A Better Big Ten Conference Championship

A Better Big Ten Conference Championship

Submitted by ScottGoBlue on August 14th, 2012 at 1:50 PM

 

The 2012 season draws near.  This topic may have been more appropriate in the winter or spring, but I’ve only just now taken the time to type it all out.  Hopefully it will be one more way to get excited about the football year to come.  Go Blue!

 

A Better Big Ten Conference Championship

2011 was the first year of the Big Ten Football Conference Championship game, and as a Michigan fan the first time I’ve really paid attention to a college conference championship game.  When the teams were decided (Michigan State and Wisconsin), my immediate reaction was, “A rematch?  How boring.  What a waste.”  I don’t agree with everything sacred to the MGoBlog-osphere, but I do agree with the value of “the regular season should mean something.”  Wisconsin of course won the rematch in Indy, reversing the outcome of the regular season thriller in East Lansing, which served as a foreshadowing of the All-SEC rematch National Championship game.  Whoop-dee-doo.

Also, I was curious to see how common rematches are in conference championship games in other conferences.  The Big Ten is 1-for-1; what about the other conferences with championship games?  It turns out that more than 1-in-3 conference championship games are repeats from the regular season.

 

CONF.

YEARS

REPEAT FREQ.

REPEAT YEARS

ACC

2005-2011

4 of 7    0.571

’07, ’08, ’09, ‘11

B10

2011

1 of 1    1.000

‘11

B12

1996-2010

6 of 15    0.400

’99, ’00, ’01, ’02, ’05, ‘07

C-USA

2005-2011

2 of 7    0.286

’06, ‘07

MAC

1997-2011

5 of 15    0.333

’99, ’00, ’03, ’04, ‘05

P12

2011

0 of 1    0.000

 

SEC

1992-2011

5 of 20    0.250

’00, ’01, ’03, ’04, ‘10

TOTAL

 

23 of 66    0.348

 

 

There must be a better way to determine the conference champion.

What if, instead of just two teams meeting up to play a 9th conference game, all 12 played a 9th game?  What if the 9th game was guaranteed to not be a rematch, but also was dynamic enough to get intriguing year-end match-ups?  The better way I’d like to propose is a “plus-one” 9th conference game, which we’ll call the “8+1 Conference Schedule.”

Each of the 12 Big Ten teams plays 8 of their 11 conference opponents, leaving 3 teams they don’t get to play.  The “plus-one” conference game would be against one team you didn’t play, determined at the end of the 8 conference games, with priority given to sorting out the conference champion and intriguing match-ups.  The “plus-one” game would be hosted on campus by the team with the better conference record through 8 games.  In the event of a tie, whichever team was on the road the last time would host the game. 

Practically speaking, this would probably work best if the 8 games finished the weekend before Thanksgiving, each Big Ten team then had a bye on Thanksgiving weekend, and then played the “plus-one” games the first week of December.  That would allow sufficient time to make the pairings and sell tickets, plus give the players a breather and a holiday.  Also, whether this would be a 13th game or would replace one non-conference game (keeping a 12-game schedule) is open for debate..

Okay, so here’s what it would have looked like in 2011.  The Big Ten Conference standings turned out as follows:

 

LEADERS

WINS

LOSSES

DID NOT PLAY

Wisconsin

6

2

Mich, Iowa, NW

Penn State

6

2

MSU, Mich, Minn

Purdue

4

4

MSU, Neb, NW

Ohio State

3

5

Iowa, NW, Minn

Illinois

2

6

MSU, Neb, Iowa

Indiana

0

8

Mich, Neb, Minn

LEGENDS

WINS

LOSSES

DID NOT PLAY

Michigan State

7

1

PSU, Pur, Ill

Michigan

6

2

Wisc, PSU, Ind

Nebraska

5

3

Pur, Ill, Ind

Iowa

4

4

Wisc, OSU, Ill

Northwestern

3

5

Wisc, Pur, OSU

Minnesota

2

6

PSU, OSU, Ind

 

Michigan State at 7-1 gets first consideration, and could play Penn State (6-2), Purdue (4-4), or Illinois (2-6).  Best Match-up: Penn State

