## Selecting the FBS Playoff Teams: Stage #2 - Calculating Unadjusted Earned Wins

In the world of major college football, how much is a win worth? The obvious but general answer to this question is that it depends on what team the win was against. If a team beats a team with zero wins, the victory is not worth much; however, if a team beats a team with eleven wins, the victory is substantial since it was something eleven other teams failed to do.

My attempt to answer the question of precisely how much a win is worth led to the invention of a statistic I call Earned Wins. The basic premise of my invention is that a team cannot earn more wins than actual wins, but not every actual win is necessarily earned in comparison with the wins of other teams. In other words, one team may earn all of its wins by playing a difficult schedule, while another team will earn only part of its actual wins if its schedule is weak relative to the first team.

The following hypothetical example will serve to illustrate the rationale behind the statistic, Earned Wins, and the derivation of its rudimentary formula.

In an ideal league with a 12-game schedule, there would be 13 teams and every team would play each other exactly once. There would be no upsets, so the best team would win all of its games, the second best team would finish 11-1, the third-place team would go 10-2, and this pattern would continue and finally end with the worst team going 0-12. If a team gets 11 win points for beating an 11-win team and 10 win points for beating a 10-win team and so forth; and if a team gets 11 loss points for losing to an 11-loss team, 10 loss points for losing to a 10-loss team and so forth, then the table below summarizes the results.

 Team Wins Losses Win Points Loss Points Difference #1 12 0 66 0 66 #2 11 1 55 0 55 #3 10 2 45 1 44 #4 9 3 36 3 33 #5 8 4 28 6 22 #6 7 5 21 10 11 #7 6 6 15 15 0 #8 5 7 10 21 -11 #9 4 8 6 28 -22 #10 3 9 3 36 -33 #11 2 10 1 45 -44 #12 1 11 0 55 -55 #13 0 12 0 66 -66

For every team in the table above, Actual Wins = Difference/11 + 6. This is the basic formula for earned wins for a 12-game season.

Unadjusted Earned Wins = (Win Points - Loss Points)/11 + 6

So, anyone with a 4-function calculator can calculate the unadjusted earned wins of any team.

I will use my favorite team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, as an example.

 2013 Big Ten Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4) OPPONENT Decision OPP Wins OPP Losses Win Points Loss Points Wyoming Win 5 7 5 Southern Miss Win 1 11 1 UCLA Loss 9 3 3 South Dakota St. Win 9 5 9 Illinois Win 4 8 4 Purdue Win 1 11 1 Minnesota Loss 8 4 4 Northwestern Win 5 7 5 Michigan Win 7 5 7 Michigan State Loss 12 1 1 Penn State Win 7 5 7 Iowa Loss 8 4 4 Total 39 12

Nebraska's Unadjusted Earned Wins = (39-12)/11 + 6 = 8.455

As you can see from their schedule, the Huskers are getting a lot of credit for beating a 9-win FCS school. If we only count rated wins, the calculation is much different as seen in the table below.

 2013 Big Ten Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4) OPPONENT Decision OPP RW OPP Losses Win Points Loss Points Wyoming Win 4 7 4 Southern Miss Win 0 11 0 UCLA Loss 9 3 3 South Dakota St. Win 0 5 0 Illinois Win 2 8 2 Purdue Win 0 11 0 Minnesota Loss 7 4 4 Northwestern Win 3 7 3 Michigan Win 7 5 7 Michigan State Loss 10 1 1 Penn State Win 7 5 7 Iowa Loss 6 4 4 Total 23 12

Nebraska's Unadjusted Rated Earned Wins = (23-12)/11 + 6 = 7.000

The table below gives the Unadjusted Rated Earned Wins for all 120 rated teams.

