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STATS’ College Football Watchability Ratings: Week 11

By: Stats Perform

STATS’ predictive formula produces a unique rating that ranks the best college football games to watch every Saturday

Not since the chronicled Catholics vs. Convicts 1988 matchup in South Bend has Notre Dame vs. Miami meant so much to the national championship picture. The Fighting Irish came out on top in that contest and went on to win the national title, but the storied program hasn’t capture another one since.

A victory Saturday night in Miami would ease the minds of any remaining doubters and put Notre Dame wins over Navy and Stanford away from a rightful College Football Playoff appearance. But the unbeaten Hurricanes have other ideas and are chasing their own CFP berth.

The importance of that showdown makes it one of the highest-ranked games in this Saturday’s Watchability Ratings that STATS compiles each week. Want a prediction? STATS has Notre Dame edging Miami 37-34.

STATS’ data experts have developed a proprietary model that gives a watchability score to every college football game in a given week. That rating is a combination of analytics, including the projected score of each game from a model that factors in team production, explosiveness and “cleanliness” of play – a metric that includes turnovers, among other data points.

Team production includes evaluations of run and pass efficiency, explosive plays (20+ yards) and the defensive ratings also involved with the aforementioned metrics. Watchability rating takes that data combined with talent level of each team based on other various STATS models and is adjusted based on the projected final score to produce a value of watchability.

Essentially, the model takes some randomness out of choosing which game to view, making for less channel-flipping while relaxing at home or fewer maneuvers through a bar crowd to place yourself nearest the television broadcasting a certain contest.

Have a look at Week 11’s Watchability Ratings for Saturday from most- to least-watchable:

If you’re planning your Saturday around watching the best college football games in each time slot, STATS sees this week’s list as follows:

  • 12:00 – No. 17 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (8.6 rating)
  • 3:30 – No. 2 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn (10.6)
  • 8:00 – No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami (9.6)
  • 10:15 – Oregon State at Arizona (4.3)

Note: The above graphic also includes Friday’s Pac-12 showdown between No. 9 Washington and Stanford in Palo Alto. That contest has a Watchability Score of 7.7 to make it the seventh-most watchable game of the week, so if you’re looking for an appetizer prior to Saturday, there you have it.

Georgia, which won 20-19 at Notre Dame on Sept. 9, current holds the top spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and will defend that honor in at tough matchup at Auburn. The Bulldogs often haven’t been tested since beating the Irish, but STATS projects them to win a tight 28-24 battle. Given Auburn’s slim hopes of reaching the CFP, that makes it STATS’ most-watchable game this week.

Wisconsin looks to continue its undefeated run when it hosts Iowa, which crushed Ohio State in last week’s biggest surprise and looks to ruin another team’s playoff hopes. STATS projects the Badgers to win 28-23 in the fourth most-watchable game of the week.

That isn’t the only important Big Ten matchup Saturday, though. Michigan State, fresh off upsetting Penn State last week, heads to Columbus to battle the Buckeyes for first place in the East Division and the inside track to the Big Ten championship game. However, despite the Spartans being ranked 12th in the latest CFP rankings and Ohio State 13th, STATS projects to the Buckeyes for a 38-18 victory, and that romp puts that contest at only a 5.9 watchability rating.

But whatever you do, don’t get so caught up in Notre Dame-Miami that you complete forego the TCU vs. Oklahoma matchup altogether. That Big 12 showdown, which STATS gives a 7.4 watchability rating and sees TCU winning on the road, shouldn’t disappoint.