With the 2016 high school football season nearing its mid point, The Wizard will take some time to explain the District 3 Power Ranking formula. The pros and cons of the District 3 Power Ranking system and its impact on Mid-Penn teams ability to make the playoffs.
In PIAA District 3 High School Football a team qualifies for the districts playoffs by ranking at or near the top of their class in District 3's Power Ranking formula. The majority of teams in the Mid-Penn conference are in District 3, excluding only Mifflin County and State College which are in District 6, so this information is pertinent to most of the conference.
District 3's Power Ranking formula is a two-tier system, 55% of the ranking comes from a Team's winning percentage and 45% of the ranking comes from a Team's opponent's winning percentage.
The District 3 Power Rankings are also weighted based on the class of the team as well. The District 3 Power Ranking class weighting is determine as below for the 2016 football season -
AAAAAA win - 1.25 wins
AAAAA win - 1.15 wins
AAAA win - 1.05 wins
AAA win - .95 wins
AA win - .85 wins
A win - .75 wins
AAAAAA loss - .75 losses
AAAAA loss - .85 losses
AAAA loss - .95 losses
AAA loss - 1.05 losses
AA loss - 1.15 losses
A loss - 1.25 losses
So lets say Team A beats Team B who is AA - Team A would earn .85 Wins in the District 3 Power Ranking System for their "Team Winning Percentage".
If instead Team A loses to Team B - Team A would earn 1.15 Losses regardless of what classification Team A is in.
Lets now say Team A beat Team B who was AA and then lost to Team C who is AA. Team A's "Team Winning Percentage" would be .85 Wins / (.85 Wins + 1.15 Losses) = .425. This .425 is 55% of the total PIAA District 3 Power Ranking for this football team.
The 2nd portion of the PIAA District 3 Power Ranking formula is Opponent Winning Percentage. What happens here is District 3 breaks down the wins and losses of each team that Team A plays and again weights them the same way they would for Team. District 3 then adds up all the weighted wins for all the teams that are on Team A's schedule (even the ones Team A has not played yet) and divides that again by the total win's and losses of those team (remember this won't necessarily add up to the total games a team plays because each game is weighted by classification.
Once District 3 has both of these numbers which they call TWP (Team Win Percentage) and OWP (Opponent Win Percentage) they multiple the TWP by 55% and the OWP by 45% to get a final Power Ranking.
So what does The Wizard think about the PIAA District 3 Power Ranking Formula?
PIAA District 3 Power Ranking Formula Pros -
1. The Power Ranking Formula takes into account more than Wins/Losses
2. The Power Ranking Formula takes into account opponent Win/Loss records so that a win against an 0-10 team is not ranked the same as a win against a 10-0 team.
3. The Power Ranking Formula rewards teams who knowing play out of conference games against larger schools.
PIAA District 3 Power Ranking Formula Cons -
1. The Power Ranking Formula is overly complex without adding additional value. An average person cannot go in and easily recalculate a teams power ranking or even determine what a win or loss will do to a team's power ranking without spending significant time to get there.
2. The Power Ranking Formula itself of adding .1 per class for wins and losses and breaking out the TWP vs OWP at 55% vs 45% seems to be picked out of thin air (as the precise distinctions at these levels would not appear to actually determine any more accurately the strength of a team).
3. The Power Ranking Formula factors in an Opponent's Opponent's class rather than adding value by also or instead using Opponent's Opponent's Win/Loss record such as done in the RPI.
4. The Power Ranking Formula is not updated at a single point of time, therefore the audience can never be sure of the full accuracy of the rankings.
5. The Power Ranking Formula takes into account all opponent's rankings in the OWP, not just the teams that a school has played, which can be misleading.
Overall the PIAA District 3 Power Rankings are better than a pure Win/Loss based formula, however there is still room for improvement in this ranking system if it is to accurately place the strongest teams in the playoffs, which is more important than ever with the recent PIAA classification realignment and the related smaller number of team's making the playoffs in many of the classifications.
You can see the current ranking system at The District 3 Website.