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Mid(ish) Season Outlooks

September 29, 2016

Every conference will be starting their conference schedules this week, so I decided to take a look at where the conferences are likely to go moving ahead, and what my preseason projections missed on (see my projections graphically here).

 

WIAC

Conference Rank: 1

Preseason Rank: 1

 

Pool A Probabilities:

UW-Whitewater: 51.63%

UW-Oshkosh: 27.22%

UW-Platteville: 17.28%

UW-Stevens Point: 2.99%

UW-La Crosse: 0.88%

UW-Stout/River Falls/Eau Claire: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: UW-La Crosse - The Screaming Eagles are projected to win about 0.9 more games going forward (6.2 now, 5.3 preseason). The model favored them in all of their non-conference games, but they left no doubt under first-year Coach Schmidt.

 

CCIW

Conference Rank: 2

Preseason Rank: 2

 

Pool A Probabilities:

North Central: 78.76%

Wheaton: 14.45%

Illinois Wesleyan: 4.70%

Carthage: 3.93%

Augustana: 1.93%

Elmhurst: 0.36%

North Park/Carroll/Millikin: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Augustana - Projected at 6.5 wins preseason with a Top 10 defense, thanks in large part to the number of returning starters, they have failed to live up to their potential and are now projected to win only 5.2 games total.

 

MIAC

Conference Rank: 3

Preseason Rank: 3

 

Pool A Probabilities:

St. Thomas: 93.13%

St. John's: 7.13%

Concordia-Moorhead: 3.43%

Bethel: 1.88%

Gustavus Adolphus: 0.38%

Augsburg/Hamline/St. Olaf/Carleton: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Bethel - It feels weird to call Bethel a miss, because their ranking in my system has only dropped ten spots, but 1-3 is 1-3. All of their first three games were tossups, meaning they should have won 1.5 games over that span on average, instead they went 0-3.

 

Empire 8

Conference Rank: 4

Preseason Rank: 4

 

Pool A Probabilities:

St. John Fisher: 50.9%

Alfred: 28.87%

Utica: 14.97%

Brockport: 3.18%

Cortland: 1.50%

Ithaca: 1.29%

Hartwick: 0.80%

Buffalo State: 0.63%

Morrisville State: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Utica - I had Utica pegged as the second-worst team in the E8 going into the season. A few slight upsets later (they were never given less than 25% odds to win any of their games to start this season), and they have the third best odds of claiming the conference's AQ.

 

OAC

Conference Rank: 5

Preseason Rank: 5

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Mount Union: 85.91%

John Carroll: 13.57%

Ohio Northern: 0.29%

Heidelberg: 0.28%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Ohio Northern - Now projected to finish with almost exactly 5 wins (4.96), ONU was projected to win 6.7 games at the beginning of the season. They still have the third best odds (a ubiquitous honor in a conference with Mount Union) to win the conference, but that's entirely because or conference scheduling. Baldwin Wallace is rated as the third best team right now.

 

IIAC

Conference Rank: 6

Preseason Rank: 7

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Coe: 36.12%

Central: 30.92%

Dubuque: 19.48%

Wartburg: 12.57%

Simpson: 1.07%

Luther: 0.16%

Loras/Buena Vista/Nebraska Wesleyan: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Coe - It would be easy to say Wartburg here, but while they were favored to win the conference at the beginning of the season, they still have a 1-in-8 chance. Coe on the other hand has been on a tear, now projected to win 2.1 games more than they were at the beginning of the season. As a Wartburg grad, I'm taking solace in the fact that Coe really hasn't played anybody of note yet this season.

