Conference Power Rankings: Week 1

Submitted by 1464 on September 5th, 2011 at 1:54 AM

For reference, I have modified this post to serve as a link for future CPR diaries. 

How the rankings are factored:

1. Each week, I come up with a W/L record for each conference. This becomes a baseline stat in two ways, as a Win% and a Loss%.
2. If a team wins a game, they receive points equal to the opposing conferences' win percentage.
3. If a team loses a game, they receive negative points equal to the opposing conferences' loss percentage.
4. I add up all the games. Each conference receives points based on what each team did during a given week. I then divide by the number of out of conference games that a conference played.
5. Once the points are tallied, I divide each conferences' points by the highest conferences' point total, so that the highest conference receives a score of 1.00.

In example:

Michigan beat WMU this week. The MAC had a win percentage of 0.615, so Michigan gained 0.615 points for the Big Ten. The Big Ten had a LOSS percentage of 0.167. This means that the MAC received -0.167 points for losing to Michigan. Had they lost to a lesser conference, the loss percentage of that conference would have been higher, so the point hit would have been more substantial.

FCS wins are not counted towards a conferences' points. FCS losses, however, are counted, and are very damaging. The FCS loss percentage is 0.947, which would be about as negative as losing to the Big Ten five times.

There are a few flaws in this system. One, individual teams are not accounted for. USC beating Minnesota means as much as if they beat Ohio State. This ends up balancing out, for the most part, as a larger sample size typically evens out the playing field. Two, margin of victory is not factored. While Auburn barely escaped, it counts as if they won by 4 touchdowns. I may address this in the future, but for now, it is way too much effort.

 

 

Conference Power Rankings

Big East 8-0 1.000
Big 12 10-0 0.932
Big 10 10-2 0.552
SEC 10-2 0.441
Indepedent 2-2 0.395
Mountain West 4-2 0.392
MAC 8-5 0.303
CUSA 5-6 0.153
ACC 7-3 -0.393
PAC 12 8-4 -0.410
Sun Belt 0-7 -0.638
WAC 1-6 -0.746

Overrated:

Big East

The Big East benefits from having an 8-0 record and wins over 'powerhouse' conferences such as the ACC, Conference USA, MAC, and an oh-so-sweet rain delayed win over The Return to Glory's. Look for the Big East to remain overrated next week, as they play Tennessee, North Carolina, and not much else.

Conference USA

CUSA sports a 5-6 record along with an above average power ranking. Three of their six losses did not count this week, as they were to the unbeaten Big 12. CUSA will most likely find themselves below sea level once next weeks rankings are posted.

Underrated:

SEC

Unfortunately, ESPN's constant drone about SEC level talent is more accurate than it is false. Over the past two years, the SEC has dominated the power rankings. This week, they were hampered by Georgia and Ole Miss losing to Boise State and BYU respectively. Expect the SEC to make a jump next week.

Pac 12

The Pac 12 is reeling after an 8-4 start which saw Oregon State become one of only two FBS teams to lose to an FCS school. Lane Kiffin did his best Brian Kelly impression after sqeaking past the Golden Gophers. The win exposed USC as a vunerable team, however the Pac 12 is much stronger than their -0.410 power ranking indicates.

Comments

1464

September 5th, 2011 at 1:55 AM ^

How the rankings are factored:

1. Each week, I come up with a W/L record for each conference.  This becomes a baseline stat in two ways, as a Win% and a Loss%.
2.  If a team wins a game, they receive points equal to the opposing conferences' win percentage.
3. If a team loses a game, they receive negative points equal to the opposing conferences' loss percentage.
4. I add up all the games.  Each conference receives points based on what each team did during a given week.  I then divide by the number of out of conference games that a conference played.
5. Once the points are tallied, I divide each conferences' points by the highest conferences' point total, so that the highest conference receives a score of 1.00.

In example:

Michigan beat WMU this week.  The MAC had a win percentage of 0.615, so Michigan gained 0.615 points for the Big Ten.  The Big Ten had a LOSS percentage of 0.167.  This means that the MAC received -0.167 points for losing to Michigan.  Had they lost to a lesser conference, the loss percentage of that conference would have been higher, so the point hit would have been more substantial.

FCS wins are not counted towards a conferences' points.  FCS losses, however, are counted, and are very damaging.  The FCS loss percentage is 0.947, which would be about as negative as losing to the Big Ten five times.

There are a few flaws in this system.  One, individual teams are not accounted for.  USC beating Minnesota means as much as if they beat Ohio State.  This ends up balancing out, for the most part, as a larger sample size typically evens out the playing field.  Two, margin of victory is not factored.  While Auburn barely escaped, it counts as if they won by 4 touchdowns.  I may address this in the future, but for now, it is way too much effort.

Bluestreak

September 5th, 2011 at 2:07 AM ^

I like the explanation you put together to come up with the rankings.

In similar vein, would it be possible to come up with a Big 10 - Power Ranking to gauge how each team is doing relative to the Conference. Just throwing the idea out there but I'd understand if it is too much work.

Thanks!

joelrodz

September 5th, 2011 at 11:58 AM ^

Yes but when your Big Ten Co-Champ (MSU) gets owned by a down Alabama team in a bowl it speaks volume about where the talent level of each conference is at. They can boast all they want when our Big Ten Champs can stand the heat in Bowl Games. Even Wisconsin couldn't handle TCU. Let's be real about where we are talent-wise between the two conferences.

