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  • Rob Bowron @Beta_Rank_FB

2019 Beta_Rank Projections: Who has Upside?





I enjoy this every year because its part of how I try to explain models and math to people; they are an excellent place to start and then you add in things that you know that the model does not.


The projection model is essentially a more complex version of this simple equation


projection = recruiting + returning production + prior performance + error


So if you had crazy injuries last season at an important position (TCU, Texas Tech, Arizona) or you hired a new coordinator that you expect to make a big difference in game planning and playcalling (Oklahoma) or you just have heard from your buddy who knows a waterboy that your entire special teams unit is now special then you should bring that info on board. This article is my version of that. I am trying to figure out who might outperform the projection model in Beta_Rank this season (NOT IN W-L RECORD).


I also am running a modified projection model that includes a school specific development and coaching effect and I will include that for the teams I pick out.


Top 20

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Georgia

4. Florida

5. LSU

6. Auburn

7. Mississippi State

8. Penn State

9. Ohio State

10. Texas A&M

11. Oklahoma

12. Michigan

13. Notre Dame

14. Wisconsin

15. Texas

16. Florida State

17. Oregon

18. Iowa

19. Tennessee

20. Missouri


Upside: #11 Oklahoma (#6 in Modified Model)

The Sooners lose a ton on offense and have a brand new starting QB, but they are bringing in the best available QB on the transfer market and still have Lincoln Riley calling plays. They add underrated DC Alex Grinch and rank #13 in returning production on defense. I like this Sooners team to be in the playoff hunt.


Other candidates : LSU, Wisconsin


Downside: #15 Texas (#20 in Modified Model)

Texas would be a lot more back for me if they were bringing more production back and had less of their projection built off stellar recruiting. The Horns struggled last season when they didn't win the turnover battle and I think they could sink a little bit this season. It may keep things lively for Tom Herman, but if Ehlinger comes back for his senior year that might be the season for the Horns.


Other candidates : Penn State, Oregon



21-40

21. Washington

22. Utah

23. USC

24. Minnesota

25. Miami (Florida)

26. South Carolina

27. Nebraska

28. Iowa State

29. Virginia

30. Pittsburgh

31. Oklahoma State

32. Baylor

33. Cincinnati

34. Indiana

35. Northwestern

36. Washington State

37. Vanderbilt

38. Stanford

39. California

40. West Virginia


Upside: #31 Oklahoma State (#16 in Modified Model)

The modified model rates Mike Gundy and staff pretty highly and I tend to agree. Most of their losses are on the offensive side of the ball and that is where they normally shine. I think the offense is fine and will be good, but they return enough on defense that you could see some improvement there which could bump them.


Other candidates : Pittsburgh, Washington,


Downside: #25 Miami (#23 in Modified Model)

Miami was such a mess last season on offense and it's not like they return much to build off. They and the Trojans (both in the top 16 in recruiting) are just too talented to be this bad in the model's eyes, but it's going to be hard for them to make a big leap with so little coming back on defense too.


Other candidates: West Virginia, USC, Nebraska


41-60

41. Kentucky

42. Syracuse

43. Michigan State

44. Arizona State

45. Kansas State

46. UCF

47. Maryland

48. TCU

49. Mississippi

50. UCLA

51. Arkansas

52. Memphis

53. North Carolina

54. Appalachian State

55. Boise State

56. Virginia Tech

57. Colorado

58. North Carolina State

59. Texas Tech

60. Arizona


Upside: #52 Memphis (#26 in Modified Model)

You could easily pick TCU, Arizona, and Texas Tech here, maybe even Michigan State if you are feeling wild, but this is also where the workhorse projection model usually puts the best Group of 5 teams and Memphis is a team to watch out for. The Tigers kept Mike Norvell, who seems to be holding out for a big job, and the rank #7 in returning production. This Tigers team is dangerous and that end of season game against Cincinnati might be the Group of 5 game to watch this season.


Other candidates : TCU, Texas Tech, Arizona, UCF, Kansas State


Downside: #47 Maryland (#70 in Modified Model)

It's not that I don't think Mike Locksley can redeem himself after his abysmal and scandal plagued tenure as head coach at New Mexico, largely forgotten after his time at Alabama, but I don't think this Maryland team has a ton going for it in year one. They don't have much returning production and they haven't recruited well. Locksley is an excellent recruiter with ties to the greater DC area and put together some great offense at Bama. He could get rolling in College Park, but probably not this year.


Other candidates: Kentucky, Mississippi, UCLA


61-90

61. Duke

62. Wake Forest

63. Army

64. Purdue

65. Florida International

66. Houston

67. Southern Mississippi

68. Georgia Tech

69. Florida Atlantic

70. Boston College

71. Troy

72. Utah State

73. Kansas

74. BYU

75. Temple

76. Ohio

77. North Texas

78. La. Tech

79. Arkansas State

80. Illinois

81. Tulane

82. San Diego State

83. Northern Illinois

84. Rutgers

85. South Florida

86. Georgia Southern

87. Nevada

88. Miami (Ohio)

89. Fresno State

90. UAB


Upside: #76 Ohio (#57 in Modified Model)

The Modified Model is designed to pickup things that the regular model misses and the service academies and schools like Ohio are good examples. Ohio doesn't return a ton of production and hasn't recruited exceptionally well, but that likely won't matter as much as it would elsewhere. Frank Solich has a solid identity established with the Bobcats and they should be pretty good in 2019.


Other candidates : Army, BYU, Houston, UAB


Downside: #84 Rutgers (#103 in Modified Model)

It's hard to find good downside candidates down here, but the Scarlet Knights just haven't been well coached and they don't have any other measurables going for them. If the season heads very south in W-L then the team could mail it in and they could be even worse than predicted in the model.


Other candidates: Illinois, Fresno State, Utah State


91-130

91. Western Michigan

92. Marshall

93. Air Force

94. Middle Tennessee State

95. SMU

96. Charlotte

97. Toledo

98. Texas State

99. Louisiana Lafayette

100. Louisiana Monroe

101. Western Kentucky

102. Tulsa

103. UNLV

104. Eastern Michigan

105. Louisville

106. Buffalo

107. Wyoming

108. Liberty

109. East Carolina

110. Colorado State

111. Bowling Green

112. Massachusetts

113. Akron

114. Oregon State

115. Hawai'i

116. UTEP

117. Georgia State

118. Kent State

119. Coastal Carolina

120. New Mexico State

121. Ball State

122. UTSA

123. San Jose State

124. Navy

125. Old Dominion

126. South Alabama

127. New Mexico

128. Central Michigan

129. Rice

130. Connecticut


Upside: #108 Liberty (#92 in Modified Model)

The future home of Art Briles and Dave Bliss has a lot of returning production and a new head coach who is pretty good at the XO's part of the game. The Flames could make some waves in Freeze's first year if things mesh.


Other candidates : Wyoming, Air Force, Navy


Downside: #103 UNLV (#113 in Modified Model)

The Modified Model really doesn't think much of Tony Sanchez's effect coaching and development effect. It's almost like hiring a high school coach was not the smoothest move by the Rebels.


Other candidates: Can you really get much worse?