Notre Dame haters rejoice: Irish are No. 1 in Achievement Index

The number of undefeated teams in the country has been whittled down to six. And yet the top-ranked team in the Achievement Index is one-loss Notre Dame.

Lovely, eh?

A significant portion of the country is less than pleased whenever the Irish get any kind of advantage over their opponents, and this team getting ranked ahead of several undefeated squads would, on the surface, qualify.

To that I reply: Look at the schedule.

Four of Notre Dame’s opponents have ranked in the Top 35 of the F/+ rankings, with the Irish’s lone loss coming at the hands of No. 1, Clemson.

So why do the Irish get the nod over Clemson? Well, for one, head-to-head is meaningless in this system. For another, Clemson has just three opponents in the Top 35 to Notre Dame’s four … and a pair of wins against FCS schools. Finally, I just don’t like them.

Ha, just kidding. Really, it’s mostly the FCS thing.

Before we get to this week’s rankings, here once again is the rundown of my methodology:

  1. Each team is ascribed a score derived from the combined efficiency rankings produced by the fine folks at Football Outsiders (specifically, Bill Connelley and Brian Fremeau), termed the “F/+” rankings.  The basic gist of each set of rankings that goes into this merged list — individually the “FEI” and the “S&P+ Ratings” — is to evaluate a team based on its efficiency on individual plays.  If you want a general sense of how “good” a team is, with only a few exceptions, you’re going to get an accurate reading from these.
  2. The scores pulled from the F/+ do not factor into an individual team’s ranking, however.  Rather, they provide the basis for evaluating who said team has played.  So for example, Wisconsin didn’t get any credit in regards to its own ranking for being the No. 31 team in the F/+, but it did get credit for facing Alabama, which ranks at No. 2.  In reverse, Alabama didn’t get credit for being No. 2, but did get credit for beating No. 31.  This is all about accomplishments. And for simplicity’s sake, all teams from below the FBS level got ascribed the same value: 129, which is one slot lower than the lowest FBS team (128).
  3. Basic weighting is applied such that, in general, road wins>neutral wins>home wins>bye weeks>road losses>neutral losses>home losses.  There are discrepancies such that a particularly egregious home loss can hurt a team more than two road losses, or a loss to No. 1 can actually help a team more than being off that week.  The actual weighting involved is the wild card here, as I expect I may tweak it some as we go along.  Lots of philosophical debates are involved in this process (For example: Is a road win worth more than two home wins?  And is a neutral site loss to No. 1 worse or better than a road loss to No. 8?).  These questions can go on for days, honestly, and much of it is dependent on an individual’s point of view.  I tried to go with the above approach as much as possible and applied a fair, consistent system across the board, so we’ll see where the chips fall.

And one final note … this is through games completed as of Nov. 8 (no last-minute Mac-tion additions; those will be added in due course at the conclusion of next week).  So with all that said, here we go:

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
1 ND (8-1) 3 173.375
2 Clem (9-0) 1 194
3 OSU (9-0) 5 203.6666667
4 Iowa (9-0) 17 214.3333333
5 OkSt (9-0) 14 214.4444444
6 Utah (8-1) 16 222
7 Temple (8-1) 34 234
8 Hou (9-0) 27 237.6666667
9 Fla (8-1) 11 239
10 LSU (7-1) 7 267.8571429
11 Bay (8-0) 10 280.25
12 TCU (8-1) 13 297.125
13 Memph (8-1) 29 307.625
14 Ala (8-1) 2 335.625
15 Navy (7-1) 12 342
16 Wis (8-2) 31 380.75
17 NW (7-2) 44 420
18 BYU (7-2) 32 432.7142857
19 Stan (8-1) 9 454
20 Mich St (8-1) 18 474.5
21 Mich (7-2) 4 538.7142857
22 Miss St (7-2) 15 594.1428571
23 USC (6-3) 8 612.1666667
24 WKU (8-2) 25 619.125
25 Uga (6-3) 42 626.3333333

The margin between Iowa and Oklahoma St. for the No. 4 spot is razor-thin, and almost completely meaningless, given the Cowboys’ slate of upcoming games.

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
26 BG (7-2) 26 655.4285714
27 Pitt (6-3) 51 665.8333333
28 FSU (7-2) 21 684.8571429
29 Toledo (7-1) 33 799.1428571
30 OU (8-1) 6 802.125
31 PSU (7-3) 38 807.7142857
32 Mia (6-3) 57 814
33 Boise (7-2) 36 822.8571429
34 Ole Miss (7-3) 19 869.7142857
35 UNC (8-1) 23 889.375
36 UCLA (7-2) 24 920
37 Ga South (6-2) 61 972.8333333
38 Tenn (5-4) 20 991.2
39 App St (7-2) 43 1021.428571
40 WVU (4-4) 28 1042.5
41 LaTech (7-3) 35 1046.142857
42 W. Mich (6-3) 59 1064.333333
43 TT (5-5) 54 1071
44 aTm (6-3) 41 1088
45 NCSt (6-3) 30 1136.666667
46 Aub (5-4) 56 1171.2
47 Cal (5-4) 40 1237.4
48 Marsh (8-2) 60 1243.75
49 AF (6-3) 68 1267.833333
50 Ore (6-3) 48 1303.5

It’s probably worth noting several teams previously given up for dead — including Oregon, Auburn and Tennessee — make appearances in the Top 50. Overall, this group is tightly bunched, with a lot of potential for movement.

