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March 15, 2016

A case for relegation?

Nearly every year, SB Nation's Bill Connelly does something on relegation: The idea that lower tier (read: non-power conference or FCS) college football teams could move up into power conferences based on merit.

(PLEASE SUSPEND ALL THINKING ABOUT CURRENT POWER CONFERENCE SCHOOLS NOT PERFORMING UP THE THE LEVEL OF FUNDING FROM CONFERENCE PAYOUTS VOLUNTARILY GIVING UP THEIR SPOT ON THE GOLDEN TEAT)

(THIS IS KNOWN AS THE PURDUE RULE)

Connelly does an effective job with advanced metrics showing how it would work, and importantly, why it would work. Regretfully, many college football fans don't believe in things like advanced metrics or science, because, ya know, OMGPOLLRANKINGSROCK.

Now, Massey paints a picture using polls showing that this could work. You can see how the Massey composite works here.

There is nothing that jumps off the page to me. The higher ranked team nearly always wins. The bigger the disparity in the rankings, the more likely it is the higher ranked team wins. The one thing that stood out to me is that teams ranked 71-115 (designated as Below Average, Bad, or Very Bad in the Massey article) performed nearly the same against FCS teams, around an 85% winning rate.

As an AD at a place like Wake Forest (somewhere around 100), that's got to give you pause about paying a team like Charleston Southern to come to Winston-Salem, when you can schedule Georgia State (firmly below 115) for a home and home, get to play in a good recruiting area, and also statistically have the same chance of winning.

And for those that say 'even a terrible FCS team nearly always beats an FCS school....

Awful Teams (ranked 116+) vs Opponent Team Types

 

Opponent Team TypeW-LPctHRNAPFAPADWSWMWNWNLMLSLDL
Elite (ranked 1-5)0-20.0000-40-160-05.853.1-----.050.050.900
Very Good (ranked 6-15)0-28.0000-60-220-07.949.5----.036-.143.821
Good (ranked 16-30)0-58.0000-160-400-210.450.2----.034.034.034.897
Above Average (ranked 31-50)0-109.0000-530-550-113.643.1----.092.156.183.569
Average (ranked 51-70)2-151.0132-670-820-216.539.9---.013.150.190.203.444
Below Average (ranked 71-90)5-142.0344-601-820-017.138.1--.007.027.177.177.211.401
Bad (ranked 91-105)14-127.09912-632-630-119.133.5-.007.021.071.305.199.156.241
Very Bad (ranked 106-115)23-85.21314-349-510-024.231.7.028.009.037.139.398.167.111.111
Awful (ranked 116+)39-39.50022-1616-221-128.428.4-.154.115.231.231.115.154-
FCS (unranked)29-22.56929-210-10-030.124.9.118.137.118.196.255.059.078.039
All FBS Opponents83-759.09954-31928-4331-717.838.1.004.017.020.058.197.154.160.390
All Opponents112-781.12583-34028-4341-718.537.4.010.024.026.066.200.149.156.370

Yes, you are reading that right, teams ranked 116+ lose to FCS teams over 40% of the time. Of course, when you aren't winning but 22% of the games against teams ranked higher than 115, I guess that looks good.
TW

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