T Shoe Index Team Adjustments After Week 1
We now have seen 131 out of 133 FBS teams play in 2023 and will get a glimpse of the remaining two - Clemson and Duke - Monday night in Durham. I posted on X Sunday morning that updating numbers after a big slate of games is my favorite thing about doing this job. I love to see where my T Shoe Index was right and where it was wrong with its preseason power ratings. So, now that we’ve seen almost everyone play once and some teams twice, what have we learned?
Teams I Upgraded in the T Shoe Index
While it’s easy to overreact to the good and the bad of a one-game sample size, it is my job to parse through the “but they didn’t play anybody, Paul!” and standardize the results of what we saw to determine who is climbing and who is falling in my ratings. No one helped their stock more after Week 1 than the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma laid waste to a bad Arkansas State team 73-0 in the home opener for the Sooners. While Arkansas State is a bad football team by all accounts, winning 73-0 is roughly 50 points better than what the average FBS team would be expected to beat them by, which was the highest graded performance of Week 1 in my numbers. I upgraded 7.4 points after that performance, putting them firmly in my TSI top 10.
Another team who mercilessly pulverized an overmatched opponent was the Ole Miss Rebels, who won 73-7 over FCS Mercer. Again, I get it, “It’s an FCS team!” Yes, but that exact narrative is why I elected to produce TSI FCS power ratings this year, so that I could accurately grade these performances and not just throw them out because we don’t know what to do with FCS teams. Coming into the season, Mercer was my No. 18 FCS team and Ole Miss demolished them to the tune of a 41.8 game grade, meaning they beat them by almost 42 points more than I’d expect the average FBS team would. TSI is buying the Lane Train, who will travel to Tulane in Week 2 in a game that should tell us a lot more about both teams.
While from a game grade perspective, this last team on the rise didn’t post the gaudy numbers like Oklahoma and Ole Miss, I think there’s no doubt it was the most impactful performance of the weekend; yes, I’m talking about the Florida State Seminoles. The ‘Noles beat a TSI top-10 LSU team soundly, 45-24. The problem for FSU from a numbers perspective is that LSU was punished more for getting pounded as the No. 5 team in my ratings than FSU was rewarded. LSU dropped to No. 13 after posting a lowly game grade of -2.7, while Florida State graded out a still-great 28.5, improving their power rating 1.6 points.
Teams I Downgraded in the T Shoe Index
By far the biggest storyline of the weekend was Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes taking down the TCU Horned Frogs. While the general public was very quick to anoint Colorado as having arrived, the T Shoe Index wasn’t quite as high on Colorado’s performance (game grade of 7) as it was low on TCU’s. The Frogs had a MAC-esque game grade of -14.2, which dropped their power rating 5.4 points (while Colorado did get a 3.3 point bump).
What in the world happened to the Baylor Bears? Many had high hopes for Dave Aranda’s team this season but they fell on their face right out of the gate, losing to transfer-laden Texas State 42-31. This abysmal loss translated to a -18.4 TSI game grade and a -4.8 drop in their power rating. With a home game against two-time defending Pac 12 champion Utah in Week 2, the Bears are up against it already in 2023.
After coming into the season power-rated No. 2 amid QB uncertainty and replacing three starters on the offensive line, the Ohio State Buckeyes left a lot to be desired in their boring 23-3 win over the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday. The aforementioned offense sputtered out of the gate and, although QB Kyle McCord showed glimpses of what he can do, the overall performance of the offense left a bad taste in Buckeyes fans’ mouths with a trip to South Bend looming in Week 4. TSI graded this Buckeyes performance a measly 5.6, with the offense posting its first negative game (-7.9) grade in *checks notes* FOR-EV-ER. The one bright spot for OSU was the defense, which posted a 13.5 performance grade after not allowing a touchdown. Overall, the Buckeyes got downgraded 4.5 points for its sleepy trip to Bloomington.