Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013 NCAA FBS Rankings: Week 4

Hard to believe it's already Week 4 of the NCAA season. Conference play is really starting to pick up this week, so this is probably the last in-depth post I'll have to detail things and I'll probably do express posts in the coming weeks. While it's definitely still way too early to start thinking about seeding playoff teams, it's something to keep in mind as we approach November.

If you want to see where we've been so far, you can view last week's rankings here. The rankings below will follow the same general format: rankings are based on a conference's cumulative average score over the four weeks. That's the second number in parentheses, following the average score for the week.

1. Conference USA (1.14, 5.21; LW: 2). Marshall visits Virginia Tech, Louisiana Tech visits Kansas, FIU heads to Louisville, Tulane is at Syracuse and North Texas is off to Georgia. That's a gauntlet. UAB gets on the FCS train this week.
2. MAC (0.62, 4.69; LW: 1). Conference play was a pretty big factor in their drop from the top spot this week, but the schedule still isn't too bad. Bowling Green, Ohio and NIU are getting their lower tier games in now. UMass does host Vanderbilt and Miami-Ohio hosts Cincy, and some major aid comes from Western Michigan and Kent State visiting Big Ten schools.
3. Mountain West (0.83, 4.08; LW: T-3). There are some conference games, and UNLV hosting a cupcake doesn't help either. They do get some help though from San Diego State hosting Oregon State while San Jose State, Utah State and Colorado State all visit BCS squads.
4. Sun Belt (1.50, 4.00; LW: T-5). The BCS wasn't allowing Georgia State to play in any bowls since this is a transition year for them. Considering they play their third FCS team... I can see why they weren't eligible. I'm rendering them ineligible too out of principle, even though I'm sure a lot of this is the fulfillment of contractual obligations. Western Kentucky is getting in on the FCS bandwagon as well this week, but Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Troy and Texas State do bolster the score for the week.
5. Big Ten (0.58, 3.83; LW: T-3). Indiana hosts Missouri, which I guess counts for a little something, as does Michigan visiting UConn, but Ohio State, Nebraska, and Northwestern all get their dessert in now before B1G play really kicks into gear.
6. American Athletic (1.20, 3.60; LW: 7). We have the oddity of a Houston-Rice neutral site game this week, which I wouldn't expect at this point of the season. Overall though, the scheduling this week was good, with no FCS teams on the radar. Cincy and SMU are both on the road against FBS opponents (with SMU getting credit for visiting Texas A&M), and UConn and Rutgers host other BCS teams.
T-7. SEC (0.93, 3.00; LW: 8). Not bad. Vanderbilt is at Massachusetts and Missouri visits Indiana. There are a fair number of conference games to drag it down, but to their credit, there are no FCS teams on the docket.
T-7. Pac-12 (0.50, 3.00; LW: T-5). After a major gain, the momentum slows a bit. There's one conference game, Utah and Oregon State are on the road out of the conference, which is good, but Washington has a sweet tooth this week.
9. ACC (0.21, 2.21; LW: 9). This score isn't 100 percent fair, with a lot more ACC games being played this week. Wake Forest goes to face Army, which is the biggest boon to the score this week along with Maryland hosting West Virginia, but it's dragged down by Virginia, Florida State and Miami hosting cupcakes.
10. Big 12 (0.50, 2.00; LW: 10). This is still one of their better weeks, despite a few byes. Some conference play is going on, but there's no DI-AA teams on the slate this week.

So by my newest count, 13 more teams at the highest level are going down a division, bringing the count to 92 for the season. That's almost 75 percent. I don't remember what the count ended up being last year at this point, but I know by season's end almost everyone had an FCS team on its schedule. I think a couple teams will avoid the distinction, but that's a lot of cupcakes to pad your win totals in the later stages of the season.

On the pro circuit, Nathaniel will have our Week 3 picks against the spread coming up tomorrow at some point (we're both off to a pretty good start). I also finish my most ambitious project tomorrow morning.

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