Week 5 Statistical Review

October 3, 2017

Highest Graded Teams (Percentile Performance)

1. Hardin-Simmons - win over East Texas Baptist 80-42 (100.0%)

2. Mount Union - win over Ohio Northern 43-14 (99.9%)

3. Linfield - win over Whitworth 38-9 (99.9%)

4. UW-Oshkosh - win over UW-Whitewater 37-20 (99.9%)

5. Redlands - win over Occidental 72-13 (99.7%)

6. Illinois Wesleyan - win over Wheaton 14-10 (99.7%)

7. Mary Hardin-Baylor - win over William Paterson 66-0 (99.7%)

8. UW-La Crosse - loss to UW-Stevens Point 35-13 (99.6%)

9. St. Thomas - win over Augsburg 57-25 (99.6%)

10. Stevenson - win over Misericordia 65-7 (99.5%)


From last week:

Mount Union has played three games, and they've graded out as the best performance in the country twice, and the second-best performance in the other game. With John Carroll not having the same sort of squad as they did last season, and given the UMU/Heidelberg result of last season (50-14), I think it's safe to say the Purple Raiders are going to roll.


Mount Union has now graded out as the #1 or #2 team in every game they've played this year. I hear it said pretty often that Mount Union isn't really tested until the playoffs, but I would generally disagree. There are borderline (or actual) Top 25 teams they do this to. If playing two or three Top 25 opponents each year isn't being "tested" in this level, I don't know what is.


There's a few other games that I would personally re-order. For some, it's a pace issue inflating a team's numbers (not to knock 80-42, that's still insane), for others, the underlying stats don't give credit to how closely-contested a game felt (Linfield didn't thoroughly outplay Whitworth as much as 38-9 suggests--they relied on redzone stops and turnovers to inflate the margin, while UW-La Crosse had their way with UW-Stevens Point despite only winning by three scores). And then there's Occidental. Hard to not cut them some slack losing 72-13 to a solid Redlands squad. I'm currently working on "Hansen Ratings 2.0," which should help mitigate some of these factors.

Lowest Graded Teams (Percentile Performance)

220. Grinnell - loss to Ripon 55-0 (0.0%)

219. Martin Luther - loss to Westminster Mo. 54-6 (0.0%)

218. Iowa Wesleyan - loss to Eureka 49-18 (0.2%)

217. Alfred State - loss to SUNY-Maritime 49-6 (0.2%)

216. Crown - loss to Minnesota-Morris 17-7 (0.3%)

215. Beloit - loss to Illinois College 61-29 (0.3%)

214. Maine Maritime - loss to WPI 45-0 (0.5%)

213. Nichols - loss to Dean 10-3 (0.5%)

212. Concordia Wis. - loss to Lakeland 60-14 (0.5%)

211. Anna Maria - loss to Castleton 27-14 (0.7%)


From last week:

To quote exactly what I said in this space last week:

"Martin Luther can't decide if they want to play like the worst team in the country or not."


Two weeks ago, Martin Luther had the lowest grade in the country. Last week, they stomped Grinnell badly enough for Grinnell to have the lowest grade in the country. This week, they' joined their previous opponent as the only other team in the country graded out in the 0.0 percentile. Martin Luther is probably going to finish the year with four wins, but somehow end up with a worse rating than three of the teams they beat. It's fascinating to me.


Elsewhere, Dean won a pretty decent game against Nichols. In the preseason, before Kickoff came out and I saw how few players were returning for Dean, I thought they would have a decent shot of making noise in the ECFC. It looks like the exodus of most of last year's roster wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it would be--the Bulldogs have about a 50-50 shot of finishing with a 0.500 record or better.

Biggest Upsets (Predicted Line)

1. Illinois Wesleyan - win over Wheaton 14-10 (+19.3)

2. Mass-Dartmouth - win over Western Connecticut 17-13 (+18.7)

3. La Verne - win over Cal Lutheran 28-27 (+18.5)

4. Juniata - win over McDaniel 42-41 (+16.2)

5. Ursinus - win over Johns Hopkins 21-17 (+15.6)

6. Howard Payne - win over Belhaven 45-37 (+14.5)

7. Dean - win over Nichols 10-3 (+14.3)

8. Millsaps - win over Rhodes 20-19 (+9.4)

9. Lewis and Clark - win over Willamette 24-21 (+8.1)

10. Union - win over Morrisville State 28-27 (+6.9)


After an unremarkable Week 4, there were a lot of high-profile upsets this week--enough that Ursinus snapping a 45-game regular season win streak was only the fourth-biggest upset by the numbers. Not just that, but look at the scores for all of these games. All decided by one score. It was a great weekend for exciting DIII football.


IWU over Wheaton was obviously huge, too. I thought Wheaton was probably a legitimate national-title contender this season, but maybe not anymore. Then again, IWU now has two wins over teams currently residing in my model's Top 10 (yes, UWW is still up there), and their only loss is to current #6 North Central. Maybe they're the real deal?


Another game I would like to point out is the the Millsaps-Rhodes game, and not for any football reason. After the game, I saw on Twitter that the official Rhodes football account was trolling a Millsaps fan for misspelling "Let's go" as "LET'S GOOOOO." They've since deleted it, and I don't have a screen shot, but I just thought it was weird.

Biggest Outliers (Absolute Error in Score Prediction)

1. Benedictine @ Rockford (33.9)

2. MIT @ Merchant Marine (32.7)

3. Martin Luther @ Westminster Mo. (31.7)

4. Misericordia @ Stevenson (30.3)

5. Cornell @ Chicago (27.8)

6. UW-La Crosse @ UW-Stevens Point (25.8)

7. Redlands @ Occidental (24.5)

8. Hope @ Olivet (24.3)

9. Illinois Wesleyan @ Wheaton (23.3)

10. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps @ Whittier (23.0)


I said earlier this season it appeared C-M-S's opportunity to rise to the top of the SCIAC had passed them by. Barely beating Whittier cements that idea for me. 


MIT convincingly beat a USMMA team that had hopes of a playoff berth in the preseason. Beyond that sentence, I don't really know what to think about this game.


Stevenson is looking more like the playoff team from a year ago than like the team from the first few weeks of this season. Bodes well moving forward.


I can't get a good read on Benedictine either. Their results to date are:

Wheaton (L) 14-57

St. Norbert (W) 29-7

Alma (L) 40-45

Rockford (W) 20-7


The Wheaton game is whatever, but the win against St. Norbert was really impressive, but that was followed up by a loss to (an improved) Alma squad, and a squeaker over Rockford. My model still pegs them for a 1-in-4 shot of making the playoffs, so there's still time to turn it back on.

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