I never really intended on running the College Football Champion Index this season because numbers needed to be updated, and I wasn’t going to be able to use it writing for that regional website that fired me and others after I worked there for almost a month.
With the release of the College Football Playoff Committee’s first rankings, I wondered how the CFCI’s analysis and system saw the teams as compared to the committee. For the most part, I left the calculation as it was last season, and input the data as of 10/25/2014. There was one important calculation which really needed modification last season which I took the opportunity to change.
The CFCI, probably more than other power ratings or rankings, focuses primarily on defensive stats because BCS Champions were demonstrably and consistently good at certain defensive statistical categories. However, the modified computation dealt with teams whose offenses were so prolific that they were winning without defense. Although a relatively small percentage of Division I teams get the benefit of the calculation, it applies equally to all. The problem with the calculation was that was possible that a single tenth of a point lower in the overall average for scoring offense could act like a cliff which could lower a team’s CFCI ranking dramatically from one week to the next for not meeting that standard even with a WIN. Graphically, the equation now slopes upward to a point for teams on the verge of the standard and then is flat for all teams which fully meet the scoring standard.
Without regard to whom a team plays, the team’s conference, quality wins or bad losses, the College Football Champion Index compares all 129 DI teams and provisional qualifiers to a statistical standard set by a composite BCS Champion derived from the BCS Champions’ year-long stats from 2000 through 2013.
The CFCI ranks 13 of the 25 teams within three places of the College Football Playoff Committee while clearly there are some wide variations.
The CFCI ranks Mississippi State No. 1 and Florida State No. 2. After that, the CFCI likes Alabama and Ohio State to round out the top four and isn’t nearly as enthusiastic about Ole Miss or Oregon as the Committee is.
Ole Miss has great defensive numbers, but the CFCI doesn’t consider how strong a defense is over a certain level. Offenses must produce well. Ole Miss’ deficits come in scoring offense (averaging 31.9 ppg) and an 80th ranking in rushing offense. Almost 32 points per game doesn’t get Ole Miss even on the beginning part of the slope described above so they get no benefit from increases that other teams above them received. In fact, based on defense and wins alone, Ole Miss would have been 8th. It costs them two spots. On the other hand Oregon’s defense is atrocious statistically being 106th in total defense and 114th in pass defense. However, Oregon gets the full benefit of the offensive calculation mentioned above averaging 45.5 ppg. Without it, the CFCI would have ranked Oregon 18th.
The CFCI places Georgia and Auburn at 5th and 6th followed by Nebraska and Marshall. Both Nebraska and Marshall do well across the categories. That said, usually late season losses will take care of those issues because it’s rare for teams to go undefeated through the regular season.
A couple of mentions otherwise are in order. Kansas State is alright in some categories while poor in some defensive categories. Their offensive production barely gets them a bump. Ultimately winning will move them up regardless of other evaluations. Arizona is a whopping 16 spots below the CFBPC evaluation. The Wildcats come in at 80th in scoring defense, 107th in pass efficiency defense, 97th in total defense, 120th in passing defense, while only ranking 40th in rushing offense and 36th in passing efficiency. That said, Arizona gets full credit for scoring offense and the increase that goes with it. The Wildcats aren’t the lowest-ranked one-loss team at 28th. That honor goes to Colorado State at 36th.
Although Marshall is probably ranked too high in the one instance where that the stats haven’t yet taken care of themselves, for the most part, no apologies are given. Wins, great defenses and explosive offenses make champions. Wins and being closer to the BCS Champion standards warrant higher rankings regardless of feelings.
College Football Championship Index
|Wk. 10 Rank||Team||CFCI Wk. 10||G||W||L|
|57||San Diego St.||0.4553||7||4||3|
|75||North Carolina St.||0.3955||8||4||4|
|76||San Jose St.||0.3905||7||3||4|
|117||New Mexico St.||0.2653||8||2||6|