The Professor Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

In the midst of watching today's college football, and incurring ever rising angst to the pontificating of just about every sports caster and pundit, I had a thought - forget the playoff committee and the punditry, what if you created a ranking  based purely on the different rigorous mathematical approaches created by individuals with the appropriate expertise.  So I combed through the College Football rankings that exist with two critiera: 1) the ranking is mathematically rigorous, unbiased, and non-arbitary in its construction and 2) is created by a professor with an advanced degree in a field where that professor is employing similar mathematical methods in his own substantive research.  The first is a necessity in retroactive based rankings (meaning they evaluate existing evidence rather than attempt to predict), the second grants the ranking credibility as the author has related skills that have resulted in academic publication.

This quest resulted in the following 7 rankers:

Jay Coleman, University of North Florida - PhD Industrial Management, Clemson University (

Wesley N. Colley, University of Alabama in Huntsville, former BCS contributor - PhD Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University (

Cody Kirkpatrick, Indiana University - PhD Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alabama in Huntsville (

Kenneth Massey, Carson-Newman College, former BCS contributor - PhD Mathematics, Virginia Tech (

Peter J. Mucha, University of North Carolina - PhD Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University (

Patrick Rhamey, Virginia Military Institute - PhD Political Science, University of Arizona 

Matthew Rissler, Loras College - PhD Mathematics, Notre Dame (

To calculate the rankings, I took the median for each team (rather than the weird drop the high low and take the average method of the BCS).   The mean was used to break ties.  Incidentally, the Professor Ranking and the Playoff Committee give the exact same top 4 in the exact same order.  However, note there is no SEC bias - if anything after you get past the top 4, the polls and the playoff committee are actually unfairly biased against the sec.

Prof Ranking