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STATE CHAMPS! 25 in 25 | Checking the math on the top teams on our list

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, August 15, 2019, 6:30 pm

When you’re putting together a project like the State Champs! 25-in-25 | Top Football Teams, you want to make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s down to the last minute. 

So here’s a look at how we did that.

First off, we were going to limit ourselves to teams that won a state title, so that capped our pool of  candidates at 200 possibilities. 

Once we’d crowdsourced for ideas, and assembled our list of nearly 50 teams, and culled some of them out — CLICK HERE if you want to see the next 20 teams that just missed the cut — we put the remaining 24 teams to a vote of our panel. 

That group included longtime host Lorne Plant, and longtime co-producer Jonathon Kidd, as well as journalism contributor Scott Burnstein, longtime State Champs! media analyst Tom Markowski, and myself, the current managing editor. Between us, we’ve got more than 100 years of watching football in the state to fall back on. 

Using our formula of assigning weight to different criteria — 35 percent for performance throughout the season, 30 percent for level of competition, 25 percent for big-game performance and 10 percent for historical significance — each member of that panel voted on that list of teams, ranking them 1-to-24. A corresponding point total was assigned for each vote, and tallied up to give us a final order. 

Once we’d done that, though, we wanted to check our work. 

Each of the top five teams were unbeaten, four of them 14-0 and the fifth, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in 1994, at 13-0. All of them played a tough regular season schedule, and all of them had a tough road through the playoffs. All had some sort of historical significance. All had a number of kids go on to play football in college.

But there had to be a more scientific way.

So out of curiosity, we went back and looked at the playoff points for the top five teams — Brother Rice in 2013 (117.333 at the end of the regular season), Detroit King in 2007 (116.40), Farmington Hills Harrison in 2010 (116.40), Novi Detroit Catholic Central in 2009 (110.17) and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in 1994 (103.10).

That at least tended to support our argument of those five teams in the order we had them.

After that, we took the old playoff point formula — 80 points for playing a Class A school, 64 for a Class B, etc., then bonus points for each win that opponent garnered throughout the season — and extrapolated it throughout the playoff runs of these five teams, and it again showed that we were on the right track, as the 2013 Warriors extended their lead.

Brother Rice had 153.14 total playoff points (and a bonus point average of 72.92).

Detroit King had 145.76 total playoff points (and a bonus point average of 68.06).

Harrison had 144.23 total playoff points (and a bonus point average of 64.23).

Catholic Central had 144.67 total playoff points (bonus point average of 68.10).

St. Mary’s had 126.68 total playoff points (and a bonus point average of 70.06).

Foolproof? No. Nothing would be. There’s too much subjectivity involved, and no amount of number crunching is ever going to entirely eliminate that.

A solid case, though? And as objective as we could make it? Yes.

If you’d like to see the math further, check below:

—————

Brother Rice 2013 (14-0)

Opponents were 101-52, beat D1 semifinalist (FCA) D1 runner-up (CC) twice. 

Point differential: +317 (highest in Rice history)

Total playoff points (at end of regular season): 117.333 (Bonus point average 42.667)

Total playoff points (if extended through playoffs): 153.14 (BP average 72.92)

—————

Detroit King 2007 (14-0) 

Opponents were 93-56, beat four playoff teams, none of which got out of districts.

Point differential: +265

Playoff points (at end of regular season): 116.40 (Bonus point average 39.96)

Total playoff points (if extended through playoffs): 145.76 (BP average 68.06)

—————

Farmington Hills Harrison 2010 (14-0) 

Opponents were 90-59, beat three playoff teams, including D1 champ (LO).

Point differential: +361

Total playoff points (at end of regular season): 116.4 (bonus point average 36.4)

Total playoff points (if extended through playoffs): 144.23 (BP average 64.23)

—————

Detroit Catholic Central 2009 (14-0) 

Opponents were 101-59, beat five playoff teams, including two D2 semifinalists (BBR and DLS), D3 finalist twice (OLSM)

Point differential: +391

Total playoff points (at end of regular season): 110.17 (Bonus point average 35.51)

Total playoff points (if extended through playoffs): 144.67 (BP average 68.10)

—————

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 1994 (13-0)

Opponents were 91-45, beat four playoff teams, including Country Day which lost in the B finals. 

Point differential: +302

Total playoff points (at end of regular season): 103.10 (Bonus point average 42.66)

Total playoff points (if extended through playoffs): 126.68 (BP average 70.06)