October 6, 2011 - by David Hess
It’s update time again! This week we have one big item and one small one.
The big one is something we’ve been developing over the summer — a new power ratings system. It’s not in a completely finished form yet, but it’s good enough that we thought we should let it see the light of day.
The small item is our NCAA Football Polls Comparison page. Read on for a few more details on both.
Our existing Predictive Power Ratings work great, but we’re always looking to improve our analytic tools, so we created what we believe is an even better rankings system that we hope will eventually replace our current one.
There are a few main differences between these and our regular ratings:
First, the New Rankings incorporate our preseason projections. For the first few games, the preseason ratings are a big factor, but as the season wears on, they will drop out entirely. This reduces the crazy ratings that you sometimes see in the first couple of weeks.
Second, these rankings are on a different scale: zero equals average, and the rating indicates how many points above or below average a team is. For example, a team with a Predictive Ranking of 10 is expected to beat an average team by 10 points at a neutral location. We think setting the average to zero makes the ratings easier to interpret.
Third, these new rankings should be more predictive than our current ratings. They performed better in our initial analysis, but before we take the big step of replacing our old ratings, we want to do more testing.
The Predictive Rankings are the centerpiece of this new set. These can be used to forecast the winner and score of future games. The rest of the new rankings are derive from these Predictive Rankings.
Most of them are simple splits. For example, the Away Rankings show performance in road game, and the In-Division Rankings rates a team based on how they’ve played against division foes. One of our favorite new splits is the Vs 1-5 Rankings — this shows how a team has fared when playing against the best teams in the league.
There is also a set of Strength Of Schedule rankings (SOS), which indicate how difficult the opponents of a team have been or will be. Beside the normal SOS rating that shows how difficult a team’s past opponents have been, we also have Future SOS, Full Season SOS, and a few other flavors.
Finally, there are two unique ratings. The Luck Rankings compare the number of actual wins a team has earned to the number of wins expected for a team with the same rating.
The Consistency Rankings are simply the standard deviations of the individual game ratings of each team. There, a lower value means a team has been more consistent.
Here, you can compare the AP Poll or Coaches Poll to our TR Predictive Rating, letting you see which teams are getting too much or too little respect. You can also see the biggest gainers and losers in the polls, and in our ratings.
It’s a quick one-stop shop to get an overview of the college football landscape.
So, please, take a spin through the new features — especially the new ratings — and let us know what you think. It’s your feedback that helps us improve existing tools and add new ones.
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