Welcome to the 2012 first edition of "The NFL Power Poll, BCS style". This is the third season I have used this point-style poll to rank NFL teams. This system relies strictly on stats, rankings and performance through numbers earned on the playing field.
Teams are not ranked because I think they will eventually play better, or just had an off week. I do not rank them because an official blew a call and cost them a game. I believe the saying that "numbers never lie" and this poll, in my opinion, whole-heartedly proves that statement true.
Teams are ranked on the sum of all parts starting from the opening whistle of week one to the final gun of their last game. I use as many pertinent stats as necessary to achieve accuracy. With that said, I’m always open to suggestions on how to improve the poll.
However, like many polls, there are always flaws and this one is no different. I welcome all comments in regards to improving this ranking system.
Here’s how it works.
In order for a team to qualify for the poll they must have a record exceeding .500, or at least be leading their division. The division aspect of this rule was instituted during the 2010 season when it became impossible to leave out the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks, who flip flopped leading the NFC West with losing records until the final week of the regular season, when the Seahawks won the head-to-head Monday night showdown to finish 8-8.
Like the real BCS poll, this poll generally begins following Week 6, but we need at least 10 teams with winning records in order for the poll to actually work in terms of point distribution. By the conclusion of Week 7’s games, the NFL had just nine teams with winning records. This week we made it with 11.
Teams are awarded points in eight categories. A team’s record, points for, points against, net point difference, offensive rank, defensive rank, and strength of schedule this season are all considered. Depending on where a team is ranked for each week will determine the value they are assessed.
I use five points as the multiplier for their ranking. For example, there were 11 teams this week that qualified for the poll. With 11 teams, the team that is ranked first in any category would receive 55 points (11x 5=55) and a team ranked last in any category received just five points.
Wins and losses factor into the equation. Teams are awarded points for wins and have points taken away for losses. A win on the road within the division is worth more points than a win at home against a non-divisional foe. The same system is used for losses.
5 points: Division wins on the road
4 points: Win on the road vs. non-division foe
3 points: Division wins at home
2 points: Win at home vs. non-division foe.
-5 points: Non-division loss at home
-4 points: Division loss at home
-3 points: Non-division loss on the road
-2 points: Divisional loss at home
Once a total is reached, I multiply that number by five to reach a bonus point total. I also use other power polls as a tool.
I consider the average rankings from Pro Football Weekly, NFL.com, ESPN, The Sporting News as well as Sports Illustrated. I use the teams that qualified for the week and average out where each poll has them placed and award points accordingly.
Nothing is left out in terms of being fair and biased. Some may say that teams with .500 records, like the Denver Broncos or Dallas Cowboys may deserve to be here, I say nonsense.
Former NY Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells once said,"You are what your record says you are". Based on that philosophy, teams that are not better than .500 do not deserve to be here, yet. My philosophy is if they are good and can get over the .500 hurdle, then they will take their rightly place amongst the rest of the best.
Teams are rewarded for remaining in the poll earning consistency points each week. Depending on their movement within the poll depends on the extra points they are awarded for staying in the poll.
Week 7 in the NFL saw the Pack come back, but did Green Bay actually disappear? The 49ers recovered from the beat down they suffered at the hands of the defending Super Bowl Champions but is there trouble in the Bay area? Speaking of the Champs, they used some more of that “Salsa” magic to beat RG III and the Washington Redskins with a last minute 77-yard touchdown pass.
The Steelers can at least see first place in the AFC North as they beat the Cincinnati Bungles on Sunday night and thanks to a 30-point loss in Houston, the Baltimore Ravens officially have issues for the first time on both sides of the football.
The AFC West is a two horse race between the Chargers and Broncos. However, given Chargers QB Phillip Rivers ability to calmly choke under pressure, its likely Peyton Manning will at least accomplish what Tim Tebow did for Denver last season; take his team to the playoffs.
The AFC South is almost as bad as the AFC West, which means the Texans are likely to finish the season no worse than 13-3.
The Eagles are returning off a bye week where under head coach Andy Reid they are 13-0. They host the Atlanta Falcons, who are the NFL’s only unbeaten team. However, is being the NFL’s only unbeaten team enough to earn them a No.1 ranking in the 2012 NFL POWER POLL, BCS style? You will have to beginn the slideshow to find out that answer.
These rankings will appear right here on the Birds of Baltimore evcery Wednesday for the rest of the NFL season. Enjoy and please feel free to comment.