look back at the previous Gilliam Ratings show us where this year's top ten
teams have been in recent years. Only GateCity and Lafayette have managed to finish in the top
ten all six years. A quick look at where this year's top tens have finished in
the past six years might tell you something about the programs. I'm not trying
to make a point here, I just find these final rankings
It is pretty interesting to look at where the final four teams in each division were at the end of last season and see how their current Gilliam Ratings compare to last year. In Division 6 things are pretty interesting because the L.C. Bird vs. Landstown game is a rematch of last year's semi-final. The Skyhawks looked good in the first half, but Landstown pulled away in the second half for a 34-15 victory. Landstown fell the next week to eventual State Champion, Westfield, by a 35-14 score. Bird is actually rated as a touchdown better than last year's team and Landstown is rated a field goal worse. So we might expect a closer game than last year. The other two division 6 teams also fell to the Westfield juggernaut at some point in the playoffs last year. The C.D. Hylton Bulldogs lost to Westfield be a 24-14 score in the semis last year. Hylton is rated almost two TDs worse than last year's team, but they have achieved at least as much as last year's squad. Robinson lost to Wesfield 28-7 in the Regional Championship last year, but the computer thinks the Rams are 8 points better than last years team and might be poised to take the state.
In division 5 we've lost last year's state champions, Hopewell. Meadowbrook lost to the Blue Devils 24-13 in the Regional Championship last year. This year they turned it around at beat Hopewell. The computer says Meadowbrook is a full 2 td's better than last year's team so they can be dangerous. Hampton fell to Phoebus last year 24-20 in the first round of the playoffs. This year the Crabbers got revenge and knocked off the Phantoms in the regional title tilt. Hampton was strong last year, but the computer thinks they're even better this year as they are rated about 4 points better than last year's team. W.T. Woodson also lost in the first round of the playoffs last year. Yorktown beat them 29-26. The computer feels Woodson is at least 10 points better than last year's team so the run to the regional title wasn't surprising. Finally, the big turn around in AAA is North Stafford. Last year they snuck in the playoffs at 5-5 and Massaponax beat them 26-0. This year they went 10-0 and beat Massaponax in the Regional Title game. North Stafford is thought to be 24 points better than last year's team.
In division 4 Grafton also squeaked into the playoffs last year at 6-4. They were promptly dispatched 55-10 by Powhatan. Like so many others, this year they took revenge on the team that knocked them out last year and put Powhatan out. The computer feels that Grafton is a much stronger team this year, 24 points better, so look out. Harrisonburg had a great season last year at 9-1 but they were also bounced in the first round. Liberty took them down 17-10. This year they knocked out Liberty on their road to the states. The computer says Harrisonburg is 12 points better than last year's Blue Streak team. Salem is only one of only three Regional finalist this year that failed to make the playoffs last year. The Spartans had a fine season at 8-2, but that just wasn't enough to make it into the tough Division 4 field in region III last year. The computer says you'd better watch out for Salem this year because they're 9 points better than last year. Richlands also got bumped in the first round last year after a lackluster 6-4 season. Magna Vista did the damage last year with a 20-13 win. Richlands got their revenge on Magna Vista this year and the computer thinks that Richlands is a good 6 points better than last year's squad.
Division 3 features the only team with a chance to repeat. Gretna rolled to a state title last year and they're 26-0 over the past two years. Most observers and the computer don't think they are quite as strong as last year, but the Hawks are still the favorites to take the title even if the computer thinks they'd lose to last year's team by 16 points. Poquoson is also returning to the states this year. Last year's Poquoson squad lost in the semis to Monticello 35-33. This year the computer doesn't think the Islanders are quite as good ( a td worse than last year's team), but still makes them slight favorites over Handley. Speaking of Handley, the Judges were also bumped by Monticello last year, 31-30. The computer thinks this year's team is nearly equal to last year's Handley team rating them 2 points lower. Tazewell is the big surprise. The Bulldogs were 1-9 last year, so to reach the State Semis is quite a feat. This year's Tazewell team is 31 points better than last years and they won't roll over for Gretna.
In division 2 Washington & Lee is rated by the computer as equal to last year's team. Last year, however W&L lost 35-28 to James Monroe in the first round of the playoffs. This year's team keeps finding ways to win. Manassas Park is right where they were last year at this time 12-0. Last year Essex took them out 24-7, but this year they are favored even though the computer says the Park is 3 points worse than last year's team. Giles was taken out in the first round last year by George Wythe 26-22. This year's team didn't have to deal with GW as Wythe failed to make the playoffs at 9-1. Giles has rolled to the state semis with a team the computer thinks is 13 points better than last years. Finally, we get to Powell Valley. Last year the Vikings were destroyed 49-13 by Gate City in the first round of the playoffs. This year, Powell Valley returned the favor and knocked off the Blue Devils in the regional title match to get here. The computer thinks Powell Valley is 6 points better than the 2003 version.
Finally, we peek at division 1. Franklin couldn't get by eventual state champs, Sussex Central last year, losing 26-21 in the first round. This year they knocked off Sussex in the regional final for a measure of revenge. Franklin has a real shot to win it all as they are 9 points better than last year's squad. William Campbell is getting to be a regular in the states, last year they fell in the state semis 36-8 to Sussex. This year they're 11 points better than last year, so look out. Rural Retreat missed the playoffs at 5-5 last year, but this year that was enough to slip in the playoffs as the #4 seed in region C. RR made the most of the appearance and won through to the states. They are 5 points better than last year's team. J.I. Burton is making a repeat appearance in the state semis this year. Last year, Bath beat them 38-6 at this point, but Burton is 6 points better than last year and Bath is gone.
