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Which football division is now the toughest?
There are actually a few surprises
We’re back today with Goosepoop #64!
In today’s note, we’re finishing out our analysis on 2023 division assignments that we started this past week.
If you didn’t catch that post, make sure you give it a read BEFORE you read further. A lot of the content here won’t make as much sense without that under your belt.
You can also check out the full list of the MHSAA’s 2023 division assignments right here:
With that out of the way, I have one more ask to make of you: please subscribe!
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Has Michigan’s HS football recruiting continued to decline?
Do districts with high amounts of school-of-choice win more?
Which is better for the Boy’s Bball Tournament: MPR or our Computer Model?
How well can the computer model predict Baseball games?
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How Tough is the Average Team in Each Division?
We’ll kick off of today’s analysis with exactly what I’ve been promising you: a look at which division is deepest.
We’re going to get at this question by looking at the final 2022 computer model rating of the average team in each division.
Here’s how that shakes out:
D1: 19.7 Rating
D2: 12.0 Rating
D3: 5.0 Rating
D4: 7.6 Rating
D5: -3.8 Rating
D6: -10.1 Rating
D7: -16.7 Rating
D8: -23.0 Rating
As you can see, things go mostly chalk: around a touchdown separates the average team in each division, save for the gap between D4 & D5. There, around 10 points separates the two divisions.
However, there is one surprise: the average team in D4 is actually rated higher than the average team in D3!
Is this correct? Here’s the two ‘average’ teams from last year in each of those division. I’ll let you guys decide if the computer model’s right here:
D3 Avg Team: Holly (6.4 Computer Rating)
D4 Avg Team: Ludington (7.5 Computer Rating)
The Top 5 Teams in Every Division
Another (and perhaps better) way to get at the question of ‘which division is toughest’ is to compare solely the top teams in each division.
If you like this approach more, you believe ‘toughest’ means ‘toughest to win a championship’ and not ‘toughest on any given day’.
Here’s the top 5 teams in each division, according to their final 2022 computer ratings:
(the lists are alphabetized)
Division 1 - Average Rating 55.5
Division 2 - Average Rating 51.2
De La Salle
Division 3 - Average Rating 44.7
Forest Hills Central
Division 4 - Average Rating 37.9
GR South Christian
Division 5 - Average Rating 44.8
GR Catholic Central
GR West Catholic
Division 6 - Average Rating 24.8
Division 7 - Average Rating 29.2
Division 8 - Average Rating 23.3
Ottawa Lake Whiteford
As you can see, this is where things start to get interesting.
The D3 / D4 problem from above is now solved, and things fall exactly where you might expect them: the top 5 teams in D3 are about a touchdown better than the top 5 teams in D4.
HOWEVER, look one division down for another oddity: the top 5 teams in D5 are actually rated a touchdown better than those of D4, and just a smidge better (0.1 points) than the top 5 in D3.
What explains this? It’s probably something to do with this daisy chain from 2022:
Gladwin > Frankenmuth > Goodrich > OLSM > Brother Rice > De La Salle
If you keep going, you’ll see more things that surprise you: the top 5 teams in Divisions 6 through 8 are all rated around the same, with Division 7 leading the way, ahead of the other two by 5-6 points.
Divisions 6 & 8 are actually close enough (separated by just 1.5 points) that you might make this claim: based on 2022’s data alone, winning a D8 State Title might be just as hard as winning a D6 State Title.
Again, this is all conjecture at this point, as the data is based only on 2022 results. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on it as we get into the season.
That’s all for today, guys!
Next week we’ll be back with an update on our recruiting analysis from last year:
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