Big Ten Week 1 vs Week 2: Expectations vis a vis Sagarin The Enlightened Spartan: Big Ten Week 1 vs Week 2: Expectations vis a vis Sagarin

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Big Ten Week 1 vs Week 2: Expectations vis a vis Sagarin

OK, let’s talk a bit more at length about the Big Ten’s “underperformance” in Week 1, despite compiling a 10-1 record. As is the case early in the season, the ES uses Sagarin’s rating system to look at football teams, largely because it is the only measure that incorporates both FBS/1A and FCS/1AA teams, and it is included in the BCS rankings.

I listed these games in order of largest difference from Big Ten to Big Ten opponent, coming up with a “Favorite Ranking” for each game. A + indicates favorite, a - indicates underdog. Then, in bold and red are the games that are the most surprising, based on the Favorite Ranking. If you consider Sagarin, the Missouri thumping of Illinois and the scUM thumping of WMU were to be expected. However, five results give credence to a Big Ten “underperformance” in week one, highlighted in BOLD RED.

Week 1. Sagarin Rank & Opponent. Favorite Ranking. Result.

#174 Towson at #61 N’western. +113. WIN, 47-14 (+33)
#148 Montana St at #44 MSU. +104. WIN, 44-3 (+41).
#111 Akron at #8 JoePa. +93. WIN, 31-7 (+24).
#163 Eastern Ky at #95 Indiana. +68. WIN, 19-13 (+6).
#99 Northern Illinois at #33 Wisconsin. +66. WIN, 28-21 (+7).
#113 Toldeo at #57 Purdue. +56. WIN, 52-31 (+21).
#83 Northern Iowa at #27 Iowa. +56 WIN, 17-16 (+1).
#59 Navy at #5 Ohio State. +54. WIN, 31-27 (+4).
#88 WMU at #35 scUM. +53. WIN, 31-7 (+24).
#97 at Syracuse vs #69 Minnesota. +28. WIN, 23-20 (+3).
#18 Missouri at #63 Illinois. –55. LOSS, 37-9 (-28).

If you look to week 2, when ALL teams theoretically make their biggest improvement, a few games Big Ten fans should keep their eye on (in RED BOLD). The Ohio State vs USC game should be close, as should ND-scUM and Air Force-Minny. According to Sagarin, WMU should beat Indiana, and Oregon should whip Purdue. But, the ES figures the struggles by Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State in week 1 may lead to losses (or big losses) in week 2… and, a poor performance by WMU in week 1 gives hope to Indiana in week 2.

Week 2. Sagarin Rank & Opponent. Favorite Ranking.

#183 Illinois State at #65 Illinois. +118.
#162 EMU at #71 Northwestern +91.
#104 Syracuse at #14 JoePa. +90.
#78 at Iowa State vs #36 Iowa. +42.
#84 CMU at #43 MSU. +41.
#67 Fresno State at #37 Wisconsin. +30.
#35 Notre Dame at #30 scUM. +5.
#61 Air Force at #63 Minnesota. –2.
#1 Southern Cal at #4 Ohio St.. –3.
#89 WMU at #106 Indiana. –17.
#18 at Oregon vs #57 Purdue. –39.

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