Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Guru's 2009 Preseason Rankings

This season, the Guru is debuting a rankings formula that's designed entirely with the BCS system in mind. Unlike the human polls - which are completely subjective and prone to bias - or the computer ratings, the Guru's rankings are unique because it looks forward, not backward.

The primary asset of the Guru's system is its predicative value. Instead of rating teams based on (immediate) past performances, the system seeks to predict how each team will perform from this point forward. A team's schedule thus has an overwhelming influence on a team's rankings.

And it makes sense. The Guru's system is designed to predict which two teams are most likely to end up in the BCS national championship game, not necessarily which are the best teams. It goes without saying that a BCS conference team that manages to go undefeated would be a prohibitive favorite to play for the BCS title.

A team playing a tough schedule and/or is in a tough conference will have less of a chance to go unbeaten - but that's balanced by the fact that such an arrangement may bolster its chances in case of a loss. Most of the BCS formula's idiosyncratic nature is taken into account for this system.

Testing the system for preseason 2008, it yielded a USC-Florida BCS title game. The Trojans didn't cooperate by losing at Oregon State; but the Gators, despite a home loss to Ole Miss, did make the title game - and went on to win it. Oklahoma, the other title-game participant, was fourth, behind No. 3 Georgia.

This year's preseason rankings forecast a rematch in the BCS title game, between Florida and Oklahoma. The Gators, in fact, nearly lapped the field. Florida has a talented team that returns quarterback Tim Tebow and the entire defensive starting lineup. It also doesn't have to play two of the SEC's better teams: Alabama and Ole Miss.

So without further ado, here's the Guru preseason Top 25. And this formula will be applied throughout the season, with the results released every Monday until the end of the regular season.

Rank Team

RATING Conf Pvs*
1 Florida

23.695 SEC 1
2 Oklahoma

11.484 Big 12 5

11.348 Pac-10 3
4 Texas

10.134 Big 12 4
5 Ohio State

6.322 Big Ten 9
6 Penn State

5.837 Big Ten 8
7 Virginia Tech

3.601 ACC 15
8 Pittsburgh

3.491 Big East 27
9 Boise State

3.244 WAC 11
10 Notre Dame

3.003 Ind NR
11 Alabama

2.594 SEC 6
12 Texas Christian

2.172 MWC 7
13 Gerogia Tech

1.903 ACC 22
14 Utah

1.740 MWC 2
15 North Carolina

1.293 ACC NR
16 Oklahoma State

1.239 Big 12 16
17 Oregon

1.155 Pac-10 10
18 Ole Miss

1.106 SEC 14
19 California

1.105 Pac-10 26
20 West Virginia

0.814 Big East 23
21 Brigham Young

0.662 MWC 25
22 Michigan State

0.647 Big Ten 24
23 Iowa

0.501 Big Ten 20
24 LSU

0.196 SEC 28
25 Oregon State

0.193 Pac-10 18
26 Cincinnati

0.147 Big East 17
27 Georgia

0.139 SEC 13
28 Kansas

0.071 Big 12 37
29 Illinois

0.033 Big Ten NR
30 Florida State

0.013 ACC 21
30 Nebraska

0.013 Big 12 29

*Pvs- Final 2008 AP poll


Clark said...

How about posting more details of how this ranking system works? I for one would be interesting in checking things out under the hood, so to speak.

I notice that the ratings add up to 100. (Well, 99.895 for the 30 teams listed, provided I didn't hit a wrong button on my calculator.) Does this then imply that you give Florida a 23% chance at winning the BCS title game, and a 57% chance that it will be either Florida, OK, USC or TX? And there is a 4.5% chance that a MWC school wins it all???

PM Productions said...

You are not a guru if you think Notre Dame is the #10th best team in the country this year...

The Guru said...

Clark- Thanks for your interest and it seems like you're onto something.

I can't let you get under the hood (it's bolted), but your assumptions are pretty accurate, with this one caveat: It's not so much who's going to win the BCS title, but who's going to get in.

This system is still somewhat in Beta mode, as I'll need an entire season to verify its accuracy/usefulness. So, yeah, I am kind of like playing Microsoft, but I sure hope this thing doesn't turn out to be like Vista.