 

ASC

Conference Rank: 7

Preseason Rank: 8

 

Projected Conference Record:

Mary Hardin-Baylor: 6.9-0.1

Hardin-Simmons: 5.1-1.9

East Texas Baptist: 4.4-2.6

Louisiana College: 3.8-3.2

McMurry: 2.9-4.1

Belhaven: 2.3-4.7

Sul Ross State: 2.2-4.8

Howard Payne: 0.4-6.6

 

Biggest miss: Belhaven - In an interesting twist, Belhaven has looked pretty okay so far this season (at least until last week), but not nearly as good as I had them projected to be. They're now projected to win 0.9 fewer conference games this season. With tossups versus Louisiana College and McMurry, they could prove me wrong while also proving past me correct, if that makes sense.

 

NWC

Conference Rank: 8

Preseason Rank: 6

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Linfield: 84.09%

Whitworth: 8.76%

Pacific Lutheran: 2.98%

George Fox: 1.53%

Willamette: 1.25%

Pacific: 1.04%

Puget Sound: 0.34%

Lewis & Clark: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: The NWC - No single team's conference record projections are off by more than 0.3 wins from the preseason, but the conference as a whole had a pretty poor showing out of conference. Which accounts for their drop from the #6 conference in the country to #8.

 

PAC

Conference Rank: 9

Preseason Rank: 11

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Thomas More: 54.99%

Case Western Reserve: 27.34%

Westminster Pa.: 13.4%

Washington & Jefferson: 3.86%

Carnegie Mellon: 2.28%

St. Vincent: 0.32%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: CWRU - Case has made a strong case (I had to do it) as the second best team in the conference. My preseason projections did give them the second-best odds of claiming the AQ, but they were only rated as the fifth-best team. Now, the whole conference has gotten better, and Case is rated as the 25th best team in the country.

 

Centennial Conference

Conference Rank: 10

Preseason Rank: 9

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Johns Hopkins: 86.72%

Muhlenberg: 12.05%

Franklin & Marshall: 9.25%

Moravian: 2.98%

Susquehanna: 1.1%

Juniata: 0.19%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Ursinus & Dickinson - I missed worse on Dickinson than I did on any team from the previous nine conferences, and I missed worse on Ursinus than I did on Dickinson. Cumulatively, their projected finish from here out is 5.6 wins lower than it was in the preseason. For two teams I thought would be around 0.500, they could possibly meet the last week of the season with only two wins between the two of them (they're still favored over McDaniel).

 

NJAC

Conference Rank: 11

Preseason Rank: 12

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Christopher Newport: 55.43%

Wesley: 37.55%

Salisbury: 15.33%

Rowan: 3.82%

Frostburg State: 2.24%

Kean: 1.12%

Montclair State: 0.46%

TCNJ/William Paterson/Southern Virginia: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: CNU - Projected as pretty much the most average team possible, they are now the defacto favorites in the conference. Wesley is still the top-rated team (somehow), but they need to run the table, and hope for CNU to stumble and to get lucky in tie-breakers, but if the Captains keep playing how they have been, they could win out.

 

SAA

Conference Rank: 12

Preseason Rank: 14

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Hendrix: 48.92%

Centre: 23.78%

Berry: 19.97%

Washington U.: 8.06%

Chicago: 1.4%

Rhodes: 0.2%

Birmingham Southern: 0.13%

Millsaps/Sewanee: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Centre & Rhodes - Both teams are now projected to finish 1.5 wins better than their preseason estimates. For Centre, that means a legitimate chance at winning the conference. For Rhodes, it means they're out of the gutter.

 

Liberty League

Conference Rank: 13

Preseason Rank: 15

 

Pool A Probabilities:

St. Lawrence: 58.43%

Hobart: 34.39%

WPI: 2.62%

Springfield: 2.49%

RPI: 2.29%

Union: 0.91%

Merchant Marine: 0.72%

Rochester: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: St. Lawrence - Projected to win 7.9 games with a 1-in-4 chance of winning the LL AQ, St. Lawrence started the season with three (!) shutouts, they now have a 50-50 shot of going 10-0.

