This time, I have a question regarding a possible override on the ballot. Normally, I let the RTT computer rankings handle the details and just go with it, but there are two instances where two teams are close enough that head-to-head may matter. (The computer doesn't explicitly look for head-to-head matchups.) So...
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- LSU Tigers
- Tennessee Volunteers
- South Carolina Gamecocks
- Mississippi Rebels
- Auburn Tigers
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Kentucky Wildcats
- Mississippi St. Bulldogs
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Vanderbilt Commodores
Full computer data and some thoughts follow.
- Override Question #1: Mississippi and Auburn In a very ugly game, Auburn clearly looked to be the better team on Saturday. Granted, they were at home, but homefield isn't that much of an advantage. Auburn has also played an extra game (6-3, opposed to Mississippi's 5-3 mark) and has a tougher strength of schedule so far. Their defensive metrics are worse but their offensive metrics are better. Since we're suspicious that the rankings may favor the defense a little too much, this would be a sensible override. I won't change it, though, unless somebody tells me it's reasonable. (S.O.P. for overrides.)
- Override Question #2: Kentucky and Mississippi State MSU beat Kentucky in Lexington. They have one more loss due but have played one more game than Kentucky (4-5 vs. 4-4). The 0.2ish difference in strength of schedule almost exactly accounts for the difference in total score. Both teams have gaping weaknesses, but are close enough in score that the head-to-head might matter. Like Ole Miss / Auburn, let me know.
- Tennessee That win over South Carolina, coupled with Ole Miss's loss, bumped them up all the way to #4. Since the top three are pretty well set for a while, that's basically saying that they're the most impressive team of the rest - something I think is a reasonable conclusion. In future games, they'll lose some points on strength of schedule but should more than make it up in W/L and performance metrics. If this team wins out and LSU drops more than the Alabama game, #3 is not out of the question. But #4 is certain so long as they win.
Georgia The road doesn't get any better. Auburn has a substantial lead right now and are strong right where Georgia is weak: offense. Even the inconsistent passing game is favorable for Auburn at the moment; unless something major changes, this may very well be the end of the line for Martinez in Athens. But hey, woo! for toughest schedule. Remind Georgia fans of that enough and maybe we can buy Willie another year. (It's a long shot, but it's worth taking.)
- Run Defense Once upon a time, Florida's run defense was lights-out. This was because teams fell behind and went pass-happy. But ever since Tennessee, teams have been sticking with the run game and wearing down the defensive line. Florida's run defense is still well above average, but it's their weakest metric on the board and the only real place a team has a chance of beating them.
- LSU I don't see how they score on Alabama. Period.
- Arkansas I know that they have some better days than some of the teams ahead of them, but the computer is adamant that their defense really is that bad. Again, defense is probably disproportionately heavy to offense (something that will be reviewed over the offseason), but I'm not inclined to bump them ahead of MSU or Kentucky (pending override) because I don't trust teams without defenses.