A few years ago, I thought to myself, "I could do a better job than some of the BCS computers". As I recall, at the time I felt Mizzou was underrated. The BCS rules stated margin of victory cannot be used, so I thought I'd stick to that. I put together a convergence algorithm, in which I initially rank the teams by record (so all the undefeated teams start tied at #1), then calculate each team's strength of schedule based on the current rankings of its opponents, and re-sort based on that strength. I run through this process until 2 consecutive iterations give the same result, or there is a loop. So, if iteration 10,002 gives the same rankings as iteration 10,000, then each subsequent iteration would fluctuate between the rankings in 10,000 and 10,001. I average those rankings to come up with the final rankings. It is still possible - but generally unlikely - that teams can tie for a final ranking. Now that the BCS is dead, I'll just consider these rankings my advice on #1 to #4 to the College Football Playoff committee.
Due to most teams playing other teams in lower divisions at times, and a lack of desire on my part to delve so deeply that I have to track down NAIA schedules, I've decided to count all games listed on ESPN's college football site, which includes all FBS, FCS, and Division II and III schedules, and any of their lower-tier opponents, but only when those opponents play at least a Division III team. (i.e., an NAIA team will be listed when they play against a Div III team, but the rest of their games won't be listed, resulting in a lot of 0-1 teams mixed into my system). I then filter the final results to only the FBS schools.
In the past, in week 1, there were only 2 possible situations for a team. First is to be 1-0, having defeated an 0-1 team. Second is, unsurprisingly, to be a 0-1 team, having lost to a 1-0 team. For this reason, in week 1, all 1-0 teams will be tied for #1, and the rest tied at N+1, where N is the number of #1 teams. Did your team choose to beat up on an FCS (formerly known as Division 1-AA) team? Congrats, you're #1 this week! However, since 2016 we seem to be in the era of the pre-Week-1 game, which means a 2-0, 0-2, and/or 1-1 team might be in the mix. Also, some teams don't play in Week 1, and you don't get a ranking until you play, thus the bottom of the chart may not be the full number of teams in FBS.
The FBS once again stayed steady at 128 teams this year, but again I still have to modify my filter slightly, to account for ESPN's stylistic differences in listing the teams. This year, Massachusetts is now UMass, and Louisiana Lafayette is just Louisiana. In the past, they've waffled between "Mississippi" and "Ole Miss", and changed Hawaii to Hawai'i. I try to keep up with any adjustments, but if you notice your FBS team missing, leave me a comment and they'll be there next week. I think I'm good, because I have 126 teams represented, and Houston and UT San Antonio still to add, since they were canceled due to Hurricane Harvey.
Now onto the Week 1 rankings, which are still mostly silly.
|7||San Diego State||1-0|
|81||San Jose State||1-1|
|84||New Mexico State||0-1|