Monday, July 21, 2008

Saurian Sagacity’s National Power Ranking - Reputation

Last year, in reaction to a particularly irritating Stewart Mandel article regarding his opinion on the hierarchy of college football we devised an unbiased system of ranking the relative national power rankings by reputation of college programs.

The number of data points one can find regarding all 120 or so top tier college programs are sparse, but the 3 inputs we settled on last year were:

1. 10 Year Winning Percentage – I choose 10 years as being currently relevant, but also a period long enough to reflect some real data points. I think a period of 10 years reflects pretty accurately success on a “national” basis, plus it gives reduced impact to teams no longer currently competitive (remember, Army was once a dominant team).


2. Average Home Game Attendance – I was looking here for a statistic that would reflect revenues generated by individual college programs through all means (donations, tickets and merchandise). However, no private colleges release this information, nor do several public schools (such as Penn State). For those that do release the information, I realized a high correlation between overall football revenues and average game attendance. For instance, the top 10 schools by average attendance, and their place in the REPORTED football revenue rankings, are –
.
1. Michigan (4th in revenue)
2. Penn St (does not report)
3. Tennessee (12th in revenue)4
. Ohio State (2nd in revenue)
5. Georgia (3rd in revenue)
6. LSU (8th in revenue)
7. Alabama (6th in revenue)
8. USC (does not report)
9. Florida (5th in revenue)
10. Texas (1st in revenue)

* From last year’s rankings

Obviously, the comparison is imperfect, but the only complete data set available is the average attendance.



3. Total recruiting class points for the last 4 years – Obviously, the ability to recruit well is as strong an indication as a “national power” as anything. Also obviously, it is a subjective exercise. However the bias isn’t mine. This year we are using the 4 year total accumulated recruiting totals from Rivals.

The Equation

To come up with an overall equation for our ranking system, we kept it pretty simple. First I took the average of each data points for the 110 teams we had full data on. The averages were –

1. Winning Percentage - .2.0592%
2. Avg. Attendance – 46,589.44
3. Recruiting Class Avg. – 2800.136

Next, we assigned a value for each team to the percentage they were above or below the given average. Using Florida State as an example –
1. FSU winning percentage 75.591% equals 1.7299 (73% better than average)
2. FSU attendance of 80532 equals 1.3806 (38% better than average)
3. FSU recruiting of 2090.5 equals 3.1891 (219% better than average)

Lastly, to get an overall score, we add them up – 1.7299+1.3806+3.1891=6.2997

NOTE: This is NOT a pre-season ranking! This is merely a way of “sparking discussion” on who the top teams are by reputation at the present time in college football.