The computer has picked the scores for this week's games and we'll see how it does. In the first two rounds of the playoffs the computer went 56-16. Here's the predictions:
Landstown 24, L.C. Bird 18
James Robinson 27, C.D. Hylton 3
Hampton 20, Meadowbrook 6
North Stafford 18, W.T. Woodson 17
Harrisonburg 13, Grafton 10
Salem 15, Richlands 6
Poquoson 20, Handley 15
Gretna 35, Tazewell 19
Manassas Park 21, Washington & Lee 9
Powell Valley 23, Giles 17
William Campbell 13, Franklin 8
J.I. Burton 18, Rural Retreat 17
The curse kicked in this week. The two big complainers from last week had their teams go down in flames. This seems to happen every year. I never seem to have these people e-mail me after their teams lose and tell me that the computer was right. This week I'm getting abuse for not agreeing that there was a conspiracy by the VHSL and the Chesterfield school board office members to avoid giving the Bird Skyhawks forfeits. I hate forfeits, why? Because they screw up my spread sheet and they hurt so many people. I'm not saying they shouldn't make teams forfeit games, I'm just saying that I hate it when any team has to forfeit a game, because it's never the kids' fault.
This is the week where the questions and insults started flying on the message board and my suggestion box (there is a complaint page I've asked people to use). The big question is how do I rate a team with a worse record ahead of a team with a better record. There are so many ways to answer this. The first thing I want to tell people is that they need to read my FAQ page. The answer to the question is right there and it's a pretty interesting read. Other potential answers are the short, but sweet, "The best team doesn't always have the best record." I also try to give examples sometimes where it is obvious the better team has the worse record. I will occassionally explain that the Gilliam ratings often predicts the team with the worse record to win a head to head game and more often than not, the formula is correct. Finally, I tell them about my other rating systems (one of which usually displays the team they think I'm dissing in a good light). If all else fails I tell them to go to the standings page where the team with the better record always is rated higher.
C.D. Hylton, Phoebus and Hopewell all returned to the top ten in AAA this week. They look tough. Grundy's big win over Graham this week served notice to division 3 schools that there is one more contender in the state. They lept from 24 to 8 in the ratings this week. Finally, in single A, the big story is Lancaster who continues to climb. The computer doesn't seem to want to believe they are for real (much like a BCS buster), but they keep winning. At 5-0 the Red Devils move 10 spots from 32 to 22 this week.
For the record, I hope we never have another Monday game. Three weeks in a row with games pushed back into the next week is enough. It makes it hard to get the ratings done in a way that makes sense.
This week AAA's biggest mover was Woodside. The Wolverines came into their game with Phoebus Monday night undefeated, but with the computer giving them little respect as they were ranked #60 in AAA. When the dust cleared Monday night, however they were the proud owners of a 14-13 victory over the stunned Phantoms. Woodside lept 27 spots all the way up to #33. This game was completed too late to make my updates this week. Hickory was also lightly regarded by the computer, but they impressed the Gilliam Ratings by knocking off Indian River 33-13 to remain undefeated. The Hawks leap from 48-27 this week. Massaponax has been showing their stuff since a season opening loss to Matoaca. Their 49-7 win over Albemarle moved them from 27 to 15 in AAA. Annandale is also showing that they are a factor in the Northern Region. The Atoms used a 31-0 win over T.C. Williams to enter the top ten at #10. They were #16 last week. L.C. Bird was left for dead by many after starting off 0-2. The computer didn't desert them and now 2 impressive wins later they have been moved to #6 from #11 this week. James Robinson's 72-7 win over West Potomac shot them up to #2 from #6. Hampton wins 52-0 over Bethel to hang on to the #1 spot.
In AA Lafayette won big over over Poquoson to take over the #1 slot. Their Bay Rivers companion, Grafton, continued to climb (this week from 8 to 6) by whipping Jamestown 55-6. Liberty-Bedford beat AAA Franklin County 29-20 to climb into the top ten this week. Turner Ashby's 41-6 win over R.E. Lee sent them to #12 from #19. Finally, Grundy used a 34-0 shut out of Marion to leap from 42 to 24.
Single A didn't get shook up too much this week. Powell Valley stays #1, William Campbell jumps to #2 from #5. Giles jumps from 13 to 7 despite a 2-2 record. Finally Chatham's big win moved them from 47-28.
See you next week!
It was a tough week. Hurricane Ivan dumped rain on Southwest Virginia and spawned nasty thunderstorms and twisters around the Eastern parts of the state. A few athletic directors displayed foresight and got their game in on Thursday. A few teams managed to actually play on Friday, but most moved their games to Monday, while five or six games ended up being played on Tuesday and one was pushed back all the way to Wednesday. The funny thing is that most A.D.'s didn't reschedule Friday games for Saturday. They went by a Thursday forecast that said it would be raining on Saturday and just skipped over to Monday despite the fact that by noon on Friday all the weather forecasts were for a beautiful day on Saturday (which it turned out to be). Now many schools that didn't play until this week pushed back Friday's game and, you guessed it, another Tropical System is threatening us. Some schools don't want to play on Friday because it is a Jewish Holiday.
We might as well give up on high school football if A.D.'s won't follow the procedure put in place for making up games. If it's rained out on Friday….schedule it on Saturday. If it gets close to game time on Saturday and it's still IMPOSSIBLE to play, THEN move it to Monday. Don't just skip a potential make-up day.
One other thing about postponing games: Of course, you postpone games when conditions are life threatening. Kids should never be playing in lightning or when there is potential for flooding or tornados. However, it is football. You don't postpone games because of rain, snow, or a wet field (okay, snow if it will endanger lives getting home). Football is supposed to be played in all kinds of conditions and the field is supposed to be chewed up by the end of the season. Whenever I hear somebody say the field is too wet to play I immediately think they're talking about baseball or the home team is a bunch of pretty boys that can't play ball in adverse conditions.
