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Friday, December 31, 2010

This Season's OWA Rankings

Earlier this month I laid out the logic of the One Win Away approach to the college football post-season. Tournaments are great for giving every deserving team a chance, but tournaments can weaken the regular season by admitting undeserving teams. The One Win Away approach is the perfect balance - only deserving teams are admitted into the season-ending tournament. Deserving teams are those that, if they were to beat the top-ranked team in a head-to-head, would then be ranked higher than that team - e.g. if Oregon beat Auburn, Oregon would then be ranked higher than Auburn. Therefore, by deduction, the team that wins the OWA tournament is also the team that had the strongest overall season. With the OWA approach, the size of the field will vary from year to year depending on the number of deserving teams, but there will typically be between 2 and 6 entrants.

I also suggested that the OWA field be selected using the BPR. Below is an analysis of this year's results and the OWA participants. The left column is the BPR rating, the right column is the OWA rating - the rating if the team were to beat Auburn. To qualify, a team's OWA rating must be higher than Auburn's OWA- rating in parentheses (Auburn's rating if it were to lose an additional game). Four teams would make the field this season - Auburn, Oregon, TCU, and Stanford. We would then have a 4 team tournament, with Auburn getting Stanford and Oregon getting TCU is the semi-finals. The WAC and Big 10 one loss teams might feel a little peeved for getting left out, but even with a win over Auburn they would still have faced a much softer schedule and have the same number of losses - admitting them into the OWA field would erase that.

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