Achievement Index has Northwestern (among others) surging after Week 3

When Northwestern dumped Stanford in Week 1, the general consensus seemed to be, “What’s wrong with Stanford?” That was perhaps fair, though that take only addressed one of the participants in that game … and it was a “hot take” in the truest sense.  We didn’t have any perspective yet.

A couple of weeks later, that win has begun to look more and more impressive for Northwestern, while the loss looks less and less troubling for the Cardinal.  It’s funny how that works.  In any case, Stanford has rebounded well and strengthened its position in the advanced metrics (and in the wins column, taken down USC in Week 3).  Meanwhile, Northwestern travelled to Duke and defeated the Blue Devils, further legitimizing themselves in the process.

Thanks to their road win and Stanford’s rebound, the Wildcats surged from No.47 up to No. 6 in this week’s Achievement Index.

Before we get to the actual rankings, here’s the rundown of my methodology:

  1. Each team is ascribed a score derived from the combined efficiency rankings produced by the fine folks at Football Outsiders (specifically, Bill Connelley and Brian Fremeau), termed the “F/+” rankings.  The basic gist of each set of rankings that goes into this merged list — individually the “FEI” and the “S&P+ Ratings” — is to evaluate a team based on its efficiency on individual plays.  If you want a general sense of how “good” a team is, with only a few exceptions, you’re going to get an accurate reading from these.
  2. The scores pulled from the F/+ do not factor into an individual team’s ranking, however.  Rather, they provide the basis for evaluating who said team has played.  So for example, Wisconsin didn’t get any credit in regards to its own ranking for being the No. 19 team in the F/+, but it did get credit for facing Alabama, which ranks at No. 1.  In reverse, Alabama didn’t get credit for being No. 1, but did get credit for beating No. 19.  This is all about accomplishments. And for simplicity’s sake, all teams from below the FBS level got ascribed the same value: 129, which is one slot lower than the lowest FBS team (128).
  3. Basic weighting is applied such that, in general, road wins>neutral wins>home wins>bye weeks>road losses>neutral losses>home losses.  There are discrepancies such that a particularly egregious home loss can hurt a team more than two road losses, or a loss to No. 1 can actually help a team more than being off that week.  The actual weighting involved is the wild card here, as I expect I may tweak it some as we go along.  Lots of philosophical debates are involved in this process (For example: Is a road win worth more than two home wins?  And is a neutral site loss to No. 1 worse or better than a road loss to No. 8?).  These questions can go on for days, honestly, and much of it is dependent on an individual’s point of view.  I tried to go with the above approach as much as possible and applied a fair, consistent system across the board, so we’ll see where the chips fall.

So with all that said, here are the rankings for Week 3.

1. Temple (3-0) … 56.5
2. Notre Dame (3-0) … 60.167
3. Michigan St. (3-0) … 68.167
4. Utah (3-0) … 81.667
5. UCLA (3-0) … 84.667
6. Northwestern (3-0) … 102.167
7. Georgia (3-0) … 103.667
8. Texas A&M (3-0) … 109.333
9. Ohio State (3-0) … 117
10. Memphis (3-0) … 117.667
11. Miami (3-0) … 121.833
12. Oklahoma (3-0) … 130.167
13. Iowa (3-0) … 130.667
14. Ohio (3-0) … 139.167
15. Florida (3-0) … 140
16. K-State (3-0) … 140.5
17. Florida State (3-0) … 147
18. Cal (3-0) … 150
19. Ole Miss (3-0) … 154.167
20. LSU (2-0) … 155.167
21. TCU (3-0) … 163
22. Missouri (3-0) … 164
23. Texas Tech (3-0) … 175.667
24. Clemson (3-0) … 179.167
25. Arizona (3-0) … 179.833

26. Oklahoma State (3-0) … 180.5
27. Indiana (3-0) … 183.333
28. N.C. State (3-0) … 184.667
29. Toledo (2-0) … 190.333
30. Syracuse (3-0) … 208
31. Houston (2-0) … 223.167
32. Baylor (2-0) … 233.667
33. West Virginia (2-0) … 258
34. Navy (2-0) … 261.333
35. Middle Tennessee (2-1) … 262.667
36. Hawaii (2-1) … 346
37. Wisconsin (2-1) … 358.667
38. Northern Illinois (2-1) … 366
39. Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) … 516
40. Auburn (2-1) … 600.333
41. Georgia Tech (2-1) … 852.667
42. Virginia Tech (2-1) … 899.833
43. Air Force (2-1) … 948
44. Oregon (2-1) … 964.667
45. BYU (2-1) … 1219
46. Appalachian State (1-1) … 1316
47. Alabama (2-1) … 1658.333
48. Tulsa (2-1) … 1681.5
49. Ball State (2-1) … 1907
50. Mississippi State (2-1) … 2104.833