Let's look at where everyone finally settled in this week's ratings. First in AAA: Varina's destruction of Hopewell means they shoot up all the way to #2 from #16. This agrees with where most experts seem to think they belong. W.T. Woodson is making a lot of news in the Northern Region and early on they look like the best division five team from that region in quite a while. The Matoaca Warriors won impressively for the second straight week and they are now considered for real by the computer as they jump from 34 to 15. Petersburg and Kempsville also impressed the computer and made big moves. In AA Liberty of Bealton has moved up to #7 and must be considered an early threat to make noise in the playoffs. Jefferson Forest, Amherst and Cave Spring also continue to prove themselves to the computer. In class A Powell Valley, Lebanon, William Campbell and Manassas Park all improved their standing with the computer considerably this week.
Let's hope we get 'em all played this weekend. Later.
Week Two Comments Sept. 12, 2004
Another week, another hurrican threatening to rain out some games. So far we've dodged mass postponements, let's pray that the trend continues and let's pray that Hurrican Ivan does no further damage to anyone.
I dreaded putting up the ratings this week because there is some real nutty stuff. For example, L.C. Bird moved up in the ratings after losing to Hopewell and looking bad in the process. The reason is pretty easy to explain. They were supposed to lose by ten to Hopewell (according to the computer) and they only lost by seven, the computer doesn't know if Hopewell is worse than it thought or if Bird is better so it splits the difference. (In actuality, I think fans of both teams would agree that both teams are probably overated by the computer right now). I will simply say what I always say. Take the ratings with a grain of salt until everyone has played three or four games. Still it's fun to see who the big movers are and this is what I noticed this week:
In single A George Wythe used a 33-0 shutout of highly regarded Radford to claim the #1 spot from Sussex Central who only managed to hold the spot for one week. J.I. Burton has looked impressive in the early going and their blowout of rival, J.J. Kelly, propelled them 10 spots to number 14. The Cumberland Dukes used a blowout of Bluestone to jump 13 spots to #29. Goochland's 35-0 win over King & Queen allowed them to move from 54 to 36. These might be teams to watch this year.
AA also had its share of big movers. Lafayette's big win over York allowed them to vault from #10 to #3 and suddenly be the top rated division 4 school in the state. Not unfamiliar ground for the Rams. Jefferson Forest has looked good in the early going and their shut out of Waynesboro allowed them to crack the top 20 at #20. The Cavaliers were 28 last week. Broad Run's 27-0 win over George Mason allowed them to climb from 38 to 27. The super mover was Robert E. Lee of Staunton who skyrocketed all the way from63 to 28 after easily handling last year's power house, Western Albemarle 32-14. Finally, in AAA, we have a new #1 as Hampton used a 24-0 shut out of Indian River to move into the top spot in the state. Last week the Crabbers were #3. Mills Godwin's easy win over Monacan caused them to leap from 17 to 7. Oakton destroyed James Madison 24-0 and that was enough to allow the cougars to jump to #10 from all the way down at 33. Annandale pushed Westfield to the limit, but fell short by a 24 to 26 score. Still playing the state champs to within 2 points was enough to impress the computer and cause the Atoms to be placed at # at #19 after being #45 last week. Forest Park shocked Osbourn Park 27-10 and were rewarded with a leap of 41 positions to #43. Please don't send hate mail this week. Give the computer a couple more weeks to analyze the season. God Bless.
Week One Comments Sept. 6,2004
Some of my experts in the expert poll didn't vote this week. Don't know what the problem was, but the results may be less accurate due to this. Last week geocities caused some trouble by no longer recognizing one of the URL's that leads to my pages. This wouldn't be that big of a problem except that I used that URL for many of the links on my own pages and people started getting error messages all over the place. I hope that is taken care of, now.
In single A this week Sussex Central replaced Gate City at #1. It's been a long time since anyone held down the #1 spot besides the Blue Devils. Sussex may not stay at #1 long as they are 85 point favorites this week. They need to win by at least 63 in order to hang on to their current rating. George Wythe, Franklin and Haysi used big wins this week to all vault into the top 10. Coeburn hung with Gate City a lot better than expected and used that performance to move from 75 to 62. Thomas Walker used a win to jump from 81 to 66. This is the highest rank I can remember Walker obtaining in quite some time.
A bunch of teams made big moves in class AA ball. A few of note in the top 15. Graham used a convincing win over Blacksburg to climb from 3 to 2. William Fleming climbed from 7 to 3 after handling highly regarded Magna Vista. Heritage of Lynchburg used a big win over Tunstall to convince the computer to move them up from 14 to 4. Liberty-Bedford also jumped, from 16-7. Park View-Sterling signaled AA that they are back in form, knocking off Fort Defiance by a 53-9 score. Park View jumped from 41 to 13 in the ratings. Grafton's stunning demolishment of of New Kent allowed them to leap from 38 to 15. Finally Christiansburg's big win over tough Radford was enough to move them from 60 to 36. I should also mention Fauquier, Bassett, Orange, Fluvanna, Cave Spring and Marion as big movers in this week's ratings.
AAA didn't have all that many games, but six teams movements are worth a mention. Oscar Smith climbed from 12 to 7 shaking up the top ten a little. Highland Springs' easy win over the Royals of Prince George allowed the Springers to vault from 30 to 21. Matoaca's upset of Massaponax meant a big leap from 56 to 37. North Stafford, likewise jumped 19 places, to number 40. Maury and Norview had big moves to 62 and 70 respectively. Try not to get to wet in the Hurricane this week.
Week Zero Comments August 29,2004
I was extremely pleased with how fast I was able to update the site this week compared with past years. In the past it took me nearly six hours to update the ratings AFTER I had the scores. It took me about 30 minutes today (if I had a high speed connection to the internet I think it would only take about ten minutes). I will be slower updating polls and contests as that process is not as fully automated.
