The mystery of Sagarin

Something I can’t figure out in Jeff Sagarin’s latest college football rankings:  Washington, like Georgia, is 8-4, and is ranked seven slots higher despite (1) a weaker strength of schedule; (2) no more wins against his top ten teams than the Dawgs; and (3) a 1-4 record against his top thirty teams, compared to Georgia’s 3-3 mark.

It’s a big gap, too, big enough that Sagarin has Georgia as a home underdog against Washington if they were to match up.  What am I missing here?  Is he factoring injuries into the equation somehow?



Filed under Stats Geek!

18 responses to “The mystery of Sagarin

  1. LD

    Margin of victory, probably. They’re behind Georgia in the BCS version that doesn’t include that.


  2. Rick

    Sagarin’s pretty open about his methodology, and this one is super simple: it’s all about margin of victory. Georgia did not have any big wins this year, the year was rather exceptional in that respect. So it has an exceptional effect in the rankings, particularly if you pick a premier example of a team with an average record and tons of huge blowouts.

    Take a look at the ELO that does not account for margin, and you’ll see Georgia 5 spots above Washington.

    ELO is usually the worst (least predictive) metric, but in this case is probably more accurate for these two teams. It’s not really an indictment of Sagarin’s rankings, IMO, the two teams are about as pathological as it gets for those metrics. They are bad precisely because he does NOT take into account injuries, specifically those that ravaged the middle of our season and were collectively far more signifcant than the current injury to our second best player.


  3. Tom

    Yup – and Margin of Loss. Straight MoV it’s UW 30.5 / UGA 16.5, and MoL it’s UW -15.8 / UGA -6.8. Both combined is UW 15.1 / UGA 8.8.


  4. dudetheplayer

    Dude has Northern Illinois at #2, right? It’s hard to take any rankings he comes up with seriously after that.


  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Note that on pure ELO, Northern Illinois is second and Corch third. Yuk.


  6. DawgPhan

    Seems like Sagarins models have been wonky all season long. Hasnt he also been tweaking his models all season as well.


  7. Bob

    In 2003, Sagarin had Miami ahead of USC in his final rankings. Mind you, not Miami of Florida, but Miami of Ohio. That is all I need to know about Jeff Sagarin and his rankings.


  8. The only thing that makes Sagarin relevant is USA Today


  9. uglydawg

    And that ain’t much, eethomaswfnc. Comperable to the AJC making MB and JS relevant.


  10. Bulldog Joe

    Jeff loves him some PAC-12 (2-5 in bowl games last year).

    According to him, seven PAC-12 teams played tougher schedules than Georgia.