A couple weeks ago in my post, First Look at PWR contributor — non-conference records, I suggested that it’s not clear that non-conference games have as profound an impact on PWR as conventional wisdom has grown to suggest.
It’s obviously fairly trivial to mentally construct a scenario in which a single non-conference game has a larger impact than other games because it’s one of very few games that contribute to the common opponents comparisons with quite a few other teams in the other conference. However, it’s not obvious how common and influential such situations are in real life.
Some Sioux fans, disappointed in last week’s outcome versus Minnesota, noted that next week really matters because it’s against a non-conference foe from a major conference. Without further ado, a comparison of the effect on UND’s PWR of the games vs. Minnesota and Cornell.
UND’s PWR after next weekend if…
|Swept by Cornell*||16|
|Swept by Minnesota+||14|
* – Minnesota games recorded with actual results
+ – Cornell games included (to have same number of GP as Cornell comparison) assumed a split
All scenarios assume only the actual games played to date with the addition of two games between UND and Cornell. The actual PWR after next weekend may look quite different because dozens of other games will actually be played.
As of a PWR calculated today, the outcome of the Cornell games actually matters slightly less than the outcome of the Minnesota games, in the scenarios provided. It’s close enough that it’s easy to shift the outcome (e.g. omitting the split vs. Cornell pushes UND up to #4 with a sweep of Minnesota, etc…).
You can play around yourself using Whelan’s Build your own rankings calculator.