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Chris’s Thoughts: D9 Football Power Rating Formula Officially Useless

Photo by Patrick Crants

For the last few weeks, District 9 has been releasing its football Power Rating Formula despite already announcing that a seeding committee will be seeding the postseason for the first time in recent memory.

And after the latest round of the Power Formula that was released Sunday, Oct. 2, the question begs to be asked, why? Why even muddy the waters with the Power Formula when it is so blatantly wrong? So blatantly inaccurate?

Two weeks ago, I asked District 9 football chairman Bob Tonkin, a man I have a great deal of respect for, this very question, and I was told while the committee was going to be seeding the postseason the Power Formula was going to be “just one of the number of consideration to use” and was “certainly not the most important”.

After seeing its rankings after six weeks, it shouldn’t even be used as a “consideration”.

           

All one has to do is look at the Class 1A rankings to understand this.

While unbeaten Redbank Valley is rightfully at the top of the Power Rating formula with 790 points, after that the formula goes off track with Elk County Catholic being No. 2 with 630 points ahead of teams that the eye test tells all of us are better than the Crusaders including Port Allegany (590 points), Keystone (510 points), Coudersport (500 points) and Brockway (370 points).

Sure the Crusaders are 5-1 but – and no offense to ECC as it can only play the teams on its schedule – it is about as weak of a 5-1 as 5-1 can be. ECC’s wins have come against 4-2 Otto-Eldred (twice) – the Terrors’ wins have come against Sheffield twice (a team that hasn’t won since 2019), Bradford (another team that hasn’t won since 2019). and Bucktail (a team that has won three games since 2019 all against winless teams including twice this year to Sheffield) – as well as Bradford and Sheffield – see the above about long losing streaks.

ECC just lost to Coudersport, 6-0, Friday night already telling us the 4-2 Falcons deserve to be ranked ahead of them.

And if Coudersport deserves to be ranked ahead of the Crusaders then so too does Brockway (3-3), which beat Coudersport 70-16 earlier this season, and Keystone (4-2), which beat Coudersport 33-16 in Week One.

And that says nothing of 5-1 Port Allegany, whose only loss is to unbeaten Class 2A Central Clarion by five points in a game that went right down to the wire.

           

In its other five games, the Gators are outscoring their opponents 170-19 including blowout wins over Brockway (40-7) and 2A Ridgway (30-6), which just beat Keystone, and 2A Kane (26-6) this past week.

And I am not just going to pick on ECC as being the only flaw in this formula.

Again, look at Coudersport being 130 points better than Brockway despite the two teams being within a game of each other in the standings. The same Brockway team, as mentioned above, that beat Coudersport 70-16. SEVENTY to SIXTEEN. There is no one anywhere in any universe that would think a team that lost to another team 70-16 should ever, in any circumstance, be ranked higher than the team that scored the 70.

But not only isn’t Brockway rated ahead of Coudersport it also isn’t ranked ahead of Otto-Eldred, which again has lost TWICE to ECC, who Coudersport just beat.

The Power Ranking formula might have had its day in the sun when teams were playing similar schedules.

But now that the District 9 football league has gone to the insane three Region concept where Region 3, which ECC is a member of, is playing some teams twice – ECC has a second game with Bucktail and a second game with Sheffield still remaining – while Region 2 teams like Port Allegany are playing a much tougher schedule – the Gators still have to play two-time defending D9 1A champion Redbank Valley, who went to the PIAA finals a year ago – as well as Keystone and last year’s 1A runner-up Union/A-C Valley (who has a win over Brockway), the formula isn’t a fair formula by any stretch of the imagination and should be completely scrapped. Sending it out is doing no one any good and isn’t giving anyone a fair understanding of where teams should be ranked.

           

How I would currently rank the 1A teams

1. Redbank Valley – Until someone beats the 2-time champs the top spot is the Bulldogs
2. Port Allegany – The Gators could very easily knock off Redbank Valley in two weeks
3. Keystone – Despite losing QB Rayce Weaver to an injury and not having star RB Kyle Nellis last week, Keystone is still playing well under first-year head coach Todd Smith
4. Union/A-C Valley – With a win over Brockway and two of its losses to unbeaten teams in Redbank Valley and Central Clarion, don’t be fooled by the Falcon Knights’ 3-3 record.
5. Brockway – Yes, Jake Heigel’s crew has had a couple of head-scratchers but the Rovers are still very formidable, especially on offense
6. Coudersport – The Falcons seem to have gotten things figured out on defense after giving up 70 to Brockway with three straight shutouts, although two of those have come against teams with a combined one win each in Smethport and Cameron County
7. Elk County Catholic – The five wins are soft. Only ahead of Curwensville because nothing to even try to compare vs. a Golden Tide team that plays a D6 schedule
8. Curwensville – At 3-3 Curwensville has shown an ability to score points but has had trouble stopping people. Still better than Otto-Eldred
9. Otto-Eldred – On the outside looking in right now. The two losses to ECC hurt a ton including a blowout loss the second time around after playing the Crusaders within five in Week One
10. Smethport – With Player of the Year Noah Lent having graduated its been a rebuolding season for the Hubbers under first-year head coach Joel Lent, Noah’s dad. They did beat Cameron County, though.
11. Cameron County – The Red Raiders had high hopes coming into the season but just got their first win last week.
12. Sheffield – The Wolverines are scoring more points this year but they still carry a 16-game losing streak into this week’s game with Cameron County

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