The one thing that might irritate people the most about my ratings in the early going is teams that lose and stay highly rated. Graham would be the team that would probably tick off the most people. How does a team go out in their opener and get blown away 48-21 and stay #3 in the state? In this case it is the fact that out-of-state games do not count in the ratings. The Gilliam Ratings doesn't even "know" that they lost the game. It is interesting to note that a few years back the Graham fans were angry with me because Graham was slow to move up in the ratings because of out-of-state games and now the same phenomenon is benefiting the G-Men. If Graham is truly not as good this year (don't bet on it--they a notoriously slow starters) they will find their way down in the ratings...don't worry.
Now for a quick look at the big movers in week zero. In AAA we had no in-state games so nobody moved at all. In AA Richlands actually moved up 4 spots (from 14 to 10) after LOSING an overtime game to Gate City. Gate City was so highly ranked that staying close to them would help almost any team. Richlands' in county rivals Tazewell also shot up from 74 to 55 after pulling off an exciting 36-35 win over Carroll County. In single A the big story is the great performance of the LPD. Powell Valley used their 75-22 win over Lee to climb from 7 to 4. J.I.Burton 42-0 win over Castlewood shot them from 28 to 18 while Pound's big 50-0 win over Ervingon let them leap 21 spots to number 54. Try to stay dry during the Tropical Storm. See Ya
Site Update Schedule August 13, 2004
It's Friday the 13th so I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I'm pretty caught up on everything at the site right now. The schedule for having things updated here this year is as follows: I should have scores posted almost immediately after I receive them on Friday Night and Saturday Morning. Don't expect a final list of scores until Sunday Afternoon as there is always one or two tough scores to track down. As soon as I have the last score I should quickly have the New Standings and VHSL Power Points updated. The Gilliam Ratings will be next. My goal is to have all of these posted before Monday. The Nomarg and Psuedo Poll ratings should be up at least by Monday Night. I also would like to have the predictions for upcoming games posted by Monday Night. Deadline for Experts to vote is Sunday Night and I will have the Expert Poll Results posted on Monday, Fan poll will close on Tuesday night and be posted on Wednesday. The Consensus Rankings should also be posted on Wednesday. I will not be in a hurry to update UpickM and Fantasy results so don't look for them until Thursday. Be patient, some weekends I have weddings and I never know when a funeral will pop up. My job requires me to be ready to work at strange times, so I'll do the best I can. Please help out by e-mailing me any mistakes you find.
New Ratings July 9, 2004
The new schedule is entered into my spreadsheet (and I have corrected a couple of mistakes that were on the VHSL schedule). It is also posted on my website. I also have sent the 2003 ratings to the "old" section of the website and the new 2004 preseason ratings are now posted. Don't get too excited. The new ratings are not much different from last year's final ratings. The only changes are that there are three new teams which received arbitrary initial ratings and that three schools were absorbed by other schools. The schools that absorbed all these new students got their ratings increased by 10 points. I also readjusted the ratings of every team to make the mean closer to 50. I should have 2004 standings page up pretty soon, along with the predictions page, Strength of Schedule and VHSL, Nomarg and Combined Ratings.
The Schedule June 27, 2004
The VHSL has put out the master schedule for 2004. There are a couple of strange things. Apparantly some schools got confused about when week 1 would be this year when setting up their two year contracts last year so many teams (including most of SW Virginia) actually are starting on week 0. Usually 1 or two teams, at the most, have a game on this week. With the Northern Region not starting until week 2, as always, that means many teams will have played two games before many have even started. That will be a challange to my "Nomarg" rating system, but, hey, what are you going to do?
The real work starts for me now that the schedule is out. I have to enter the schedule into my GIGANTIC spreadsheet in order to get this year's pages to work. This takes a lot of time. I actually enter each team as a number so that I won't mispell anything or refer to the same team in two different ways and confuse the computer (For Instance if I typed "Central(Lunenburg)" one time and "Central-Lunenburg" another the computer would think they are different teams. Instead I just type "1232" and that indicates Central of Lunenburg. IN case you care the first digit 1 indicates single A, the next digit: 2 indicates region B, the next digit 3 indicates the third district(James River) in alphabetical order in the region and the last digit 2: indicates the second team in alphabetical order in that district. So if you see me looking frazzled and muttering 4-digit numbers at least you'll know why. I also have to enter a "d" if it's a district game and an "h" if it's a home game. Belive it or not I can tell you every team's 4 digit number without looking it up. Amazing huh? I need a life.
Impossible Overtime Scores June 24, 2004
A question in my trivia quiz about which final score was impossible for an overtime game. A few rules are important to figuring out the answer to this question.
First rule: If the defense scores the game is over(no extra point allowed). Second rule: The defense can only score a touchdown if it gains possession in the offense's endzone. Third rule: The defense cannot RETURN a fumble or interception for a TD as the play is over as soon as the defense gains possession. Fourth rule: If the second team to get the ball scores to go ahead then they do not get to attempt an extra point
So it is easy to see a team winning an overtime by 1 point or two point (one team makes the extra point the other doesn't). It's easy to see how you could win by three points. winning by 4 would be strange. One team could score a TD and the other could get a safety. Since safety's are almost impossible in overtime don't expect to ever see this happen. One team could also score two safety's (how you ask). The offense would have to score a safety on the defense and then when they were on defense they would have to score another safety. The only way to score a safety on offense would be to fumble, the ball to come to a complete stop outside the endzone, the defense to then knock the ball into the endzone and fall on it or for the defense to knock it out of the endzone. I would venture to say that. It would require six safeties with two of them in overtime. A margin of 5 points would require the first team with the ball to score a td and extra point on offense then the second team would have to score a safety on the defense so don't expect to see a five point margin in overtime either. Incidentally, teams could win by 4 or 5 points if the first team with the ball scored a td and conversion and for some reason the second team elected to kick a field goal. Since this would basically mean the coach intentionally lost the game it won't happen, but it would be legal and is possible. You might be tempted to think the margin could be achieved by the first team kicking a field goal and the second team scoring a td and extra point, but the second team would not get to attempt an extra point once they scored the td to go ahead. Obviously winning by 6, 7 or 8 points in overtime is easy to achieve. Winning by more than 8 is rare as it would require a team to score on defense(again this only happens if the defense gains posession in the opponents endzone) after having scored on offense. 9 is possible (fg on offense, td on defense). 10 is tougher but possible (TD and 2 point on offense, safety on defense--you can't score a fg on defense or attempt a point after if you score on defense so the TD+XP+FG option can't happen to provide a ten point margin).
