BY: Tony Papol (@SGEasty)
The halfway point of the CFSL season means many things to many people, but for me, it means the reintroduction of the Colley ratings. It has been 116 days since the last Colley ratings were announced, and I have been anticipating this day ever since. In what order will the four unbeatens be? How about 2-2 Texas, or 1-3 Boise State? Where will your team fall?
This season, I updated the methodology of how the Colley ratings are calculated. In the Season 15 ratings, I used a weighted approach, meaning games early in the season didn’t count as much as games that occurred later. In my mind, this made sense, as players will upgrade throughout the season, as coaches learn a playbook better, etc. The largest amount of feedback I got, from the league in general and the selection committee, was that each game should be weighted the same as each win and loss, at the end of the season, means the same. So, this season we will have unweighted Colley ratings.
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 one 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. 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 high or lower.
Colley Ratings – Season 16 Week 4
When we analyze the Colley ratings, we can clearly see three groups of teams: those rated above 0.6, those right around 0.5, and those below 0.43.
Six teams occupy the upper tier: Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Miami, Alabama, and Michigan. This isn’t surprising, as they are the teams with zero or one loss. Oklahoma State takes the top spot by being undefeated and having three victories against teams in the middle tier (Florida, Notre Dame, and Ohio State), while Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Miami only have two such wins.
The middle tier is composed of seven of the eight teams that are 2-2: Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, Illinois, Pitt, and Texas. These teams are all ranked very closely together due to the similar nature of their seasons. Their wins come against teams in the middle and lower tiers, and their losses come against teams in the upper and middle tiers. Surprisingly, Florida State does not get hurt by the loss to 1-3 Boise State, which I thought would drag them down some. The opposite holds true for Texas, who does not get any benefit for having the best win of the season so far against Alabama.
In the bottom tier, we have the teams with one or zero wins, and the remaining 2-2 team: Oregon, Boise State, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Auburn. In the Colley ratings as well as in public opinion, Oregon is 2-2, but their wins are against teams with 0-4 records, and their two losses are to teams that are not undefeated, so they get punished worse than the other teams at 2-2. Boise State, unlike Florida State, does appear to get a bump from getting a quality win against a team in the middle tier.
As always, the rankings will fluctuate with the passing of each week, especially so early in the season. But I think the rankings do a good job of already laying out the landscape of the CFSL, except for Texas who I think should be in the top tier of the league. But lucky for Texas, and every other team, you will move up if you win.
Also, MAC Colley ratings will debut next week. I waited until the halfway point for the P2 conferences for their rankings and will do the same for the MAC. Make sure to get hyped for that!