Week 8 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

The tide rolls on.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama (nc)
  2. Michigan (+2)
  3. Clemson (-1)
  4. Boise State (+2)
  5. Texas A&M (-2)
  6. Western Michigan (+1)
  7. Tennessee (+3)
  8. West Virginia (+7)
  9. Washington (-1)
  10. Nebraska (-1)
  11. Washington State (nc)*
  12. Louisville (nc)
  13. Baylor (+4)
  14. Auburn (+6)
  15. Arkansas (-2)
  16. Florida (nc)
  17. Troy (+1)
  18. Northwestern (+4)*
  19. Ohio State (-14)
  20. Wisconsin (+1)
  21. Penn State (+19)
  22. Stanford (-8)
  23. Colorado (+7)
  24. Iowa (-5)
  25. LSU (-2)

*Ranking does not include FCS wins or losses.

Week 7 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Alabama has now earned the #1 spot.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Alabama (+1)
  2. Clemson (+2)
  3. Texas A&M (-2)
  4. Michigan (-1)
  5. Ohio State (+5)
  6. Boise State (+1)
  7. Western Michigan (-1)
  8. Washington (nc)
  9. Nebraska (nc)
  10. Tennessee (-5)
  11. Washington State (+2)
  12. Louisville (nc)
  13. Arkansas (+9)
  14. Stanford (+4)
  15. West Virginia (+1)
  16. Florida (+7)
  17. Baylor (+3)
  18. Troy (+6)
  19. Iowa (+8)
  20. Auburn (+1)
  21. Wisconsin (-6)
  22. Northwestern (+3)
  23. LSU (+6)
  24. Idaho (+45)
  25. Florida State (-11)

*Note, wins and losses against FCS opponents are not included in the ranking.  This may have a significant impact on Washington State and Northwestern (and by extension, Idaho, Stanford, and Iowa).

Week 6 Network Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Defeating last week's #1, Texas A&M is back in first place for the second time this season.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Texas A&M (+4)
  2. Alabama (+1)
  3. Michigan (+1)
  4. Clemson (-2)
  5. Tennessee (-4)
  6. Western Michigan (nc)
  7. Boise State (+1)
  8. Washington (+1)
  9. Nebraska (+1)
  10. Ohio State (+5)
  11. Virginia Tech (+15)
  12. Louisville (nc)
  13. Washington State* (+22)
  14. Florida State (+14)
  15. Wisconsin (-4)
  16. West Virginia (+9)
  17. North Carolina (+7)
  18. Stanford (+2)
  19. Georgia (+14)
  20. Baylor (-4)
  21. Auburn (+9)
  22. Arkansas (-7)
  23. Florida (-10)
  24. Troy (-7)
  25. Northwestern** (+13)

*Note, the Network doesn't include the negative effects of Washington State losing to Eastern Washington, as only 1-A teams are coded. They catapult upward this week due to defeating Stanford.  The absence of the EWU loss has no significant impact on Wash St.'s win network, but it does fail to capture loss network for Eastern Washington's impact.  However, because Eastern Washington has lost only to North Dakota State, who is undefeated, even if 1-AA teams were included, Washington State would probably remain in the top 25 for 1-A teams, albeit further down the list (this particular week).

**A similar issue lies with Northwestern's loss to Illinois State, who has lost 4 games in a row since defeating the wildcats.  Unlike Washington State, if 1-AA teams were included, Northwestern would be dramatically further down the ranking.  Ole Miss sits at #26.  Northwestern rose so much on a bye week because of Duke and Iowa's wins (and on down the chain).

This is the first time 2 teams that have lost to  1-AA teams have squeaked into the top 25 - usually if a team loses to a 1-AA team, they keep losing to 1-A teams and its not an issue.  In all likelihood this will resolve itself as both teams play out their seasons.  Why not code the 1-AA teams as well?  While it would make for a more comprehensive ranking, it would take too much time, and given the limited connections between 1-A  and 1-AA, would only improve things by the end of the season marginally.

Week 5 Network Rankings

by Patrick Rhamey

Week 5 saw some strong wins, catapulting 4 teams ahead of Texas A&M.

