The Ned Freeman CalPreps.com rankings — those “cold, hard and unfeeling,” yet incredibly popular high school football computer rankings — have been released for the 2014 preseason.
The rankings are compiled from a formula created by former California high school hoops standout, coach and erstwhile mathematician Ned Freeman in 2001. CalPreps went nationwide thanks to a deal with MaxPreps.com when that site launched in 2004.
Since then, the rankings have increased in popularity as more and more football fans and coaches find them through MaxPreps or elsewhere.
And why shouldn’t they? Everybody loooooves rankings.
In essence, the Cal Preps rankings are based purely on a team’s results (margin of victory is factored in, but only to a point) and then compared to all of the results across the state.
“The size of the schools, their division, the league they’re in, how good the school or league are historically, their geographic location, how well liked the school is… none of these things are programmed into the system.”
If you’ve paid attention to the commenters on this space, you’ll know there’s been a few who have suggested, even demanded, that the CIAC take them into account when ranking their postseason tournaments.
We’ve even heard a few state football coaches suggest it.
CalPreps, of course, is convinced its formula is superior. And says so:
Rest assured, the process is many times more accurate than the over-simplified points systems that many sections/states are trying as an alternative to the subjectivity of the human process. Systems where, for example, 3 points are given for a win against a large school, 2 points for a win against a medium-sized school, etc. simply can’t compare with what we’re doing here.
Anyway, you can get more details on about how CalPreps formulates its rankings here.
ADD: Kyle Brennan of the Republican-American did a nice Q&A with Freeman for a Sunday blogpost. You can get a lot of answers to questions there. It’s pretty thorough.
In attempting to create preseason rankings, CalPreps attempts to get as much information possible about every team in the country. There are thousands of high school football teams in the country and, give them credit, they do manage to get key information from Connecticut’s teams.
So, without further ado, here’s how CalPreps has Connecticut’s teams ranked in the preseason. We’re only listing the Top 25. Click the link for the full rankings.
Note: CalPreps includes Connecticut’s non-CIAC schools, but doesn’t rank them. We’ve taken them out for clarity’s sake.
- 1. New Canaan
- 2. St. Joseph
- 3. Fairfield Prep
- 4. Hand
- 5. Southington
- 6. Ridgefield
- 7. Darien
- 8. Ansonia
- 10. Glastonbury
- 10. Xavier
- 11. Newtown
- 12. Foran
- 13. Shelton
- 14. Greenwich
- 15. West Haven
- 16. Middletown
- 18. Notre Dame-WH
- 19. North Haven
- 20. Trumbull
- 21. Brookfield
- 22. Norwich Free Academy
- 23. Ledyard
- 24. Naugatuck
- 25. Fairfield Warde
I’ll be the first to say these do look somewhat silly. But, as CalPreps explains, all teams will really start off with a “0” ranking in its formula. The information that was used to rank the teams in the preseason will be eliminated as the season goes on. Meanwhile, the actual formula will to work as the sample of games grows larger. You’ll quickly see some pretty solid rankings emerge.
Ned Griffen of The Day (who refers to the rankings while voting in the Register Top 10) has noted that, in the 11 years since CalPreps has tracked Connecticut high school football, eight times its No. 1-ranked team was the same as the coaches and the media polls.
For example, here’s how CalPreps ranked Connecticut’s teams following the 2013 season:
- 1. New Canaan (14-1, Class L champions)
- 2. Southington (12-1, Class LL champions)
- 3. St. Joseph (13-2, Class M champions)
- 4. Fairfield Prep (11-3, Class LL runners up)
- 5. Darien (12-2, Class L runners up)
- 6. Ansonia (15-0, Class S champions)
- 7. West Haven (10-3, Class LL semifinals)
- 8. Xavier (8-3)
- 9. North Haven (11-3, Class L semifinals)
- 10. Glastonbury (10-2, Class LL quarterfinals)
- 11. Hand (8-4, Class L quarterfinals)
- 12. Ridgefield (10-3, Class LL semifinals)
- 13. Shelton (7-4)
- 14. Greenwich (8-3)
- 15. Newtown (12-1, Class LL quarterfinals)
- 16. Middletown (11-2, Class L quarterfinals)
- 17. Hall (9-2, Class LL quarterfinals)
- 18. Norwich Free Academy (8-3, Class LL quarterfinals)
- 19. Staples (8-3)
- 20. Notre Dame-WH (5-6)
- 21. Foran (8-3)
- 22. Trumbull (8-3)
- 23. Brookfield (11-3, Class M runners up)
- 24. Barlow (10-3)
- 25. Bethel (9-3)
So, take these for what you will. But as an all-inclusive high school sports website, it’s interesting to see how other entities rank Connecticut’s football teams.