Daily Blog • July 21, 2014

If you are a follower of my magazine, I am sure you are familiar with the fact that I have NINE different sets of power ratings that I create each preseason to give me 9 different ways of analyzing a team. One is based on the individual talent level and performance of each position on each team and those are added up for the rating. Another is based on my Power Plays numbers, which include rushing and passing offenses, defenses and special teams. Another is a continually updated power rating based on the score of the games and the strength of opponent. Finally a few years back, before computers became part of the BCS rankings system, there was without a doubt some flaws in the polls. Teams rated #2 or #3 in the country really were not that talented and were maybe the 5th or 6th best. One internet site decided to produce a poll of some of the top analysts and experts each week and invited me to join. I myself work 365 days a year. During magazine time (March, April, May) and throughout the football season (August through January) there are many 15-18 hour days put in and all of them are spent solely working on FOOTBALL. When they invited me to join the poll, I wanted to give them the best set of power ratings in the country to help make the poll as accurate as possible. The dilemma I had was which set?

What I decided to do was combine all eight into one rating which gives me a very solid overall ranking for each team. The rating takes into account EVERY factor, using it as my main set of power ratings, which thus created my 9th set. You can learn more about this main set of power ratings on page 34 of this year’s magazine. I also go into complete details on my plus/minus power ratings on page 33.

When I have all of my sets of power ratings finalized I then plug them into each individual team’s schedule and let the computer play out each game using the different power ratings. My computer will then show me which teams that have one or more sets of Power Ratings calling for them to have undefeated seasons. Naturally, if a team is projected at the top of my Power Ratings, it has a greater chance of going unbeaten.

Here are the teams that are projected to have undefeated seasons by at least one of my power ratings this year. Also listed are teams that just missed the cut with one or more of sets calling for an 11-1 season.

Which Teams Could Go 11-1 or 12-0 in 2014
According to My 9 Sets of Power Ratings ?

Team # of Sets
Call for 12-0
# of Sets
Call for 11-1
Team Losing To
Florida St 9 0  
Marshall 9 0  
Oklahoma 6 3 TCU
UCLA 5 3 Texas
Alabama 4 5 LSU
Ohio St 3 6 Michigan St
Oregon 1 7 UCLA
Georgia 1 4 South Carolina
North Carolina 1 0  
Boise St 0 7 Ole Miss
Baylor 0 4 Oklahoma
Auburn 0 2 Alabama
Iowa 0 2 Wisconsin
Michigan St 0 2 Oregon
South Carolina 0 2 Auburn
Wisconsin 0 2 LSU
Bowling Green 0 1 Wisconsin
BYU 0 1 Boise St
Cincinnati 0 1 Ohio St
Northwestern 0 1 Notre Dame
Pittsburgh 0 1 North Carolina

This list of teams has proven to be a good indicator of the chances of an undefeated season. Last year, four sets of my ratings called for Florida St to go unbeaten and the Seminoles were the surprise team of the country (started season #11 in AP poll) and won the National Title. Basically any team that has finished unbeaten in the past 10 years has made this list with at least one of my sets of ratings calling for an 11-1 or 12-0 season.

You can now see why I picked the Seminoles to repeat as National Champs as my power ratings clearly call for them to have the best chance at running the table this year among the Power 5 Conference teams. Marshall also comes in with all 9 sets of my power ratings calling for a 12-0 season and while they won’t make the first college football playoff, they do have a great shot of making a major bowl. Oklahoma, UCLA, Alabama and Ohio State all have at least three sets calling for an undefeated season and those teams all appeared in my preseason Top 5.

Also it is worth noting some teams that had 1 set calling for an 11-1 season. Clearly these are outliers with regards to Bowling Green, BYU, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and it's why I use 9 different sets of ratings and not just 1 when evaluating teams.

I am sure you are wondering why I am so fascinated and dependent on power ratings when analyzing a team in the preseason and during the season. I am in my early 50’s and I started following college football with great intensity at about 10 years old. At that time (being a numbers guy) I devised my own set of power ratings, which was based mostly on where the preseason magazines I was reading ranked the teams. I even awarded points at that time for how many pictured players each team had in the magazines. I updated those ratings during the season based on the final scores of the games.

A few years later after compiling my ratings (and no longer counting pictures), I stumbled upon the GamePlan magazine. In the front of the magazine was a set of power ratings for each team! I now had two sets of power ratings on each team and I updated them both during the year giving me two different ways of looking at the strength of a team and I was well on my way to nine different sets.

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