I think every Friday I’ll just answer e-mail. It’s getting really tough to respond to even the good e-mailers, so I’ll pick the best ones during the week to answer here. You’ll recall last week I posed the question as to how good you thought Air Force really was. San Diego State spoiled my polling experiment by falling to Western Michigan last weekend, allowing the Falcons to jump over them in both polls, including a full-fledged ranking in the coaches poll. (Don’t give the coaches too much credit – SDSU is still getting 17 voting points in their poll compared to 4 in the AP.)


I think Air Force is somewhere in between a “Top 20 Team” and a MWC team “fighting for a 12 seed”.  I think they’ll cruise through the rest of their OOC schedule finishing 12-1 and will end up losing 4 games in conference.  They’ll probably lose at New Mexico and at San Diego State, and I think they’ll lose two more of their conference road games (probably versus BYU and Wyoming).  I think your ratings will come down a bit over the course of the non-conference schedule (even if they do win out the OOC).  Because I think they’ll lose the aforementioned games, they’ll probably be ranked top-20 by the time they lose on Jan 13 to Wyoming, but I think the string of 3 losses within a week and a half (Jan 27th – Feb 10) should be enough to drop them out of the top 25 altogether, or in any case keep them out of the top 20 by the regular season’s end.

With a record of 24-5 going into the conference tournament, they’ll have an RPI of about 0.6 which will translate in to an RPI rank of about 25.  Their OOC RPI will be high, but the OOC SOS will be around 200.  They will have a record against RPI top 1-50 of about 3-3, top 51-100 of about 6-1 and will have one loss versus a 100-200 RPI team.  The MWC should be the highest rated non-BCS conference (slightly ahead of the MVC) at 7th.  That should be enough for better than a 12 spot, but I don’t think they’ll be top 20.

I ran 10,000 simulated seasons taking the records so far as a given in order to be able to make such claims:
The results are here:


I Just printed this one to get a plug for Ryan’s site in there. I’ve honestly grown tired of dealing with RPI questions, so for those of you that live and die with RPI fluctuations, head on over to Ryan’s site.

The definitive response to my query came from this intelligent reader…

Here’s your answer:


Note—use the column to the far right… Vegas does.


Gee, thanks. Man, those power rating-type things are pretty nifty. Makes me want to try my hand at it…


I just began reading your articles on espn.com as well as items off of your website.  I enjoy most of your writing as I believe you make some incredible points, especially in your article about last year’s unlucky teams being this year’s sleepers.  However, I could not help but question why Notre Dame was left off of this list.  I understand that this may seem very biased as I am a student at Notre Dame, but I watched a lot of college basketball last season.

Very few teams suffered excruciating losses (both quantity and caliber) in the way this ND basketball team did.  Whether it was comebacks falling short, big leads choked away, phenomenal opponent shots, or missed game-winning shots, this team found a new way to lose every time out it seemed.  At one point, Notre Dame lost five consecutive Big East games by a total of 11 points.  In comparison with the numbers you gave for Kansas St. and Virginia Tech, among others, here are those of Notre Dame.  They were 2-8 in single-possession games.  12 of their 14 losses were by 7 or less points (the other 2 were by 8 and 13).  Notre Dame was also 6-10 in conference play despite being +1.0 in point differential.  For good measure, the Irish lost to Michigan for the second time by 3 in double OT in the second round of the NIT.

Now you may say that the Irish lost 3 top seniors, which is completely valid. Chris Quinn was a fantastic player who played with all his heart every game.  However, Kyle McAlarney is quicker and a better defender.  Torin Francis and Rick Cornett were not bad, but neither could run the floor and both were free throw line liabilities.  I am not so much concerned about why the Irish were left off (could have just been an honest mistake), but would rather just hear your thoughts on the matter.  Thanks for your time, and I apologize because I just realized what a rant this just turned into.  Haha.


Yes, in retrospect I would have looked like a genius talking about the Domers in that piece as I did on this very site over the summer. (It’s almost like you copied me, Jim.)

If only I had known about the sensation that is Luke Harangody. If only I had known that the Irish would be running much more this season (53rd in tempo vs. 210th last season) and still have that killer offense of ‘06.  My question for next week is: how much longer until Harangody cracks the starting lineup? Mike Brey, I beg of you: Free Luke Harangody!!!