Poll Dancing: Week Five, or Uncontrollable Fraudulence

A couple of years ago, I came up with a method of identifying “fraud teams”–teams that start out undefeated (with four or five wins) and then stumble the rest of the way, finishing with at least five losses.  This tends to happen to a few teams each season and their early runs usually contain at least one close win and a bunch of bad opponents.  Originally for this season, I was planning to look at one-loss teams as well, but there are still so many unbeaten teams (including half of the Big 12) that the one-lossers are going to have to sit this one out.  Anyway let’s get to it:

FraudWatch 2011

The only two teams to satisfy the criteria for total fraudulence both come from the Big 12, and I’m predicting each of them to have at least five losses by the end of the year.

1. Kansas State

Kansas State is the textbook example of a fraud team.  Three of their four wins are by four points or fewer and their opponents have won just 41.2% of their games.  Starting October 15th, they play two road games followed by games against four ranked teams (two of those on the road).  Interestingly, the first game in that stretch is against…

2. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders annihilated Texas State and New Mexico, but only one of those teams has actually won any games and it’s the one that plays in the FCS.  All told, Tech’s opponents have won just a third of their games so far.  The Raiders  host Texas A&M this week and have upcoming road trips to Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Baylor as well as a visit from Oklahoma State.

The next three teams had enough areas of concern to warrant inclusion but aren’t necessarily begging to be beaten.  I figure 3-4 losses for these teams.

3. Illinois

4. Georgia Tech

5. Oklahoma State

The final three teams had minor fraudlike tendencies, but probably won’t lose more than 3 games.

6. Texas

7. Oklahoma

8. Wisconsin

All other undefeated teams should be considered safe.  Anything can happen, but barring major injuries or other disasters, those will be the teams that finish the season with 0-2 losses.


  1. the lead... er legends and best says

    You sure you didn’t mean to type in ‘Michigan’ instead of Wisconsin? I’m a Michigan fan, but that also means I follow my team and although Hoke is the real deal and the D has played better than it has any right to thus far, there’s no way we finish the season undefeated – a 10-2 finish is still a best case scenario.

    OTOH, Wisconsin (who we thankfully do not play) has ONLY 2 possible losses at this point – @MSU and its BCS game. (*Maybe* OSU pulls the upset if Wiscy’s O-line gets drunk Friday night at the Varsity Club and Jim Bollman puts away the coloring book and finds the offensive playbook that apparently only Tressel had access to)

  2. formerlyanonymous says

    Have to agree with the sentiment that Michigan should be included (even as a Michigan fan), but maybe they were too obvious?

    Houston is another one. Watching them give up 42 to UTEP on Thursday, there’s no way it lasts. They’ve had 3 of 4 FBS games settled by one score. The 4th was a game where UH lead by only a score at the half.

    I’d at least have both of them over GT and Oklahoma State.

    I think Texas still might end up with 4 losses. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could provide back to back L’s, causing a tailspin. Mizzou, A&M, and Baylor are all capable of stealing a win, especially with the latter two on the road.

  3. I 100% expected to have Michigan on the list but this is strictly about the numbers & Michigan had no FCS opponents plus everyone was over .500 (I think). Only one close win & Notre Dame hasn’t lost since. I still don’t think Michigan is legit but they are going to have a good record. I would love to be wrong on that though.

    With Wisconsin it was a matter of weak opponents (save Nebraska, although they’re fraudy too). They’re last because I think they belong in the safe group but again, going by the numbers, they have fraud potential.

    As for Houston, I didn’t use non-BCS conference teams because they don’t generally follow the pattern. Overall, there are fewer chances for good mid-major teams to lose, especially in their own conferences.

  4. All good points. I always learn a lot from these columns…

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