You can win by 12 (two td's no extra points), 13 (td+xp+td), or 14 (td+ wpt conversion + td). You cannot win by more than 14. You also cannot win by 11. The only way you could conceive of racking up 11 points in overtime would be to score a TD, a 2 point conversion and a field goal. The rules don't allow this because if you scored the td and 2 point conversion on offense you couldn't kick a field goal on defense. If you scored a field goal on offense, you wouldn't be allowed a point after attempt if you scored on defense. Remember, if you score first on defense the game is over. I hope this is clear to those of you who have been asking about the answer to question #10 of my trivia contest. It is possible to win an overtime game by any margin from 1 to 14 points except for 11. However, I'll bet you never see an overtime game decided by 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13 or 14 points.
The Northern Region Gets Dissed
The Northern Region voted 23-0 against the R&R committee's redistricting plan. They feel that rather than having to lower themselves to taking scum from Loudoun County that Loudoun schools should have to travel 200 miles for regional playoff games. They also suggested that Loudoun schools that are legit AA size schools should be forced to play AAA before a Fairfax school should have to cross county lines. Rumor has it they will soon vote 23-0 against integration since the Supreme Court didn't consult with them before ruling that "seperate but equal" was unconstitutional. What a bunch of elitist they are! I'm surprised they even deem the rest of the state worthy to beat in the state playoffs. Seriously, there are no LOGICAL reasons for anyone to oppose two Loudoun schools moving to the Northern Regio;, their vote mostly seemed to be because they were ticked off they weren't warned ahead of time how the R&R vote was going to come out. Maybe they should have been, but that doesn't mean the realignment plan they ended up with is a bad one.
Can Division Five Survive? (May 27, 2004)
say there are lies, damn lies and statistics. As a stat man I never liked that
phrase, but the truth is you can indeed often spin statistics to support just
about anything. I don't think there is much of a way to put a pretty face on
these statistics, however.
State-wide, Division 5 schools were 55-142 verses Division 6 schools in 2003.
This .279 winning percentage(it's not a percentage---why do we call it that?)
would have looked bad even to last year's Detroit Tigers. When we break it down
by region and take a look at who those 55 wins were against the picture looks
even worse for the division 6 squads.
In the Northwestern Region the Div. 5's held their own, going 11-14 but when
you look closer you see that five of those wins were against Brooke Point in
the Commonwealth district and Potomac picked up five of the other wins. The
only other win for a Northwestern Div. 5 was E.C. Glass over George Washington.
Potomac's win over 6-4 Gar-Field was the only time a division 5 school beat a
division 6 school with a winning record.
In the Eastern Region they went 24-48. Again, let's look a little closer at the
wins. 8 of them were over 0-10 Denbigh. Only 6 of these wins were against teams
with winning records. Hampton and Phoebus both knocked off a 7-3 Bethel squad.
Booker T. and Woodrow Wilson both beat Granby(7-3). Indian River defeated a 6-4
Hickory squad and a 7-3 Deep Creek squad.
In the Central it was 15-57. When you throw out Hopewell's 5-0 record it was a
dismal 10-57. Hopewell had the three best wins over AAA opponents. The Blue
Devils beat district co-champ Thomas Dale (8-2), Regional Division 6 Champ
Lloyd Bird (8-2), and Varina (9-1). The only other win over a team with a
winning record was Meadowbrook's over Manchester (7-3).
In the Northern the division 5's went 5-23. Three of these wins were against
Fairfax and one against 1-9 T.C. Williams. None were against teams with winning
There should be a bigger celebration when a division 5 team beats a division 6
team with a winning record than win a division 5 team wins a playoff game. Only
11 times last year did a division 5 school win against a division 6 with a
winning record. While there were 15 playoff victories for division 5 schools!
Hopewell was the only division 5 squad to muster any wins against a 8-2 or 9-1
regular season squad.
Some of the beatings division 5 schools took were truly horrible: 52-0, 61-6,
56-6, 57-0, 80-26, 63-12, 74-0, and 55-0.
So which schools actually managed to have winning records against division 6
1. Hopewell (5-0) beat Bird, Dale, Varina, Prince George, Clover Hill
2. Hampton (2-0) beat Bethel, Denbigh
3. Phoebus (2-0) beat Bethel, Denbigh
4. Yorktown (1-0) beat T.C. Williams
5. Albemarle (1-0) beat Brooke Point
6. Colonial Forge(1-0) beat Brooke Point
7. Massaponax (1-0) beat Brooke Point
8. Stafford (1-0) beat Brooke Point
9. Woodside (2-1) beat Great Bridge, Denbigh
10. Indian River (3-2) beat Great Bridge, Hickory and Deep Creek
Only 10 schools out of 60?
Even scarier, however. Division 5 schools were 9-18 against DIVISION 4 schools,
3-6 against DIVISION 3 schools and 0-1 against DIVISION 1 schools. That's
right; they didn't even win 1/3 of their games against AA and A schools.
