Friday, January 27, 2012

The Quest: First Rankings

As I detailed a few days ago, I have decided to embark on a quest to choose a new favorite college football team. I identified 14 different categories that will influence my decision and I whittled my list down to 34 teams, which I initially separated into 5 "Tiers."

I have decided to take a mathematical approach to the solution and give each of the 34 remaining schools a ranking between 0 and 10 in each of the 14 categories. After that, I will apply a multiplier based on my level of interest in that category. Since there are 8 levels of interest (Least, Very Low, Low, Average, Above Average, High, Very High, Most), I will value each of the 14 categories between 1 and 8 and multiply that by the 0-10 score that each team receives. 

Since there are 14 weeks in a college football season and 14 different categories for me to consider, I will create scales for generating the 1-10 ranking for each category then release periodic rankings to determine how they effect the overall standings. At the end of the 14 mathematical calculations, I'll have a final "BCS Standings" heading into the postseason, which will determine the eventual "National Champion" (or "New Team I will be a fan of"). Since I don't want to overly bore everyone with math, I'll give a brief description of how I decided each ranking as we go.

Academic Prestige
Level of Interest: High

Academic Prestige can be a difficult thing to measure from a statistical sense. Every institution of higher learning claims that they are one of the top research institutions in some field or another. Every school has their specialties, and it can be difficult to designate which ones are better than others. Thankfully, I don't have to do this. The US News and World Report does it for me. In 2010 about the time of the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, they released a set of school rankings in which the Top 50% of schools were ranked, schools in the 51st-75th percentile designated as "Tier 3" schools, and schools below that designated as "Tier 4." 

Taking these rankings, the Top 50% comprises approximately 135 schools. Therefore, since I am going to "rank" each school between 0 and 10 points, I will award points to schools thusly:

  • Schools in the Top 15 will receive the full 10 points.
  • Schools ranked 16th through 30th will receive 9 points.
  • Schools ranked 31st through 45th will receive 8 points.
  • Schools ranked 46th through 60th will receive 7 points.
  • Schools ranked 61st through 75th will receive 6 points.
  • Schools ranked 76th through 90th will receive 5 points.
  • Schools ranked 91st through 105th will receive 4 points.
  • Schools Ranked 106th through 120th will receive 3 points.
  • Schools Ranked over 121st will receive 2 points.
  • Schools in Tier 3 will receive 1 point.
  • Schools in Tier 4 will receive 0 points

Top Academic Schools
SchoolAcademic RankPoints
North Carolina
Wake Forest

Conference Prestige
Level of Interest: Above Average

Conference Prestige is a difficult aspect of College Football to measure. Just how "good" a given conference is in any given year can be a subjective matter. Just because the Big 10 goes 1-7 in bowl games where they play 5 SEC teams makes them less prestigious than the Mountain West who beats up on the MAC, Conference USA, and a mid-level Pac 10 team en route to an undefeated Bowl season is a debate for another day. Therefore, I have decided to exclude Bowl Record from my metric for measuring Conference Prestige. There are three factors that I have decided to consider:
1. Percentage of teams in the Final AP Poll. I chose the AP Poll because it is less subjective than the Coaches Poll, total joke Harris Poll, or BCS.
2. BCS Bids. Obviously this gives more weight to the power conferences, but let's be honest. I'm not going to throw my full fandom behind a team from the MAC. It's just not happening.
3. National Championships. This should be a pretty obvious portion of the calculation. Does your conference produce champions?

Due to the sheer weight of the data that I needed to collect for this, I decided to limit the scope of Conference Prestige to results over the last 5 seasons. Does this unfairly weight the SEC because they have won the last 5 BCS Championships? Probably, but it's also hard to argue that there is a more prestigious conference than the SEC right now.

The Math:
Component 1 - Teams in the Final AP Poll. The calculation here was pretty easy. Teams in the final AP Poll divided by number of teams in the conference. This gives a percentage. Multiply by 10 and round to the nearest whole number to get a 0-10 number.

Component 2 - BCS Bids. Since the most bids any conference can get is 2 bids, I awarded 5 points per BCS Bid in each of the last 5 years.

Component 3 - National Champions. Either you won it or you didn't. 10 points for a Champion, 0 for no champion.

Given these 3 components ranked on a 0-10 scale over the last 5 years gave me a total of 150 possible points that a conference could obtain. Since I want my final number to be on a 0-10 scale, I divided the total numbers by 15 to get the "score" for each conference.

SEC - 8.0
Big Ten - 4.5
Big XII - 3.6
Pac 12 - 3.3
ACC - 3.0
Big East - 2.5
Mtn West - 1.7
Independent - 0

The Rankings

Two categories under consideration doesn't give us much of a sample size. But like the AP Poll after the 2nd week of a college football season, we have to simply go with what we have and move forward until the body of work gives us more to base the rankings on. Therefore, with two categories in the books, here are the rankings:

1. Georgia - 82
2. Stanford - 76.5
3. Texas A&M - 76
4. Duke - 75
5t. Wisconsin - 70.5
5t. UCLA - 70.5
5t. USC - 70.5
8. Auburn - 70
9t. North Carolina - 69
9t. Virginia - 69
9t. Wake Forest - 69
12t. Ohio St - 64.5
12t. Washington - 64.5
12t. Penn St - 64.5
15. Alabama - 64
16t. Boston College - 63
16t. Georgia Tech - 63
18t. Iowa - 58.5
18t. Michigan St - 58.5
20t. South Carolina - 58
20t. Tennessee - 58
22. Navy - 54
23. LSU - 52
24t. Clemson - 51
24t. Virginia Tech - 51

1 comment:

Blogger said...

Swag Bucks is the #1 work from home site.