FanPost

Winsipedia Ranking Changes

As the off-season rolls on, it is the duty of fans to bring up ever more meaningless and stupid talking points in a desperate attempt to fill the void between January and September, usually with fairly dubious and contrived stats of one nature or another. As such, I personally believe that Winsipedia is the spirit animal of the off-season. With no preamble, disposition, or any other big words for, well, words, it presents stark comparisons between any combination of FBS teams you care to choose from using what looks like sound data as long as you don’t go poking too hard at any of the numbers (again, which you can’t do because the site is nothing but a glorified database form with decent graphics).

With such a magnificent tool for providing totally-not-meaningless comparisons between the team you root for and everyone else, I obviously spend some time looking at matchups here periodically in this stretch where people treat non-college football events as if they were real sports (even *audibly shivers* basketball). Since there tends not to be much movement in stats that cover all of college football history, frequent visits to the site have me rooting for Texas A&M to beat the next marginal threshold to slightly increase our ranking. Given our excellent season this past year, I thought it would be interesting for myself to clarify how much the 2020-2021 season helped our all-time position in the sport. If somebody else also enjoys reading this, well that is good too, I guess.

I should warn that these number represent all-time rankings, and therefore aren’t going to change much. Clemson is on the mother of all hot streaks right now, and has only risen to #15 all-time, while Texas and Nebraska are very much heading in the opposite direction, and are still ranked at #6 and #8 all-time, respectively. That means the entire point of this post is to obsess over pedantic shifts in a database of questionable accuracy. You have been warned.

Want to poke around at these numbers yourself? Check out their website at http://www.winsipedia.com. Otherwise, let’s get into the changes.

All-Time Winning Record

Starting Ranking: 25th (0.602, 749-486-48)

Final Ranking: 25th (0.605, 758-487-48)

Stupid Commentary (there is no intelligent commentary on this topic): Alright, so this list isn’t starting off with a strong note, but when your team has a record stretching out well over a century, it’s going to take some time to improve. We put some additional distance between us and Michigan State at 26th (now 0.598), and caught up to a 2-2 Arizona State team that, thanks in part to Sumlin, is still in 24th (now 0.606). We’ve laid the groundwork this year, so there is a possibility of jumping both Arizona State and Virginia Tech (23rd, now 0.607) next year if things go well.

National Championships

Starting Ranking: 19th (3)

Final Ranking: 19th (3)

Stupid Commentary: Not much to say here, though we came closer to being able to adjust this number in 2020 than we have in a long time. This is one of two once-per-year events analyzed by Winsipedia, the other being Heismans, and as such would obviously be a big boost to almost any team (a.k.a. not Alabama) that won it. If we manage to pull off a natty next year, obviously the ultimate purpose will have been to increase this ranking from 19th to 16th, alongside LSU, tu, and Georgia Tech.

Conference Championships

Starting Ranking: 22nd (18)

Final Ranking: 22nd (18)

Stupid Commentary: Again, no change here. This is a strange stat though. The top of the list looks like the teams you would expect: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan, etc. But after the first couple handfuls of teams, the list skews strongly G5: Tulsa at 6th, Fresno State at 9th, Louisiana Tech at 13th, etc. Still, if you want to lord over the rest of the SEC in a stat, this is the one to use, as Texas A&M outranks every SEC team but Bama in this category. I wonder why…?

Bowl Games

Starting Ranking: 18th (41)

Final Ranking: 17th (42)

Stupid Commentary: Here is our first official increase. As the Aggies extend their bowl streak to 12 straight years (8th longest in the nation), we also pull into a tie with Arky (and maintain the existing tie with Miami) for all-time bowl game appearances, bumping our ranking up by 1 spot. This is a tough category to gain spots in, as it generally is more dependent on other teams missing bowl games. For the next three years, at least, there will be no movement in this ranking unless we miss a bowl game, or get a second bowl game in the form a playoff semi-finals win. We do have the opportunity next year to help Arky out of this three-way tie, though.

Wins All-Time

Starting Ranking: 17th (749)

Final Ranking: 16th (758)

Stupid Commentary: We’ve already seen these numbers in the first category, but this one focuses on just the wins. With a solid year on our part and Virginia Tech having a mediocre-to-bad season, we take over their old slot in this category. If you are focused on gaining ground in this category, start rooting for West Virginia to fall on its face next year. We need a 5-game advantage over them to tie, and a 6-game advantage to take over the next spot. We are unlikely to go higher than 15th in the near future, as Clemson is ahead of West Virginia, and Auburn and LSU are the next two teams, with significant advantages as of now.

Bowl Record

Starting Ranking: 54th (0.463, 19-22-0)

Final Ranking: 52nd (0.476, 20-22-0)

Stupid Commentary: This is by far the Aggies’ worst category and, perhaps as a result, this is the category I find to be least compelling as a meaningful comparison to use between teams. At the end of the day, this ranks how well your team gets up for bowl games and/or how overranked you typically are going into you bowl games. When the top teams in a category are Marshall, Utah, Louisiana Tech, and Ole Miss, I have to question the usefulness of the stat. Regardless, this is a place where we can really improve our rankings with each bowl win, though we can also really tank our ranking with a loss (see Miami, previously tied with us at 54th, now at 58th with a loss in their bowl game).

