Each year I post my pre-season rankings based on 2014 finish, returning starters, and regression to the team’s weighted average historical mean. Here are my forecasted ratings for this year. Note that this is not a forecast for what the Final Top 25 will be; those rankings are partially associated with W/L merit and human perception rather than raw scoring margin in context of strength of schedule (ex. Arkansas wasn’t ranked because they were 7-6, but they were very unlucky. It was clear to computers that their ability to play with Alabama, and shut out Ole Miss and LSU, warranted a top 25 ranking). Instead this is a forecast for what their final power ratings will be.
|TEAM||Average PR 2015|
|North Carolina State||72.97|
|San Diego State||61.79|
|San Jose St||56.33|
|New Mexico State||51.45|
- Wow, LSU is high. But maybe this isn’t as unreasonable as it seems. Despite an 8-5 season the Tigers finished with a pretty high power rating. Maybe I should account for Chavis leaving (if I deduct 2-3 points to adjust for Chavis leaving that would put LSU in the range of Oklahoma and Michigan State). But even so, with Leonard Fournette returning and Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre back at WR, if they can get a quarterback (a rather big “if”) they’ll be a major contendor in the SEC West.
- If LSU is overvalued due to Chavis leaving, then Texas A&M is undervalued due to Chavis arriving. It’s not quite the same impact necessarily – a coach leaving has an immediate impact, while one arriving may take a while for him to start seeing results. Still, a Texas A&M with a defense would be pretty dangerous.
- Stanford’s using some interesting technology. Stanford has been one of the first teams to adopt virtual reality training for their team, and it sounds like it’s helping out a lot. I don’t know how to quantify that, and right now my rankings match the preaseason polls. But if there’s something to this…watch out for the Cardinal.
- Texas shouldn’t be that high. I’d prefer to have them in the 77 power rating range, which would have them ranking in the low 40’s. One of the inputs of this system looks at a regression to a historical mean, and Texas has a very high historical mean. But coaching changes often change the culture of a team. Then again, the foundation of the program is still high 4-star and 5-star recruits, so the idea that they should eventually perform well makes sense. I have made a manual adjustment to Baylor because I don’t think it’s fair to regress them to a mean based on games before Briles was the coach. The difference is pretty stark — it would put the Bears at an 83 rather than an 89 (the latter seeming much more sensible).
- UTSA almost at the bottom? They return 5 starters. That’s really bad, and our sample size is pretty limited on teams that started a new team from scatch with all freshmen, graduated them with seniors, and had to start over. Larry Coker is a good enough coach and has been planning to fill some of these holes though. He signed a very small 2014 recruiting class so that he could have room for 2015 early enrollees and JUCO transfers. He also did his best to work in freshmen last year even if they weren’t starting. I see them being better than teams like Georgia State, Idaho, etc.