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Assessing Methods for College Football Rankings


  • Gill Ryan

    (University of Louisville)

  • Keating Jerome

    (University of Texas at San Antonio)


With the advent of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) much emphasis has been placed on ranking teams. We consider several mathematical methods for ranking college football teams based on point differential including least squares with fixed or mixed effects. We also consider the use of modifications such as truncating or censoring (such as Harville's method) the result to adjust for the possibility of teams running up the score. We assess the predictive performance of these models using leave-one-out cross validation. The methods and analyses are applied to all major NCAA football data from 1930-2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Gill Ryan & Keating Jerome, 2009. "Assessing Methods for College Football Rankings," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-21, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:5:y:2009:i:2:n:3

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    Cited by:

    1. Karl Andrew T., 2012. "The Sensitivity of College Football Rankings to Several Modeling Choices," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 8(3), pages 1-44, October.
    2. Barrow Daniel & Drayer Ian & Elliott Peter & Gaut Garren & Osting Braxton, 2013. "Ranking rankings: an empirical comparison of the predictive power of sports ranking methods," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 187-202, June.
    3. Trono John A., 2010. "Rating/Ranking Systems, Post-Season Bowl Games, and "The Spread"," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 1-20, July.
    4. Wigness Maggie B & Williams Chadd C & Rowell Michael J, 2010. "A New Iterative Method for Ranking College Football Teams," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-15, April.

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