Monday, January 21, 2008

Rankings and Predictions

College Football Rankings.  What else evokes such emotions among people and yet is so relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things?  I happen to be a recovering college football fan.  No longer am I sick for a couple of days when my team loses.  I suppose I have replaced one passion for another.  Through some series of events over the last ten to fifteen years, I have developed an obsession(?) with ranking teams and, more recently, predicting games outcomes.  With the help of coworker and friend, Paul Colvert, Atomic Football was born several years ago.

Our website, Atomic Football, has become a labor of love.  Not exactly tons of dynamic content -- it is just a hobby and both Paul and I have families that come first -- but you will find some unique stuff.  There are two items on our web site of which we are extremely proud.  The first is our win-loss rankings.  To our knowledge, they appear to be the only win-loss rankings where the emphasis on strength of schedule is calculated, not set as some subjective input.  If you would like the details, we have documented them in nauseating detail in a technical paper available at Arxiv.  The second item is our predictions.  This season (2007) marked the first year we became very serious about producing good quality predictions.  After getting a few things ironed out in the first four weeks, we finished strong.  On Todd Beck's "The Prediction Tracker," we became only the second competitor in the last eight years to best "the line" in points accuracy (as measured by mean square error) for the second half of the season.  Not too bad for our first try.  Furthermore, if you threw in weeks 5, 6, and 7, we would have still been first.  Anyway, more later.  My kids need help with their school work.