Sunday, June 26, 2016

AFL Power Rankings: Round 14 2016

Looks like there’s yet another AFL Power Rankings out there … As of a few weeks ago searching for the ESPN website in Australia now (somewhat annoyingly) takes you by default to the Australian/New Zealand version of their site. This week I clicked around the AFL portion of that site, and found the headline ‘AFL Power Rankings – Crows retain top spot’.
While a new AFL Power Rankings discovery would generally catch my interest in any case, what particularly caught it here was that the Crows were in top spot … just like in my rankings. Given that Adelaide is currently in sixth spot on the AFL ladder this seems by no means an obvious choice. Indeed if I did not do my rankings each week I doubt that I would be thinking of the Crows as the best team in the comp at the moment, as I probably would not have taken much account of their tough draw up to this point.
In fact the ESPN AFL Power Rankings (compiled by Matt Walsh) in general are not that far from mine in terms of how it currently ranks each of the AFL clubs. When I saw this I wondered if it was formula-based like mine. It is, but not really in the same way as mine is. In the ESPN rankings clubs are rated according to six factors – form, draw, fitness, X-factor, attack, and defence – and the ratings are added up to arrive at a club’s final score. There isn’t really much more detail than that, but I would assume that the scores are largely judgment-based.
It’s remarkable to me then that it’s resulted in an ordering that is fairly close to those of the more purely data-driven rankings, given that there are some pretty sizable disparities between those and the ladder positions at the moment (e.g. Adelaide, North Melbourne). Maybe there are actually some secret formulas lurking in the background?
On the other hand perhaps it isn’t that unusual to be currently thinking of Adelaide as the top-ranked team. According to the Mid-Season Consensus AFL Power Rankings over on Reddit, that is the most common position for the Crows of the ranking systems included in that thread.
Anyway, ESPN apparently have an AFL Power Rankings now. Which I guess is a nice type of symmetry for my rankings, given that they were inspired by ESPN columnist John Hollinger’s NBA Power Rankings in the first place.

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