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
51 Lville (5-4) 39 1367
52 N. Illinois (6-3) 49 1370
53 SouthMiss (6-3) 72 1397.833333
54 Illinois (5-4) 58 1526.8
55 Ark St (6-3) 74 1529.333333
56 Duke (6-3) 50 1609.166667
57 Cinci (5-4) 46 1693.2
58 USF (5-4) 67 1797
59 Ariz (5-5) 84 1852.8
60 Tulsa (5-4) 88 1895.8
61 Minn (4-5) 69 1979
62 Ark (5-4) 37 2003.6
63 SDSt (6-3) 53 2133.833333
64 WSU (6-3) 63 2195.5
65 UtSt (5-4) 47 2318.2
66 Texas (4-5) 80 2443.5
67 Ken (4-5) 92 2544.5
68 Wash (4-5) 22 2677
69 K-State (3-5) 70 2701.666667
70 Uconn (5-5) 82 2869.8
71 IowaSt (3-6) 77 2881.666667
72 ASU (4-5) 65 2935.75
73 Ohio (5-4) 81 2948
74 Buff (5-4) 87 2961
75 M Tenn (4-5) 79 3147.5

Kansas State is the best three-win team in the nation! (Maybe, maybe not, but given the season the ‘Cats are going through, I’ll take whatever I can.)

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
76 Ind (4-5) 64 3249.75
77 Mizz (4-5) 75 3354
78 C. Mich (5-4) 55 3555
79 ECU (4-6) 73 3707.25
80 VaTech (4-5) 52 3736.75
81 Rut (3-6) 106 3836.333333
82 UVA (3-6) 85 3903.333333
83 Akron (4-5) 90 3946.75
84 FIU (5-5) 98 3985.6
85 ODU (4-5) 121 4032.75
86 Rice (4-5) 118 4104.75
87 UNM (5-4) 109 4193.4
88 SouthAla (4-4) 105 4205.5
89 Vand (3-6) 71 4257
90 GT (3-6) 62 4437.333333
91 Nev (5-4) 100 4492.8
92 ULL (4-4) 101 4580
93 Neb (4-6) 45 4648.5
94 SJ St (4-5) 96 4812
95 CSU (4-5) 78 5078.25
96 Maryland (2-7) 76 5204
97 Colo (4-6) 95 5266.25
98 Syr (3-6) 89 5293.666667
99 UTEP (4-5) 128 5447
100 SoCar (3-6) 83 5571.333333

I don’t have much to say here other than, nice rebound, Louisiana-Lafayette.  It’s good to see you back to yourselves.

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
101 WF (3-6) 93 5777
102 BC (3-7) 66 6380.333333
103 UNLV (3-6) 99 6848.333333
104 KentSt (3-6) 107 7111.666667
105 Troy (3-6) 86 7467
106 Ball St (3-7) 110 7963.333333
107 Idaho (3-6) 112 8904.333333
108 OregSt (2-7) 111 9187.5
109 Tulane (2-7) 114 9566
110 Pur (2-7) 94 10356
111 Fresno (2-7) 115 12142
112 Tx St (2-6) 113 12851
113 Hawaii (2-8) 116 14071
114 Miami Oh (2-8) 117 14321.5
115 NM St (2-7) 124 16549.5
116 Char (2-7) 123 16885.5
117 Ga St (2-6) 104 17417
118 Army (2-7) 108 17619.5
119 FAU (2-7) 91 17698.5
120 SMU (1-8) 102 29501
121 La-Mon (1-8) 120 29607
122 KU (0-9) 126 30200
123 Umass (1-8) 97 30864
124 UNT (1-8) 127 34039
125 UTSA (1-8) 103 36648
126 UCF (0-10) 125 42220
127 Wyo (1-9) 119 43810
128 E. Mich (1-9) 122 44579

At the other end of the state, Louisiana-Monroe is plummeting like my portfolio. Zing!

Week 9 rankings
Week 8 rankings

Week 7 rankings

Week 6 rankings

Week 5 rankings

Week 4 rankings
Week 3 rankings

Week 2 rankings

As always, let me know your thoughts and feel free to share with friends, family, and special persons of import.  See any errors in record/placement?  Probably a typo since I did most of this by hand, but I’d appreciate hearing about it anyway … I might have goofed up something in the rankings themselves.

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