Achievement Index with one week left: Let’s get weird

Well, it has the benefit of being different.

After 12 weeks, I had become acutely aware that the Achievement Index was doing some things well and some things … less well.  So adjustments have once again been made, and the results are kind of weird.

(This is not all that bad since the original results were kind of weird as well.)

The biggest change has been in the weighting of losses, which have decreased quite a bit in overall importance. The net effect of this has increased the importance of overall strength of schedule in relation to wins and losses. I’m not 100 percent happy about the balance between winning games and playing tough teams, but for now, it’s closer to where it probably should be (somewhere in the middle).

The other thing I did was add a bonus for winning a conference; this is something I’d considered for much of the season, but looking at the overall rankings now, it seem fairly critical (especially in light of the way the committee places importance on it).  Even more importantly (for me at least), I personally value conference titles a great deal.  A system that measures achievement should take into account conference crowns.

(More than likely I will weigh this bonus based on overall strength of a league, but I don’t see much reason to build more than two tiers — power 5 vs. group of 5– and even that is something I’ll experiment with before settling on a methodology.)

This week, my system spit out a Playoff 4 that looks like this:  Alabama (1) vs. Clemson (4) and Oklahoma (2) vs. Ohio State (3).

Naturally, only one of those teams has won a conference title at this point (and only two of the other three even have an opportunity to do so), so this is going to get jumbled a week from now.  The Buckeyes are done and will get leapfrogged by conference winners.  Oklahoma is also done and could end up moving down as well.

Iowa, Michigan State, Florida and Stanford all have a realistic opportunity to join my Top 4.  North Carolina will be unable to overcome its terrible schedule.

Also, it would appear Bowling Green is massively underrated in general, given its schedule.

Before we get to this week’s complete rankings, here once again is 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. 35 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. 35.  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 have already tweaked it and may continue to do so.  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 here we go (asterisks denote conference champions):

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
1 Ala (11-1) 1 165
2 OU* (11-1) 3 166.3076923
3 OSU (11-1) 4 178.7272727
4 Clem (12-0) 2 183.6666667
5 ND (10-2) 5 184.4
6 Mich St (11-1) 8 186.7272727
7 Fla (10-2) 18 201.4
8 Iowa (12-0) 24 201.4166667
9 Stan (10-2) 10 203.6
10 OkSt (10-2) 28 212.2
11 NW (10-2) 44 215.9
12 TCU (10-2) 13 223.2
13 Temple (10-2) 33 227
14 Mich (9-3) 11 230.3333333
15 BG (9-3) 23 234.8888889
16 FSU (10-2) 9 244.9
17 USC (8-4) 16 246.375
18 Hou (11-1) 32 251.2727273
19 Ole Miss (9-3) 6 251.4444444
20 WKU (10-2) 17 253.4
21 LSU (8-3) 14 255.125
22 Miss St (8-4) 25 256
23 Memph (9-3) 27 261
24 Bay (9-2) 7 262.5555556
25 Utah (9-3) 31 266.8888889

There’s not a lot of justification for the playoff committee having Ole Miss as high as it does. other than, “Let’s prop up this SEC team as a major bowl participant since Florida isn’t attractive to people.”  It’s fair to call this SEC season a complete dud at this point.  (On the opposite end of the spectrum, SOS really, really likes USC. Like, really. And this is entirely fair.)

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
26 Ore (9-3) 29 268.4444444
27 Uga (9-3) 34 272
28 UNC (11-1) 19 273.7272727
29 Tenn (8-4) 20 275.375
30 Mia (8-4) 63 275.5
31 Pitt (8-4) 41 280.125
32 Wis (9-3) 35 297.5555556
33 UCLA (8-4) 30 300.375
34 BYU (9-3) 36 302.6666667
35 Navy (9-2) 12 302.7777778
36 aTm (8-4) 38 307.625
37 USF (8-4) 37 323.5
38 Toledo (9-2) 22 324.8888889
39 TT (7-5) 52 329.7142857
40 Cal (7-5) 45 331.8571429
41 PSU (7-5) 47 350.2857143
42 NCSt (7-5) 42 354.7142857
43 App St (9-2) 39 356.1111111
44 Lville (7-5) 43 357.8571429
45 Ark (7-5) 15 358.7142857
46 SouthMiss (9-3) 50 363.1111111
47 W. Mich (7-5) 48 368.5714286
48 Aub (6-6) 56 369.5
49 WVU (7-4) 26 370.5714286
50 Marsh (9-3) 54 379.7777778

I would feel a whole lot worse for UNC if their schedule wasn’t hot garbage. As it is, the Tarheels will surge a ton if they upset Clemson, and I don’t think they’ll cry too hard about 12 wins and an ACC championship.

