Several years ago, Mergz, a Gator blogger for Saurian Sagacity, developed a power ranking formula to try to objectively analyze teams' relative strength. He made a few tweaks to the formula over the years, and maintained it after moving to the Boys of Old Florida blog.
How it works
The formula for the rankings is relatively simple, Scoring Offense (SO) plus Scoring Defense (SD) plus Win/Loss percentage (WL) times the team's Strength of Schedule (SoS).
SO is the ratio of a team's scoring offense to the best scoring offense. Right now Oklahoma State has the Nation's number one scoring offense at 55.8 points per game, and Florida is averaging 27.2 ppg. Oklahoma State's SO is 1 or 55.8/55.8, Florida's SO is 0.4874 or 27.2/55.8.
SD is the ratio of the best scoring defense to a team's scoring defense. Right now Alabama has the Nation's best scoring defense allowing 7 ppg, and Florida is allowing 11.4 ppg. Alabama's SD is 1 or 7/7, Florida's SD is 0.614 or 7/11.4.
WL is based on a team's record, but rather than a simple calculation of wins divided by games, this formula adds weight to losses by squaring them, so the formula is wins divided by wins plus losses squared or W/(W+(L*L)). Teams with no losses or one loss would have the same win percentage as with the traditional calculation, but a team with two or more losses would be more adversely affected with each loss. For example, Michigan State is the highest ranked multiple loss team at 4-2. The Spartans have a 0.6667 win percentage as traditionally calculated, but, for purposes of the power rankings, the two losses are counted as 4 (2*2), giving Michigan State a WL of .5.
SoS is the based on the win percentage of a team's past opponents (traditionally calculated), minus that team's record. For example, Florida's past opponents are a combined 16-12 (LSU 5-1, Texas A&M 4-1, Tennessee 3-2, Bowling Green 3-3, Kentucky 1-5), subtract the Gators 5 wins, and you get a record of 16-7 with a win percentage of 0.6957.
It's all simple, right? Maybe not, but the end result is a ranking score between 3 and 0, with 3 being the best (an undefeated team leading the nation in scoring offense and scoring defense, whose opponents have not lost to anyone else). Because all of the factors are very fluid, the rankings can and will fluctuate from week to week, and are more of a picture of where things stand right now, than a predictor of who would win if two teams played.
Updating those rankings is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but last year it just seemed too depressing to put forth the effort. I have been keeping track of this for a few weeks now, but the sample size was too small to be meaningful. Until now.
Without further ado, the rankings:
Other teams on Florida's schedule:
- 45. Tennessee
- 51. Missouri
- 59. Vanderbilt
- 63. Kentucky
- 78. Louisiana-Lafayette
- 103. Bowling Green
Other Florida schools:
- 28. Miami
- 58. UCF
- 75. USF
- 104. FIU
- 113. FAU
Auburn is last in the SEC with a score of 0.4392 (ranked 100), and Air Force is last overall with a score of 0.2000.
Honestly, Notre Dame's No. 1 ranking surprises me, but its SoS is slightly better than Florida's, and the Irish are solid on offense and defense. Games against Stanford (7), Oklahoma (17) and Southern Cal (32) are still on the horizon for the Fighting Irish, and will show whether they really are back.
Also of interest, Kansas State is a top-10 team according to the polls, but they're No. 19 here because their opponents are 10-12, while unranked Iowa State is No. 4, even with the loss to Texas Tech, largely on the strength of opponents who are 17-3. We will get to see this weekend how these teams stack up against each other.
A quick note on the Big 12: Seven of their 10 schools are in the top 20. Some of that may be due to front-loading non-conference games, but, even so, of those seven schools, only Kansas State's opponents have a losing record. Still, with losses being given added weight, as losses pile up through attrition, there will probably be fewer Big 12 teams in the rankings.
Well, what do you think? Does it pass the "eye test" for you?
Note: I have attempted to contact Mergz regarding the use of his formula, but have been unsuccessful. If you know how to reach him, please contact me.