 TEAM W L RW WP LP UEW Air Force (CO) 2 10 1 2 57 1.000 Akron (OH) 5 7 2 7 21 4.727 Alabama 11 1 9 43 1 9.818 Arizona 7 5 6 27 20 6.636 Arizona St. 10 3 9 55 8 10.273 Arkansas 3 9 1 6 36 3.273 Arkansas St. 7 5 5 16 20 5.636 Army (NY) 3 9 2 1 56 1.000 Auburn (AL) 12 1 11 62 3 11.364 Ball St. (IN) 10 2 7 14 5 6.818 Baylor (TX) 11 1 10 48 2 10.182 Boise St. (ID) 8 4 6 24 14 6.909 Boston College (MA) 7 5 6 21 18 6.273 Bowling Green (OH) 10 3 7 24 18 6.545 Brigham Young (UT) 8 4 7 40 24 7.455 Buffalo (NY) 8 4 4 8 10 5.818 California 1 11 0 0 48 1.636 Central Florida 11 1 10 43 2 9.727 Central Michigan 6 6 2 4 27 3.909 Cincinnati (OH) 9 3 7 23 19 6.364 Clemson (SC) 10 2 8 35 2 9.000 Colorado 4 8 2 6 34 3.455 Colorado St. 7 6 6 13 33 4.182 Connecticut 3 9 3 9 38 3.364 Duke (NC) 10 3 9 39 11 8.545 East Carolina (NC) 9 3 6 19 13 6.545 Eastern Michigan 2 10 0 0 46 1.818 Florida 4 8 4 11 22 5.000 Florida Atlantic 6 6 3 9 18 5.182 Florida St. 13 0 12 61 0 11.545 Fresno St. (CA) 11 1 10 43 6 9.364 Georgia 8 4 7 36 9 8.455 Georgia Tech 7 5 5 27 17 6.909 Hawaii 1 11 1 2 57 1.000 Houston (TX) 8 4 7 30 9 7.909 Idaho 1 11 1 2 49 1.727 Illinois 4 8 2 7 32 3.727 Indiana 5 7 4 16 20 5.636 Iowa 8 4 6 26 6 7.818 Iowa St. 3 9 3 7 36 3.364 Kansas 3 9 2 3 39 2.727 Kansas St. 7 5 6 22 9 7.182 Kent St. (OH) 4 8 1 4 31 3.545 Kentucky 2 10 0 0 39 2.455 Louisiana St. 9 3 7 32 10 8.000 Louisiana Tech 4 8 1 1 53 1.273 Louisiana-Lafayette 8 4 6 20 26 5.455 Louisiana-Monroe 6 6 4 15 23 5.273 Louisville (KY) 11 1 9 32 1 8.818 Marshall (WV) 9 4 4 18 16 6.182 Maryland 7 5 6 16 21 5.545 Memphis (TN) 3 9 2 7 42 2.818 Miami (FL) 9 3 8 30 7 8.091 Michigan 7 5 7 29 15 7.273 Michigan St. 12 1 10 48 4 10.000 Middle Tennessee St. 8 4 4 10 17 5.364 Minnesota 8 4 7 32 13 7.727 Mississippi 7 5 6 25 14 7.000 Mississippi St. 6 6 5 17 13 6.364 Missouri 11 2 10 48 3 10.091 Navy (MD) 8 4 7 24 16 6.727 Nebraska 8 4 6 23 12 7.000 Nevada 4 8 3 7 28 4.091 Nevada-Las Vegas 7 5 6 17 21 5.636 New Mexico 3 9 3 3 44 2.273 New Mexico St. 2 10 1 1 53 1.273 North Carolina 6 6 6 20 20 6.000 North Carolina St. 3 9 2 3 38 2.818 North Dakota State 13 0 1 6 0 6.545 North Texas 8 4 7 26 19 6.636 Northern Illinois 12 1 9 24 3 7.909 Northwestern (IL) 5 7 3 7 22 4.636 Notre Dame (IN) 8 4 8 45 15 8.727 Ohio 7 5 4 13 22 5.182 Ohio St. 12 1 11 47 1 10.182 Oklahoma 10 2 10 46 5 9.727 Oklahoma St. 10 2 9 49 10 9.545 Old Dominion (VA) 8 4 1 1 20 4.273 Oregon 10 2 9 38 7 8.818 Oregon St. 6 6 6 19 17 6.182 Penn St. 7 5 7 22 17 6.455 Pittsburgh (PA) 6 6 6 27 22 6.455 Purdue (IN) 1 11 0 0 41 2.273 Rice (TX) 10 3 9 27 12 7.364 Rutgers (NJ) 6 6 5 9 19 5.091 San Diego St. (CA) 7 5 7 20 15 6.455 San Jose St. (CA) 6 6 5 27 28 5.909 South Alabama 6 6 5 23 33 5.091 South Carolina 10 2 9 49 11 9.455 South Florida 2 10 2 10 41 3.182 Southern California 9 4 9 43 16 8.455 Southern Methodist (TX) 5 7 4 9 31 4.000 Stanford (CA) 11 2 11 69 11 11.273 Syracuse (NY) 6 6 5 23 25 5.818 Temple (PA) 2 10 2 4 48 2.000 Tennessee 5 7 4 20 22 5.818 Texas 8 4 8 33 12 7.909 Texas A&M 8 4 7 31 7 8.182 Texas Christian 4 8 3 9 30 4.091 Texas St. 6 6 3 10 30 4.182 Texas Tech 7 5 6 17 14 6.273 Texas-El Paso 2 10 1 1 57 0.909 Texas-San Antonio 7 5 6 21 18 6.273 Toledo (OH) 7 5 5 20 20 6.000 Troy (AL) 6 6 3 14 29 4.636 Tulane (LA) 7 5 6 22 26 5.636 Tulsa (OK) 3 9 3 8 38 3.273 UCLA 9 3 9 38 7 8.818 Utah 5 7 4 27 29 5.818 Utah St. 8 5 7 26 20 6.545 Vanderbilt (TN) 8 4 5 18 13 6.455 Virginia 2 10 1 7 38 3.182 Virginia Tech 8 4 7 36 14 8.000 Wake Forest (NC) 4 8 3 10 29 4.273 Washington 8 4 7 27 10 7.545 Washington St. 6 6 5 20 18 6.182 West Virginia 4 8 2 12 40 3.455 Western Kentucky 8 4 6 21 23 5.818 Wisconsin 9 3 7 29 9 7.818 Wyoming 5 7 4 6 32 3.636

As can be seen in the table above, some teams have more Earned Wins than actual wins. This will be corrected in the next stage.

Stage #2 is complete. Up next is Stage #3: Calculating Adjusted Earned Wiins.

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