Brian Simmons' football power rankings are a product of love

This season, his success rate is about 84%

tstevens@newsobserver.comNovember 6, 2012 

  • More information (through regular season)

Regular-season ratings

Team Cl.W-LRating
1. Butler4A10-0155.0
2. Mallard Creek4A9-1150.8
3. New Bern4A10-0150.0
4. East Forsyth4A11-0147.4
5. Scotland4A9-1146.4
6. No. Guilford3A10-0144.9
7. Richmond Sr.4A9-1144.7
8. New Hanover4A9-1142.1
9. Porter Ridge4A9-1141.0
10. Garner4A11-0140.4
11. North Davidson4A11-0140.0
12. South Point3A10-0140.0
13. Havelock3A10-1137.0
14. Leesville Road4A10-0136.5
15Hillside4A8-2136.0
16. Smith E.E.4A9-1135.2
17. Middle Creek4A10-1135.2
18. Hunt3A10-0135.2
19. Independence4A9-2134.9
20. Hough4A9-2133.8
21. Wakefield4A10-1133.2
22. High Point Cent.4A9-2133.0
23. Vance4A8-3132.8
24. Charlotte Cath.3A9-1132.4
25. Britt Jack4A9-2132.0

Area top 25

Brian Simmons loves high school football and he loves numbers. He combines his passions each fall with a power ranking for each school in the state.

His power rankings are published each Thursday at his website, www.simmonsratings.com/hsfootball.htm. He also predicts the outcome of each game in the state and so far this season he has gotten about 84 percent of the games right.

His success is why he waits until the day before the games to publish his rankings.

“People were just using my picks in the pick ’em contests,” he said. “That’s no fun.”

Simmons has attended only one game this season, his alma mater East Duplin’s 21-14 victory over Clinton, but he crunches numbers from throughout the state. He begins working on the ratings in late summer and gives each team an initial rating based on the previous year’s finish and the number of players returning.

By the second or third week of the season, the ratings are pretty well established.

Simmons got into ratings because he was fascinated by the rankings that Arnold Solomon did in a weekly newsletter. Simmons started working on his own rankings about 15 years ago and has had his own website for five years.

He uses a computer spreadsheet to enter victory margins, win-loss records, strength of schedule and other factors. More recent games have more weight than early-season games. He picks his winners by comparing the power ratings of the two teams and giving the home team an extra two points.

He spends about nine hours a week entering the data to determine the rankings and another six hours a week tracking the state’s consecutive streaks – Reidsville has scored in 216 consecutive games, for example.

Just getting the final scores from some schools can take hours.

“I love high school football. I always have,” he said. “I enjoy doing it.”

But he said picking winners, especially in the playoffs, can be humbling.

Greenville Conley’s 33-0 win over Triton, for example, surprised him. So did Princeton’s 28-21 win over North Duplin and Durham Hillside’s 17-14 loss to Southeast Guilford.

“My percentage took a beating last week,” he said.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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