What a crazy weekend. Seriously, I don’t know what to make of all this.
After three matches played our Power Rankings are starting to settle themselves down, at least as far as the top of the table is concerned (Friendly reminder: these numbers are very preliminary and they will fluctuate wildly early in the season).
- Toulon (Previous Rank: 1). Losing to Racing Metro in a close game on the road doesn’t change too much. It drops their Elo rating to a three-way tie with Toulouse and Clermont, but I’m leaving them on top because of point differential and how that implicates them in the Expected Points model. Still the front-runner.
- Toulouse (Previous Rank: 2). You lost to La Rochelle. Let’s just move on and forget this weekend ever happened.
- Clermont Auvergne (Previous Rank: 3). Tight loss to Montpellier at home. Would move them up over Toulouse based on that La Rochelle result, but feel weird rewarding losing teams in general.
- Montpellier (Previous Rank: 4). The only team in the top four of my rankings with a win and I don’t move them up? Yeah, it’s that kind of week. Felt Montpellier’s win over Clermont was what was needed to keep Montpellier in the top group. Point differential is still weak and I couldn’t convince myself that they are actually better than any of the Big 3.
- Racing Metro (Previous Rank: 6). Big win over a rival? Check. Big win over same rival whose owner was talking trash? Double check. Lose starting fly-half for maybe two months due to broken jaw? Unfortunately also a check.
- Stade Français (Previous Rank: 5). RED FLAG ALERT. This team is screaming DO NOT TOUCH when it comes to betting on their success. They have beaten Castres and Lyon to get 8 points in the table, but lost to Oyonnax. Second lowest Elo (after Brive and La Rochelle), second lowest point differential (after La Rochelle!), second lowest Expected Points (AFTER LA ROCHELLE!!!). I want to put them down at 13th place where all signs are pointing, but have to respect the actual Top 14 standings somewhat (THE STANDINGS ARE DIRTY ROTTEN LIARS).
- Bordeaux Begles (Previous Rank: 7). Coming back to reality…
- Grenoble (Previous Rank: 10). Beat Bordeaux and now on track to move up into the top half of the standings. What can go wrong?
- Lyon (Previous Rank: 12). Destroyed Brive, which gave them a huge bump in Elo ratings. It’s still early, but perhaps this newly-promoted side won’t be on track for relegation after all.
- Oyonnax (Previous Rank: 10). They beat Stade Français, which changes nothing.
- Castres (Previous Rank: 11). SURE YOU BEAT BAYONNE, BUT WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MATTER??? *Silently weeps looking at pre-season rankings.*
- Brive (Previous Rank: 8). Fun fact: on the opening weekend of Top 14, Brive was top of the standings.
- Bayonne (Previous Rank: 9). Should be aggrieved that Stade Français ought to parked down here in their fashionable pink jerseys by most measures.
- La Rochelle (Previous Rank: 14). Good news: You beat Toulouse! Bad news: Still on track to relegation.