Consensus All-Americans

Starting Ranking: 26th (30)

Final Ranking: 22nd (31)

Stupid Commentary: Congrats to Kenyon Green for being an All-American this past year according to four different outlets, and thus bumping us up significantly in this stat. I see no reason he can’t do the same again next year, and its’s hard to imagine that Demarvin Leal at the very least doesn’t join him next season, as well as several other possibilities like Wydermeyer or Spiller. We are tied with Auburn, Clemson, Colorado and Michigan State now, so there is the possibility of losing some ground next year, but we are also only 1 spot below Wisconsin, and two spots below Florida, so we could also easily jump a spot or two next year if players develop well.

Heisman Winners

Starting Ranking: 11th (2)

Final Ranking: 12th (2)

Stupid Commentary: This is a category Texas A&M does well in thanks to John David Crow and Johnny Football. The drop is simply due to Alabama getting only its third Heisman in the history of the program, and thus edging out of the tie with us and several other schools at 2. Since this award tends to get distributed evenly across teams, another Heisman would bump us up considerably into a tie for 5th.

NFL Draft Picks

Starting Ranking: 18th (291)

Final Ranking: 18th (295)

Stupid Commentary: With 4 players drafted we generally kept pace with the number of draft picks from the next higher team, Washington, and the next two lower teams, Wisconsin and Auburn. There was already a significant gap between us and Washington, which will continue to exist going into next year and we will maintain a narrow lead over several teams behind us. That being said, we could have a very large 2022 draft class, so we could significantly cut into the lead Washington, and possibly Michigan State above them, have at that time while distancing ourselves from the pack behind us.

First Round NFL Draft Picks

Starting Ranking: 17th (35)

Final Ranking: 18th (35)

Stupid Commentary: This is one of the only two ranking drops on this list, but that is the risk you take when you have the gall to enter a season tied with a Clemson team that has Trevor Lawrence and company at hand and do not manage to get a first round draft pick yourself. UCLA and Michigan State are still just one draft pick ahead of us here though, and we have a very productive class of 2019 that will be draft-eligible starting next year. We could easily jump up to 16th with two or more first round draft picks in 2022. Given that many early draft mocks seem to have 3-4 Aggies going in the first round, this may be very possible.

Weeks in AP Poll

Starting Ranking: 19th (453)

Final Ranking: 18th (468)

Stupid Commentary: Talking about being tied with Clemson to start the year, this is a category I definitely thought we were going to lose a spot in this year early last off-season. Washington was decently ahead of us, and looked to do well enough in the PAC-12 to keep a top 25 ranking for most of the year, and we are currently tied with Clemson, meaning that whichever one of us drops out of the top 25 first loses a ranking. However, we managed to keep a top 25 ranking throughout the year, and the PAC-12 managed to bungle things enough that Washington spent a single week in the top 25, despite winning their division. However, going forward, we either need to keep pace with Clemson or we will drop back a spot. The next three teams ahead of us – Miami, UCLA, and Florida State – all have several weeks on us, but we can still close the gap in the coming years.

Weeks at AP No. 1

Starting Ranking: 28th (6)

Final Ranking: 28th (6)

Stupid Commentary: Clemson stuck around at #1 this year until they lost to Notre Dame, at which point Alabama has taken it over. Since both of those teams are ahead of us already, there was no change. This is one of our lower rankings, so if we manage to tack on a few extra weeks at some point soon, we could jump several slots easily.

Overall

Starting Ranking: 17th (Avg. Rank 23)

Final Ranking: 17th (Avg. Rank 22)

Stupid Commentary: We had a decent gap between us and other teams this past year, so despite the success of this year, we didn’t make quite enough gains to get us over the hump to the next rank up. However, we have a very good chance in the near future to take a slot in the top 15 teams all-time, as both Auburn and Florida State are only slightly ahead of us for now and have the potential to drop significantly. Other teams near us are Clemson (tied with Auburn right now, but on a much different trajectory), Miami and Washington behind us by a bit, and Florida, Penn State, and Tennessee ahead of us but within striking distance. In fact, we are as close to taking over the #12 spot on this list as we are from dropping a rank to #18, so our #17 ranking is a solid floor for now. Overall, while there are some peculiarities in the rankings for some of the component categories, this list pretty closely tracks with what the world seems to think of as "blue-bloodedness", with Texas and Nebraska still at # 6 and 8 respectively, despite their recent issues. As such, it is nice to see us with a chance to make some real headway in moving up this list in the coming seasons.

Easiest way for Texas A&M to increase its standing going forward:

While a long run at AP #1 leading to a National Championship, during which we fill out the All-American team and the first round draft board is obviously the best method of improvement, we can still move up a decent amount by doing simple stuff as a team as well. First and foremost is to keep winning bowl games. That not only give us the chance to increase our bowl game attendance score, but also lets us improve our only stat below the top 30 by several ranks. Another very realistic item is to fill out the NFL draft board, including the first round, with some of the excellent talent we currently have on this team. Given the number of players returning and the overall skill level of our sophomores this past year, that seems very likely. Finally, finishing with one or two consensus All-Americans seems doable given the personnel currently on the team, and we could gain several ranks here with just that level of result.

If you have made it through this far, then all I can say is congratulations on your persistence, and the offseason really will end one of these days. Good luck.

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