Not all Schedules are Created Equal (pt.1)
How Michigan's new Playoff Point system affects your team's odds of making the playoffs
Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter. The first couple of posts here will be a rehash of some popular threads I’ve posted on twitter this year.
One disclaimer before you dive in: these first few posts discuss the new playoff point formula put into place for 2021 and how it affects your team’s odds of making the playoffs. You will note that both posts include metrics for gauging how your team’s odds of making the playoffs stacks up to the other teams in its division. These metrics are derived by using the scheduling data available to the public at the time of posting. As schedules are always in flux (especially in today’s day & age of reduced numbers & COVID), several of the numbers in here will have changed slightly since they were posted in late August. Please bear that in mind as you read.
With the change in playoff point formula this year, a great metric for gauging a team's likelihood to make the playoffs is its "average division played" (ADP). ADP is simply the average of the division's of the team's opponents.
By comparing a team's ADP to the ADP of the other team's in its division, you can get a sense for how high of a bar a team will have to clear in order to make the playoffs. Note: this is holding all other variables constant, like wins & opponent wins.
For instance, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix's ADP in 2021 is 4.6. This is by far the lowest of any Division 1 team. This means that all else equal, a 7-2 Loy Norrix team will have a much harder time making the playoffs, vis a vis say, a 7-2 Oxford, who has an ADP of 1.0 (highest in D1).
You can see this for yourself by running Goosepoop's Playoff Wizard model
In the 10 times we ran a scenario with Oxford at 7-2, they made the playoffs 100% of the time. 7-2 Loy Norrix, on the other hand, only made the playoffs 5 of 10 times (50%).
Curious to see how your team's ADP stacks up to the rest in its division? The pic below summarizes the average ADP of the teams in each division. As you might expect, the ADP of each division declines as the division in question gets smaller.
You also note that the pic above includes the standard deviation of teams’ ADPs across each division. This metric measures how much variation in ADP there is across a division - if this number is higher, there's more variation.
Division 5 has the highest standard deviation of ADP of any division. This means that relative to the other divisions, there are more teams in this division playing opponents of both higher and lower divisions (makes sense because they are a middle division - they have teams that can play “up” to divisions 2 & 3, and “down” to divisions 7 & 8.
For example, in division 5, Flint Powers Catholic has the highest ADP of (2.11), while Memphis has the lowest (7.77). That's almost the widest possible spread you could have!
We predict this wide spread in ADP will showcase itself come playoff time - division 5 will be the likely spot where a 7-2 team doesn't make it in, and a 3-6 team does.
Curious to see your team’s ADP stacks up the rest of its division? Check out part II of this post!