BY: Tony Papol (@SGEasty)
Colley ratings use a team’s winning percentage and strength of schedule to determine how successful a program has been up to the current point in the season. Every team starts the season with 0.5 points, and they gain or lose points based on if they win or lose games throughout the season. These gains in points correspond to subsequent losses in points from other teams. For example, Team A and Team B both start the season at 0.5 points. They play 1 game against each other and Team A wins. After updating the matrix and calculating new ratings, we find that Team A now has a rating of 0.625 and Team B has a rating of 0.375. Games are also weighted across the season, so more recent games can affect the points greater than a game in Week 1. By using matrices, the ratings can compare every team and use every game to determine how successful a team has been.
Colley ratings are not predictive ratings and do not attempt to measure how successful a team will be in future games or against opponents rated higher or lower.
Colley Ratings – Week 7
|Rank (Previous)||Team||Colley Rating||Record|
When plotting the Colley ratings from highest to lowest, a tier system is made of 6 tiers, with convenient dividers at ratings of 0.7, 0,6, 0.5, 0.4, and 0.3.
Tier 1: Ohio State, Florida State, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, and Boise State
Tier 2: Michigan, Oregon, and LSU
Tier 3: Alabama, Wisconsin, Auburn, Texas, Notre Dame, Iowa, and Miami
Tier 4: Illinois, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Missouri, and North Carolina
Tier 5: Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, and Texas A&M
Tier 6: Washington*, Florida, Nebraska, and Tennessee
Tier one makes the most sense, as it is composed of teams that are either undefeated or have a lone loss. Ohio State still keeps the top spot from Florida State with four wins against teams in the top half of the rankings compared to the Seminoles’ two. Kentucky jumps Oklahoma State with an impressive win against previously fifth-ranked LSU, with Boise State moving up to fifth with the LSU loss. These five teams all make sense at the top of the rankings, and are all locks for the Playoff, barring an upset of Boise State by Nebraska.
Tier two, composed of Michigan, Oregon, and LSU, is a very difficult group of teams to rank in general. Michigan has three top-half wins in Iowa, Oregon, and against tier-one Oklahoma State, but has losses to Boise State and tier-three Wisconsin. Oregon has two top-half wins against Iowa and Wisconsin, but losses to Ohio State, Michigan, and tier-three Texas. LSU has top-half wins against Alabama and Auburn, but losses to Kentucky and tier-six Washington, although that was in week one. This group of teams is playoff contenders, and at the very least are PIT locks. Michigan is in the playoff with a win over Ohio State, and might still have a chance with a close loss. Both Oregon and LSU need to win and might perhaps need some help as well.
Tier three is made up of 5-2 Alabama and Texas, 4-3 Wisconsin, Auburn, and Miami, and 3-4 Notre Dame and Iowa. Wisconsin has three top-half wins. Alabama, Texas, and Miami only have one top-half win each, while Auburn, Notre Dame, and Iowa have zero. Miami, Auburn, Notre Dame, and Iowa likely have no chance for the Playoff, but wins will see them into the postseason. Texas likely finishes at 6-2, but other than a win in week one against Oregon, there isn’t much to help their score. Their next most impressive win will be against 3-4 Missouri, and they lost badly to both Oklahoma State and Boise State. With a win against Auburn, Alabama would have a much better chance at making the Playoff, but that would still only be 2 wins against top-half teams. With a win this week, Wisconsin would have victories over playoff-bound Kentucky, potential playoff team Michigan, and top-half Iowa, with losses to Florida State, Ohio State, and a good Oregon team.
Also of note are the biggest winners and losers in the Colley ratings from these past weeks of action. Oregon gained seven spots with its win against Wisconsin and West Virginia jumped six places with its win against Clemson. North Carolina, unfortunately, fell the most spots, dropping five places with the loss to Illinois, while Florida, Notre Dame, and Texas all fell four places.
CFSL Playoff Selection Committee Rankings Comparison
Surprisingly, the Colley Ratings and CFSL Playoff Selection Committee Rankings are quite similar, with only three teams having a difference of more than two places between both rankings. According to the Colley Ratings, the teams whose seasons are being the most overlooked are Alabama, Auburn, and Pittsburgh, all being rated two spots lower than their Colley ratings. Inversely, the most overrated teams, according to the Colley Ratings, are Clemson, Texas, and Miami. Clemson, currently ranked 16th, is rated six spots lower in the Colley ratings because they have lost their last four games and their best win is against Miami. Texas is rated five spots lower, while Miami is rated three spots lower.
Finally, remember that these ratings are not predictions for the future. They only try to explain how good a team’s season has been to this point.
If you would like a more detailed explanation of how the ratings are determined, please see this article.