Let the real season begin

Non-conference play is winding down for most GSC West teams, as only five games remain on the aggregate schedule for non-division play.  The Bisons have a tune-up game tonight against Central Baptist before opening conference play Saturday at Arkansas-Monticello, which has struggled mightily through their fall schedule.

I’ve been working on a few tweaks to the stat file as well as a few other assorted posts, but I thought I’d go ahead and get my conference re-rankings out of the way.  Based on Pythagorean Win % (one of my tweaks, listed below as PW% and followed by the Pythagorean Record), below are my rankings for the GSC West teams heading into the conference schedule.  These rankings represent the expected win percentage for that team based on a league-average schedule and are not necessarily the same as my own feelings about team strength.  The records below include games through Tuesday.

  1. Christian Brothers (11-2 Actual Record, .912 PW%, 12-1 PR)
  2. Henderson State (9-4, .843, 11-2)
  3. Harding (6-6, .759, 9-3)
  4. Delta State (9-2, .651, 7-4)
  5. Ouachita Baptist (4-6, .540, 5-5)
  6. Southern Arkansas (5-7, .510, 6-6)
  7. Arkansas Tech (3-8, .449, 5-6)
  8. Arkansas-Monticello (4-7, .447, 5-6)

I think this ranking gives a better indication of which teams have performed well than just using actual records, although I think the team ratings I use to adjust for schedule strength may not be a great scale to use for this.  I’m probably weighing particularly tough or weak opponents a bit too strongly, or in other words, teams are closer in ability than my system suggests.  That may or may not have a large effect here, but I’ll throw it out there.

In reality, I think the Bisons are slightly better than they have been so far this year, and they may very well finish third in the division.  Obviously anything can happen, and the schedule sets up well for there to be as much drama as possible at the end.  Christian Brothers will be the Bisons’ last opponent for each half of the conference season, with Henderson State/Delta State also pairing up for the final weekend.

Given Christian Brothers’ strength so far against a tough schedule, I think first place might be out of the question, but the rest of the division is basically up for grabs.  While it would be foolish to shoot for anything other than first place before the games begin, that’s a realistic assessment of what could happen.

Oh, and the latest stat file is available for download.

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