FanPost

National Transitive Rankings Post Week 8: Who Wins, A Tiger or A Spartan?


As every college football message board debater knows, winning football games is transitive. In other words, if Team A beats Team B and Team B beats Team C, the fans of Team A are perfectly within their rights to talk trash to fans of Team C. Obviously, Team A could have completely wiped the floor with Team C, they just didn't happen to play each other. If Team D happens to lose to Team C, they are also deserving of as much scorn as possible. Thus one way of ranking teams just counts how many teams' fans are permissible trash talk targets (minus those in the reverse situation).

We've reached the unfortunate time of the year when we must deal with cycles.  For instance, Rutgers beat Tulane who beat Army who beat Rutgers.  In these circumstances, the transitive win goes to the team with the shortest "path".  In this case, Rutgers beat Tulane directly (path length 1) so they get the transitive win over Tulane, even though Tulane beat Army who beat Rutgers (path length 2).  

An unfortunate by-product is that teams can be ranked below teams they beat.  However, this will only occur if a cycle exists involving the two teams. 

Like last week, the top group of teams (now numbering 17) have no losses to anyone below them and all of them have transitive wins over every team #18 and below.  Their only distinguishing characteristics are their (transitive) wins and losses against other members of the 17.  Since only a few games separate each team, there's not much interesting to say about them.

 


1t Missouri 107-0 (6-0)

Missouri jumps into #1 with their win over Oklahoma.

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Oklahoma, FSU, Miami, Illinois

1t Michigan State 107-0 (7-0)

MSU continues their stint at #1, surviving a game where they were losing for the whole game until the last 2 minutes.  

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Miami, Illinois  

3t Wisconsin 106-1 (6-1)

Despite beating Iowa, Wisconsin drops to #3.  

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Ohio State, Miami, Illinois

Top 17 Transitive Losses: MSU 

3t Auburn 105-0 (8-0)

Auburn establishes transitive superiority over the SEC after beating LSU.  The Tigers now have transitive wins over every other team in the conference.  

Top 17 Transitive Wins: LSU, Mississippi State

5t Oklahoma 105-1 (6-1)

Top 17 Transitive Wins: FSU, Miami

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Missouri

5t Boise State 104-0 (6-0)

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Virginia Tech

5t Oregon 104-0 (6-0)

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Stanford

8t TCU 103-0 (7-0)

8t Utah 103-0 (6-0)

TCU and Utah haven't played anyone in the top 17, so they only have the default wins over the unwashed masses.  

8t Louisiana State 104-1 (6-1)

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Mississippi State

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Auburn

 

8t Ohio State 105-2 (7-1)

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Miami, FSU

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Wisconsin, MSU

 

12 Florida State 104-2 (5-1)

Top 17 Transitive Wins: Miami

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Oklahoma, Missouri

 

12 Stanford 103-1 (5-1)

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Oregon

 

 

12 Virginia Tech 103-1 (6-1)

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Boise State

 

 

15 Mississippi State 103-2 (5-2)

Top 17 Transitive Losses: Auburn, LSU

 

 

16 Illinois 103-4 (3-3)

Illinois may have 3 losses, but only to MSU, OSU, and Missouri.

Top 17 Transitive Losses: MSU, OSU, Missouri, Wisconsin

 

 

17 Miami (FL) 103-6 (4-2)

Top 17 Transitive Losses: OSU, Wisconsin, MSU, FSU, Oklahoma, Missouri

 

From here on down, everyone has a path to everyone else, so the shorter path tiebreaker comes into play a lot.  

 

18 Nebraska 100-19 (5-1)

Nebraska has three reasonably high quality wins (Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Washington) gives the Huskers a lot of wins on the "shorter path" tie breaker.  Their only transitive losses are to the 17 "above the fray" teams, Texas who beat them directly, and Iowa.  (Nebraska beat Washington who beat Oregon State who beat Arizona who beat Iowa, but Iowa beat Iowa State who beat Texas who beat Nebraska.  Iowa's path is 1 team shorter, so they win on the tiebreaker). 

19 Kansas State 96-23 (4-2)

19 Iowa State 96-23 (3-4)

21 Arizona 95-24 (5-1)

22 Iowa 94-25 (4-2)

23 Oklahoma State 93-26 (6-1)

Oklahoma State bows out of the top group relatively gracefully with their loss to Nebraska.  

 

23 Texas 93-26 (4-3)

25 California 92-27 (3-3)

25 Baylor 92-27 (5-2)

27 Nevada 91-28 (5-1)

27 Texas Tech 91-28 (4-3)

29 Colorado 85-34 (3-4)

If you want to know why the Big 12 is rated #1 in the computers, one third of the top 30 teams in this ranking are from that conference.  

 

30 East Carolina 84-35 (5-2)

30 UCLA 84-35 (3-4)

30 Arkansas 84-35 (4-2)

30 Southern California 84-35 (5-2)

34 Alabama 82-37 (7-1)

This probably a bit low for Alabama, but it's hard for them to escape that they lost to South Carolina and Kentucky didn't.

