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Sterritt Score - Week 5

Things are not ideal.

NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season started, I told y’all I would be bringing back the Sterritt Score, a ranking system I compiled here at College and Mag back in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Well, the time has finally come to release those rankings.

As a refresher, the rankings use a formula with just three simple inputs. The first, margin of victory (MOV), is pretty self explanatory. If Team A beats Team B by a score of 24-10, their MOV is 14 for that game, and Team B’s MOV is -14. The second and slightly more abstract input is knockout time (KOT). The KOT is determined as the last point in the game in which the losing team both a) has the ball, and b) is within one score. Once the losing team no longer has the ability to take the lead or tie, it can be said that the team is knocked out. KOT is measured in minutes. The last input is strength of schedule, which is measured using RPI. RPI is obviously imperfect, especially in college football, but it at least gives some form of opponent adjustment. These three factors are used in a formula which outputs a value for every game, called a Sterritt Score (I’m not creative with names and a little self-centered, sorry), and every team’s averaged Sterritt Score is the basis for the final rankings for their team.

This sounds complicated, but my goal behind it is simple: I want my rankings to be able to be used as a tool to compare how much a team has “dominated” its schedule. If a team got an early lead an kept a comfortable distance from their opponent, they will get a ton of credit for doing that. If a team either sits on a small early lead or takes a big lead late in the game, they will be rewarded for it, but not as much as if they held a BIG lead the entire game. And of course, if a team eeks out a 2 point win on a last second field goal, they won’t get a ton of positive credit for winning what was essentially a coin flip. All of the same things apply in losses, as well. A close loss isn’t all that different than a close win, but bad losses will penalize you greatly. And with the RPI adjustments for each game, a blowout against UTEP will only net you as much as a one-touchdown win over a ranked team, while losing to Rutgers will hurt infinitely more than getting beat (even stomped) by a good team.

As a final note, again remember that this is effectively a resume tool. It is not intended to predict games. But by showing how a team has handled the teams on its schedule, with no preseason biases, I hope I can provide some solid insight into which teams have “earned it”.

Ladies and gentlemen, what you’ve all been waiting for. Here is the first edition of the 2018 Sterritt Score!

Week 5 Rankings

Rank Team Conf SS
Rank Team Conf SS
1 Alabama SEC 33.664
2 Georgia SEC 26.809
3 Central Florida AAC 25.182
4 Louisiana State SEC 24.447
5 Oklahoma B12 23.028
6 North Carolina State ACC 21.465
7 Ohio State B10 20.705
8 Syracuse ACC 19.106
9 Boise State MWC 17.656
10 North Texas CUSA 16.910
11 Miami (FL) ACC 16.317
12 Michigan B10 16.044
13 Colorado P12 15.458
14 West Virginia B12 15.346
15 Oregon P12 14.813
16 Kentucky SEC 14.291
17 Oklahoma State B12 14.132
18 Penn State B10 14.064
19 Virginia Tech ACC 13.995
20 Duke ACC 13.982
21 Notre Dame IND 13.802
22 Clemson ACC 13.418
23 Florida SEC 13.389
24 Washington P12 12.906
25 Appalachian State SB 11.925
26 Fresno State MWC 11.210
27 Indiana B10 10.925
28 Texas B12 10.922
29 Cincinnati AAC 10.660
30 Stanford P12 10.331
31 Wisconsin B10 9.871
32 Washington State P12 9.668
33 Hawaii MWC 9.591
34 Mississippi State SEC 9.138
35 Michigan State B10 8.972
36 Temple AAC 8.695
37 South Carolina SEC 7.353
38 Virginia ACC 7.173
39 Arizona State P12 7.156
40 Auburn SEC 6.971
41 Purdue B10 6.851
42 Army IND 6.830
43 Houston AAC 6.440
44 Utah State MWC 6.067
45 Maryland B10 5.914
46 Buffalo MAC 5.464
47 Iowa B10 5.431
48 Troy SB 5.404
49 Memphis AAC 5.217
50 Vanderbilt SEC 5.017
51 East Carolina AAC 4.527
52 California P12 4.296
53 South Florida AAC 3.818
54 Missouri SEC 3.271
55 Minnesota B10 2.903
56 Boston College ACC 2.502
57 Southern Mississippi CUSA 2.443
58 Mississippi SEC 2.301
59 Alabama-Birmingham CUSA 2.117
60 Texas A&M SEC 2.038
61 Texas Tech B12 1.578
62 Georgia Southern SB 1.528
63 Louisiana Tech CUSA 1.383
64 Texas Christian B12 1.336
65 Wake Forest ACC 1.155
66 Southern California P12 0.910
67 Kansas B12 -0.515
68 Baylor B12 -0.689
69 San Diego State MWC -0.874
70 Liberty IND -1.613
71 Nevada-Las Vegas MWC -2.017
72 Florida State ACC -2.211
73 Eastern Michigan MAC -2.268
74 Marshall CUSA -2.776
75 Utah P12 -2.788
76 Ball State MAC -3.030
77 Florida International CUSA -3.283
78 Akron MAC -3.429
79 Northwestern B10 -3.646
80 Iowa State B12 -3.815
81 Brigham Young IND -3.955
82 Air Force MWC -4.073
83 Miami (OH) MAC -4.210
84 Coastal Carolina SB -4.893
85 Ohio MAC -5.227
86 Arkansas State SB -5.461
87 Western Kentucky CUSA -5.526
88 Kansas State B12 -5.961
89 Tulane AAC -5.987
90 Illinois B10 -6.172
91 Georgia Tech ACC -6.222
92 Old Dominion CUSA -6.575
93 Nevada MWC -7.358
94 Western Michigan MAC -8.067
95 Navy AAC -8.985
96 Northern Illinois MAC -9.009
97 Louisville ACC -9.355
98 Toledo MAC -9.414
99 Pittsburgh ACC -9.566
100 Wyoming MWC -9.655
101 Florida Atlantic CUSA -10.041
102 New Mexico MWC -11.051
103 Tennessee SEC -11.282
104 North Carolina ACC -11.359
105 Middle Tennessee State CUSA -11.470
106 Central Michigan MAC -11.799
107 Arizona P12 -12.311
108 Arkansas SEC -12.490
109 Texas State CUSA -13.249
110 Texas-San Antonio CUSA -13.597
111 Tulsa AAC -13.864
112 UCLA P12 -14.074
113 Georgia State SB -14.433
114 Massachusetts IND -14.671
115 Southern Methodist AAC -14.789
116 Nebraska B10 -15.764
117 South Alabama SB -17.487
118 Texas-El Paso CUSA -18.172
119 Colorado State MWC -18.566
120 San Jose State MWC -19.050
121 Oregon State P12 -19.127
122 Rice CUSA -19.224
123 Rutgers B10 -19.394
124 Kent State MAC -19.958
125 Louisiana SB -20.736
126 Louisiana-Monroe SB -21.406
127 New Mexico State IND -22.388
128 Charlotte CUSA -23.653
129 Bowling Green State MAC -26.442
130 Connecticut AAC -27.210