 

ODAC

Conference Rank: 14

Preseason Rank: 13

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Randolph-Macon: 41.86%

Guilford: 31.92%

Washington & Lee: 18.57%

Bridgewater: 2.89%

Emory & Henry: 2.4%

Hampden-Sydney: 1.01%

Shenandoah: 0.73%

Catholic: 0.62%

 

Biggest miss: The whole dang conference... - Here were my overall record projections in the preseason:

 

Washington and Lee 7.0-3.0

Guildford 8.0-2.0

Randolph-Macon 6.4-3.6

Hampden-Sydney 5.8-4.2

Emory and Henry 4.2-4.8

Bridgewater 3.1-5.9

Shenandoah 3.6-6.4

Catholic 3.6-6.4

 

And here is where the projections sit now, with the change in wins in parentheses:

 

Randolph-Macon 8.5-1.5 (+2.1)

Guildford 8.3-1.7 (+0.3)

Washington and Lee 5.7-4.3 (-1.3)

Catholic 5.2-4.8 (+1.4)

Bridgewater 4.2-4.8 (+1.1)

Shenandoah 4.0-6.0 (+0.4)

Emory and Henry 2.8-6.2 (-1.4)

Hampden-Sydney 2.2-7.8 (-3.6)

 

C'mon ODAC, help me out here.

 

SCAC

Conference Rank: 15

Preseason Rank: 10

 

Projected Conference Record:

Texas Lutheran: 4.2-1.8

Trinity Texas: 4.0-2.0

Southwestern: 2.7-3.3

Austin: 1.1-4.9

 

Biggest miss: Texas Lutheran - Their future in the ASC may be bleaker than once thought. What should/could have been a 2-2 start pretty quickly spiralled out of control. Lucky for them, they'll still probably get a share of the final SCAC title.

 

MIAA

Conference Rank: 16

Preseason Rank: 16

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Albion: 35.36%

Trine: 23.56%

Olivet: 17.46%

Adrian: 14.47%

Kalamazoo: 3.41%

Hope: 3.23%

Alma: 2.51%

 

Biggest miss: Albion - Albion & Hope are both probably going to finish with 1.5 fewer wins than I initially projected, and Olivet with about one more, but for all intents and purposes, the state of the conference race is unchanged from the preseason.

 

SCIAC

Conference Rank: 17

Preseason Rank: 17

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Redlands: 41.21%

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps: 26.89%

Chapman: 15.56%

Cal Lutheran: 8.97%

La Verne: 4.63%

Occidental: 1.66%

Pomona-Pitzer: 1.08%

Whittier: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Occidental - While their results aren't particularly surprising thus far, the big loss to Pacific in Hawaii wasn't expected. Projected to finish 4-5 or 5-4, they're now fighting with Pomona-Pitzer to not be the team who only beat Whittier.

 

MAC

Conference Rank: 18

Preseason Rank: 18

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Delaware Valley: 37.53%

Stevenson: 30.01%

Albright: 24.92%

Widener: 19.14%

King's: 1.55%

Lebanon Valley: 0.40%

Lycoming: 0.19%

Wilkes: 0.16%

Misericordia/FDU-Florham: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Stevenson - Their most likely record in the preseason was 6-4, but they're most likely going to go 8-2 now. I'm not sure how they aren't the favorites to win the conference right now after Del Val's loss last weekend, because they've played like favorites in every game so far.

 

NCAC

Conference Rank: 19

Preseason Rank: 19

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Wittenberg: 81.65%

Wabash: 14.64%

DePauw: 7.08%

Ohio Wesleyan: 0.37%

Denison: 4.08%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Denison - Dension? Yes, Dension. Not Wittenberg or Wabash? No, my model actually saw that one coming after Week 1. But Denison on the other hand is projected to finish with 1.5 more wins than I gave them in the preseason, in large parts thanks to the efforts of their dynamite QB.

