Are we really overrated?

Nkohl13's picture
October 8, 2013 at 3:01p

Today's polls all seem to be based on perception's, opinion, and bias. I have attempted to create a ranking system that will rank all teams equally and fairly without any human element. The system is simple. When a team beats another team they gain points. Points are determined by the opponent's number of win's in their last twelve games, because 12 games is the equivalent of one season. So for example if you beat a good team with ten wins in their last twelve games you will get a reward of twelve points, and if you beat a bad team with only two wins in their last twelve games you are only rewarded with two points. However when a team loses a game they will be penalized points. When a team loses to another team they get the number of losses the other team had subtracted from their score. So for example if you loose to a good team that has only one loss in their last twelve games you have one point subtracted, and if you lose to a bad team that has ten losses then you will loose ten points. If you beat an FCS school you will earn their win total divided by two. If you lose to an FCS school you will have their loss total subtracted times two. So beating an eight win FCS team gets you four points, and also if you lose to a four loss FCS team then you lose eight points. This poll has a strong affect from the strength of a teams schedule. The worse the schedule is the harder it is to gain points. This is what I came up with.

# team points w-l conf
1 Oklahoma +37 5-0 Big 12
2 Missouri +35 5-0 SEC
3 Stanford +34 5-0 PAC 12
4 Ohio State +33.5 6-0 B1G
5 Clemson +31.5 5-0 ACC
6 Michigan +29 5-0 B1G
T Alabama +29 5-0 SEC
8 Virginia Tech +28.5 5-1 ACC
9 Georgia +27 4-1 SEC
10 Fresno State +26.5 5-0 MWC
11 Florida State +26 5-0 ACC
T South Carolina +26 4-1 SEC
13 Texas A&M +24 4-1 SEC
14 Washington +23.5 4-1 PAC 12
T LSU +23.5 5-1 SEC
16 Miami (FL) +23 5-0 ACC
T Auburn +23 4-1 SEC
18 Texas Tech +21.5 5-0 Big 12
19 Baylor +21 4-0 Big 12
T UCLA +21 4-0 PAC 12
21 Northern Illinois +20.5 5-0 MAC
22 Louisville +19.5 5-0 AAC
23 Houston +19 4-0 AAC
24 Notre Dame +18 4-2 Indp.
25 Northwestern +17.5 4-1 B1G
26 Oklahoma State +17 4-1 Big 12
T Florida +17 4-1 SEC
T East Carolina +17 4-1 C-USA
29 Bowling Green +16.5 5-1 MAC
30 Maryland +16 5-1 ACC
T UCF +16 4-1 AAC
32 Oregon +15.5 5-0 PAC 12
33 Michigan State +13 4-1 B1G
T Rutgers +13 4-1 AAC
T Ball State +13 5-1 MAC
36 Ohio +12 4-1 MAC
T Arizona State +12 3-2 PAC 12
38 Indiana +11.5 3-2 B1G
39 Pitt +11 3-1 ACC
T BYU +11 3-2 Indp.
41 Utah +9.5 3-2 PAC 12
T Ole Miss +9.5 3-2 SEC
T N.C. State +9.5 3-2 ACC
44 Penn State +9 3-2 B1G
45 Illinois +8.5 3-2 B1G
T Iowa +8.5 4-2 B1G
T Tulane +8.5 4-2 C-USA
48 Arizona +8 3-1 PAC 12
49 Nebraska +6.5 4-1 B1G
T Georgia Tech +6.5 3-2 ACC
51 Buffalo +5.5 3-2 MAC
52 Rice +5 3-2 C-USA
T Tennessee +5 3-3 SEC
54 Minnesota +4.5 4-2 B1G
55 Boston College +4 3-2 ACC
T Navy +4 3-1 Indp.
57 Washington State +3.5 4-2 PAC 12
58 Colorado +3 2-2 PAC12
T Texas +3 3-2 Big 12
60 Wisconsin +2 3-2 B1G
T Arkansas +2 3-3 SEC
T USC +2 3-2 PAC 12
T Old Dominion +2 4-2 Indp
64 Boise State +1.5 3-2 MWC
65 Toledo +1 3-3 MAC
T Syracuse +1 2-3 ACC
T Oregon State +1 4-1 PAC 12
T Western Kentucky +1 4-2 Sun Belt
69 Duke 0 3-2 ACC
T Marshall 0 3-2 C-USA
T TCU 0 2-3 Big 12
72 Virginia -1 2-3 ACC
73 UNLV -1.5 3-2 MWC
T Utah State -1.5 3-3 MWC
75 Nevada -2 3-3 MWC
T Wyoming -2 3-2 MWC
T Texas State -2 3-2 Sun Belt
78 Kansas -2.5 2-2 Big 12
T West Virginia -2.5 3-3 Big 12
80 Wake Forest -3 3-3 ACC
T Kent State -3 2-4 MAC
82 Kansas State -4 2-3 Big 12
T Memphis -4 1-3 AAC
T Louisiana Lafayette -4 3-2 Sun Belt
85 North Texas -5 2-3 C-USA
86 Middle Tennessee -6.5 3-3 C-USA
T Mississippi State -6.5 2-3 SEC
88 SJSU -7 2-3 MWC
T North Carolina -7 1-4 ACC
90 Purdue -7.5 1-4 B1G
91 Colorado State -8 2-3 MWC
92 Cincinnati -9 3-2 AAC
93 Troy -9.5 3-3 Sun Belt
94 SDSU -10 2-3 MWC
T Cal -10 1-4 PAC 12
T Kentucky -10 1-4 SEC
T Vanderbilt -10 3-3 SEC
98 Arkansas State -11 2-3 Sun Belt
99 UTSA -13 2-4 C-USA
T FAU -13 2-4 C-USA
101 Army -13.5 2-4 Indp.
102 SMU -15 1-4 AAC
103 Eastern Michigan -15.5 1-4 MAC
104 FIU -16 1-4 C-USA
T Tulsa -16 1-4 C-USA
T Akron -16 1-5 MAC
T New Mexico -16 2-3 MWC
108 Air Force -17 1-5 MWC
109 ULM -18.5 2-4 Sun Belt
110 Iowa State -19 1-3 Big 12
T Central Michigan -19 2-4 MAC
T South Alabama -19 2-3 Sun Belt
113 UAB -19.5 1-4 C-USA
114 USF -20 1-4 AAC
115 Hawaii -24 0-5 MWC
116 Idaho -25 1-5 Indp
117 UMASS -26 0-5 MAC
118 Louisiana Tech -28.5 2-4 C-USA
119 UCONN -30 0-4 AAC
T Temple -30 0-5 AAC
T UTEP -30 1-4 C-USA
122 Southern Miss. -31 0-5 C-USA
123 Miami (OH) -37 0-5 MAC
124 Georgia State -38 0-5 Sun Belt
125 Western Michigan - 50 0-6 MAC