51. Washington (2-1) … 2230
52. Boston College (2-1) … 2572
53. Georgia Southern (2-1) … 2845.333
54. Boise State (2-1) … 2924
55. UConn (2-1) … 3060.667
56. South Alabama (2-1) … 3099.667
57. Oregon State (2-1) … 3248
58. Michigan (2-1) … 3736.667
59. Arizona State (2-1) … 3758.667
60. Stanford (2-1) … 4053.667
61. Minnesota (2-1) … 4076.167
62. Virginia (1-2) … 4086
63. Buffalo (2-1) … 4201.833
64. Illinois (2-1) … 4352
65. Pittsburgh (2-1) … 4605
66. Penn State (2-1) … 4832.667
67. Rice (2-1) … 5706.333
68. USC (2-1) … 6135.333
69. SMU (1-2) … 6281.333
70. Tennessee (2-1) … 6507.667
71. North Carolina (2-1) … 6727.333
72. Troy (1-2) … 7086
73. Louisiana Tech (1-2) … 7386
74. Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) … 7416
75. Charlotte (2-1) … 7905.667

76. UTEP (1-2) … 8020.667
77. Marshall (2-1) … 8041.333
78. Wake Forest (2-1) … 8104.667
79. Western Kentucky (2-1) … 8647
80. Florida International (2-1) … 8698.833
81. South Florida (1-2) … 8786
82. Southern Miss (2-1) … 9303.5
83. Utah State (1-2) … 9386
84. East Carolina (1-2) … 9486
85. Western Michigan (1-2) … 9586
86. Kent State (1-2) … 10086
87. Colorado (2-1) … 11094.333
88. Arkansas State (1-2) … 13086
89. Purdue (1-2) … 13686
90. UNLV (0-3) … 13900
91. Nebraska (1-2) … 14777.333
92. Fresno State (1-2) … 14886
93. San Jose State (1-2) … 15686
94. Duke (2-1) … 16102.667
95. Tulane (1-2) … 16586
96. UTSA (0-3) … 16900
97. Nevada (1-2) … 17486
98. Kentucky (2-1) … 17668.167
99. Cincinnati (2-1) … 18905.5
100. Akron (1-2) … 20086

101. Old Dominion (2-1) … 20507
102. Vanderbilt (1-2) … 20886
103. Central Michigan (1-2) … 21686
104. Texas (1-2) … 21971.333
105. Iowa State (1-2) … 23586
106. Bowling Green (1-2) … 26113.5
107. Maryland (2-1) … 26153.333
108. Miami, Ohio (1-2) … 27586
109. UMass (0-2) … 27930
110. South Carolina (1-2) … 29114
111. New Mexico (1-2) … 32086
112. Idaho (1-2) … 33086
113. Colorado State (1-2) … 33286
114. Rutgers (1-2) … 39386
115. Louisville (0-3) … 40000
116. Arkansas (1-2) … 43685.333
117. Texas State (1-2) … 45886
118. Georgia State (1-2) … 46920.667
119. Washington State (2-1) … 51698
120. San Diego State (1-2) … 51786
121. North Texas (0-2) … 53530
122. Florida Atlantic (0-3) … 62700
123. Eastern Michigan (1-2) … 70020.5
124. Kansas (0-2) … 75330
125. UCF (0-3) … 91900

126. Army (0-3) … 98200
127. New Mexico State (0-3) … 102800
128. Wyoming (0-3) … 110800

Week 2 rankings

Same as last week, let me know your thoughts and feel free to share with friends, family, and special persons of import.

(See any errors in record/placement?  Probably a typo since I did most of this by hand, but I’d appreciate hearing about it anyway … I might have goofed up something in the rankings themselves.)

2 thoughts on “Achievement Index has Northwestern (among others) surging after Week 3”

  1. Interesting ranking system- I know nothing about Temple, or their schedule, but seems finding them some good matchups this season would help validate these numbers some. Being #1 they seem to be the only interesting outlier that catches my eye right away, everything else looks like it could be justified forgiving them their name and status.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      Temple has beaten Penn State and won twice on the road since, once against a Top 51 team (Cinci). They’ve got some weaker teams on deck the next 3 weeks, so they figure to drop some soon.

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