Against Ranked teams - football - after championship week |

Against Ranked teams - football - after championship week


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
The last few years I’ve attempted to quantify team’s performances against ranked teams, (historically a big factor in decisions made about getting into playoffs) with a system that gives points to teams for the ranking of their opponents and adds or subtracts the point differential in their games, (adds in a win, subtracts in a loss). The ‘ranking’ points are 25 for playing a #1 ranked team, 24 for playing a #2 ranked team, etc., down to 1 point for playing a 25th ranked team. These points are easily computed by subtracting the ranking number from 26, (26-1 = 25; 26-25 =1, etc.). Over the course of the season, I add the points earned by each team in their games against ranked teams as a sort of standings but have always maintained that this is just one thing to look at in evaluating the team, not a final overall ranking.

Last year I added a new wrinkle to the basketball version of this. I totaled the points each ranked team’s opponent earned against them, (positive or negative) to get a measure of how well the ranked teams performed in these games. I then added those points together with the points against ranked teams to make my NCAA picks and it worked out pretty well so I decided to try it for football. The numbers will gain meaning each week and should be very interesting by the end of the season.

One thing I’ve found is that when ranked teams play each other, it works better if I just keep track of “against ranked teams” Example:
#5 Georgia beat #3 Clemson 10-3 Georgia +30 Clemson -30
#3 Clemson lost to #5 Georgia 3-10 Clemson +14 Georgia -14
If you add them together Georgia gets +16 and Clemson -16 yet the game was decided by 7 points.
So the first figure is “against ranked teams and the second figure “as a ranked team against an unranked team”.

Conference Championship Week (12/3-4/21)
Utah beat #10 Oregon 38-10 Utah +44 both ranked
Oregon lost to #17 Utah 10-38 Oregon -19 both ranked
Alabama beat #1 Georgia 41-24 Alabama +42 both ranked
Georgia lost to #3 Alabama 24-41 Georgia +6 both ranked
Michigan beat #13 Iowa 42-3 Michigan +52 both ranked
Iowa lost to #2 Michigan 3-42 Iowa -15 both ranked
Cincinnati beat #21 Houston 35-20 Cincinnati +20 both ranked
Houston lost to #4 Cincinnati 20-35 Houston +7 both ranked
Baylor beat #6 Oklahoma State 21-16 Baylor +25 both ranked
Oklahoma State lost to #9 Baylor 16-21 Oklahoma State +12 both ranked
Pittsburgh beat #16 Wake Forest 45-21 Pittsburgh +34 both ranked
Wake Forest lost to #15 Pittsburgh 21-45 Wake Forest -13 both ranked
Utah State beat #19 San Diego State 46-13 Utah State +40 San Diego State -40
Appalachian State lost to #24 Louisiana 16-24 Appalachian State -6 Louisiana +6

Comments: The combination of upsets and blow-outs produced some huge point totals under this system. Higher ranked teams won by 8, 15 and 39 points. Underdogs won by 5, 17, 24, 28 and 33 points.

Top 10 Against Ranked Teams through Week 11
Georgia +155
Alabama +149
Ohio State +132
Michigan +126
Utah +120
Penn State +94
Arkansas +83
Iowa +74
Auburn +72
Purdue +69

Syracuse is at -22 after the Pittsburgh game.
SU’s opponents: Ohio none Rutgers -71 Albany none Liberty -3 Florida State +7 Wake Forest 0 Clemson +37 Virginia Tech +32 Boston College -50 Louisville -1 North Carolina State +34 Pittsburgh +34

The worst team on this list is Vanderbilt at -74

Top 10 as a Ranked Team Against Unranked Teams through Week 11
Coastal Carolina +140
Georgia +125
Ohio State +100
Baylor +62
Michigan +62
Oklahoma State +62
Wisconsin +57
Texas A&M +55
Auburn +51
Mississippi +50

Syracuse has not been ranked so they have had no opportunity to accumulate points on this list.
SU’s opponents: Ohio none Rutgers none Albany none Liberty none Florida State none Wake Forest +6 Clemson +21 Virginia Tech -3 Boston College none Louisville none North Carolina State +40 Pittsburgh +30

The worst team on this list is Iowa at -73

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