So how bad is our strength of schedule? What really stands out to me is seeing Oregon at number thirty-two, yet everybody seems to be fixed on our strength of schedule. You can also see that teams like Fresno State and Northern Illinois get much more respect in this poll than the pollsters are willing to give them. We sit at number four right now, but we are set up to drop a couple spots because of our bye week. A few teams behind us might be able to jump ahead of us because we won't gain any points. 

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Dips's picture

This...This is interesting.

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

It really is.  I can easily see this circling the CFB blogosphere on nearly every related website, similar to a poll some guy on BuckeyePlanet did five or six years ago that determined the greatest programs of all time mathematically.  I know my friends who are Oklahoma fans saw that one on their website of choice, and this ranking system might also make the rounds.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Well done sir.  Top notch contribution.   

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

TMac's picture

Once you can use 2013 data to determine the value of a W or an L I'm much more interested to see if it diverges from the BCS rankings.  Right now you're using 6 or more games from 2012 to determine 2013 value.  But I like the concept. 

ONE Not Done!

GoBucksToledo's picture

I actually like it hat way because it (should) include bowl games which are usually quality OOC games.

TMac's picture

but the 2012 team rather than the one playing in 2013 - and for some teams that could be a significant difference in quality

ONE Not Done!

yrro's picture

True, but it's as close as you can get to actual data at this point. Probably better than whatever the team was voter ranked at the beginning of the season.

Oyster's picture

I like this.  Kudos for the effort too, that must have taken quite a bit of time. 

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

BierStube's picture

Nice Job .. hey your method of evaluation can't be any worse than others ... at least it takes subjectivity (i.e. style points out of the equation).  What would be interesting is to track the results of the past 4-5 years and see if the teams with the best NKOHL score have played for or at least been in consideration for the NCG.

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai


I'd trust this metric in a playoff selection formula because the math cannot lie. It is what it is. Good work!
Interesting that Mizzou is so high. LOL at Southern Miss.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

SMP's picture

I like this, you might be on to something.  This looks similar to computer point ranking of high school programs for the play-offs, but less complicated.  The high school computer points allow for secondary points, teams playing up or down a division, etc... Maybe Ohio should adapt this formula for establishing a base-line for high school programs. 
It is interesting how each team grades out.

d5k's picture

The BCS computers are sort of forced to do SOS + Winning % kinda like this.  It's not really a great predictor for how good a team is or will be (including some function of points scored/allowed is much better).  