MichFan1997

September 5th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas are all they got? It's not like Auburn and Florida have won title's recently or anything like that. Or when have Georgia or Tennessee EVER been good? I for one never remember a time when either of those programs has experienced any sort of success. Maybe South Carolina will be ranked one day. Or Mississippi State.

Vasav

September 5th, 2011 at 3:32 AM ^

I know that might be a silly thing for anybody to say after the last five years, but hear me out.

They had a VERY impressive win Saturday night with LSU stomping the Ducks, who returned a good amount of people. However, in the SEC's other high-profile game, Georgia - a team that was supposed to make noise in the SEC East this year - was stomped just as impressively by Boise State.

And while they only had two losses (the other one being an average Ole Miss losing an entertaining game to an equally average BYU), USC did not look impressive against ECU. While ECU is not a bad program, the 'Cocks were supposed to win the East this year. And finally, Auburn had one heck of a rally to beat Utah State. I know Auburn's not supposed to do anything this year - but neither is Utah State.

I still think they're a great conference - but I don't believe they have the depth this year that they have had in year's past. Alabama may still win the BCS Title, the SEC West may still be the best division in college football (I think MSU will make some noise there) - but I think the East is a lot lighter than expected. I think the B1G may be deeper, with two legitimate contenders in both divisions, and a strong middle class of Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan, and Penn State.

 

EDIT: Also wanted to say,great job on putting this together.

Vasav

September 7th, 2011 at 7:17 AM ^

That they got run off the field by Boise State. And that Auburn needed a miracle to beat a 4 win WAC team (Auburn was ranked right around UGA last weekend). And that South Carolina, a top ten team, fell behind ECU by two TDs at one point.

It's incredible the way the SEC has dominated the country the last five years - with four different teams. That kind of depth in a conference is unprecedented over the last forty years of college football. But I'm not convinced they have that same amount of depth this year. LSU convinced me they're for real, and I'm pretty convinced by default that Bama is too (I doubt it'll change this weekend). But unlike in year's past, I'm not convinced by default on the rest of the conference.

Mr. Yost

September 5th, 2011 at 9:31 AM ^

Houston and UCF could both be undefeated when they play each other in the conference championship at the end of the year.

 

UCF is probably the best team in the conference and would be a good Big East team and above average ACC team this year.

Houston has its AARP QB and doesn't play ANYONE.

wildbackdunesman

September 5th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

"which saw Oregon State become one of only two FBS teams to lose to an FCS school"

 

That is not true.  Quite a few FBS teams have lost to FCS teams.  In fact 25 FBS teams have lost to FCS teams in the past 5 seasons not including this year.  Remember VaTech losing to James Madison?  Minnesota lost to South Dakota?  Northwestern lost to New Hampshire?  Maine beat Mississippi State?  Indiana lost to Southern Illinois?  I bet I could find more.

NOLA Blue

September 5th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

Your statement about the SEC makes me think you didn't watch any of the games this weekend.

They were not only hampered by Georgia (who is supposed to be a top three team from the East) and Mississippi (who is supposed to be fighting for fourth in the West) losing.  The fact that Auburn was losing for 95% of its game against a non-power team from the worst conference (by your own measure) and needed a successful on-side kick with trickery to win is a huge statement about where Auburn stands this year.  The fact that South Carolina was also behind for a majority of their game against a CUSA opponent, when they are supposed to be fighting for 1st in the East, is a huge statement about the condition of the SEC East this year.  Add in that both Auburn and South Carolina were at home for these embarrassing wins... yikes.

So, week 1 tells us that either the best of the SEC East is able to barely hang on against a CUSA team at home, or is barely able to stay competitive with Boise State while taking a beating at home.  The SEC West has a great team at the top (LSU) and a terrible team at the bottom (Auburn.)

"SEC Rulz" is an ESPN meme, created to enhance the massive amount of $$$ they have invested in keeping the SEC as a customer and preventing the further expansion of successful conference networks.  Don't be fooled.  This is the year of the Big Ten.

Indiana Blue

September 5th, 2011 at 3:46 PM ^

even the SEC has Vandy and Mississippi.  It certainly looks like the B1G weak teams will be IU & Purdue ... especially since Minnesota fought tough against USC.

Is there anyway to structure conference rankings based on the top 5 teams from each conference?  I realize this couldn't be done until late in the season ... but the strength of the conference is definitely tied to BCS and other "top" bowl games.  Seems to me that the SEC is still #1 but I think the B1G would challenge the PAC 12 or Big 12 or ACC for 2nd based on the top 5 B1G teams.

Go Blue!

Vasav

September 7th, 2011 at 1:46 AM ^

UGA != LSU. However, UGA is supposed to be one of the top teams in the SEC East this year. USC is in that range too. I didn't expect UGA to beat Boise, but I did expect a probable representative in the SEC Title Game to keep it competitive - like VT did last year. UGA's loss was every bit as bad as Oregon's. Adding that in with Auburn's and USC's unimpressive debuts, and I'm just not convinced of the SEC's depth this year.

That all will change week to week - but I'm not ready to rubberstamp the SEC as the best conference in college football based off of last weekend. In year's past, I have been willing to after week 1.

 

EDIT: This is meant in reply to swazi