Friday, January 27, 2012

The Quest: Championships and Stadiums

If you've been reading over the last few days, you know about my decision to search for a new college football team to cheer for. I also determined a mathematical methodology to create a set of "Rankings" for the 34 teams that I have deemed to be "in the hunt" for my fandom (in true college football fashion, I'm doing Top 25 rankings). I have identified 14 different categories which I will provide teams a score between 0 and 10. Each category will come with a multiplier based on how much I care about that subject. Today, I tackle two more topics in my search for a school.

Championship Contender
Level of Interest: Above Average

Let's face it, I'm not going to cheer for a team that is bottom-of-the-barrel and has no hope of contending for a championship. Given the nature of the college football world, only two teams per year actually have a chance to compete on the field for the National Championship. Therefore, I have decided to also include Conference Championships in my category of "Championship Contender." 

Taking these two factors (National Championship and Conference Championship) into consideration, I looked back over the last 5 seasons and compiled the teams finish in the final AP Poll and their finish in their conference to give me 10 subcategories.

Points were awarded based on inverse order of the AP Poll (25 points for first, 24 for 2nd, etc). This made the total possible points from the AP Poll portion of the calculation 125. I did this to weight the AP Poll (competing for a national championship) heavier than competing for a conference championship. Since there are conferences with different numbers of teams, I divided a team's final position in the conference standings by the number of teams in the conference to normalize the data. Then I multiplied that number by 10 to give me a value between 0 and 10 for the "Conference Championship" portion of the calculation. This gave me a total of 50 possible points a team could earn in the "Conference Championship" section of the calculation.

Given the two remaining values derived from the AP Poll and Conference Finish, there were a total of 175 possible points. Since I am using 0-10 scores for each school in the overall calculation, I divided a team's Championship Contender score by 17.5 to get the final 0-10 value. Here are the top schools in the Championship Contender category:

1. Alabama 7.15
2. Oregon 7.14
3. Ohio St 7.04
4. Boise St 6.77
5. LSU 6.72
6. TCU 6.71
7. USC 6.41
8. Virginia Tech 6.08
9. Wisconsin 4.87
10. Oklahoma St 4.87

Level of Interest: Above Average

A team's home atmosphere can make or break a game, whether it be from the level of crowd noise, the intimidation factor, or something else. Every school has a tradition, whether it's Howard's Rock at Clemson, Glory Glory Hallelujah at Georgia, night games in Death Valley, the 12th Man at Texas A&M, or Script Ohio, nothing compares to just flat out dominating on your home turf. College football is deeply rooted in tradition and carrying on the legacy of those that came before you. The intimidation factor of over 100,000 fans screaming can be enough to derail even the most unflappable opponents. 

Therefore, to create a rating for Stadiums, there were two factors taken into consideration: Seating Capacity and Home Winning Percentage over the last 10 years. Stadium Capacity was ranked by dividing total capacity by 10,000. Schools with stadiums over 100,000 seats were given the slight bonus of having a score over 10.0 in this category. Home winning percentage was multiplied by 10 to give a 0-10 number. These two components were averaged to get the final score for Stadiums.

As was to be expected, Big Ten and SEC teams dominated this category, thanks in large part to 100,000+ seat stadiums at Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, and Tennessee. TCU and Boise State were buoyed by the top home winning percentages, but the low seating capacities at their stadiums (two of the lowest on the list) brought them in at 19th and 20th overall. Ohio State, with the 3rd biggest stadium (behind Penn St and Tennessee) and the 3rd best home winning percentage (88.3%) came in first in the Stadium rankings. Here are the rest of the top schools in the Stadiums category:

1. Ohio St 9.50
2. Penn St 9.10
3. LSU 8.95
4t. Alabama 8.70
4t. Georgia 8.70
4t. Tennessee 8.70
4t. USC 8.70
8. Auburn 8.40
9. UCLA 8.00
10. Wisconsin 7.90

Adding these two into the overall rankings and taking the Level of Interest multiplier into account, here is the new Top 25:

2Ohio St147.0
6tPenn St130.5
10Texas A&M121.0
11Virginia Tech119.0
12Boise St117.5
16Michigan St111.5
17tGeorgia Tech109.0
17tSouth Carolina109.0
19Boston College108.0
22tNorth Carolina103.5

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