Poison nuts's picture

Wow. Nice work on this.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

njclebuckeye5's picture

media stubbornly drinking the Oregon "kool-aid" year after year

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

GoBlue91's picture

Nice job.   But if I may say so (and I may), any system that ranks both Michigan and Alabama at #6 is, um, missing some nuance.    
It's hard to say if you're better than Clemson and Oregon, but at this point, I wouldn't want to bet.   The Buckeyes look really good, and you have a maddening habit of suddenly turning out to be good in all the places I hoped you might be bad, but you just don't know until the postseason.   

ep's picture

I'm assuming all SEC wins get double points?  because SEC

RedStorm45's picture

I'd be interested to see it at the end of the season - would the rankings be updated for the '13 performances?  Say Cal goes on to win 5 games, would OSU then get 5 points for the win over the Beats?

Nkohl13's picture

It might be better to do it that way, but my thinking is that at the time you play a team all you know about them is what they have done in their past twelve games. Some teams can start out looking like a great team and then suddenly fall off a cliff. Like in 2009 when we lost to USC we thought they were a top team when we played them, and I think that intimidation factor played a big role in our loss. If we had played USC later in the year I'm almost positive we would have won that game because we would have known they weren't that good and so would they. 

Phillips.449's picture

Also say a team lost their starting QB and lost the rest of their games moving forward.  The current way would take that into account.

Maestro's picture

Nice, I have done a ranking system for bowl matchups that takes into account about 8 different categories.  I know it takes me forever.  Thanks for the effort.

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Deadly Nuts's picture

Can't wait until you are done with that! Sounds like it will be pretty accurate. I'm working on a ranking system that I should  be done with by next Tuesday. I'm still working out the flaws in the rating system then I will have to adjust it to this weekend's results... 


lamplighter's picture

Nicely done, that.  Will SEC people really believe that they have 2 teams in the 90's?

FitzBuck's picture

The oregon data really does put things into perspective.  If it wasn't for them steam rolling UT at home and making them look like a JV team maybe voters wouldn't hold them up so high.  Great job.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

AndyVance's picture

The Oregon thing has always baffled me, because they don't have any sort of football tradition passed the current generation, unlike USC, for example. The only thing I've come up with consistently is that voters love shiny things, and that includes spiffy uniforms and high-flying offenses that put up gaudy stats against inferior opponents.
In other words, they're still hung over from the "Oregon speed" narrative from a few years back, before everyone was pretty fast.

Nkohl13's picture

To be fair this ranking doesn't technically mean that Oregon isn't any good. It just means that their wins aren't impressive enough to warrant a higher ranking right now. Oregon still has Washington,UCLA, and Stanford on their schedule and if they can win those games they will move up in a hurry.

AndyVance's picture

Yes, I understand both points. I'm just saying that from a generic "smell test" standpoint, I've never really understood the continual fawning over Oregon, and attribute it to the "reporters love shiny things" postulate.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I really appreciate your effort.  Is there a way you can compute your metric only for games played this season?  and then post an updated blog after every week?  I do think a major flaw in your current calculations is using data from last year, given player turnover in CFB, so putting things into perspective for this year would be pretty important.  Besides that, what about home field advantage built in?  I know I'm turning your very simple, yet brilliant idea into something far more complicated but something like a 1.1 multiplier for a road victory and 0.9 for a home victory would be even more interesting.  Again, this is great.
If not a blog post, I would like to petition someone on 11W staff to take up this concept and maybe tweak his ideas, getting a few additional metrics incorporated and establish a 11W ranking system instead of the blog poll, which has a fair amount of subjectivity.  With a website like 11W being pioneers in an effort to generate a completely objective ranking system, it could catch on.  

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ScarletNGrey01's picture

So no matter how you dice it, the buckeyes are the #4 team in the country.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Pretty good post.  I find this really interesting.  I hope that you continue it each week to see where it comes out from week to week. 
Go Bucks!