Wisconsin is next since they shared the top record in Leaders division with Penn State, but won head-to-head.  They could play Michigan (6-2), Iowa (4-4), or Northwestern (3-5).  Best Match-up: Michigan

Nebraska is the next team remaining after Penn State and Michigan got snatched up.   They could play Purdue (4-4), Illinois (2-6), or Indiana (0-8).  Best Match-up: Purdue

Iowa is the best team remaining, and they didn’t play Wisconsin (7-1), Ohio State (3-5), or Illinois (2-6).  Ohio State is the best match-up, but then Northwestern would have no one left to play.  Best Match-up: Illinois

Northwestern didn’t play Wisconsin (7-1), Purdue (4-4), or Ohio State (3-5).  Best Match-up: Ohio State

Minnesota didn’t play Penn State (6-2), Ohio State (3-5), or Indiana (0-8).  Battle of the basement-dwellers!  Best Match-up: Indiana

 

2011 “Plus-One” Conference Games (home team in CAPS)

·      MICHIGAN STATE (7-1) v. Penn State (6-2)

·      WISCONSIN (6-2) v. Michigan (6-2)*

·      NEBRASKA (5-3) v. Purdue (4-4)

·      IOWA (4-4) v. Illinois (2-6)

·      OHIO (3-5) v. Northwestern (3-5)**

·      MINNESOTA (2-6) v. Indiana (0-8)

* Michigan last hosted v. Wisconsin, in 2008

** Northwestern last hosted v. Ohio, in 2008

 

So, on the first Saturday of December, would you rather have the line-up above?  Or Wisconsin-Michigan State, The Rematch in Indy!!!

In this scenario, Michigan State would probably end up the undisputed champion, with a home win over Penn State.  The only confusing scenario is if Penn State and Michigan win their games, and then three teams end up with 7-2 conference records.  For the top bowl bid, we would then go to traditional tie-breakers.  The head-to-head results give the edge to Penn State, by virtue of beating Michigan State who beat Michigan (Michigan and Penn State didn’t play each other even with the plus-one).  In the event that head-to-head can’t break the tie, the next tie-breaker would be least-recent champion gets the top bowl bid.  Simple enough.

 

8+1 Conference Schedule Benefits:

·      No underwhelming repeat conference championship game

·      Values the regular season games already played

·      On-campus rather than neutral-site means most tickets will be sold to fans who care about the match-up

·      The whole Big Ten is playing in December, raising our end-of-season profile against other conferences

·      More interesting way of determining the conference champion AND unique to the Big Ten “brand” (sets us apart from the SEC, ACC, P12, and B12)

 

Thoughts?  Critiques?

College Football Resume Rankings - Week 1

College Football Resume Rankings - Week 1

Submitted by WestMichiganMan on September 9th, 2011 at 11:42 AM

For this college football season I set out on a little project to determine what college football rankings would look like based solely on how teams performed on the field. I admit there are inherent weaknesses in this model as I have to use someone else's rankings which are not completely based on on-field results.

However here is the gist of my model: teams get awarded points for a victory, with more points being awarded for beating a higher ranked team. Rankings were from Sagarin as his were the only rankings I could find that went past the top 25 teams. Points were also given/taken away based on the point differential up to a cap of 21 points. I decided that wins/losses of 21+ were all the same, but I am considering increasing the cap. Additional points were given for away wins and taken away for home losses.

Keep in mind that I am still tinkering with the model and it is far from complete. The usual caveat of small sample sizes applies. Here is the top 15 as my model stands now:

 

Rank Team Score

1

LSU

1.000

2

Baylor

0.844

3

Boise State

0.825

4

Maryland

0.696

5

Sacramento State

0.650

6

Northwestern

0.650

7

Oklahoma

0.628

8

South Florida

0.589

9

Temple

0.563

10

BYU

0.475

11

Houston

0.443

12

Syracuse

0.380

13

Virginia Tech

0.352

14

California

0.349

15

Mississippi State

0.337

That's right, Sacramento State is the fifth best team in the country after beating Oregon State week one. The top three isn't much of a surprise and the rest of the list seems to make sense. For the record Michigan was one of a group of teams that had slightly fewer points than Mississippi State.

I plan to continue updating this model throughout the season so any and all feedback would be appreciated. I'm also considering applying this to college basketball, I think it may even be more relevant for that.