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College football ranking systems

For our Best College Football Team database, we have selected fifteen computer ranking systems. Each one has its own merits, as well as its drawbacks. We have selected these rankings primarily because they provide data for a large number of seasons.

By combing so many systems, we can avoid any bias that may exist in any single system. Below you can read a little about each system's method. A link to the system's website is also provided, if you want more information.

Massey Rankings

Massey's rankings are the equilibrium point for a probability model applied to the binary (win or loss) outcome of each game. All teams begin the season rated the same. After each week, the entire season is re-analyzed so that the new ratings best explain the observed results.

Actual game scores are not used, but homefield advantage is factored in, and there is a slight de-weighting of early season games.

Schedule strength is implicit in the model, and plays a large role in determining a team's rating. Results of games between well-matched opponents naturally carry more weight in the teams' ratings. The final rating is essentially a function of the team's wins and losses relative to the schedule faced.

Sonny Moore Rankings

A team's power rating reflects how a team has performed from all the games played, taking into account wins and losses, the opposing teams' power ratings and the actual score difference of the games played.

The ratings are compiled by using only statistical and historical data. The most recent games played are more meaningful in compiling the ratings.

A diminishing returns principle is used to prevent higher rated teams from gaining power rating points and moving up in the rankings when the victory margin is being run up against a weaker team.

Sagedrive Rankings

The MJS College Football Standings are generated by computer analysis of the records of FBS college football teams. The computer considers each game, taking into account the teams involved and the win/loss result.

In keeping with the "win is a win" philosophy, the score is not considered. The computer ranks each team in a manner consistent with its own record and that of all other teams.

Unlike the polls, the MJS Standings do not try to predict how teams will do in the future. The standings only consider the results of games played to date.

Jeff Bihl Rankings

In this system you always gain points if you win a game and always lose points if you lose. Margin of victory is not taken into consideration.

It is not easy for a team to cheat the system. A team cannot play a weak schedule and expect a high rating because of a good record. Conversely, a team cannot play a tough schedule and expect their schedule to get them a high rating. It is equally difficult to gain a given number of points for either team.

CPI Rankings

With the CPI (Comparative Performance Index), teams are rated using only the win percentages of themselves and their opponents.

All percentages are taken as the sum of wins over the sum of wins and losses. The design gives greater importance to games closer to a team's circle of competition, balances a team's record equally with its schedule, is unbiased, and makes no arbitrary adjustments.

Congrove Computer Rankings

The computer program is designed to predict who is supposed to beat who and by how much.

The actual outcome of the game directly alters subsequent predictions. A unique season-averaging variable prevents wild fluctuations due to anomalies, and renders it meaningless to run up the score.

The rise and fall of a team's Power Rating is relevant to the strength of the team it played, whether it won or lost, and how other teams fared against similar opponents.

Square Gear Rankings

Every team receives a rating between 0 and 1 (1 being perfect). It is simply a weighted average of their record and their strength of schedule.

A team's record is expressed as win percent (games won divided by games played). Their strength of schedule is computed by taking the average win percent of the school's opponents and the average win percent of the school's opponents' opponents.

Jelly Juke Rankings

The goal of these rankings is to rate teams based only on wins, losses, and strength of schedule in an entirely objective manner. The scope of the system does not include margin of victory, venue, or other extra variables.

When it comes to rating teams based strictly on who they’ve beaten, this system correctly uses fundamental mathematical principals to arrive at a completely objective and proven result.

Hatch Rankings

Only three factors are germane to ranking teams. (1) Who did you play? (2) Where did you play? (3) What was the score?

Each game generates a Performance Rating for both participating teams. The average of a team's Performance Ratings across the course of the season constitutes that team's Output Rating.

TFS Rankings

TFS does not offer any explanation for how the rankings are calculated.

Entropy Rankings

Entropy does not offer any explanation for how the rankings are calculated.

Loudsound Rankings

Loudsound does not offer any explanation for how the rankings are calculated.

M Cubed Rankings

M Cubed does not offer any explanation for how the rankings are calculated.

Howell Rankings

Howell does not offer any explanation for how the rankings are calculated.

Sorenson Rankings

Sorenson does not offer any explanation for how the rankings are calculated.