Welcome back to the second year of the Roberts Poll!
In case you weren’t here the first time, we at Hustle Belt (with the help of yours truly) came up with a formula to rank FBS teams. It basically comes down to a mathematical formula that takes the quality of a win or loss and combines it with margin of victory to assign a team points.
This year has a slight tweak over last year. The Mountain West Conference has been relegated to the third tier of conferences (along with the MAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, and independents). Taking their place is the American Athletic Conference. Conference relegation and promotion occurs annually based on cumulative scores for that conference each year.
Due to the often unpredictable nature of college football, we expect a lot of movement in the standings. Our poll is slowly resembling a more balanced version of the AP and Coaches’ Polls. Stop by each week as we revisit the standings.
So how does each team rank? Let’s find out together.
Alabama has once again proven themselves to be the unanimous #1 team in the nation by 135 points. All of the three most reputable polls and also the College Football Playoff poll have the Crimson Tide at the top of their lists. The Roberts Poll has the top four teams currently as Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Michigan, which is repeated in the AP and Coaches Polls. First and second place are nearly locked in, barring a complete meltdown to end the season as Clemson holds a 70-point lead over Notre Dame. Also getting snubbed in the major polls and CFP poll is UCF, who landed in eighth place in the Roberts Poll.
Despite the incredible distance from first place, third place on down is all up for grabs. In fact, the average gap in the top 25 (ignoring Alabama and Clemson) is only 15 points. Army is the next up outside the top 25, sitting one point behind North Texas.
The weekly shuffle has five new teams, including our own Buffalo Bulls! As our current conference favorite, Buffalo surged to 21st place in the Roberts Poll ahead of two nationally-ranked teams and perennially over-hyped Boise State. Buffalo makes it nine members of the Group of Five conferences in the Roberts Poll Top 25, not including FBS independent Notre Dame.
This is also the first week of the College Football Playoff rankings, which ranks teams based on (I’m guessing) an alphabetical ranking of their best friends from each college. I only write this because obviously the poll is drunk. LSU came into the CFP rankings at third place, despite an abysmal drop to thirteenth place in the far superior Roberts Poll. Utah State has earned a tenth place slot in the unbiased Roberts Poll with their 8-1 record, but was duly ignored from the College Football Playoff picture. The keen observer will note that UCF is the first Group of Five team ranked, at twelvth overall. This is in contrast to three in the Roberts Poll’s top ten.
In the table below, we can see where each team currently stands compared to the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll:
Midweek MACtion is fully upon us, and I could not be happier! Five of the six games this week were during the middle of the week under the national spotlight and the MAC did not disappoint. It was a struggle keeping up with the highlights.
In the MAC East, Buffalo remains in the lead by nearly 200 points. Now ranked 21st in the Roberts Poll, the Bulls continue to put exclamation marks at the end of an already impressive season. Ohio is making a serious case for second place, however, after a dismantling of Western Michigan on the road. A wide gap in points separate the Bobcats from third place Akron, who fell below zero points in a close game against Northern Illinois. Miami and Bowling Green also lost this week, but did not affect their MAC standings. Kent State won this week to come closer to overtaking Ball State in the overall MAC standings.
In the MAC West, Western Michigan fell off hard to fifth place overall, third in the division. Northern Illinois is now the MAC West favorite with a narrow edge over the ever-dangerous Toledo Rockets. Eastern Michigan moved up to the top half of the overall leaderboard with a win over Central Michigan. The Chippewas’ loss may have been the dagger in the heart of a potential comeback this season. Ball State’s big loss at Toledo may also create too big a gap behind Eastern Michigan to overcome this season.
As always, the actual MAC title is anyone’s for the taking. While some positions in the Roberts Poll may be nearly cemented, you never really know, ya know? The table below summarizes the first week of football action for the MAC:
The best performance of the week belongs to the Alabama Crimson Tide, who shut down LSU 29-0 on the road. Alabama has been awarded 129 Roberts Poll points and a silent head nod. Ohio had the best performance in the MAC with 95 points in their Bronco beatdown noted above. This week’s worst performance came from the UTSA Roadrunners, who lost 99 points in a single 52-3 loss against an energetic UAB team.
At the bottom of the Roberts Poll, one team seems to have a lock on last place: the Rice Owls. At -609 points, the Owls are 95 points behind next-to-last Bowling Green. Two MAC teams are in the bottom ten, but Conference USA must hang their heads in shame with three of the ten worst teams coming from their conference. Each of the Group of Five conferences (and the independents) have a representative in the bottom ten, so there is no need to get too gloomy.
Because the Roberts Poll comes from the mind of a self-described nerd, we also celebrate a Statistic of the Week. This week containing Halloween, we decided to celebrate the team with the longest possession time. (Get it? It’s spooky.) Texas A&M was responsible for the longest possession in their 28-24 loss to Auburn. The Aggies held the ball for an astounding 38 minutes and 41 seconds, but were unable to pull out the victory. On the other side of coin, Auburn has possession for the shortest amount of time, keeping the ball for 21 minutes and 19 seconds. Eastern Michigan led the MAC with 35 minutes and 14 seconds of possession against Central Michigan. Next week we will point out the team with the most turnovers.
This year, there are 78 slots for postseason bowl games. With only four weeks of football remaining before that, 49 teams have already claimed bowl eligibility. Only 23 teams are completely out of contention, leaving 58 teams to fight over 29 spots. As the picture becomes clearer, the folks at the Roberts Poll headquarters will soon release our projected bowl pairings.