I will start with final power rankings, which I see as this:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
The most difficulty for me was which team, Michigan State or Wisconsin, should land in the #6 spot. They had comparable, but different regular seasons and in the end it mostly comes down to which metrics you tend to emphasize when comparing teams.
|Team||W-L||Net Pts||SOS||Blowout Ls|
I compiled these rankings based on a combination of computer and human analysis. The first thing I did was come up with a ranking formula that rates each team on a number of metrics including wins, SOS, close games, blowout wins and blowout losses.
Here are those results:
|Rank||Team||Wins||Net Points||Close Losses||Blowout Wins||Blowout Losses||SOS Rank||Rating|
As you can see, it’s quite close to the final rankings. Purdue is the only team that changes more than one spot. I have them two spots lower, at #8, which I will attempt to justify.
I need some sort of other analysis to compare against, or at least support/deny some of my thoughts around where these teams rank. I thought a cluster analysis would give me a better idea of which teams were comparable to each other in 2018.
I created two cluster plots using two different methods and the results are below:
The only difference between these is that in one Nebraska and Purdue are lumped together as similar, and in the other, Purdue joins a cluster with Northwestern, Michigan State, and Indiana.
Good to see everything else the same because it gives me more confidence that those teams are similar and should thus be grouped together.
This confirmed or taught me a number of things:
- Ohio State and Michigan had the best two seasons by a lot
- Although Northwestern had an impressive season and made it to the Big10 championship, Iowa and Penn State both appear to have had better overall performances throughout the season
- Rutgers is clearly the worst team
- Nebraska’s season was most comparable to Purdue
Once I finalized my rankings, I compared them to both the BTN final power rankings and the Sagarin Rankings for good measure and mine were not terribly different. So this gave me confidence in where the teams are positioned.