Playing Football While Being Notre Dame

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 7th, 2018 at 6:45 PM

Bill Connelly's Strength of Resume supports the assertion that Michigan has the strongest record thus far of the one-loss teams, with Georgia and Oklahoma right behind. Connelly's Strength of Resume basically evaluates a team's past record by comparing the actual scoring margins in all of its games to that of a hypothetical average top-5 team (i.e. with M at #3, M would be akin to your average top-5 team). So, most of the ratings are negative, since the vast majority of teams are rated well below the top-5 range. That said, M is only one of 3 teams with a positive rating - the other two being who you'd suspect: Alabama and Clemson. Alabama (a.k.a. the Death Star) BTW, is stunningly positive. Some other teams like Fresno State, Utah State and fancy-stats darling UCF also bubble up toward the top. Notre Dame, however, is noticeably absent from the top 10. In fact, the Fig-Things come in at #18, which suggests pretty strongly that their performance is rather underwhelming, against what amounts to weak competition. Yet, the pumped up profiles of the middleweight teams of the ACC that ND has beaten give the FigThings an artificial boost. It's remarkable that just about every rating system and a lot of people in the know (including Joel Klatt), put Michigan ahead of Notre Dame already, yet the CFP has yet to really take strength of resume in into consideration, and is simply giving ND a pass for ... being ND?


Dayton Blue

November 7th, 2018 at 8:20 PM ^

Big 10 is a pile of shit too.  Penn State almost lost to Appy St. and Iowa AT HOME.  Wiscy lost to BYU AT HOME.  I wouldn't say Michigan is a world beater just yet, either.


November 7th, 2018 at 8:37 PM ^

My biggest complaint against ND is that they are not in a conference, making the stakes for their opponents essentially nil. Northwestern gains very little, and loses very little, based on the outcome of that game last week...same with UM, Vandy, USC, Stanford, Navy, and on. Conference championships have become the primary criteria for the playoff and ND doesn’t factor into that equation for 90% of their schedule. 


November 7th, 2018 at 10:03 PM ^

" the stakes for their opponents essentially nil. "
You're joking right? While a loss to (or a win over) to Notre Dame doesn't count toward conference championships, it does affect any post-season aspirations. The loss to them certainly affects Michigan's path to any playoff this year, and the same would go for Stanford, USC, and some of the other teams they play as well.

That might be an argument against an expanded playoff with auto-bids for conference champs, but in any configuration which takes at-large bids will make non-conference wins and losses a critical factor.

Maize and Luke

November 7th, 2018 at 8:38 PM ^

If this whole scenario was flipped and undefeated UM was being leap frogged or left out....can you even begin to comprehend the outrage on this site alone? Chernobyl is the only comparison I can come up with. 


November 7th, 2018 at 8:39 PM ^

I hear that, but at the same time they beat UM head-to-head.  They proved at least at that part of the season they were the better team.  I don't think it's fair to rank another team ahead of a team with a better record whom they've already lost to just because they have less convincing wins and/or against less quality opponents.  If ND beats UM and has an equal or better record IMO they deserve to be ranked ahead of them.


November 7th, 2018 at 9:34 PM ^

If we're sitting there as a one-loss team and ND is in the same boat, I think that's an interesting problem for the committee and I think they would take a conference champions, which in that scenario might be us. Part of me thinks that an undefeated ND goes ahead of us - I don't know that we'd have a great argument, but with this committee, I am only guessing. 


November 7th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

After head-to-head, another tie-breaker is common opponents. We beat Northwestern by 3, ND beat them by 10. ND had some close early season games, but they have been beating teams by 20+ points lately. I would put them ahead of us today. If we win in the Shoe and win the Big10 championship, that might be enough to move us ahead of ND even considering the first two items I mentioned.


November 7th, 2018 at 10:30 PM ^

I philosophically disagree with scoring margin being brought into the "Strength of Resume" arguments when it comes to the CFP.  You either won or you lost.  I do view it as binary.

Take it FWIW, but my own "strength of resume" ratings, which look at things in this binary fashion, have Alabama #1 and Notre Dame #2.  I do think Notre Dame deserves to be ahead of Michigan.  Head-to-head should mean quite a bit, and the Irish have it over Michigan.

