Hawley's Pigskin Index College Football Ratings

The Pigskin Index is designed to forecast the winners and losers of football games as well as give a reasonable estimate of the pointspread. These predictions are for entertainment purposes only. Originated in 1967, the forecasting system has historically picked about 75% winners in college games and 65% winners in pro games. These percentages are straight-up, not ATS. Ratings are updated each week to maximize accuracy.

The calculations are done week by week, based on the game performances of each team. The system considers itself to be "balanced" if the degree of accuracy is high. But when things go terribly awry ... substantial corrections will appear in the ratings, even late in the season. The degree of correction is skewed from the top to the bottom. The higher rated teams change less than the lower rated teams, under the same set of circumstances. The Pigskin Index is not terribly influenced by W-L-T records --- as evidenced by Southern Cal's presence in our current Top 10. Their loss was to another quality team ... and someone was likely to lose.

It's my feeling that using W-L-T records to rank the teams is a major flaw of the polls. When BYU won the national championship in 1984, I had them ranked 8th, simply because their schedule strength was incredibly weak. I would say all 7 of the teams I had ranked ahead of BYU that year could have gone unbeaten against the Cougar's slate.

You might also find it interesting that when Colorado (my alma mater) won the AP crown in 1990 with a 10-1-1 mark, I had them 3rd behind Florida State and Miami. In that case, Colorado was rewarded for winning nine in a row, while the other two teams lost late. Colorado defeated Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, and the Irish were not really a top contender at that point. By the way, the USA Today champions, Georgia Tech, were 8th in my rankings. They had the 11-0-1 record against a pack of nobodies and a Nebraska team that had been thouroughly whipped by Colorado earlier in the year when the game really counted for something.

I realize that I've talked here in a form of mumbo-jumbo, but my formulas are a reflection of my observations over the years of what WORKS and what doesn't. My goal is to simply pick as many winners as possible, as I do not gamble, nor do I encourage anyone else to do so.

The Pigskin Index was first published in 1967 in the Town & Country Review, a Boulder, Colorado, weekly. 1967 was a long time ago. The stars of college football that year included Terry Hanratty of Notre Dame, Gary Beban of U.C.L.A., O.J. Simpson of Southern Cal and Larry Csonka of Syracuse. By mid-November, the only undefeated, untied teams were Indiana and Wyoming!

<- Parent Directory

Greg Hawley / ghawley@idcomm.com