|26||North Carolina State||2863.29||23|
|30||San Diego State||2818.43||31|
|121||San Jose State||1720.83||124|
|123||New Mexico State||1714.13||117|
Some thoughts on this week’s rankings:
Proofreading matters – Entering the results from this week’s games, I noticed that something didn’t look right about Clemson’s score. On further inspection, I found that I had coded the results for the Clemson-Louisville game on October 1 incorrectly. Essentially, I had coded the game as if Louisville had beaten Clemson. So my rankings for that week and last week were affected. I corrected the error, which allowed Clemson to move ahead of Louisville, where they should have been for the last two weeks.
It’s time to give Western Michigan its due – xHPI has had the Broncos in the top 11 for three weeks. Looking at their performance so far, I realized that they were good, with victories over two Big Ten teams, but I assumed that they would fall over time, as they got into conference play. However, they continue to pile up big victories over some of the better MAC teams, so their scores and rankings continue to rise. Still, they are moving into a stretch of games against weaker MAC teams (#75 Eastern Michigan, #91 Ball State, and #93 Kent State), meaning that even lopsided victories will not fully counteract the effect of the weakening of their strength of schedule. Look for them to drop, but stay in the top 15 or top 20.
Are the Jayhawks actually better? – As I’ve noted in previous years, I am a fan of KU, referring to myself as a Jayhawk-in-law, being married to a KU grad. The coaching staff and many reporters talk about signs of improvement. Despite a week 1 win over FCS weakling Rhode Island, many have questioned whether the Jayhawks really have improved, noting that losses to Ohio, Memphis, Texas Tech, and Baylor were not particularly close. xHPI sees signs of improvement. At this point last year, xHPI ranked KU #123, five slots lower than their current ranking. However, it should be noted that the win over Rhode Island may be enough to account for this difference, meaning that scheduling alone could account for difference. Additionally, KU mysteriously always plays TCU close. Last year, a close loss to TCU increased KU’s score by about 100 points. That game came later in the season last year, so the Jayhawks had not yet reaped the benefit by this time last season.
Perhaps the most telling difference, however, is the absence of what I called “The Jayhawk Effect” last year. Big XII powers would rack up impressive wins against the Jayhawks, only to see their rankings fall because KU hurt their strength of schedule. That effect has not happened this year. For example, this week Baylor moved up from #27 to #18 this week after beating KU 49-7.