More evidence of the weakness of Div. 5: Average Gilliam Rating of Division 6
is 64.87 while the average of Division 5 is 55.30.( 9.5 point underdogs will win less than 30% of the time on my
system).Even Division 4, with an
average rating of 56.32 is rated as better than division 5.Phoebus and Hampton people who want to play
up for prestige might be shocked to find that winning the div. 4 state title is
statistically tougher than division 5.For the record Div 3 has a rating of 47.5, div 2 has a rating of 44.4
and div 1 has a rating of 32.5.
of the rumors I keep hearing is that if the VHSL goes to 4 classes they will
still allow any current AAA team to play up in AAAA if they want to. Why? Does
anybody else here see a problem? Adults are making decisions based on things
like the prestige of playing in the biggest class (coaches want to be able to
say they coach in the biggest class), and their traditional district line-ups.
The districts have changed so much just since I've been keeping up with it that
tradition really can't be used as an argument. You don't establish a tradition
in five years. Before the playoff system was implemented we used to have great
games where Lane would travel across the state to play Hampton. E.C. Glass
would go to Northern Virginia for regular season games. Now that's tradition. I
don't see anybody screaming to bring back those good ol' days. I understand why
the division six schools like the status quo. If you've got six sure wins on
your schedule because a bunch of AA size schools have agreed to play then
you've got a good thing going. I just can't for the life of me understand why
people in division five schools want to subject their kids to this humiliation.
Fair play. Remember that concept. It starts before the coin toss; it starts
before the tip-off. It starts when the adults get together and set up a league
for the kids. I remember in the baseball little league I played in as a kid.
The parents of the best players got together to coach the same team so that one
team would be loaded with their kids. We drafted from the rest, but it was too
late. Six of the eight best kids in the league were already on one team before
the draft started. It was so unfair and the rest of the kids were beaten before
they ever walked on the field. I would hope the VHSL can do better than that
for our kids.
I am once again advocating that the VHSL executive committee at long last
switch to a 4A system where the teams are divided into equal fourths and no one
is allowed to play up or down. Show the kids that we can be fair and honest and
that politics and connections don't rule everything in this world.
An equal ¼ system would have 75 schools or so in AAAA as opposed to the current
119 in AAA. Shaving off 44 schools who currently mostly get whipped would have
to be a good thing. If you've ever taught in a school with a good football team
and a school with a bad football team you'll notice how much better the morale
is at the school that's winning. I say give those 44 schools a chance to
experience success once in a while.
you look at my average ratings above you can see how much sense a 4 class
system makes. Since most div. 4 and div. 5's would play together in class AAA
and their average ratings are so close, it's almost a statistical
no-brainer.The same could be said of
div. 2 and div. 3. Many of them would be thrown together which should work well
since their average ratings are also very close.
The travel time argument is also totally bogus; don't fall for it. With four
classes we can have smaller districts making scheduling easier and allowing
schools to schedule nearby rivals for out-of-district games. Teams would have
fewer games forced on them by the district schedule and would actually save on
travel (if they schedule wisely).
I'm off my soapbox for now.
Older Stuff(May 10, 2004)
The site is back up and
running, I'm proud to announce. I'm sorry I had to take a year off from the
site, but being a new pastor at Zoar Baptist Church took too much time for me to
handle my web site the way I had been managing it in the past.So many of you e-mailed me with comments
about how much you missed the site or told me at games what a chump I was for
discontinuing it, that I felt a little obligated to try and get it back on-line
So, I have pecked away
at my spreadsheet since December and have finally developed a template that
will allow me to get the ratings posted a lot faster and with a lot smaller
time commitment than before. Look for the following on my website: Complete
schedule and scores, standings, Gilliam ratings(broken down by overall, class,
division, and region), predictions for future games (I hope) and statistics of
how the system has fared so far, as well overall ratings in two other systems
I've invented (the Nomarg and Combined Ratings).
I also should have links
to previous seasons' final standings and ratings (2002 will be a while).I plan to work closely with Virginia Preps
again this year.I will try to stay
linked to the Jocknerd and Massey ratings (the only other two ratings systems I
know of for VHSL football). I also will try to keep the VHSL ratings posted
(this is hard due to out of state teams—but I'll do my best) and the AP
I should get the fan
poll, fantasy game and UpickM contests up and running.
Quickly, about my other
two ratings systems: The Nomarg is a system I invented to replace the current
VHSL system.In that system all teams
in a division start out rated the same and the margin of victory of a game
doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the strength of your schedule
and your win-loss record. The details are explained elsewhere on the site, but
it might be fun for you to watch this system and see if it would pick different
teams for the playoffs or seed them differently than the current VHSL system. I
no longer am lobbying the VHSL to use it because I don't want the hate mail I'd
get from the teams who got left out of the playoffs based on my system. I like
the system, but it's drawback is that until all teams have played the same
number of games it will tend to rank good teams higher if they've played more
games and bad teams lower (for instance a 9-0 team will have an advantage in
the rankings over an 8-0 team). So I don't want to use it as the main rating
system. The Combined is just an average of the Nomarg rating and the Gilliam
Rating. I really like the results of this as it tends to give rankings that the
general public seems to quibble with very little. It behaves much more like a
poll than the Gilliam Ratings so you don't see teams win and drop (which fans
tend to get angry about), it is not as accurate in picking games as the Gilliam
Ratings so it is also not my main rating, but a lot of fun to look at.
I also want to make you
aware that it does cost me quite a bit of money to keep this site up. Geocities
charges me a good amount for the extra space I need to present this entire site
and then they start charging me extra when I go over the number of allowed hits
for the week. I don't mind, particularly, but my wife is not always thrilled
when she sees the credit card bill.I
will NEVER charge you to access anything on this site. I would never share any
information about anybody who used my site in anyway. I might entertain the
idea of advertising, but I doubt it. I hate advertising on other sites so I
don't want to subject you to it on my site.The one idea I had was of putting out a yearbook at the end of the year
that reviews the season and possibly selling it through this site. I have no
idea if anyone would be interested in buying it or not. It won't be any trouble
to publish it as I have publishers that have published books for my church and
association and they make very high quality books.I just don't know how many people would be interested in spending
$20-$25 on a 400 page book that reviews the season. E-mail me if you would be
at all interested. I think if I could sell 100 or so it would be worth doing.