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
51 WSU (8-4) 55 385.75
52 SDSt (9-3) 51 391.3333333
53 Ga South (8-3) 46 392.75
54 Ark St (8-3) 71 400.375
55 LaTech (8-4) 62 416.5
56 C. Mich (7-5) 66 417.7142857
57 N. Illinois (8-4) 53 418.375
58 Cinci (7-5) 65 420.1428571
59 Ohio (8-4) 73 422.125
60 AF (8-4) 61 426.75
61 Boise (8-4) 49 438.375
62 Duke (7-5) 72 443.2857143
63 Ind (6-6) 64 445.8333333
64 Akron (7-5) 80 457.1428571
65 Wash (6-6) 21 470.3333333
66 VaTech (6-6) 58 471.3333333
67 Minn (5-7) 60 472.6
68 Ariz (6-6) 86 473.3333333
69 ASU (6-6) 57 483.1666667
70 Tulsa (6-6) 95 487.3333333
71 M Tenn (7-5) 77 506.5714286
72 Uconn (6-6) 78 509.5
73 CSU (7-5) 83 524.2857143
74 K-State (5-6) 79 555.8
75 Illinois (5-7) 67 575.2

There has been much consternation over 5-7 teams making bowl games, and how that should be handled (the powers-that-be eventually settled on APR ranking). For what it’s worth, the Achievement Index likes Minnesota, K-State and Illinois, in that order (should K-State lose this weekend).

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
76 UtSt (6-6) 59 581.8333333
77 Mizz (5-7) 75 592.2
78 Neb (5-7) 40 623.4
79 ECU (5-7) 70 626.6
80 UNM (7-5) 98 643.8571429
81 Ken (5-7) 88 657.6
82 Vand (4-8) 84 695.25
83 Syr (4-8) 85 727
84 Nev (6-6) 99 760.3333333
85 Rut (4-8) 102 787
86 UVA (4-8) 81 804
87 Texas (4-7) 82 808.75
88 ODU (5-7) 116 833.2
89 Buff (5-7) 91 840
90 SJ St (5-7) 92 842.6
91 Rice (5-7) 123 843.4
92 SouthAla (5-6) 106 845.6
93 Maryland (3-9) 76 853.3333333
94 Colo (4-9) 93 857.25
95 FIU (5-7) 110 874.8
96 UTEP (5-7) 125 914
97 IowaSt (3-9) 74 933.6666667
98 Ga St (5-6) 97 994.8
99 WF (3-9) 89 1041.333333
100 GT (3-9) 68 1113.333333

Nebraska this season has been historically unlucky (I enjoy this).

Rank Team Record F/+ AI
101 Idaho (4-8) 115 1126.25
102 SoCar (3-9) 87 1209.333333
103 BC (3-9) 69 1249.666667
104 ULL (4-7) 101 1292.25
105 Ball St (3-9) 108 1311.333333
106 Fresno (3-9) 105 1447.333333
107 KentSt (3-9) 109 1452.666667
108 Tulane (3-9) 119 1477.666667
109 Umass (3-9) 100 1520.666667
110 UNLV (3-9) 103 1548.666667
111 Miami Oh (3-9) 111 1557.666667
112 Troy (3-8) 96 1567.666667
113 NM St (3-8) 117 1633.666667
114 FAU (3-9) 94 1697
115 OregSt (2-10) 114 1708
116 Hawaii (3-10) 122 1709.666667
117 Tx St (3-8) 112 1736
118 UTSA (3-9) 107 1794
119 Pur (2-10) 90 1813
120 SMU (2-10) 104 2035.5
121 Wyo (2-10) 118 2791.5
122 Char (2-10) 124 2905
123 Army (2-9) 113 3205
124 KU (0-12) 126 4146
125 La-Mon (1-11) 120 5249
126 UNT (1-11) 127 5424
127 UCF (0-12) 128 5627
128 E. Mich (1-11) 121 5793

That’s a hell of a bottom five.  Take a bow, gentlemen.

Week 12 rankings
Week 11 rankings

Week 10 rankings
Week 9 rankings
Week 8 rankings

Week 7 rankings

Week 6 rankings

Week 5 rankings

Week 4 rankings
Week 3 rankings

Week 2 rankings

As always, 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.

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