Gaming the Rankings: Part II

by | March 11, 2012, 7:08pm 0

Part I went in depth of Tufts 2011 season, this article will talk about Penn State’s, Georgia Tech’s, and Michigan State’s season.

One of the biggest gripes about some of the ranking systems in the past has been the emphasis on score differential. However, there’s one team in 2011 that missed out on the mere possibility of a strength bid due to their choice of schedule.

Penn State was ranked in the top 20 early in the 2011 season, and then things got a bit messy. Due to a roster issue, the results from Queen City Tune Up were dropped. From there on out, Penn State went undefeated in sanctioned games. Despite that, Penn State finished ranked #31 with a rating of 1499, well below the Michigan State line.

Penn State failed to achieve the maximum score rating in exactly one of those games. Despite achieving eleven 606’s, the opponents ratings were so low that it was impossible for them to end up in position for  a strength bid. After looking at their schedule for 2012, I was afraid that it would be the same old story. Instead, they have taken the bid to Easterns and will have a chance to prove themselves. However, we know from Part-I that may not be the best choice. Regardless, they are least playing a schedule that will allow them to contend for a strength bid.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech was an oddity, a team with Nick Lance which was capable of winning some big games, often played down to opponents. While they had an overall winning record, playing down to teams took it’s toll in the score differential.

Close Victories

  • 15-12 over Maryland
  • 10-9 over Alabama
  • 13-10 over Duke
  • 13-10 over Towson

While Georgia Tech was able to get some good victories, and even take down Georgia in Regionals. It’s also a result of their lack of depth, but it was remarkable their ability to give good teams a game, but lose or play it too close when they should have won.

Michigan State

Finally we arrive at Michigan State, the last team looking in at a strength bid. Unfortunately, some potentially great victories at Queen City Tune Up were taken away due to more roster issues. On top of that, some bad losses to Virginia Tech and Connecticut at Easterns Qualifier means that things were in their own hands still.

However, we walk into the problem of playing bad teams. At Chicago Invite, Michigan State played two games, where they achieved the maximum score rating, and their rating still dropped. Unfortunately, at this point in the season, there wasn’t much that could be done, and this was a local tournament.

One more thing..

Coming to my attention recently, we now know that a 15-7 win over Alabama (1269, #62) was more valuable than a 15-9 win over Dartmouth (1427, #41). For anyone trying to game the rankings, again, beating on those mid level opponents is huge.

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