Where I think Michigan has an argument to be ahead of an undefeated team is with Clemson.  Clemson's best win is at Texas A&M, and their 2nd best win is --- at Georgia Tech?  vs. NC State?  vs. Syracuse?

Michigan's array of victories looks favorable when compared to Clemson's array of victories.  All of Michigan's wins vs Wisconsin, at Michigan State and vs Penn State are comparable with each other, and all are above Clemson's 2nd best win.  Michigan's 4th best-win (at Northwestern) isn't too far behind those, and it's also on par with Clemson's 2nd best win.

FWIW, my "strength of resume" has Michigan #3, LSU #4, Clemson #5 and Georgia #6.  Oklahoma down at #9.


November 7th, 2018 at 11:55 PM ^

Notre Dame beat us head to head and looked better on the road against a common opponent - Northwestern.

What can you say?  If it were two other teams and not us and one of our rivals, we would clearly say that an undefeated team should be ranked over a team they beat and looked better against a common opponent.

We have gotten better about not dicking around for two quarters on offense while the other team jumps to a quick lead, but the fact is that for much of the early season that was us.  It cost us against Notre Dame and almost cost us against Northwestern.

You can't really blame Notre Dame for that.  They are ranked where they should be vis a vis Michigan.

We need to take care of business at this point and win out.  Then hopefully we are not competing with a one loss Alabama who could steal the spot.


November 8th, 2018 at 12:29 AM ^


1) if you read the damn article you'd see that he has ND with the best Strength of Schedule out of any of the undefeated teams. So your assertion that it's been a weak schedule is wrong, at least relatively.

2) this is a scoring margin metric. Plain and simple. Connelly even makes a point to admit that.  So of course ND isn't in the top 4.  There are like 5 other scoring margin/drive results/play success rate metrics that haven't been rating ND in the top 4 all year (6th in S&P+, 7th in FEI, 8th in FPI, 13th in Sagarin's predictor, etc). This is not new information and calling this Strength of Resume is kind of misleading by Connelly and also doesn't achieve the intended balance between "best" and "most deserving", more on that below.

They struggled with Vandy, they struggled with Ball State (!!), they struggled with Pitt. They haven't really blown the doors off anyone.  So they don't rate that highly in the predictive metrics, but the committee is expressly prohibited from using the predictive metrics and anything that takes into account scoring margin except their own eyes.

They're undefeated against a harder schedule than any other undefeated team and they beat the consensus best one-loss team.  It really doesn't matter that they had some close game, as every responder here points out, they deserve to go to the CFP if they win out.

The weird thing about this metric that really doesn't pass the eye test is that this is intended to be a combination of "most deserving" and "best", but out outside the bounds of both:

Again, they are undefeated against a harder schedule than any of the other undefeated teams.  They are quite clearly the "most deserving" in that regard.  ESPN's Strength of Record which also aims to determine the best combo of wins and losses based on respective schedules (i.e. their margin free metric) has ND ranked #1 as well.

Then, Connelly's own "best" metric which is supposed to be the most predictive thing he's come up with, has ND a better-than-expected 6th.  There isn't a margin based predictive metric I could find that has them below 13th (the aforementioned Sagarin predictor).  So if they're the number 1 most deserving by all accounts and the 6th "best" per Connelly's own metric, how does an intended combination of best and most deserving spit out 18th for them?!?

That just doesn't make sense. It's like when kenpom was ranking Wisconsin super high that one year and he had to basically admit the algorithm was producing a clearly bizarre result for them.


November 8th, 2018 at 7:26 AM ^

This thread is a bit silly. They beat us and are undefeated...if the roles were reversed and theyd be ranked above us this forum would be organizing a letter writing campaign to the commisioner‘s office, the state‘s congressional delegation and various other dignitaries. 


November 8th, 2018 at 8:34 AM ^

I think the one thing that will change the tone of this debate CONSIDERABLY is when we "penetrate the birthplace"; we go into the house of our biggest rival and beat the team that that one fan on their message board said we couldn't beat. 

Beat rutger. 

Beat Rutgerland

November 8th, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

If ND loses, I think we have a very strong case that we're the better team despite the head to head, but as long as they're undefeated they deserve to be ranked over us, and ND would be rightly miffed if they weren't.