Sunday Aug 30, 2009

It's Football Season! Schmidt Computer Rankings Have a New Home

The calendar says it is almost September, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler.  It must be football season!  And with football season comes me spending my weekends trying to get my computer ratings going again.

This year, rather than muddling up this blog with the occasional entry on my computer's ratings, I've created a computer ratings blog that I'll do my best to diligently keep updated each week.  I've already posted last years season ending college ratings and the NFL will be there soon.

Go take a look and let me know what you think! 

Friday Jun 12, 2009

NCAA Track and Field In Progress

The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships started Wednesday but things really got going as the first finals occurred and points started to be scored.  I encourage you to go to Track & Field News or Letsrun.com to see a host of stories, but a few highlights for you here.

First, in the Decathlon, Ashton Eaton from Oregon wrapped up the win as expected getting the Ducks 10 important points in the team title.  He was on pace for a huge score but a poor showing in the pole-vault put and end to those thoughts but he still won by about 200 points.

The field for the mens 1500m was loaded and the heats did not disappoint with good times and a huge surprise.  The first heat went out quick with 3 going under 3:40 led by Craig Miller from Wisconsin, the second heat a more traditional NCAA heat going out slow with a quick last lap won by Garrett Heath from Stanford in 3:44.22, and then the surprise was in the third heat with contenders Coe, Fernandez, and Centrowitz, the latter, the collegiate leader this year and a favorite to win, had a poor showing finishing last, apparently due to a foot injury.  That makes the team competition extremely close with Texas A&M now predicted to win by 1 point over Oregon.

The result from the 1500m put even greater importance on the mens 10000m final with favorite Galen Rupp now having to win to not "lose" more points in the race with Texas A&M.  He did not disappoint as after Chelanga and Forrest tried to run away at the beginning, Rupp reeled them in and the just followed until it was time to put the hammer down, closing in around 1:59 and 3:01 and he had plenty more.  He may need the more in the 5000m tonight where he is again expected to garner the 10 points for the win.

A great writeup on the whole day is here.  Coverage is on CBS College Sports tonight and CBS tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Saturday Oct 18, 2008

NCAA Cross Country Heating Up

While it is generally not as thrilling or followed as the outdoor track and field season, many college track athletes are well into their cross country season with the Pre-Nationals event being held yesterday.

Held in Terre Haute, Indiana on the same course that the National Championships will be held on in a month, but over 2K shorter distances for both the men and women (8K and 6K respectively), it offers a preview of what's to come at Nationals. There are 2 races each, a blue and white, for both the men's and women's teams as well as an open race, so as to not have all the teams competing head to head just like they will at Nationals. Not all of the schools show up for the event either so there will still be some surprises when they line up for the championship in a month.

The highlight of the event was Liberty's Sam Chelanga setting a new course record of 22:51.3, besting former teammate Josh McDougal's record from last year, in the white race. He clearly sets himself as the favorite for the individual title and overshadowed Stanford's team win in the white race beating Iona. In the blue race Alabama held off Northern Arizona. Oklahoma State ran in the team race but held some of their runners out to run in the open race including German Fernandez, who won in 23:34.57. You will recall that German set records as a California prep this spring.

In the women's races, #1 Washington impressed totaling an impressive 36 points in the blue race with runners including Christine Babcock who herself set prep records in California this spring.

I'm looking forward to Pac-10's, regionals, and nationals over the next several week!

Sunday Oct 05, 2008

College and NFL Football Thoughts and Rankings

I am a big sports fan, as has probably been apparent from some of my blog entries, and as such am into football. I've generally been a fan of the AFC, particularly the AFC West having grown up and lived most of my life on the west coast, and as you would expect am also a Pac-10 fan.

In addition to being a fan and watching a lot of games, my inner geek gets the better of me and I dust off my computer ratings each year and have done so yet again and you can see them here. I've actually been doing them fairly regularly since 1991 when I got started after Georgia Tech's disputed championship as I thought there should be a way to objectively determine who is #1. I used Jeff Sagarin's ratings as my inspiration but have worked to tune my system to both have ratings that pass the "smell test" but also ones that do well in predicting games against the spread.

Over the years, I added in doing ratings for the NFL too and have toyed with doing them for college basketball, but it is most entertaining to look at the college ratings as that is where there is no playoff and one can argue for hours on end who is #1.

The current college ratings have Oklahoma #1, Missouri #2, Penn State #3, and USC #4. Going into this weekend Dallas was #1 in the NFL despite their loss with Tennessee close behind at #2.

In addition to doing ratings and weekly predictions, my system is able to project final records. Interestingly there are six (!) teams projected to finish the college season undefeated and in the NFL Tennessee is projected to finish 14-2 ahead of a bevy of teams at 12-4. It is still early though so things can certainly change.

So, take a look and let me know what you think.

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