As fans, we know instinctively that not all wins are equal, and neither are all losses. We give more credit to Stanford for its win at Oregon this weekend than we do to Ohio State for thrashing Tulane. Wisconsin’s late game heroics at Iowa were more impressive than Auburn’s lazy cake walk over Arkansas. And, Saban’s thumping of former pupil Jimbo was more important to the national championship race than was LSU’s escape against upset-minded LA Tech. In the national polls, however, all victorious teams will get equal credit for their performances and since all top ranked teams won, we won’t see much movement in the rankings.
The RPG system is different. It calculates a numerical grade for each playing performance and thus it knows that the best performances of the weekend were turned in by Alabama (104.07), Notre Dame (98.56), Penn State (98.39) and Georgia (94.27). Those were the only “A” grades among the top twelve teams. On the other end of the spectrum, Washington over Arizona State was worth just 72.19, Wisconsin over Iowa was graded at 73.30 (the Badgers stunk up Kinnick stadium until the last five minutes), and Oklahoma over Army was a dreadful 73.79. Based upon these numerical grades we can see precisely how much different the various wins actually were. When judging how good a team is, we need more than just “W’s” and “L’s” and subjective assessments to reach accurate conclusions.
Some teams are better than their records/rankings, i.e. Penn State which is #3 in our rankings but only #10 in the AP poll. Penn State narrowly escaped Appalachian State in its opener, but it turns out App State is a very good football team. Some teams are worse than their records/rankings, i.e. Notre Dame which turned in two “F” grades in previous victories.
As mentioned, Notre Dame finally woke up and played very well at Wake Forest but they are still hanging onto a spot in our rankings by their fingernails. This week we added Stanford as a twelfth team and next weekend the Cardinal play the Irish to prove which deserves to be ranked.
We would add more teams to our rankings if there were more teams that deserved a ranking. Already this season, Miami, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Michigan State and Mississippi State have stumbled before they could be added. Now the focus is on West Virginia as a possible addition.
For a complete list of ranked teams and weekend playing performance grades, visit www.nemosnumbers.com. If you want to know how the numerical grades are calculated, find a copy of Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics wherever you buy books.