There have been a lot of questions about rankings lately. Namely the question of “how can the team we beat be ranked higher than we are”. Well, there are a couple of things that can cause that to happen. I will try to explain the best that I can.
Injuries. A team may lose power rating points if they have injuries and do not live up to the spread that their previous power rating gave them. It would only make sense that if you have an injury or injuries that you are not as good without the player as you would be with him. This is even more true when that player is a key player. A prime example of this is Borden County and Union Hill. Borden County beat Union Hill in week 1. However, Borden County has since suffered several injuries to key players and are not as good without those players as they were in week 1. Borden County has started dropping rating points and have found themselves with a lower power rating than Union Hill and therefore are ranked lower than Union Hill. That’s not to say that Borden County can’t move back up when all of their players get healthy, they can and most likely will do just that.
Inconsistency. Some teams just are not consistent. They may play very well one week and then follow the next week with a very bad performance. This is a common occurrence. It could be that the previous week was a rivalry game and the boys played to the best of their ability. On the flip side, maybe the starting spread back broke up with his girlfriend and just didn’t play up to his potential for the game. The team that best fits this description is Aquilla. I’m not trying to pick on the Cougars here, but we know what they are capable of and they don’t always show it on the field. It is very hard to find a teams true power rating if they don’t play with any sort of consistency at all. I fully expect Aquilla to win over Jonesboro this week, however my ranking system has Jonesboro as the 45 point favorite. This is causede by several reasons, but one of the biggest ones is Aquilla’s inconsistency on the field.
Inaccuracy. This one is all on me. I may have very well had a team completely wrong at the beginning of the season. The system will eventually take care of it, but rating adjustments are capped by the 45 point rule and will not adjust more than that. I choose to keep it this way so that a team doesn’t get “bonus” points for running the score up, or lose points for putting in their underclassmen when the game is close to the mercy rule. I make adjustments to power rating during the off season based on information that I get out of DCTF magazine, calling the coaches or info found on message boards. I have no doubt that I don’t have ALL of the information needed. I make a guess based on what I have and let the system correct itself. It always does. At the end of the year, the state champion in each League and each division is always sitting at the #1 spot in that division.
Incomplete information. The rating system is a living document. It will change weekly. I like to tell people that the games determine the ratings, not the spreads determine the games. I’ve had people tell me after a game, “We showed you, you were WRONG”. I usually let them have their fun with it, but in all actuality, it’s not that I was wrong, it’s that I didn’t have all of the information yet. The score of a game is information that I need in order to get my rankings and rating more accurate.
The X factor. I will never have my rating numbers 100% accurate. How boring would that be anyway. There will always be a team that wins regardless of how much of an underdog the system has them at. Who knows what drives these kids on any given Friday? I sure don’t. If it were a perfect system, then I would get all of the games right. I haven’t done it yet, (Well, except when there were very few games, such as semifinals week.), and I don’t expect to. The X factor is just a part of the game and can bring excitement to the field that maybe some weren’t expecting. Quite honestly, I don’t want to know the X factor, even if I could. I want there to always be that “What if?” that can happen on any game any time anywhere. Keep me on my toes and keep me excited to go to a game!
Rankings are not important. They provide a platform to compare teams, give the local coffee shops and message boards something to argue over, and maybe sometimes can be used by the coach as a motivational tool. Other than that, try not to read too much into them. If you get too caught up in the rankings, you may very well be missing out on the best part of being a sixman fan, and that is the action on the field. Not every player will be a superstar, but almost every player will have their special moment on that field. Try not to miss it.