2013 opponent pre-season rankings
As in the past, I’ve pulled together rankings from a variety of sources, in an attempt to quantify the level of competition EMU will face this fall. Since I’m not that keen on pre-season rankings and the like, I have not paid for any magazines or subscription services. College Gridiron 365 is still ranking them, so we’re still using them. Paul Myerberg, formerly of Pre-Snap Read, is now covering college football for USA Today, and has taken his annual pre-season ranking with him. I was a fan of PSR, and although I don’t really care for USA Today, we’ll continue to use Myerberg’s rankings here. Rivals has done a top-to-bottom pre-season ranking in the past, but I can’t find one this year, and Mike Huegenin, who wrote theirs last year, seems to be gone from that site. So it looks like for the time being we’re down to just these two freely available top-to-bottom rankings.
I love Sagarin’s football and basketball rankings once the season is well underway, but his pre-season football rankings are fairly worthless. Unfortunately, Sagarin is the only one who ranks FBS and FCS teams together, so we’ll just have to leave Howard off the list. (But note that in Sagarin’s 2012 season-end ranking, he has Howard way way down there at #207, rated far worse than every other team the Eagles faced last year or will face this year.) Let’s just say that an opening-game EMU loss to Howard would be among the worst on-field disgraces in program history and leave it at that.
|Team||USA Today||CG 365||Average|
Italicized teams are MAC teams not on the 2013 schedule.
*Ranking not yet released; averages assume that the team will have the worst-possible remaining ranking.
If those numbers look pretty depressing…well, if they look depressing then you’re reading the correctly. The only game on the schedule that EMU “should” win is the opener against Howard. The biggest difference of opinion is Buffalo, with a 34-position difference. Northern Illinois could top that if Myerberg has them in his top 25.
Home v. Howard (NR)
At #38 Penn State
At #44 Rutgers
Home v. #54 Ball State
At #91 Buffalo
At #112 Army
Home v. #53 Ohio
At #46 Northern Illinois
At #47 Toledo
Home v. #102 Western Michigan
Home v. #69 Bowling Green
At #93 Central Michigan
The average ranking of the teams visiting Ypsilanti, counting Howard as having a 124 ranking, is 80, or just looking at MAC opponents, 69. The average ranking of the teams the Eagles will visit is 67, or just looking at the MAC, 69. For the third year in a row, the home opponents are, on average, weaker than the road opponents, although that gap is narrower than it was last year. It’s also worth noting that, after an extremely favorable draw against the MAC East in 2011, EMU will again face three of the expected four best teams from that division.
*Note: It’s frequently stated that ordinal numbers should not be averaged, because the difference between 1st and 2nd, for example, is not necessarily the same magnitude as the difference between 5th and 6th, and strictly speaking that’s correct. But, ordinals are averaged (and otherwise manipulated) in sports — especially college football! — all the time. Every ranking poll is just that, though it’s often disguised (e.g., give 1 point per 25th place vote through 25 points per first place vote and then rank based on points). So I’m not really worried about it. I think this is still a useful way to examine the expected difficulty of EMU’s schedule.