Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Comparing ESPN's power rankings with my computer

ESPN publishes their NFL Power Rankings each week and I thought it would be interesting to compare them with my computers rankings.

Team
ESPN
Schmidt Computer
Indianapolis
1
2
NY Giants
2
11
Minnesota
3
4
New Orleans
4
1
Denver
5
3
Cincinnati
6
6
Philadelphia
7
14
Atlanta
8
7
NY Jets
9
8
New England
10
5
Baltimore
11
10
Chicago
12
9
Pittsburgh
13
13
Green Bay
14
15
San Francisco
15
12
San Diego
16
20
Dallas
17
18
Miami
18
16
Arizona
19
17
Seattle
20
19
Jacksonville
21
21
Houston
22
22
Carolina
23
27
Washington
24
28
Buffalo
25
24
Detroit
26
25
Tennessee
27
26
Cleveland
28
23
Oakland
29
29
Kansas City
30
30
Tampa Bay
31
32
St. Louis
32
31

All in all, things aren't terribly out of whack, but a few things stand out.

ESPN likes the Giants and Philly a lot more than my computer ranking them 2 and 7 versus 11 and 14 for the computer.  Perhaps the Giants are indeed a top team, but it is difficult to rank them there when they've played two winless teams, one 1 win team (and that win over a winless team), and only one team with a winning record and that teams wins are over teams with a combined 1-13 record.  Philadelphia also suffers from playing a similar weak schedule.

On the other side of the coin, ESPN only ranks New England 10 but the computer has them 5.  Yes, they have two losses but two of their wins are over 3 win teams.

So, which is more accurate?  Just for fun, I went back through each week to see how well the ESPN rankings did in predicting winners and for the year they are 51-25.  For comparison, my computer is 53-23 and the last 2 weeks when both ESPN and my computer should have better data, my computer is 21-7 versus ESPNs 18-10.  So I'm liking that my rankings are at this point more accurate than the ESPN analysts!

I'll continue to monitor this through the year and report back.