Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Temple leaps, Villanova plummets in Sagarin ratings

The Villanova-Temple game had a dramatic effect on where both teams stand in Jeff Sagarin's computer ratings.

Temple leaps, Villanova plummets in Sagarin ratings


There's not all that much use in preseason Sagarin data, because the computerized index is based primarily upon current season results. Nor is it always fair to draw too many conclusions after just one week, because there's only the smallest amount of data possible. But hat won't stop us from taking a look at this week's numbers.

The Villanova-Temple game had a dramatic effect on where both teams stand. Temple jumped from 99th to 59th, while Villanova fell from 65th to 102nd. Interestingly, Temple is now one spot above Rutgers, which also beat a I-AA school at home in Week 1. The Scarlet Knights won by a larger margin than Temple did, as they beat Norfolk State, 31-0. But the result was against a clearly worse team than Villanova.

I did not check last week to see what Sagarin predicted for a Villanova-Temple final score, and Jeff Sagarin's website only displays data for the current week of the season. But the discrepancy was so big that Villanova surely would have been favored.

(UPDATE: I'm told by reader Brian Ewart, who's also a voter in the Schuylkill 16, that Villanova was favored by four points before kickoff.)

If you use the current ratings by rank, the 64th-place team playing at the 112th-place team would have been favored by seven points: 71.20 to 61.18 plus 3.00 for home advantage.

If the two teams played today, though, Temple would be favored by 15 points: 72.26 plus 3.00 to 62.41.

For the record, the highest-ranked I-AA team right now is North Dakota State at No. 48. The Bison won at Kansas, which was a nice bit of revenge for the NCAA Tournament game between the two schools in 2009.

Jacksonville State is the second-highest-ranked I-AA team thanks to their win at Mississippi. Montana, ranked No. 1 in the Sports Network poll, comes in at No. 64. Eight I-AA teams are ranked between the Grizzlies and Villanova, including CAA members Massachusetts (No. 71), New Hampshire (No. 92) and Richmond (No. 99.). It is worth noting that many of those teams did not play I-A opponents in Week 1.

As for this week's games, Temple is a six-point favorite in Thursday's game against Central Michigan at Lincoln Financial Field: 72.26 plus 3.00 to 69.04. Penn State is a ten-point underdog at Alabama, 87.65 plus 3.00 to 80.65. Villanova is a four-point favorite at Lehigh, 62.41 to 54.99 plus 3.00.

There's an interesting game in Newark on Saturday, as South Dakota State travels halfway across the country to visit Delaware. The Jackrabbits haven't played yet this season, but are ranked 103rd in Sagarin to the Blue Hens' 106th. Delaware opened its season last week with a 31-0 win over Division II West Chester, a result that does not count in the Sagarin ratings. The Blue Hens are a three-point favorite, 62.29 plus 3.00 to 62.62.

Nationally, Sagarin has No. 23 Notre Dame as a one-point underdog against No. 11-ranked Michigan, 84.46 to 80.87 plus 3.00. More interestingly, the No. 1-ranked team overall is Boise State, and No. 2 is TCU. If those teams keep winning, their BCS hopes could get a big boost from Sagarin's role in the BCS formula.

Ohio State is the top-ranked BCS conference team at No. 3. The Buckeyes are favored by 17 points over Miami (Fla.) on saturday, 89.33 and 3.00 to 75.68. This will surely dismay my colleague Matt Mullin, who is a UM alum and our office's resident Hurricanes fan.

I'll be keeping an eye on the Sagarin ratings each week, as has been the case for the last few seasons. My posts about them will be structured a bit differently than last year's were, though. Instead of looking at the impact of game results on rankings, my aim this season is to focus more on each team's path over the course of the entire season.

Stay tuned.

24. Penn State (10)
59. Temple (99)
60. Rutgers (39)
104. Villanova (64)
106. Delaware (112)
130. Penn (135)
141. Lafayette (146)
143. Lehigh (163)
189. Princeton (187)
220. Delaware State (204)
230. Bucknell (213)

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Soft Pretzel Logic is's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

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