 

USAC

Conference Rank: 20

Preseason Rank: 20

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Huntingdon: 58.17%

N.C. Wesleyan: 17.83%

Maryville Tenn.: 9.98%

Methodist: 6.08%

Averett: 3.20%

LaGrange: 2.92%

Ferrum: 1.82%

Greensboro: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: None - No team's projections have changed by more than 0.75 wins, and Methodist and Maryville are the only teams who have switched positions in my rankings. This probably means Averett is going to win the conference.

 

HCAC

Conference Rank: 21

Preseason Rank: 21

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Franklin: 81.97%

Rose-Hulman: 11.13%

Bluffton: 7.04%

Mount St. Joseph: 4.22%

Manchester: 0.14%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Earlham - In terms of their standing in the conference, I didn't really miss this, but they played three other terrible teams to start the season, and they should have been able to win one of those games (just one Earlham, come on). I had them projected to win 1.4 games before, and now there's a >90% chance they go winless.

 

MWC

Conference Rank: 22

Preseason Rank: 22

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Monmouth: 84.37%

St. Norbert: 11.22%

Illinois College: 3.34%

Lake Forest: 0.18%

Macalester: 0.78%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Macalester - Knox and Ripon have been disappointing this year, but I like writing about teams who are doing better than expected. Macalester has already won two upset games against Carleton and Illinois College, and have played will enough offensively to project out at about 30 points per game and two wins higher than expected.

 

NEFC

Conference Rank: 23

Preseason Rank: 25

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Western New England: 49.44%

Salve Regina: 43.39%

Endicott: 6.26%

MIT: 0.51%

Curry: 0.36%

Maine Maritime/Coast Guard/Nichols: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Western New England - Three teams (WNE, Slave, MIT) have improved their projections by at least a win, and no teams have decreased by more than half a win. Pretty good all around the conference, but WNE is probably playing better ball than anyone else in New England right now.

 

MASCAC

Conference Rank: 24

Preseason Rank: 23

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Framingham State: 63.53%

Bridgewater State: 27.91%

Massachusetts Maritime: 3.61%

Plymouth State: 3.34%

Mass-Dartmouth: 0.72%

Western Connecticut: 0.41%

Fitchburg State: 0.38%

Worcester State/Westfield State: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Plymouth State - They're the single most improved team in the nation this year. Projected at 2.8-7.2 in the preseason, they're likely to go 6-4 or 7-3 now.

 

NACC

Conference Rank: 25

Preseason Rank: 24

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Benedictine: 55.06%

Lakeland: 26.47%

Concordia Wis.: 7.78%

Aurora: 5.72%

Wisconsin Lutheran: 4.73%

Concordia-Chicago: 0.21%

Rockford: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Benedictine - They have played above expectations in every game so far this season, which is something only about 1-in-12 teams can say at this point of the season. Over their first three games they were projected to go about 0.8-2.2, instead they're 2-1, and projected to finish with two more wins now than they were at the beginning of the season.

 

UMAC

Conference Rank: 26

Preseason Rank: 26

 

Pool A Probabilities:

St. Scholastica: 81.07%

Northwestern Minn.: 13.68%

Westminster Mo.: 3.81%

Minnesota-Morris: 0.56%

Eureka: 0.53%

Everyone else: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Greenville - Greenville was supposed to finish with a winning record (6.2-3.8), but already the probability of going 0.500 or better is below 5%. They have been the most disappointing team in the country so far.

 

ECFC

Conference Rank: 27

Preseason Rank: 27

 

Pool A Probabilities:

Husson: 57.34%

SUNY-Maritime: 17.04%

Becker: 11.37%

Norwich: 8.6%

Mount Ida: 2.93%

Castleton: 2.59%

Gallaudet: 0.12%

Anna Maria: <0.1%

 

Biggest miss: Castleton - Projected at 4.4 wins in the preseason, they're now likely to finish with only three. The biggest miss in the other direction was SUNY-Maritime, who now has the second-best odds in the conference to make the playoffs.

 

Independents

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