College football playoff chase after Week 2

Getting things started!

James Leroy Wilson

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Welcome to the MVP Chase, where I, James Leroy Wilson, rank players and teams using objective data.

Photo credit: Torsten Bolten

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I constructed a college football computer ranking for the 2023 season. I had no preseason rankings, as there was no data to input. And after a handful of games in Week 0 and then a full slate in Week 1, there was very little data to go on. The winning teams had a weak schedule (they beat winless teams) and the losing teams had a strong schedule (they lost to undefeated teams).

After Week 2, however, there is some more information. We see which teams had the best start. It doesn’t necessarily mean the most talented teams are in the Top 25 yet. Georgia isn’t ranked because they throttled an FCS school and winless Ball State; other teams had a more impressive resume. For instance, Duke dominated two teams, Clemson and Louisiana (aka Lafayette) who themselves dominated their other opponent.

There are no projections. For example, Texas beat Alabama last week. Assuming Alabama eventually wins 9–11 games, that will help Texas in future rankings. As for now, however, Alabama has won just one game.

For that reason, I have Colorado out of the top 25 (just barely, at 26). It’s not because I have subjective doubts about the Buffs; we really don’t know how good any team is yet. We’ll see what the data says in the coming weeks.

After each game, I assign team dominance points:

  • 5 for a dominant win (17+ point margin)
  • 4 for a competitive but convincing win (9–17 points)
  • 3 for a narrow win (1–8)
  • 2 for a narrow loss (1–8)
  • 1 for a competitive but convincing loss (9–17)
  • 0 for getting dominated in a loss (17+)

After each week, I sum up the ranking points a team has so far in the season. Then I add the cumulative dominance points of the FBS opponents they played, divided by the number of…

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James Leroy Wilson

Former activist. Writer with a range of interests from spirituality to sports.