Quick Note on Polls

December 12, 2011


There is a kid in my fantasy football league who has been dominating the league.  He has been in 1st place for most of the year and he knows he has the best team.  But every week, he begs me to put up some “Power Rankings” on the league site.  Every week I ask him, if he knows he is the best, why does he need me or anyone else to tell him that he is?  He doesn’t really have an answer, he just wants to see himself recognized.  When it comes to Northeastern, I can’t help but feeling like I am that kid sometimes.  I know Northeastern is good.  And they have proven it by beating quality teams, but I still want to see them ranked every week.

“Polls don’t matter” is a common phrase around college hockey.  The USCHO polls don’t actually mean anything.  The one that matters is the Pairwise or PWR.  That is college hockey’s “BCS”, except it doesn’t totally suck and unlike the BCS, the human polls have no bearing on Pairwise Rankings.   At the end of the season, the tournament field is selected based on the Pairwise.   The KRACH is another good formula one.  I’d argue its better than Pairwise, but the Pairwise is the one they use.

So when people say the polls don’t matter, they are right:  The polls have no bearing on the NCAA tournament field.  And at this point in the season, Pairwise, KRACH, and everything they are built upon (Strength of Schedule, RPI) are way too volatile to get a good reading.  And it doesn’t even matter because out of all the weekly updates and polls, only the final edition of 1 ranking matters.  And there is a ridiculous amount hockey left to be played before that one comes out. So just keep in mind, where teams stand right now is nothing more than a rough reference point.  Its not the be all end all.

Being ranked may create some buzz and help attendance, but a 6 game win streak can do that too.  All Northeastern can do is keep winning and let the polls and formulas work themselves out.   What the idiots at USCHO think of them is both meaningless and out of their control.


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