The UHSAA revealed its debut 2021 RPI rankings for high school football on Monday morning, and if the previous two years of the RPI reveal are any indicator, it’s best to take the initial rankings with a grain of salt.
A year ago only one of the five teams ranked No. 1 in the initial RPI rankings was still ranked first in the final RPI rankings at the end of the season that seeded the high school playoffs.
For now though, the teams who can claim RPI top billing in their respective classification at the midway point of the season are Mountain Ridge (6A), Springville (5A), Ridgeline (4A), Grantsville (3A), Beaver (2A) and North Sevier (1A).
The RPI rankings, which will ultimately seed the state playoffs after week 10, are based 45% on winning percentage, 45% on opponents’ winning percentage and 10% on opponents’ opponents winning percentage.
This is the second year the formula is using a 45-45-10 calculation. In the inaugural season of the RPI rankings in 2019, the formula was 40-40-20, which received much more criticism than it did a year ago.
The rankings will be updated each week and seed the state playoffs next month.
In several classifications the RPI rankings don’t necessarily convey what many believe are the true rankings, which seems most obvious in 6A.
Corner Canyon is far and away regarded as the best team in Utah — it’s 45-game winning streak can attest to that — but it checks in at No. 3 in the initial RPI rankings behind Mountain Ridge and Skyridge.
The biggest reason for Corner Canyon’s No. 3 seed is its strength of schedule. Of its five opponents to date, only one has a winning record. That will most definitely change in the weeks ahead as Corner Canyon heads into the Region 4 gauntlet, which begins this week against American Fork.
American Fork’s debut spot at No. 6 is also surprising, but its opponents strength of schedule is even lower than Corner Canyon.
While the initial rankings certainly have some flaws, it will gradually autocorrect itself over the next five weeks. In 6A last year, the top three seeds at the end of the regular season all advanced to the 6A semifinals, with only No. 4 American Fork missing out as it was upset in the semifinals.
While shake-up to the 6A rankings is expected in the coming weeks, that’s perhaps even more so the case in the 5A rankings.
Timpview and Orem are regarded as the two best teams in 5A again this year, but they’ve played tough preseason schedules so far and both own 3-2 records. As a result, Timpview checks in at No. 7 in the debut rankings, while Orem is way down at No. 15.
This should gradually correct itself as Orem and Timpview pile up the wins going forward.
Springville owns the top spot in 5A despite suffering its first loss of the season last Friday to region foe Spanish Fork, which is the surprise No. 2 seed in 5A.
Spanish Fork owns a 3-1 record, and is also getting a big boost in the two opponent’s winning percentage calculations. Three of its four games, however, have come against 4A teams, so it will be interesting to see how the Dons hold up in the coming weeks against more 5A foes.
Provo, Tooele and Timpanogos are the lone undefeated teams in 5A, and they check in at No. 3, 5 and 6 respectively in the initial rankings.
In 4A, there was no surprise at the top with Ridgeline sitting at No. 1 as the only undefeated team in the classification. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Pine View checks in at No. 9 in the first rankings after narrowly losing to Dixie last week for its first loss of the season.
Desert Hills, Green Canyon and Logan have similar 4-1 records as Pine View, but their opponents strength of schedule is much higher as they’re ranked No. 2, 3 and 4 respectively.
Grantsville was the surprise top team in 3A despite its 3-2 record, with one-loss Juab and Juan Diego behind in the second and third. Unlike the past couple years when the 3A classification seemed like a two-horse race between Juab and Morgan, this year there’s a handful more teams in the conversation, including Grantsville.
There was no surprise in the first 2A rankings as undefeated Beaver and South Summit grabbed the top two spots.
In 1A, North Sevier sits in first as the only undefeated team, but the next three teams of Duchesne, Layton Christian and Kanab are likely all interchangeable if the first five weeks are any indicator.
Here is a complete list of answers to frequently asked questions from the UHSAA website.
Class 6A RPI Rankings
Class 5A RPI Rankings
Class 4A RPI Rankings
Class 3A RPI Rankings
Class 2A RPI Rankings
Class 1A RPI Rankings