Too early to mean anything, but here it is

An old friend of mine, a retired sports information director, beats everyone on his list to the punch by sending out his Christmas cards early. He beat his own record this year: I received his card yesterday. (Thanks, Roger!)

We’ve sent out our Christmas card to statistical fanatics a bit early, too.

It’s way too early for these numbers to mean anything — 11 teams haven’t even played yet as of this writing — but the 2011-12 PairWise Rankings are up and running. (If you’re so inclined, you can also check out the RPI and the unofficial-for-entertainment-purposes-only KRACH.)

The PairWise has been updated to reflect changes for the 2011-12 season. The main change is in common opponents; rather than totaling all wins, losses and ties between common opponents of two schools and calculating the overall winning percentage from that, the winning percentage against each team is calculated and then added together. This is so that a team which plays a weak opponent five times and goes 5-0, for example, in comparison to another which plays that team once and goes 1-0 would not gain an advantage. Each would have a 1.000 percentage against that third team.

The effect of this is to lessen the advantage numerically that one team might have against another, especially in cases of unbalanced league schedules or in comparisons between teams in two different conferences. For example, last season North Dakota downed Michigan Tech four times while Michigan beat MTU once. In last year’s calculation, the wins for the Fighting Sioux counted four times as much as they would under this year’s formula.

Anyhow, the PWR is up, running … and (for a few weeks yet) absolutely meaningless. Don’t let that stop you from having fun with it, though. We probably won’t check in with any bracketology prognostications or cogitations for a while. will, however, keep you posted should other changes or tweaks occur.