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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. 

1869 Princeton/Rutgers
1870 Princeton
1872 Princeton
1873 Princeton
1874 Princeton
1875 Harvard
1876 Yale
1877 Yale/Princeton
1878 Princeton
1879 Princeton
1880 Princeton/Yale
1881 Yale
1882 Yale
1883 Yale
1884 Princeton/Yale
1885 Princeton
1886 Princeton/Yale
1887 Yale
1888 Yale
1889 Princeton
1890 Harvard
1891 Yale
1892 Yale
1893 Princeton
1894 Yale
1895 Penn
1896 Princeton/Lafayette
1897 Penn
1898 Harvard
1899 Princeton
1900 Yale
1901 Harvard
1902 Yale
1903 Princeton
1904 Penn
1905 Chicago
1906 Wisconsin
1907 Penn
1908 Chicago
1909 Yale
1910 Navy
1911 Minnesota
1912 Harvard
1913 Harvard
1914 Illinois
1915 Cornell
1916 Pittsburgh
1917 Pittsburgh
1918 Pittsburgh
1919 Centre
1920 California
1921 Iowa
1922 Iowa
1923 Illinois
1924 Notre Dame
1925 Alabama
1926 Alabama/Stanford
1927 Texas A&M
1928 Georgia Tech
1929 Notre Dame
1930 Notre Dame
1931 USC
1932 USC
1933 Princeton
1934 Minnesota
1935 Minnesota
1936 Minnesota
1937 Santa Clara
1938 Tennessee
1939 Texas A&M
1940 Minnesota
1941 Minnesota
1942 Georgia
1943 Purdue
1944 Norman NAS
1945 Oklahoma State
1946 Notre Dame/Army
1947 Notre Dame
1948 Michigan
1949 Notre Dame
1950 Princeton
1951 Maryland
1952 Georgia Tech
1953 Notre Dame
1954 Ohio State
1955 Oklahoma
1956 Oklahoma
1957 Auburn
1958 LSU
1959 Syracuse
1960 Iowa
1961 Alabama
1962 Mississippi
1963 Texas
1964 Arkansas
1965 Michigan State
1966 Michigan State/Notre Dame
1967 USC
1968 Ohio State
1969 Penn State
1970 Notre Dame
1971 Nebraska
1972 USC
1973 Notre Dame/Ohio State/ Michigan
1974 Oklahoma
1975 Arizona State
1976 Pittsburgh
1977 Texas
1978 Alabama
1979 Alabama
1980 Georgia
1981 Clemson
1982 Penn State
1983 Auburn
1984 Florida
1985 Oklahoma
1986 Penn State
1987 Miami
1988 Notre Dame
1989 Notre Dame
1990 Colorado
1991 Miami
1992 Alabama
1993 Auburn
1994 Nebraska
1995 Nebraska
1996 Florida/Florida State
1997 Nebraska
1998 Tennessee
1999 Florida State
2000 Oklahoma
2001 Miami
2002 Ohio State
2003 LSU
2004 USC
2005 Texas
2006 Florida
2007 LSU
2008 Utah

Thus the tally for colleges and universities over the many years through 2007-2008,
giving each team a point for winning or sharing the championship, is:

 

Princeton 19
Yale 16
Notre Dame 12
Alabama 6
Harvard 6
Minnesota 6
Oklahoma 5
USC 5
Nebraska 4
Ohio State 4
Penn 4
Pittsburgh 4
Auburn 3
Florida 3
Iowa 3
Miami 3
Penn State 3
Texas 3
LSU 3
Chicago 2
Florida State 2
Georgia 2
Georgia Tech 2
Illinois 2
Michigan 2
Michigan State 2
Tennessee 2
Texas A&M 2
Arizona State 1
Arkansas 1
Army 1
California 1
Centre 1
Clemson 1
Colorado 1
Cornell 1
Lafayette 1
Maryland 1
Mississippi 1
Navy 1
Norman NAS 1
Oklahoma State 1
Purdue 1
Rutgers 1
Santa Clara 1
Stanford 1
Syracuse 1
Wisconsin 1
Utah 1

 

 

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