Bucking Broncho: Power Ranking season
In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers gives Jordy Nelson (87) a thumbs-up after Nelson’s touchdown catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)
Football season is officially underway, now that weeks two and three for college and NFL are completed, and with that comes the annual Power Rankings season, a time for overanalyzing and week-to-week changes.
Each time autumn comes around, the media gives their version of who the best teams are. Even the NFL, where rankings don’t matter. Every show on any sports network has their own list. While, for the most part, they are all similar, there are enough subtle differences to create firestorms within the fan bases.
The Associated Press ranking for NCAA Football this week have been released and after week three, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Penn State and Southern California are the Top Five. Yet, ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) has Oklahoma, Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama and Penn State.
Going even further, USC is not even in the Top 10! How in the world is Alabama fourth? After one big win against LSU, Mississippi State went from unranked to the tenth best team in the nation.
The FPI, in theory, projects outcomes and measures the ability of all three phases of the game. It takes the statistics from the previous games and calculates the amount of points each aspect is responsible for, according to ESPN Sports Analytics. Still, I don’t know how those numbers come out to be that different from what the AP and Coaches’ Polls release each week.
Though College Football has an official way of ranking programs, the real debates come in professional football. For the NFL, any version of the Power Rankings segment is known to be ratings gold. Nothing gets people talking and debating like giving a personal ranking system. It’s an age-old way to debate between friends and colleagues.
There is just something about football season and Power Rankings that go hand-in-hand. The weekly format of the game schedule that football has allows for plenty of time to talk between games, unlike other sports like baseball, hockey or even NBA basketball.
Those respective sports games are played just about every day and allow for too much constant change to build solid arguments. Unless, say, it’s the Golden State Warriors and you know in all likelihood they will win.
Each and every Monday fans go into work or class with the events of the weekend on their minds. Everyone that watches sports, has their own version of what the Power Rankings should be each week. As an experiment, go to a friend and ask for their Top Five. I can almost guarantee it will be far different from what is in your mind.