Introduction to the Retrodictive Ratings
"One Game Does Not a Champion Make"
You will notice that in some years the team that won the championship did not have the top spot in my ratings. The statement above says it all - One game does not a champion make. My retrodictive ratings treat every game the same.
The Retrodictive Ratings are a modern solution to rating teams logically based upon the information that is available. I think it is the most logical way to stack the teams. It does not use margin of victory but its predictive version does surprisingly well at predicting game outcomes without considering the margin of victory. The ratings go from the first year (1869) until the present.
Here are some of the problems when there is a lack of information, i.e., the early years:
1869: Since margin of victory is not used, There was no clear winner between Princeton and Rutgers, each winning one game.
1872: Princeton only played Rutgers; Yale only played Columbia. How they compare can only be decided by their opponents' ratings.
1873: Princeton only played Yale. Since that was Yale's only loss, we can only assume that Princeton was better.
1874: Princeton and Yale alone were undefeated. Princeton beat better teams. What can I say?
1875: Same thing as the year before: Harvard and Princeton didn't play each other.
1876: Where do you put Rutgers? They were 1-0 and the team they beat was tied in last place.
1877: Where do you put Tufts? They were 0-3 but lost only to top teams. Three undefeated teams this time.
2008: When will we see Utah in a championship game? There is no argument, if you analyze the ratings carefully, that Utah did not have a season worthy of a championship. The BCS fails yet again. Before the bowls, Utah, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma were tied at number one. Oklahoma and Texas Tech lost their bowls. Among the remaining two, Utah beat the best team. This particular season there are still four teams that can claim to be the best - Utah, Texas, Florida, and USC. Just right for a three-game playoff that will never happen. Texas had one bad half, Florida had on bad half, USC had one bad half, and Utah won all their games. Oklahoma is out by losing a BCS game, giving them two losses.
However, the season that annoyed me most was 1983 when Texas beat Auburn, Auburn beat Georgia, and Georgia beat Texas. So, who won the championship? Miami. Was Miami undefeated? No. Did Miami play Georgia, Auburn, or Texas? No. Why am I angry? To me, Miami came in behind these three teams, of which the true winner was Auburn.
The Retrodictive Ratings consider all the games in a team's season. They do not give extra weight to bowl games. Thus the national champion does not always finish at the top.
Thus the tally for colleges and
universities over the many years through
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