Thus, the Saurian Sagacity National Power Rankings for 2008 are –

1 Southern California 7.1436
2 Florida 6.8919
3 Michigan 6.6293
4 Georgia 6.4813
5 Oklahoma 6.4523
6 Ohio St. 6.4262
7 LSU 6.3454
8 Florida St. 6.2997
9 Texas 6.2920
10 Tennessee 6.2802
11 Alabama 5.9819
12 Auburn 5.6441
13 Notre Dame 5.5496
14 Nebraska 5.4369
15 Penn St. 5.4307
16 Clemson 5.3222
17 Miami (Fla.) 5.1345
18 Virginia Tech 4.7779
19 Texas A&M 4.7593
20 South Carolina 4.7430
21 UCLA 4.6782
22 California 4.4104
23 Wisconsin 4.3030
24 Arkansas 4.2876
25 Oregon 4.2473
26 Iowa 3.9749
27 Maryland 3.8926
28 Arizona St. 3.8659
29 Mississippi 3.8510
30 West Virginia 3.7535
31 Virginia 3.7452
32 Michigan St. 3.6708
33 Arizona 3.6322
34 Missouri 3.5669
35 Washington 3.5605
36 North Carolina 3.5417
37 Kansas St. 3.5106
38 Illinois 3.4922
39 Texas Tech 3.4135
40 Colorado 3.4129
41 North Carolina St. 3.4073
42 Oklahoma St. 3.3514
43 Pittsburgh 3.3408
44 Boston College 3.2816
45 Georgia Tech 3.2339
46 Louisville 3.1974
47 Purdue 3.1627
48 Minnesota 2.9648
49 BYU 2.9365
50 Mississippi St. 2.9238
51 Kentucky 2.9202
52 South Fla. 2.8901
53 Oregon St. 2.8814
54 Kansas 2.7908
55 Utah 2.6069
56 Rutgers 2.5574
57 Boise St. 2.4812
58 Southern Miss. 2.4144
59 Syracuse 2.3520
60 Iowa St. 2.3336
61 Stanford 2.3278
62 TCU 2.3166
63 Hawaii 2.2500
64 Fresno St. 2.2213
65 UCF 2.2204
66 Marshall 2.1941
67 Washington St. 2.1560
68 East Caro. 2.0137
69 Air Force 2.0119
70 Connecticut 1.9890
71 Wake Forest 1.9133
72 Toledo 1.8547
73 Cincinnati 1.7613
74 Northwestern 1.7427
75 New Mexico 1.7269
76 Troy 1.7118
77 Navy 1.6618
78 Baylor 1.6612
79 Miami (Ohio) 1.6467
80 Indiana 1.6274
81 Colorado St. 1.6241
82 Memphis 1.6212
83 San Diego St. 1.6071
84 Tulsa 1.5512
85 Vanderbilt 1.5439
86 Western Mich. 1.5435
87 Tulane 1.5013
88 Northern Ill. 1.4842
89 Louisiana Tech 1.4354
90 Middle Tenn. St. 1.4220
91 Houston 1.3963
92 UAB 1.3817
93 Wyoming 1.3704
94 Nevada 1.3633
95 UNLV 1.3326
96 Ohio 1.2774
97 North Texas 1.1962
98 Temple 1.1742
99 Duke 1.1724
100 San Jose St. 1.1533
101 Rice 1.1312
102 Army 1.1216
103 La.-Monroe 1.0708
104 New Mexico St. 1.0635
105 La.-Lafayette 1.0489
106 Southern Methodist 1.0465
107 Idaho 0.9519
108 Utah St. 0.8999
109 Kent St. 0.8566
110 Eastern Mich. 0.7878

Mandel didn’t consider Georgia a top tier team, which I thought of then (and even now) as utter nonsense.

Finally, when you think about it, these 3 metrics make a pretty good proxy for what constitutes reputation in college football – on the field success (metric 1), fan interest (metric 2), and player interest (metric 3). Personally I like it.

6 comments:

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Batten down the hatches.

Griffin said...

First of all, welcome back.

I like the idea, but I'm not sure I think that the second component of the equation is a good one. Won't that automatically favor stadiums that seat more people? i.e. if a stadium seats 110k and a avg of 80k people per game, they'll have a higher ranking than a 80k seat stadium with an avg of 70k people per game.

It also puts smaller schools immediately behind the eight ball, since there's an actual physical constraint preventing them from increasing their home game attendance.

What about using a normalized stat for the second part? Something like the avg filled capacity for home games or something...

That way, it's a fair to all schools.

chefboyardee said...

Given your criteria, it's a pretty good list. I'm surprised to see FSU over Texas, but I'm sure my memory of ten years is pretty hazy.

SDGator said...

Attendance is a proxy for revenues, which rightly puts the smaller school behind the 8-ball due to lower spending power.

Mergz said...

Since the idea is to form a ranking based on the national "power" or "reputation" of programs, colleges with larger stadiums (or at least larger average attendance) get more weight and deservedly so. While I am always impressed by "little guys" who fill out their seats, in a "reputation" poll I think more weight should go to the "Michigans" of the world who can afford to build huge stadiums and successfully fill them.

Once again the whole exercise was a reaction to Stewart Mandel and his totally arbitrary ranking of top tier colleges. We all have biases when it comes to who we feel are the top tier teams, and by using these criteria I was attempting to remove at least my bias.

Griffin said...

Interesting point. i guess it depends on if you consider "reputation" == "power".

From what you describe, it might interesting to look at the attendance for a given team when they play on the road. That might give an indication of that teams "reputation" or "star" power. If my team X was playing USC one week and Northern ILL the another week, I know which one I would be more likely to go see.

But, as "Who's NOW" proved and the useless "Title Town" solidified, ESPN can no longer be looked to for analysis.