If there is much interest I will firm up details with an order form by mid
season.If I write the book any
information you could send me about your local teams and games would be a big
help. I'd also like it if you submitted photographs to use.
I also encourage you to
support Virginia Preps, if not for them, nothing on my site would ever get done
because I simply could not get the scores in a timely manner.
Six state champions, five of them undefeated and
only 1 point preventing the other team from being undefeated. The Gilliam
Ratings were 6 for 6 in predicting the winners of the state championship and
were super successful in picking playoff winners. This will not do. It's
supposed to be better in the regular season. Oh well.
When we scan the preseason AAA landscape the
Central Region has a lot of question marks.First of all we always expect L.C. Bird, Thomas Dale and Varina(especially
good this year, I'm told) to be tough in division 6, but the division is so
deep nothing is for sure.Is this the
year somebody can step-up and knock off Bird or Varina? It's hard to imagine
Dale not winning the Central two years in a row especially with Hopewell
graduating so many.Will Monacan be
hungry enough to take it after missing the playoffs when they only lost one
game (by one point). Has Hermitage or Godwin put it together to the point where
we should expect them to be a top ten team every year.What about Patrick Henry? Has their time
passed or will they rebound? Will Manchester continue their climb?It should be fun.In division five, despite Hopewell winning the state champion we
have gotten used to the Div. 5 teams being much weaker in the Central.Hopewell graduated a lot of stars, have they
got stars waiting in the wings?Meadowbrook quietly served notice with their young team that they'll be
tough.They were the only team to knock
off Hopewell and probably should have beaten Bird. They made it to the regional
championship game.Manchester also
seems loaded. Matoaca faired well enough to make the playoffs in their first
year in AAA, can they establish a winning tradition with the big boys? The
other Central Region div 5 team to make the playoffs was Petersburg. One has
the feeling they peaked last year, but again, who knows?Can Huguenot return to their 90's level
dominance of div 5 or has their time passed? Can anybody North of the river
step up and be a div. 5 power? Can the two new schools compete this year? What
about the Armstrong/Kennedy consolidation?
Down in the Eastern Region div. 5 is licking their
wounds. How can there be a division 5 state champ that's not from the
Peninsula. Gilliam Ratings feels sure you'd better keep your eye on the
Peninsula this year. I don't expect them to miss the state championship game
two years in a row.In the Beach
district the question is. "Can anybody step up from last year's
middle-of-the-pack parity to challenge Landstown or will they be dominating for
years (or at least until their coach jumps ship)?" My sources say they won't be
quite as good this year.The
Southeastern district was loaded last year and Indian River and Oscar Smith(sources
say look out for these guys) joined the usual powerhouses (Western Branch and
Deep Creek) in the power spots. Will they continue and does one of the other 4
have the smoke to surprise them.The
Eastern is usually the overlooked district down in the flatlands but Lake
Taylor advanced to the Regional title game and Booker T. and Woodrow Wilson
were probably better than their records indicate. Maybe this will be the year a
Regional champ will rise from the Eastern District.
What about The Northern Region? Like the Central
we seem to feel that Division 6 is much tougher than Division 5 here.That won't matter much soon as they are realigning
their districts by division again (a great idea---too bad the other regions
can't do the same). Westfield seemed unstoppable last year, but nobody seems to
hang on and be the dominant team up there more than a year or two.Can Robinson get their mojo back?Is Centreville doomed or will they
return?Can Oakton or Chantilly or
Herndon make noise?In division 5 who
will rise above the mediocrity and dominate to take the region? Yorktown has
the recent history, but James Madison was the team last year.Can Woodson kick it up another notch and be
the team? Edison? Mount Vernon? Maybe South Lakes? Or is somebody lurking with
the right stuff that I'm overlooking?
The Northwest? Well, everybody pencils Hylton in
as the Division 6 regional champ every year (including me).A couple more titles and we might start
writing them in with a magic marker.Still Prince William football is tough and Hylton usually doesn't see
much better teams in the playoffs than in the regular season (Westfield was a special
case).What about the Western Valley?
Will George Washington ever regain their previous glory or is Franklin County
the new powerhouse from down that way? Glass, Patrick Henry and Halifax? It's
been a while since Southwest area team has made noise in the state. Maybe this
year.Recently the division 5 action
has been in the Commonwealth.Can
Culpeper return to their usual place as district champs?Or has the Fredericksburg area taken
over?Is Massaponax going to dominate
or was last year a fluke?What about
Albemarle? They seem on the verge of going big time or are the rumors that the
Charlottesville burbs are just too yuppie to ever put a great football team on
the field a lie (Monticello and Western seemed to disprove that fiction last
In AA we wonder who will rise above the pack from
the Bay Rivers.Gilliam Ratings always
expects a Bay Rivers team to challenge for the state title.Can anyone in the Southside stop Powhatan?
Will someone in the Battlefield step up and dominate?It looks like the regions have been reshuffled in the rest of the
state.Which of the mega-near-AAA
schools from the Northwest and Dulles districts will dominate this year?Will Stone Bridge be back? Can Handley take
division 3?What about the Jefferson. Monticello's
run raised the district's stature quite a bit last year.Western was 10-0 last year.Charlottesville, Fluvanna and Orange all put
tough teams on the field from time to time.Should be fun.The Valley
district has its own culture and I never know who's going to have the smoke
between the Mountains.The Blue Ridge
and River Ridge districts were unusually weak last year.Expect somebody (Salem, maybe?) from one of
those districts to make a run at the states.The Seminole had some powerful teams and it's hard to believe we didn't
end up with a state champ from there.In the Dogwood Gretna was unstoppable last year and my sources say look
for more of the same.It would be nice
to see Prince Edward have another good season and start a tradition in
Farmville.The Piedmont District will
only feature six schools with consolidation making things very interesting.
