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The Inaugural KSR FBS Football Power Ratings (Week 4)

College Football is now officially in full swing.  After 4 weeks of play, fans, teams, and experts alike are starting to gauge elite teams, pretenders, and squads that point blank aren’t very good.  Like clockwork, every single season is draped in controversy when BCS rankings start spitting out results and fans clamor that their team isn’t ranked high enough.  Rinse and repeat.  But, there’s a problem with the BCS formula, it averages many computer rankings that account for many things, but not scoring margin.  A growing trend in the world of ratings is accounting for margin of victory and also removing pace of play from the equation.  I decided to use the same techniques that Basketball Statistician, Ken Pomeroy, uses for his ratings to create my own College Football rating system. (Using Baseball Statistician, Bill James’, Pythagorean Win Expectancy Model).  It sounds complex, but it’s really not.


Some things to look for when viewing and evaluating teams.

1. This system rates teams based upon tempo free scoring margin, meaning teams who play up-tempo styles aren’t rewarded for inflated scoring margins. (Think Oregon and Oklahoma State, naturally they would have larger margins of victory than would a slow paced team of equal skill).  The numbers in the first two columns are simply points scored/allowed divided by possessions, putting every team on the same scale.

2. This system does not measure actual margin of victory, it measures the ratio between offense and defense.  By doing this actual margin is de-emphasized.

3. Defense is more valued than offense.  This also combats inflated offensive numbers.  Think of it this way, a team that outscores opponents 100-10 would be predicted to win 99% of their games while a team that outscores their opponents 190-100 would only be predicted to win 78% of their games.  Equal scoring margins, but the first team is better because opposing teams can’t score, meaning greater chance of victory. There’s too much evidence in CFB that suggests defense wins more often than offense.

4. Games against FCS opponents are de-emphasized to prevent inflated margins.

5.  Strength of schedule and location of game are accounted for.  Using last year as an example, UCF’s 41-0 win over Memphis compared to Alabama’s 38-14 win over Arkansas.  Without strength of schedule UCF’s win over a pitiful Memphis would look better than Alabama’s win over a very good Razorback squad.  Once SOS was accounted for UCF v. Memphis came to an adjusted score of 38-7 while Alabama’s win over Petrino’s Hogs came to an adjusted score of 43-6.  So it’s better to beat good teams by a smaller margin than bad teams by a greater margin.  Location of game is accounted for by giving extra credit for winning on the road and taking away credit for losing at home.

(Note that in the below rankings SOS is not accounted for just yet as teams’ margins won’t be accurate until at least week 6 when “cupcake syndrome” is erased by real competition.)


-Also keep in mind that since I cannot accurately account for strength of schedule currently and teams have only played limited games the initial numbers look a little sketchy for some teams.  So use your best judgement.  They’ll correct themselves as the season progresses. Would anybody really suggest that Texas Tech is #4, Texas- San Antonio is #31, or Indiana is #44? No. So be extremely cautious until those teams play some real opponents.


If you have any further questions Tweet me @SchuetteKSR

Sorry for boring you, but without further ado, here are this season’s initial ratings.



Article written by Jonathan Schuette

18 Comments for The Inaugural KSR FBS Football Power Ratings (Week 4)

  1. Wow what a
    9:37 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink


    Nuff’ said.

  2. hmm
    9:46 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink


    Nice Educated Response Dick

  3. We're #12!!
    9:56 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Suck it Auburn and Arkansas! Eat our dust!

  4. Billy Clyde
    10:02 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    I stopped looking at the rankings when I saw TCU #2.

    This has to be a joke..

  5. KYUniFan
    10:08 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    This site is getting watered down by weak college writers…and this nerdfest. Yeesh. Come on Matt & Drew, get adults in here and get back to mature humor and solifidy the material again. The college perspective needs to stay elsewhere. This is pitiful. Who the hell is Loserville going to lose to now? They will get 10 wins. This thing is terrible.

  6. Head Bussa
    10:09 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    TCU #2, Texas Tech #4, and Arizona St. #8? Serious flaws in this system!

  7. Jones Returns
    10:23 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    hahahahahah! what a joke. West Virginia #26???? try 4-5

  8. Duke Sucks
    10:51 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Well at least we hurt UL here. Our low ranking keepe their SOS down. See there is a silver lining to every cloud

  9. Not bad
    11:10 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    I like the nerd stuff. KSR College is not that bad, but you should have waited to publish this. There is reason the BCS waits until week 8, your dataset isn’t big enough yet. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s as accurate as it is.

  10. njCat
    11:14 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    This was actually pretty good. Like he said, the results are screwy right now because the strength of schedule factor is out of whack due to small number of games and probably because of all the easy games many teams schedule at the beginning of the year.

    Here’s a thought Jonathan… since most teams have very similar schedules year after year (conference realigned teams notwithstanding), why not use the last 12 games, including games from the prior year. Not sure if it w/b valid w/ the rest of your methodology – but might be worth a look.

    This is certainly better than the polls that are an accumulation of votes by people who don’t even watch games. And it may more well thought-out than sagarin. Nice work.

  11. matthew
    11:18 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    Woo Hoo! UTSA @ 31. Not bad for their second season, not 2nd season in D1 – but 2nd season ever.

    Go RoadRunners!

  12. Jonathan Schuette
    11:49 pm September 24, 2012 Permalink

    10. That’s something I’ve heavily considered, but I ultimately decided against it because it’s something that would have to be eventually dropped anyway. I think Sagarin and others would like to use MOV, but the BCS doesn’t allow it anymore. Bill James had a great piece on Slate a few years ago on the whole BCS situation.

    Also, thank you for the kind words.

    9. I was surprised to see them as accurate as they are as well. And in most cases the teams who are “misplaced” have played fewer than four games.

  13. thrill
    2:23 am September 25, 2012 Permalink

    i like it. seems like a good formula. will be checking it out every week, thanks.

  14. DanO
    5:28 am September 25, 2012 Permalink

    Very nice! I have seen many people who like to “poke holes” in the comments sections of these sites (and usually don’t offer a better alternative 🙂 — just part of the noise in my book. As I’m sure you know, there are always to improve any system, but you have obviously put a lot of thought into this and done a very nice job of explaining your assumptions. I for one appreciate the work you have done to get it this far!

  15. Chuck
    9:38 am September 25, 2012 Permalink

    I believe SAragin had UK #81 with the 26th toughest schedule and Louisville #43 with the 116th toughest schedule. How could TCU be #2? Florida STate should be #1 or 2. They looked terrific against Clemson I predict Ala. vs. Fla.St. in the national championship.

  16. Sean
    9:54 am September 25, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky is not better than Auburn. Period.

  17. RIP Mel Turpin
    10:40 am September 25, 2012 Permalink

    I do appreciate your work on this Jonathan, and I like the nerd stuff. But I believe you still have some bugs to work out. Not sure I can buy into the algorithms that put TCU #2, or Auburn below the Cats after what they did against LSU, or Oregon State below Indiana & Duke (in football). OSU beat UCLA last weekend, yet they are 20 spots below them in the ranking?! In what universe does that make sense?

    Did you write this program in Visual Basic on a Vista machine? #nerdy

  18. This is just
    10:41 am September 25, 2012 Permalink

    A flawed ranking system with a well-thought-out design focused at ensuring Kentucky football didn’t end up where they truly belong. (Dead Last)