Oh. Oh man, it burns. My playoff is Alabama, Georgia, UCF, and LSU? Seriously? Let’s just shut this thing down already. I mean, sure, I can justify how those teams got there, but I don’t exactly want to. Even if you’re playing bad teams, if you beat the snot out of them, that’s still good information to know. You haven’t seen any of these first three teams struggle for more than a half (or at all in Bama’s case), and LSU has played well against a strong schedule thus far. Avoiding any “oopsies” games is huge when we’re only talking about a 3-5 game sample size (I’m looking at you, Clemson), and these teams have essentially had all big wins all season. LSU’s win over Auburn was graded out technically as their worst win so far (certainly not a dominating one), but the boost to the Bayou Bengal’s RPI had been huge. Also, Bama is on a different planet right now. It’s gross, but it’s true. They’re the crimson dot way up at the top of this graph of average Sterritt Score vs ranking.

The next thing I assume most of you will be drawn to is Auburn, which is the orange dot... down at #40 in the rankings. The truth is, Auburn hasn’t dominated anyone this football season. The Alabama State win doesn’t count (I don’t use FCS games), and other than that, the most dominant win was over an Arkansas team whose RPI made that game essentially worthless. I had hoped this past week would’ve been a chance for a nice boost, but Auburn will have to go into October as a middling team thus far (in the Sterritt Score, at least).

Each week, I’ll try and break down a few things I thought were interesting using the Sterritt Score as a basis. I already took a good chunk of your time explaining how the rankings work again, but let me hit a few highlights.

The ACC is... good? The ACC has 5 teams in the top 20 (most of any conference) between NC State, Syracuse, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Duke. Some of these teams are due for some regression, but if you’ll notice, one purple and orange tiger is still sitting at #22 thanks to B A R E L Y escaping two games. The conference as a whole has dominated it’s out of conference schedule, though they are still anchored to the ocean floor by a few miserable teams like UNC (#104), Pitt (#99) and Louisville (#94).

Poor Ole Miss. The Rebels are already starting to feel like repercussions of the NCAA sanctions. Their 62-7 loss at the hands of Alabama rates as the biggest win in the country (for Alabama, not Ole Miss). They also surrendered the 6th best win of the season to LSU last weekend. Luckily these losses weren’t completely soul crushing for Ole Miss (thanks opponent adjustment!), so the Rebs are still 58th overall.

Ka-Chow! The fastest knockout of the season belongs to Virginia, who knocked out Ohio in week 4 a mere minute and 54 seconds into the game. The Cavs scored their first touchdown 48 seconds into the game thanks to an 18 yard touchdown run after a long kickoff, and after forcing a quick three and out, QB Bryce Perkins hit RB Olamide Zaccheaus for an 86 yard catch and run to put the game in “knockout” range. What’s eve weirder about this game? It was played in Nashville as a way to avoid Hurricane Florence rolling through the East Coast.

It’s a Lightning McQueen joke, guys. You get it? Because of the storms, and how fast UVA got a KO?

That’s all I got this week, folks. Feel free to ask questions or tell me what sticks out to you! I’d love to discuss it with you guys and gals. War Eagle, and may Gustober come back so that I can report positive things about my Auburn Tigers.