Whoever rises from the ashes down there should be a threat to win it all.Can someone in the Southwest knock of
Graham?They always seem to win at
crunch time and have had a stranglehold on the district.The rivalries are great down there, but it's
getting kinda boring (unless you're a Graham fan).The Highlands District needs somebody to step up and be a
powerhouse. Abingdon? Virginia? Lee? Marion?We'll see.
Finally class A has two familiar schools with the
state titles.In Region A one has to
wonder what division 1 team is ready to unseat the juggernaut of Sussex Central.
While the Division 2 studs seem to be from the Northern Area of the
region.It's always an exciting region,
but one would hope some of the usual doormats could step up and pull off some
upsets this year.Region B features
some great football.Which Central will
remain good? Who can threaten Riverheads for the Shenandoah.Is anyone ready to bump off Manassas Park?
Have Madison and Strasburg finally gotten too small to compete?Is Cumberland on the rise? What about
Amelia? Or did they peak?Can anyone
unseat Lunenburg in the James River?What about William Campbell, will they be taking a bow at the states or
has their time passed?Region C
features Bath County in division 1.Is
anyone else ready to challenge them?Who can step up and be the team in the Three Rivers district? You never
know.Will one of the Hogoheegees be
good enough to take the region from the Three Rivers teams?Can anyone unseat George Wythe from the
district title? Who will step up and be the team in the MED and will a Mountain
Empire team make some noise in the playoffs?Finally, in region D we have to wonder if the Division 1/Division 2
disparity will continue.Can anyone do
anything with Gate City and Powell Valley? Can Honaker get back to the playoffs
after missing at 9-1.What other
Lonesome Pine team will join the Blue Devils and Vikings at the top of the heap
this year?Can Haysi repeat their
beautiful season?Will somebody in the
Cumberland break .500?Time will tell.
I really only had one person after me last year,
it became a mission of his to slam me on the Virginia Preps message boards.
Listen, nobody knows the ratings are not perfect more than me.Every time a score comes in that my system
didn't pick I notice it.If you've been
with this site the past five years you know that I tweak the formula every
year.I try to make it better after
hearing your criticisms. I take what I'm told into account and try to see if I
can incorporate that into the formula.Then I replay the previous years with the change if it makes the system
do two things I will incorporate the change: 1. It must increase the % of
winners the system picks.2. It must
make the average number of points by which the system misses games become
I also promise you that I never tweak the system
once the season has started and I never adjust a rating to make a team I like
move higher (or dislike lower). I just enter the scores on the spreadsheet and
let the computer crank out the ratings.
So what I'm saying is criticize all you want. Just
make sure it is not hateful (I'm not out to get your school) and make sure you
don't attack my integrity (I'm not a saint, but I'm not going to cheat on
rating high school football teams for whom I have no stake in who wins or loses).Your criticisms are why the ratings are so
much better today than 5 years ago. I listen.
My article on redistricting (currently on Virginia
Preps) caused quite a stir.I was
expecting to get e-mails from people upset that their school would no longer be
in a district with some other school. N,o most of the controversy seems to be
over a little comment I made (in parentheses) about the S.O.L.'s.I threw out the comment that the dirty
secret is that the tests are getting progressively easier each year and that
they are lowering the pass scores.The
fact that they are lowering the pass scores is easy to verify and public
knowledge to those who are paying attention. The scores could also be sneakily
lowered since they report scaled scores (The 0-600 deal) instead of raw scores
or a percentage correct.
My second "accusation" is harder to verify, but I
stand by it. The SOL tests are getting easier every year.I taught math from the start of the testing
until last year and this was common knowledge among the teachers.We didn't sing about it to the public (or to
our principals) because we were getting so much credit for bringing those
scores up.I don't have any statistics
to verify it, but I have two totally different bits of anecdotal evidence.First, when I taught we would prepare by
giving kids the SOL Tests (released items) from previous years.I would start out with the most recent one
and each week after that give the previous year.What happened? The kids scored better on the recent tests (which
they took with less preparation) than on the earlier tests.This verified what I and the other teachers
knew from simply scanning the tests.The second bit of evidence is the statewide pass rates. GIVE ME A
BREAK!Are you really naïve enough to
think that every school system in the state is doing that much better of a job
teaching the kids?Some school systems
have gone from 15% to 90% pass rates in 5 years while the other standardized
test scores have barely budged.The
SOLs are not standardized tests so they can make them easier.Remember the fears that ¼ of our kids
wouldn't graduate from high school? Forget it.I predict that fewer than 1/400 of our kids will fail to graduate
because of them.THE TESTS ARE EASIER
NOW. I say you take a representative sample of kids and give them the 1999 test
the 2001 test and 2004 test and compare the results.Shoot, do it with adults.I wasn't trying to be a whistle blower; I thought everyone already kinda
knew this. I just had the guts to say it since I am no longer being paid by the
What do the following localities have in common
(each group has a different, but related answer)
Dinwiddie, Brunswick, Mecklenburg
Warren, Fauquier, Prince William, Fairfax, Fairfax City (barely),
Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline, Hanover,
Henrico, Richmond, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, Prince
George, Sussex, Greensville, Emporia
County, Bristol, Smyth, Marion, Wythe, Pulaski, Montgomery, Roanoke
County, Botetourt, Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham, Harrisonburg,
Shenandoah, Warren, Frederick
(I think), Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News,
York, James City, New Kent, Henrico, Richmond, Goochland, Louisa,
Fluvanna, Albemarle, Charlottesville, Nelson, Augusta, Waynesboro,
Rockbridge, Alleghany, Clifton Forge, Covington