Alpo's picture

Nice work friend, this is pretty cool

teddyballgame's picture

Everyone likes to keep touting the 18-0 record but let's be real here for a second...
Yes, 18-0 is impressive as a whole, but there isn't a single game that's actually all that impressive on its own... #16 NU was the highest ranked win. 
We've basically proven to be very consistent at beating mid-level competition.  Remains to be seen how we'd fair against the toughest competition, but lately the eye test has been telling me that we're overrated.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

The ranking system is measuring something real, because it doesn't give you results that are illogical on the face of it (though I might argue that Oregon ranked at #32 comes close). And it's totally objective, which is the same impulse that goes into the computer rankings.
The issue I have with it is that by awarding (or subtracting) points based on the recent record of the teams that you beat (or lost to), it assumes that teams with the same record are always of equal caliber, which clearly isn't true. A team that beats LSU this coming weekend has obviously pulled off a bigger win than a team that beats Ball State -- yet both LSU and Ball State are 5-1, so both winners would get the same benefit in this ranking system. (I'm leaving aside the part about the past 12 games for the sake of brevity and frankly, me not wanting to do the work.)
My guess is that your system tends to overrate "smaller" FBS schools and underrate those from the major conferences for that very reason. For example, just looking at teams the Buckeyes have played, Buffalo sits at #51 in your rankings, and Wisconsin is at #60. That does not square with what I saw on the field, nor does San Diego State and California having the same #94 ranking. Is Cal really worse than 6 teams in Conference USA?
I know these inequalities will tend to narrow as we get farther into the season, because teams in the major conferences will be beating opponents with better overall records, since those teams are more likely to have had cake nonconference schedules (Florida State's dismantling of "undefeated" Maryland this past weekend is a perfect example). I wonder if at the end of the season, the rankings you have will contain fewer oddities.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Nkohl13's picture

Yeah I do agree with you about this. Like I said above these rankings aren't exactly saying who is the best. It is early in the season and some teams, like Wisconsin, have started out with an unusual schedule. The reason Wisconsin is so low is that in reality they haven't beaten anyone. Purdue was their best win. They lost to us which was a -0 because we haven't lost in our last 12 games, but the ASU loss docked them some points. According to this poll as of this week you could technically argue on paper that Buffalo has proved more than Wisconsin has (although the difference between 51 and 60 isn't very significant in this poll). 
You are correct about the polls getting more accurate as the year goes on. If I would have done this after the first week of the season it would have been a mess. Wisconsin still has games to win, and Buffalo still has games to lose so this will work itself out as it goes on. Oregon will rise up quickly as long as they keep winning too.

buckeyefanatic's picture

That is pretty full of win.
In regards to the question though, I'm afraid *I* overrate Ohio State.  Hard to say.  We haven't lost with Urban at the helm.
The better team doesn't always win.
The more talented team doesn't always win.
(as our 1998 edition learned)
(as did our 2002 edition)
All you have to do is win, which we are doing!

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

CC's picture

I had a hard time reading you post... ;)

kalabuckzoo's picture

 I like the concept here but it is kind of a taylor-made poll since we haven't lost a game.  I know we didn't, but if we lose that game to purdue we'd drop to 19th in the poll with just that one loss (if i did the math right).  This works great without a slip up, but any loss and it really does damage.
plus, any poll that has michigan tied with alabama is just wrong :)

CC's picture

What poll isn't Taylor made to an undefeated team?

yrro's picture

The biggest thing I think is that the ranking system needs to SOS more by the real potential losses on your schedule.
Just as an example, for a good team, if you play an 11-1 team one week and 1-11 the next, your chances of getting through it without a loss are much lower than if you play two 6-6 teams. But most ranking systems like this I've seen count those schedules as the same.
What do the rankings look like if you only count wins over .500 in your SOS, or count them double, or something like that?

CC's picture

I disagree. If you are purdue there is no way you beat the 11-1 team but you may beat the 1-11 team. Your probably going to lose to both of the 6-6 teams. If you are osu the schedule looks much different.

Catch 5's picture

But we don't care how tough Purdue's schedule is because they aren't contenders. We really only care about the top 10 or 12 teams, and they don't lose to teams outside of the top 50 so a 4-win team possess about the same threat as a 0-win team to a top team. To these teams, the schedules are really defined by how many top 10 and top 30 teams they play, not how bad the other teams are cause it really doesn't matter.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Buckabroad's picture

Wow, great idea! Thanks for your post. The SEC homers likely would not support it, because your approach is smart, thoughtful and objective. For the rest of the CB world, however, this system gives us food for thought. Even if it is not accepted completely, it could at the least be used as a basic structure for discerning polls.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

BrewstersMillions's picture

Oh man, using fancy, book learnin' math to diminish the accomplishments of the mighty SEC? Prepared to be burned in effigy in Tuscaloosa.
Really creative stuff though dude. Top notch.