Glynn Academy will once again be among the top teams in classification, while Brunswick High is set to return to the postseason, according to the recently released preseason Maxwell Ratings.
Compiled by mathematician and Georgia High School Football Historians Association founder Loren Maxwell, the Maxwell Ratings are projections based on historical scores with more recent seasons weighing most heavily.
“The goal of the model is to provide the best mathematical explanation for the season by assigning each team a rating that best correlates to their performance,” Maxwell said in a statement. “Although there are many possible approaches, the one I use is based on logistic regression, which is a fairly common statistical technique.
“The data the model takes into account are the scores, the locations and the order of the games — I weight more recent games slightly heavier — along with each team’s historical performance.”
Coming off an 8-4 campaign, the Terrors are projected to finish the regular season with a 7.91-2.09 record by the Maxwell Ratings, including a 3.31-0.69 record in Region 2-6A. Glynn Academy’s rating of 63.74 is the seventh-best mark in Class 6A — Effingham County’s 51.76 rating is the next highest in the region.
The Pirates are projected to finish with a losing record for the second straight season at 4.80-5.20, but their overall rating of 45.90 rating is good for fourth in Region 2-6A and 26th in a classification that sees 32 teams enter the playoff field.
The difference between Brunswick’s projected record and its ranking in Class 6A can partially be explained by a strength of schedule that ranks 14th in the class, and even that figure likely undersells its difficulty.
Brunswick opens its season against the fourth-highest rated team in Class 6A in Coffee, and its non-region schedule includes a trip to Kingsland to face Class 7A’s 15th-ranked team Camden County. Glynn Academy and Effingham County, the 15th-ranked team in Class 6A, should also be tough tests.
But the Maxwell Ratings can’t properly contexualize the Pirates’ contest against Florida powerhouse Bartram Trail isn’t given the proper weight of a program that is 36-16 over the past four years with a championship game and two quarterfinal appearances.
“Unfortunately I don’t track out-of-state teams, so while those games are considered in the model, their impact is limited because the model isn’t aware of how strong those teams are inside their own state,” Maxwell said. “As an example, if a team from Georgia beat an out-of-state team by 14 points, then the model would simply rate that out-of-state team as 14 points lower than the Georgia team they played because that’s all the model would be aware of. However, the rating of out-of-state teams is not considered in the SOS rating.”
The same can be said for Glynn Academy’s schedule that ranks 15th in strength despite essentially omitting its season opener against Fort Dorchester, which has compiled a 51-6 record with a state championship and two semifinal appearances over the past four seasons in South Carolina.
Some of the other challenges dotting the Terrors’ non-region schedule include: Camden and Class 5A’s eighth and 11th-ranked schools, respectively, in Ware County and Wayne County.
Of course, the Maxwell Ratings are far from perfect predictors. The ratings can’t factor in the impact of a new coordinator or the losses of graduating seniors.
“The model doesn’t give any consideration to personnel,” Maxwell said.