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Chasing Semis in NIRA DI and the Power Ratings

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Chasing Semis in NIRA DI and the Power Ratings

Brown has to make a move. Photo Tamar Kreitman, Brown Athletics.

The Power Ratings in NIRA have people asking all sorts of questions, mostly centered around "what does this game mean now?"

So, let's try to answer that.

Current NIRA DI Power Ratings:

(Editor's Note: A couple of non-Power-Ratings games had been included in the earlier version of the standings we showed off, and the removal of those results changes things a little. So the following standings are now the really-real ones, and we have changed our editorial comments accordingly.)

Harvard University 3 3 0 0 170 56 0.739 35 11.7 135 0.592 1.331 0.973 1.152
Dartmouth College 2 2 0 0 69 34.5 0.579 12 6 57 0.633 1.212 0.912 1.062
Sacred Heart University 4 3 1 0 125 31.3 0.555 42 10.5 83 0.601 1.156 0.743 0.949
Quinnipiac University 3 2 1 0 82 27.3 0.526 75 25 7 0.497 1.023 0.789 0.906
Brown University 4 2 2 0 143 30 0.546 70 17.5 73 0.551 1.096 0.493 0.795
US Military Academy 4 2 2 0 97 24.3 0.503 87 21.8 10 0.52 1.023 0.54 0.782
Long Island University 3 1 2 0 41 13.7 0.424 58 19.3 -17 0.538 0.962 0.245 0.603
Queens University of Charlotte 4 1 3 0 34 8.5 0.386 146 36.5 -112 0.415 0.801 0.38 0.591
US Naval Academy 3 1 2 0 40 13.3 0.422 91 30.3 -51 0.459 0.881 0.262 0.572
Mount St. Mary's University 4 1 3 0 42 10.5 0.401 138 34.5 -96 0.429 0.83 0.206 0.518
Princeton University 2 0 2 0 26 13 0.42 115 57.5 -89 0.265 0.684 -0.037 0.324

A lot of numbers there, but what you need to know here is that a team's points per game and points allowed per game both have an influence on their Power Rating. Also, a win against a higher-rated team counts more than a win against a lower-rated team ... AND ... those opponent ratings can change over time. So if you beat a team that's rated 8th in Week 3 you might get 0.7 of a win for that. But if that same team goes on a winning streak, by Week 6 you might now be getting 1.1 wins for the same result, retroactively improving you weighted winning percentage (wW% listed above). 

How It Changed Last Weekend

Brown’s 34-7 victory over Navy bumped the Bears up nicely in the NIRA Power Ratings, but they will still need some help in the chase for a place in the semifinals.

With some good, hard running from Nikki Lynch and scrumhalf Kate Muldoon pushing the tempo, Brown got two tries from Akilah Cathey, a penalty try, and tries from Morgan Cunningham, Noelle Lewis, and Lynch.

It was a good example of Brown putting the pressure on and keeping it on.

(Editor's Note: A couple of non-Power-Ratings games had been included in the earlier version of the standings we showed off, and the removal of those results changes things a little. So the above standings are now the really-real ones, and we have changed our editorial comments accordingly.)

That move Brown to 5th, right behind Quinnipiac. The problem for Brown is they only have one more NIRA conference game left, and that’s against powerful Dartmouth, and a significant gap to bridge. The good news? Win that game on October 29 and your ratings go way up.

Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart have games on the horizon, too.

(Brown plays Penn State in an out-of-NIRA meeting, one of four such games Penn State has on their schedule.) 


This weekend, Quinnipiac visits Army on Friday night, and on Saturday Sacred Heart is at Navy, Harvard is at Princeton, LIU is at Queens. 

Harvard, #1 in the Power Ratings, is heavily favored against Princeton and winning won’t improve their ratings all that much. Even a relatively close loss for Princeton can raise their ratings number, but for this week it’s unlikely Princeton will move out of 11th.

Long Island and Queens are virtually tied in the Ratings. For both, of course, a win will help them, but the biggest issue for Queens in the Ratings is their defensive ranking. The Royals are 10th out of 11 in points allowed per game, so a really good defensive showing will help them a lot more than a big-scoring game.

(Queens also has a lot points scored per game but we’re assuming if they win they will have scored a few points.)

Certainly not only can these teams secure a stronger hold on 7th with a win, they (maybe, and that's a big maybe) can get into position to haul in Army at 6th. LIU might be in better position to do that because they have more games to play and those opponents (Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac) are rated higher.

Finally there’s Sacred Heart. The Pioneers could make the semifinals this year for the first time. It’s been an impressive breakout season for SHU, but to get where they want they need to beat Navy and LIU over their next two games. The wins won’t shoot their Power Rating up much higher, but they will make it much, much harder for anyone to catch them. Beating Navy probably clinches (barring a major surprise) a semifinal spot for SHU.

Dartmouth is idle this weekend but have Harvard, Brown, and Princeton in the final weeks of the regular season. Assuming they beat Princeton, the key game for Dartmouth is at Brown. Lose that game and against Harvard (which has been playing very well) and semifinal doubts creep in. We don’t have those doubts—we think Dartmouth will go at least 2-1 in their final three and stay the #2 team (at least) in the ratings.

The game of the week has to be Quinnipiac at Army. The Bobcats are ranked #4 and the Black Knights are ranked #6. For Army this is their chance to rebound from their rough start. If they want to be in a semifinal place, they are going to have to overtake Quinnipiac anyway, so might as well do it face-to-face.

Quinnipiac, for their part, can tighten their grip on 4th and inch closer to 3rd with a win. They have Mount St. Mary’s and LIU left on the schedule and they are favored in those games. A victory over a higher-rated Army will help a lot more.

If Quinnipiac wins they could quite easily overtake Sacred Heart (a team, remember, they beat). If Army wins, that’s a blow to Quinnipiac’s semifinal hopes and in fact will could create a three-team battle (Army, Quinnipiac, Brown) for that final semifinal spot.