Achievement Index version 2.0

A couple of days ago I was a little worried about how these rankings were shaking out.

So I adjusted them. This didn’t make a huge difference, but it at least made them palatable for the time being.

More crucial: I figured out some Excel shortcuts that will more than likely save me a couple of hours a week trying to input these things.

I am suddenly very open to continuing to run them (funny how that works).

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We’ve nearly reached a tipping point in the Week 8 Achievement Index

I’ve tried to be patient with you, Achievement Index, I have.  But your refusal to stop spitting out weird results is testing me.


I’m 99 percent of the way there to adjusting the weighting structure, and while there were many reasons for me to consider this, 6-1 Oklahoma being ranked several spots below 4-3 Miami (they of the fired coach for underperformance Miami) … that’s a pretty darn big one.

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A (somewhat) cursory ranking of the Star Wars films

Throughout the course of my life, I have on multiple occasions run into someone who hasn’t seen Star Wars.  After I ask them if they are of this planet, I generally get a somewhat snarky response: “I’m not into geeky stuff.”

In honor of these people, who are wrong by the way (I’ll get into that in a moment), I have categorized this post and future posts like it, you guessed it, “geeky stuff.”

I can appreciate a good joke at the joyless’ expense every time.

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Week 7 Achievement Index: Who you lose to matters

This week’s Top 4 in the Achievement Index is Big 10 heavy. A week after the Big 12 surged into prominence, Michigan State’s dramatic last-second win at rival Michigan coupled with Iowa’s dismantling of Northwestern pushed those two teams into the playoff field (if it started today).  The Top 4 for Week 7, in order, is Michigan State, Utah, Iowa and TCU.

Of course, all of those teams are undefeated, and if they remain so, they’ll continue to look good for making the season’s Final 4 (though it is naturally impossible for both Iowa and Michigan State to both finish undefeated).  What’s more interesting is looking at the hierarchy of one-loss teams, and how those teams shake out.  And in general, a theme emerges: Unlike the pollsters, the raw data doesn’t care about the logos on your helmets or the tradition your program boasts.  It also doesn’t care about your statistical profile. Instead, the data looks at one factor above all others: Who did you lose to?

I am fundamentally okay with this (for now), because this rationale was what created the playoff system in the first place.

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Big 12 riding high in Week 6 Achievement Index

tcuTwo teams from the Big 12 have earned their way into the Top 4 of the Achievement Index this week, as TCU and Oklahoma State each gutted out tough road wins in conference play against highly rated opponents.

Another Big 12 team, Baylor, has been given the benefit of the doubt by the pollsters and talking heads for winning big, but the level of achievement doesn’t mesh with the national impression.  The Bears have avoided losing, and if they continue to do that, they’ll be there at the end (and they will likewise face tougher competition to get there), but for now, the national media is putting the cart before the horse.  The Bears haven’t earned it.

Contrast that with the case of the Cowboys, still largely unnoticed in the national conversation.  Oklahoma State has three true road wins under its belt (vs. two for Baylor), a road win against the No. 25 team in efficiency (Baylor’s best road win = vs. No. 107), and a home win against the No. 19 team in efficiency (Baylor’s best win = vs. No. 37).  It’s no contest.

TCU is the rare case of the pollsters getting it right despite themselves.  The Horned Frogs have seen their efficiency numbers bounce around as they fight through injuries. As a result, they haven’t always passed the “eye test,” but that hasn’t prevented them from continuing to hold fairly strong in the traditional polls.  TCU has three road wins, against No. 19, No. 37, and No. 49.

The national collective will freak if two Big 12 teams make the playoff a year after the league was shut out.  We’re very far away from that happening, but a dispassionate appraisal of the current landscape suggests it’s not as outlandish a thought as it might generally be considered.

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