their great offense) faces a team like Utah (with their great defense)? And what happens when two great offenses go against each other (USC vs UW, UW vs Oregon, and Oregon vs USC, for example)?
Given the number of ranked teams, there will likely be a lot of movement in the rankings. And its still possible that we’ll see some upsets which will cause some chaos in the rankings for some Pac-12 teams. (Husky fans don’t need to be reminded about what happened in week 6 last year). Are there too many good teams in the Pac-12 such that teams cannibalize each other so that nobody gets through the season with 0 or 1 loss? Or will a Pac-12 team make it to the CFP for the first time since 2016?