Show Details

Sports Rankings

November 2, 2005

Some mathematicians think the college football rankings could use a little tweaking.


Making sports rankings more sporting. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sports rankings, like those used for college football, often make players and fans cry foul. That’s why mathematicians at the Rochester Institute of Technology are suggesting changes to the ranking systems. Project leader Darren Narayan says the goal is to factor in head-to-head competition. Right now, college football rankings are based on two polls and a computer-generated ranking.

DARREN NARAYAN (Rochester Institute of Technology):
Head-to-head play isn’t incorporated in there directly. Obviously it’s going to impact the votes. But there still opens the door for a situation where 3 beats number 2.

That happened four years ago, when third-ranked Colorado beat second-ranked Nebraska, but still got shut out of the championship game. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.