LAZINDEX 21st CENTURY consolidated college rankings - 3/24/13
Immediately following Alabama's blowout of Notre Dame in the National Championship, I decided to re-create the 2000 and 2001 seasons in order to compile a complete analysis of college football power rankings since the turn of the century. In doing so, the ranking list revealed some significant surprises. It first proved we all have very short memories and considering the dominance of the SEC over the past 7 seasons, who could think the data would reveal something other than an abundance of SEC teams in the top 5? In studying the data the first thing that jumped out at me was that prior to the Crimson Tide beginning their incredible run of winning 3 titles in 4 seasons (49 -5 .907 from 2009-2012), they were just another above average program. Not many of us remember the years 2000-2008, when Alabama went 65-48. In any event, this is a consolidated ranking using Lazindex Power Ranking formulas. I will continue to publish this annually for as long as I continue to do the rankings. Many thanks to James Howell and Peter Wolfe for providing the scores of each and every game in seasons 2000 and 2001. This would not have been possible without their efforts.
Combined Power Rankings 2000-2012
Divisional Power Rankings 2000-2012
Combined Win Percentages 2000-2012
Divisional Win Percentages 2000-2012
HOW IT WORKS (Updated 01/29/06)
HOW IT WORKS
EXPLORING HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Sooner or later, most sports handicappers resort to using some type of value which is applied to teams playing at home in order to assist them with game predictions. But ask 10 different ranking experts how many points they award for home field advantage and chances are you’ll get a minimum of five or six different answers. Over the years, I’ve come across systems that allow as many as seven to 10 points and some that allow as few as none. Others employ calculated, unique point assignments for each team. However, the most common response you’re apt to hear is simply, “three.” Why three? Is this an average? Or perhaps this is a magical number a mathematician devised that just seems to work? Chances are, the number “3” was derived from a little bit of each and passed on as a consensus over the years.
The LazIndex has used a three point standard for college teams playing at home and a one point average for high school home teams for several years. But just how accurate is this method?
A re-examination of the 2004 football season brought to light some very interesting data. By extracting the Power Rating performances of each school at home vs. on the road for all 707 college teams, it was found that 544 (77%) did perform better at home than on the road.
A decent percentage but this still leaves 163 teams that played better as road warriors.
In 2004, the average variance between home and away power ratings for all 707 colleges was found to be +2.19.
A deeper look revealed the most startling information. Of the 707 schools, only 277 (39 %) actually played three or more points better at home than on the road. The problem now is that the LazIndex power rating values assigned to each team are a COMBINATION of home and road performances.
However, because the “combined” power rating calculated for Hawaii was 109.36 we cannot just add 12.58 points for their home performance because at no time did they play to a level of 121.94. But should
Georgia Tech 118.74 Combined 120.58 – Away 116.89 – Home -3.69
Is it conceivable to SUBTRACT 3.69 points from their away power rating of 120.58 or even worse from their combined power rating of 118.74? The latter method would create a level of play lower than they performed all season.
Let’s move on. There is a noticeable drop in margins as we move down through the various classifications of college football. Here are the average margins for each division
D1A 112.64 Combined 110.82 – Away 114.57 – Home +3.75
D1AA 86.19 Combined 85.07 – Away 87.28 – Home +2.21
D2 74.87 Combined 74.03 – Away 75.78 – Home +1.75
D3 52.45 Combined 51.56 – Away 53.34 – Home +1.78
NAIA 55.91 Combined 54.98 – Away 56.87 – Home +1.89
I believe there are two major factors that can be attributed to the decline in home field advantage
throughout the lower divisions of college football:
1) Travel Distance
Geographically speaking, Division 1A conferences cover vast expanses of the country as compared to the lower divisions in college football which are typically confined to smaller regional areas. For example: The Division 1A conference with the highest home/away variance is the Western Athletic Conference (+ 6.40). This conference consists of 10 schools in seven states covering an area ranging from
In addition, the enormous home attendance in Division 1A easily dwarfs in comparison the size of the home crowds at the lower level universities. The combination of noise level and intensity (emotion) level both play vital roles in the home performance of D1A teams.
I reviewed the results of 475
However, of the 475 schools only 210 (44%) actually played one or more points better at home than on the road. In fact, 209 (also 44%) of the 475 schools actually had a LOWER home field power rating than they did when playing away from home. Here is the
43.34 Combined Power Rating 43.08 – Away 43.65 – Home +.57
The data extracted from 2004 clearly indicates the home field factors I have been using are overstated. As mentioned above, The Lazindex deployed a three point home field advantage for college and allocated one point for high school home teams. This analysis proved that of the 1182 football teams I ranked last season, 695 (59%) did not achieve their assigned level of home field advantage power rating points. It gets worse.
Assuming each team plays half of its games on the road and the other half at home, and because the Lazindex power rating is a combination of both those results, the actual variance should have shown much higher results. For example, if college Team A has a power rating of 90 and is allotted 3 points for home field, the formula is “assuming” that Team A plays at a level of 87 on the road and at a 93 level at home. This means there should be a six point margin in the performance levels for college teams depending on where the game is played. In actuality, only 80 (11%) of the 707 colleges were able to achieve a six point or greater margin. In high school, where there was a 1 point home field allotment, teams should have experienced a two point rating variance between home and away. The study showed only 160 (34%) schools actually achieved that margin.