 

34 Oregon State 82-37 (3-3)

36 North Carolina State 80-39 (4-2)

36 Texas A&M 80-39 (3-3)

36 Hawaii 80-39 (5-2)

36 Michigan 80-39 (4-2)

36 Air Force 80-39 (4-3)

41 Florida 79-40 (4-3)

42 South Carolina 78-41 (4-2)

43 Clemson 77-42 (3-3)

43 North Carolina 77-42 (4-3)

45 Arizona State 76-43 (1-4)

45 Washington 76-43 (3-4)

47 Northern Illinois 75-44 (5-2)

48 Brigham Young 72-47 (3-5)

49 Georgia 71-48 (4-4)

50 San Diego State 70-49 (4-2)

50 Southern Mississippi 70-49 (4-2)

52 Pittsburgh 69-50 (3-3)

Pitt is now the highest Big East member in the transitive rankings.  Every conference but the Sun Belt has a higher presumable champion at this point.  

 

53 Navy 68-51 (4-2)

53 Georgia Tech 68-51 (4-3)

55 Notre Dame 65-54 (4-4)

55 Temple 65-54 (5-2)

55 Maryland 65-54 (4-2)

55 Kansas 65-54 (2-4)

59 Northwestern 64-55 (4-2)

60 West Virginia 61-58 (4-2)

WVU crashes out of the top group with their loss to Syracuse.

 

60 Kentucky 61-58 (4-4)

60 Mississippi 61-58 (3-3)

60 Purdue 61-58 (3-3)

64 Louisiana Tech 58-61 (2-4)

65 Utah State 57-62 (1-5)

66 Central Florida 56-63 (4-2)

66 Fresno State 56-63 (4-2)

68 Penn State 55-64 (3-3)

68 Syracuse 55-64 (3-2)

68 Toledo 55-64 (5-3)

71 Wyoming 50-69 (1-6)

72 South Fla. 49-70 (3-3)

73 Vanderbilt 48-71 (2-5)

74 Indiana 46-73 (3-3)

75 Tulsa 45-74 (3-3)

76 Rutgers 44-75 (3-3)

76 Louisville 44-75 (3-3)

78 Cincinnati 43-76 (2-4)

78 Houston 43-76 (3-3)

80 Southern Methodist 42-77 (4-4)

80 Tennessee 42-77 (1-5)

82 Minnesota 40-79 (1-6)

83 Connecticut 39-80 (2-4)

84 Army 37-82 (4-3)

85 Tulane 36-83 (2-4)

86 Rice 34-85 (2-6)

87 Florida International 33-86 (2-4)

88 Troy 31-88 (4-2)

88 Alabama-Birmingham 31-88 (2-5)

90 Memphis 29-90 (1-6)

90 Texas-El Paso 29-90 (4-3)

90 Arkansas State 29-90 (3-5)

93 Middle Tennessee State 28-91 (2-4)

93 Louisiana-Monroe 28-91 (2-4)

95 Western Kentucky 25-94 (1-6)

WKU finally got a win, ending a 32 game losing streak to FBS opponents.  They even managed to get their first win on the road against a decent (for the Sun Belt) ULM team.  

 

95 Louisiana-Lafayette 25-94 (2-5)

97 Florida Atlantic 24-95 (1-5)

97 North Texas 24-95 (1-6)

99 Boston College 15-98 (1-5)

99 Buffalo 15-98 (1-5)

101 Ohio 13-101 (4-3)

Ohio has the worst transitive record of any team with a winning overall record.  Their wins are over #101 Miami (OH), #105 BGSU, #116 Akron, and #117 EMU.  Add in a loss to #102 Marshall and a 13-101 transitive record results.  

 

102 Marshall 12-102 (1-6)

 

102 Miami (OH) 12-102 (4-4)

102 Kent State 12-102 (2-4)

106 Virginia 3-98 (1-4)

107 Colorado State 9-105 (2-5)

108 Wake Forest 1-98 (1-5)

109 Washington State 0-98 (0-7)

109 Idaho 8-106 (3-3)

109 San Jose State 0-98 (0-6)

112 Duke 0-99 (0-6)

113 Western Michigan 4-107 (2-4)

114 New Mexico State 1-107 (1-6)

114 Nevada-Las Vegas 1-107 (1-6)

116 Akron 0-108 (0-7)

117 New Mexico 0-109 (0-7)

117 Eastern Michigan 1-110 (1-7)

117 Ball State 1-110 (1-5)

117 Central Michigan 1-110 (1-6)

The race to the bottom got a new contender this week.  While the CMU-Ball State-EMU "Cycle of Ineptitude" remains, New Mexico is a new contender.  UNM has losses to every team in FBS except for the 4 other winless-in-FBS teams, the three cycle members, Wake Forest, Western Michigan and Virginia.  The last two only have FBS wins over cycle members.  However, the cycle is missing losses to UNLV and New Mexico State, who have only beaten New Mexico, leading to the tie.

 

For some reason, the bottom is much more interesting than the top.  

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