Image credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Previous 2021 Indexes:

Here’s the thing about in-season power rankings: if you don’t give them a bit of an angle, they’re pretty dumb. True in-season power rankings are a little thing we like to call “standings.” Yet every time I ask if we can simply publish a ranked list of teams by record, I’m told no. Curious.

With that in mind, different in-season benchmarks require different themes. In April, we launched the latest effort index, breaking down which organizations were even gracing us with an intent to win in 2021. Now that the games are underway, each team is at least nominally trying, but in most cases we don’t have big enough sample sizes to draw any long-term conclusions. In the past we’ve leaned into a Panic Index each month, but let’s be honest: for all but one or two squads, it’s too early to panic.

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