Here We Go Again
CFP Rankings disappoint a lot of people yet again
Good morning and happy Thursday! Week 10 is already well underway thanks to MACtion, which is way cooler sounding than it is to actually watch.
Hope you had a nice Halloween weekend and it wasn’t too spooky for your favorite teams.
Since this is a college football newsletter, I guess I’ll (begrudgingly) talk about the College Football Playoff committee’s first round of rankings.
If you didn’t see already, here’s a lovely graphic for you.
The biggest shock (and disappointment) to most fans was the exclusion of Cincinnati in the Top 4, and I completely agree. It’s just becoming unfair at this point to keep excluding these teams that go undefeated out of the running. We can’t say for certain what will happen in a Cincinnati-Alabama matchup until we see them play. So it’s unfortunate.
And it’s probably not going to get any better for Cincy because they only have one ranked win over Notre Dame and don’t have any more on the schedule. So the committee has essentially determined their fate unless some top teams have some major slip-ups.
For reference, Cincinnati has a higher Elo rating than both Michigan State and Oregon. That is hard to do as a non-Power-5 team, because, while P5 teams start out at a rating of 1500, Group-of-5 teams start out at 1200, and every year, their score gets slightly regressed back to that 1200 average. So you have to be really good for a long time, consistently, to get up there with the likes of these P5 powerhouses.
And don’t get me wrong, Michigan State is deserving as well. They look like a great team (if you didn’t watch the Michigan-Michigan State game, I suggest you watch some highlights. It was an awesome game.) Oregon and ‘Bama might deserve their spots, but we’ll have to wait and see. For what it’s worth, Cincy also has a more impressive Strength of Record than Oregon. SOR is a measure of how impressive your record is compared to what the average Top-25 team’s record would be if they had your schedule. So that’s implying that the average Top-25 team may not be undefeated if they played Cincy’s schedule, which is surprising, but interesting.
So week 9 was not friendly to my wallet after a strong performance the previous week, but thanks to a lot of small wins, I did damage limitation. This brings me to a topic I wanted to talk about real quick: consistency.
When I ran the numbers on the Elo profit and loss and it showed a profit overall, I looked into it a little deeper and noticed something. Some weeks were negative, and some were positive, but the net turned out positive.
Now, if I have a bad week and skip playing the next week, then I may be missing out on the week that’s going to bring the average back positive again. So I could end up losing money on a winning strategy.
Similarly, if I look at the list of positive expected value picks for the week, and pick out 5 that I personally agree with, then again, I may be making a mistake, because I’ve just inserted my personal bias into the picks, and I very well could be picking 5 losers out of the week.
The nice thing about letting the data do the work for you is that you don’t have to worry about your biases affecting your decisions, consciously or subconsciously. It’s all based on data and fact.
If I told you that Arizona was playing UTSA this weekend and you don’t follow those conferences that closely, you might be inclined to pick Arizona as the more recognizable brand, or skip a pick for UTSA. Well, Arizona is 0-8 this season, believe it or not, and UTSA is undefeated with a better strength of record than Ohio State! So that’s why you can’t trust your preconceived notions on a game.
With that, let’s look at Week 10.
It really pains me that Maryland is a positive value bet this weekend. Let’s look at the win probabilities.
The Wake Forest one is a good bet. I’m surprised UNC is favored here. WF isn’t getting a lot of love despite being undefeated through 8 games. They’re ranked 9th in the CFP committee’s first rankings. Heck, even I didn’t mention them earlier in this newsletter! They have the 5th-best SOR ahead of Cincy, Oregon, and Ohio State. And FYI, these SOR rankings come straight from ESPN, who essentially call the shots with the whole Playoff thing, so they should know better.
I don’t think that’s actually a mismatch on the first game FYI.
I know we don’t normally do spreads but Georgia -38 is aggressive. Sheesh, how bad is Missouri?
Thank you for reading today, stay warm wherever you are, and enjoy your weekend!
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