Almost exactly a year ago, I made a post ranking DIII football conference from 1999-2015. Even before last season started, I tweaked my methodology for the 1999 preseason ratings (which you can read about here), so those conference ratings were slightly out-dated by mid-summer. Since the 2016 season has finished, d3football.com has also posted game results from the 1998 season, so I have a whole additional season to play with in conference rankings.
For reference, here are the conference rankings/ratings from last April:
With my updated methodology for determining the 1998 preseason ratings, I improved the model's overall accuracy by slightly over 1%, and accuracy in the first couple of seasons for which I have game data went up by nearly 5%, so I feel comfortable saying that these new conference ratings are a lot closer to the "real" or "true" quality of these conferences than they were a year ago. That statement still comes with some caveats though. The IIAC particularly stands out, because in 1998-2000 the conference didn't play any non-conference games until the playoffs, so their ratings in those seasons are inherently closer to the mean than they probably should be. If you click on IIAC in the header of this chart, you can see a sharp uptick in 2001 (the first season in which every team played a non-conference game), which leads me to believe their "true" quality was higher in '98, '99, and '00 than suggested here.
A few more noticeable observations:
- The WIAC never is not the best conference in the country with the new methodology
- Despite the OAC's national tournament success this season, their early season struggles against non-conference opponents were enough to lower the conference's average rating for the second consecutive season.
- The ASC's rating until 2006 stayed below average, hovering somewhere between the current ratings of the NCAC and HCAC, and I don't know enough about Texas DIII football in the early aughts to know how to feel about this.
- The four-team ACFC was DANG good when they disbanded.
- Last season was only the second time in the last 19 season that the MIAC didn't improve their conference rating.
- The four-team SCAC had their best cumulative season since 2003 this season, and the merger with the SAA should help everyone.
Think I'm wrong, or just a doofus? Fight me on twitter @LogHanRatings