Hoegher's Rankings! (discuss please!)

Er... hello everyone! I'm relatively new here, and so this is my first FanPost. I was sitting at home bored (and ignoring my polymers textbook in the corner), and I decided to try and induce some discussion here on OTE (my favorite of the SBNation blogs). And what better way to do that than with a new set of computer rankings? We clearly don't have enough of those, right? Right?

Um... right. Moving on.

I started trying to come up with a ranking system last year just before bowl season, and I had great fun with it. So much fun that I've actually got 4 different rankings now, each with their own formulas and mechanisms. Not being a mathematician, these formulas are mostly based on gut instinct and evaluating the final results by "eh, that looks about right." I make no pretense of these being anything more than amateur fun, and I readily accept any and all criticism (Just remember that every time you criticize me, a puppy cries. This puppy)

Rather than try to choose one system to post here, I thought I'd post two for comparison. The first (which I'll call the Resume Rankings) is based solely on wins/losses and schedule strength. Credit is given to facing top teams, with diminishing credit margin for lower ranked teams (i.e. the difference between #60 and #80 team matters much less than the difference between a #1 and a #20 team).

The second (which I'll call the Efficiency Rankings) is based solely on the relative performance of a team. (e.g. if 20 pts is scored on an opponent giving up 10 pts/game, the relative offense for that game is 2.0). Wins/losses don't matter, just how well the team performed against a given opponent.

I chose these two because:

1) They are diametrical opposites, and therefore give a nice basis for comparison.
2) They are probably the closest I have to mathematically sound rankings ("close" being a relative term here).
3) They have the simplest formulas, which seems better somehow. Like I said, I'm not a mathematician.

Right. Let me just fire up my Excel sheet here, and on to the rankings!

Resume Rankings
NCAA Team (# Top 10 played, # Top 25 played, # Top 50 played)

  1. LSU (3, 3, 7)
  2. Alabama (2, 3, 5)
  3. Oklahoma State (1, 3, 7)
  4. Houston (0, 1, 2)
  5. Arkansas (2, 3, 6)
  6. Boise State (0, 3, 6)
  7. Virginia Tech (0, 2, 5)
  8. Stanford (1, 2, 4)
  9. Kansas State (1, 3, 6)
  10. Oregon (2, 3, 4)
  11. Oklahoma (1, 3, 5)
  12. South Carolina (1, 3, 5)
  13. Georgia (1, 2, 5)
  14. USC (2, 2, 4)
  15. Michigan (0, 2, 4)
  16. TCU (1, 2, 5)
  17. Michigan State (0, 3, 4)
  18. Baylor (2, 4, 6)
  19. Wisconsin (0, 3, 4)
  20. Arkansas State (1, 1, 4)
  21. Nebraska (0, 4, 6)
  22. Penn State (1, 3, 4)
  23. Clemson (1, 2, 6)
  24. Southern Mississippi (0, 0, 2)
  25. Tulsa (3, 4, 4)
And the rest of the Big Ten:
  • 54.  Iowa (0, 4, 4)
  • 61.  Ohio State (0, 5, 6)
  • 69.  Ilinois (0, 4, 4)
  • 72.  Purdue (0, 3, 4)
  • 73.  Northwestern (0, 4, 4)
  • 95.  Minnesota (0, 5, 5)
  • 119.  Indiana (0, 3, 4)
Efficiency Rankings

NCAA Team (Efficiency)

  1. LSU (0.805)
  2. Alabama (0.780)
  3. Wisconsin (0.725)
  4. Boise State (0.711)
  5. Oklahoma (0.707)
  6. Oregon (0.701)
  7. Michigan (0.699)
  8. Stanford (0.695)
  9. Michigan State (0.674)
  10. Florida State (0.664)
  11. Georgia (0.661)
  12. Houston (0.660)
  13. Virginia Tech (0.652)
  14. Temple (0.651)
  15. Arkansas (0.650)
  16. TCU (0.649)
  17. Oklahoma State (0.646)
  18. Notre Dame (0.645)
  19. USC (0.638)
  20. South Carolina (0.632)
  21. Missouri (0.620)
  22. Texas A&M (0.619)
  23. Penn State (0.616)
  24. Texas (0.608)
  25. Nebraska (0.606)
And the rest of the Big Ten:
  • 31.  Ohio State (0.588)
  • 51.  Illinois (0.543)
  • 55.  Iowa (0.535)
  • 67.  Purdue (0.506)
  • 68.  Northwestern (0.506)
  • 99.  Minnesota (0.409)
  • 109.  Indiana (0.373)

So... what can we take away from this?

Chokers: Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Florida State, Temple*, Missouri, Notre Dame
These teams have simply not played up to their potential, some more than others (looking at you Texas A&M). As always, what matters in the end is whether another mark is added to the W or L column. But these teams should have more wins, looking at the numbers. Now excuse me while I go cry in a corner over Wisconsin's two losses.
* I'm as perplexed by Temple here as you are, seeing as they're not really that good (they lost 10-13 to Bowling Green, for example). I think the reason for their high efficiency is a couple of shutouts they pitched to bad teams. Numbers lie, etc.

Praying pollsters don't look at the box score: Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech
No surprise here, as the number don't forget middling performances against mediocre competition as easily as the voters. I've been down on Arkansas this whole season, and this is why. I'm ignoring Oklahoma State here, because I really don't want an all-SEC BCS Championship.

LSU and Alabama are really good.
No matter how you look at it, they seem to be the best two teams in college football. Their near unanimous support as #1 and #2 in every poll is justified, and if the BCS wants to put the best two teams in the championship, it should be them. I happen to think the BCS has not aimed to put the best two teams in the Championship in the past, so there is no reason it should start now.

Boise State is under-rated, Stanford is over-rated.
Not that this should be a surprise, but Boise State looks to be better than the pollsters are giving them. Boise State partisans have of course been screaming this for years, but at least they can take solace in the fact that they are only slightly under-rated. Conversely, Stanford is probably not as good as what the pollsters are giving them (I believe this is known as the "Andrew Luck Factor"), though again the difference is only slight.

Indiana is not very good.
Yeesh. I hope Kevin Wilson can turn this around sometime, because those are some glaringly bad numbers. I know several of us have wanted a cripple fight between Minnesota and Indiana to determine the cripple-iest of them all, but it looks like Minnesota at least has a pair of crutches, while Indiana resembles Steven Hawking after he's fallen out of his wheelchair. (I took that metaphor too far, but I got rolling and I went for it. I regret nothing.)
Well, let me know what you think! I like this community (even the Michigan State fans!), and I enjoy the opportunity to contribute something of worth.*

- hoegher

*your mileage may vary.

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