One thing to remember - the ranking is evidence based, not speculation based.  All we know this week is that Tennessee has shown more evidence through quality of wins than Alabama, not that Tennessee would beat Alabama if the two were to play.  Also note, Alabama's rise 5 spots isn't due entirely to beating Kentucky, but also (and more) due to Ole Miss and USC, both of which Alabama previously defeated, winning.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Tennessee (+1)
  2. Clemson (+1)
  3. Alabama (+5)
  4. Michigan (+5)
  5. Texas A&M (-4)
  6. Western Michigan (nc)
  7. Houston (+7)
  8. Boise State (+5)
  9. Washington (+15)
  10. Nebraska (nc)
  11. Wisconsin (-7)
  12. Louisville (-5)
  13. Florida (+2)
  14. Arkansas (-3)
  15. Ohio State (+8)
  16. Baylor (+4)
  17. Troy (+4)
  18. Miami (+12)
  19. Air Force (+20)
  20. Stanford (-1)
  21. Georgia Southern (+4)
  22. Maryland (+22)
  23. Navy (-11)
  24. North Carolina (+32)
  25. West Virginia (+4)

Week 4 Network Rankings

by Patrick Rhamey

Now that all college football teams are interconnected in some way, the first round of network rankings is available.  With a series of early, strong wins, there's a few surprises to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Top 25 (Full Ranking; Explanation)

  1. Texas A&M
  2. Tennessee
  3. Clemson
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Wake Forest
  6. Western Michigan
  7. Louisville
  8. Alabama
  9. Michigan
  10. Nebraska
  11. Arkansas
  12. Navy
  13. Boise State
  14. Houston
  15. Florida
  16. Arizona State
  17. TCU
  18. Florida State
  19. Stanford
  20. Baylor
  21. Troy
  22. Utah
  23. Ohio State
  24. Washington
  25. Georgia Southern

2016 State of World Liberty Index

by Patrick Rhamey

The State of World Liberty Index was a combination of indices compiled originally in 2006 by Nick Wilson.  Since then, I've periodically updated the index.  My methodology is similar to the original with the following exceptions: I use only the civil liberties portion of Freedom House, economic liberty (Fraser/Heritage) is weighted evenly with social liberty, and the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Scores are of equal weight to each of the Freedom House Civil Liberties sub-components.  All changes are done with the purpose of creating the most accurate relative ranking of countries by the degree of liberty (economic and social) enjoyed by the average individual within the state or territory.  Note, the ranking is not reflective of, nor does it include, political or electoral rights.  Where data is available, territories or colonies (e.g. Hong Kong) are included.

Full Rankings are here.

2016 Liberty by Quintile.  Colors represent countries grouped by quintiles in order of blue (top 20%), green (20-40%), yellow (40-60%), orange (60-80%), and red (80-100%).

2016 Five Year change in Liberty.  Blue is an increase in rank by >20 and green >10 since 2012.  Orange is a fall in rank of >10 and red >20 since 2012.

2016 Most Free Countries:

1.  New Zealand
2. Switzerland
3. Canada
4. Australia
4. Ireland
6. Finland
6. Netherlands
6. Denmark
6. Chile
6. Luxembourg

2016 Most Tyrannical States

1. North Korea
2. Syria
3. Eritrea
4. Turkmenistan
5. Cuba
6. Venezuela
7. Libya
8. Uzbekistan
8. Iran
8. Equatorial Guinea

Colored maps modified from images at outline-world-map.com

Post-Bowl Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

No surprises here.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Alabama (+2)
  2. Clemson (-1)
  3. Ohio State (+2)
  4. Notre Dame (-2)
  5. Stanford (+4)
  6. Oklahoma (+2)
  7. TCU (+4)
  8. Iowa (-4)
  9. Michigan State (-2)
  10. Michigan (+7)
  11. LSU (+9)
  12. Ole Miss (+17)
  13. Wisconsin (+8)
  14. Utah (+1)
  15. Houston (-3)
  16. Navy (-2)
  17. Northwestern (-11)
  18. Baylor (+15)
  19. Georgia (+5)
  20. Florida (-2)
  21. Mississippi State (+2)
  22. Texas A&M (-6)
  23. Oklahoma State (-10)
  24. West Virginia (+4)
  25. Toledo (+9)


End of Regular Season Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

The questions "who had the best overall season?" and "who are the conference champions?" grant, unsurprisingly, somewhat different answers.  Below, in rank order, are teams listed according to network analysis of their overall body of work in the 2015 season.

The conference championship week provides an illustration of how second and third degrees of separation can affect overall ranking.  For example, Oklahoma State, who had a bye week like most of the Big 12, experiences a decline due to Texas defeat of Baylor, who was one of the Cowboys' two losses.  The Texas-Baylor game more firmly enmeshes Baylor in the network of losses, increasing the negative impact of OK St.'s loss to Baylor on their ranking.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking): 

  1. Clemson (nc)
  2. Notre Dame (+1)
  3. Alabama (+1)
  4. Iowa (-2)
  5. Ohio State (nc)
  6. Northwestern (nc)
  7. Michigan State (+1)
  8. Oklahoma (-1)
  9. Stanford (nc)
  10. Memphis (+1)
  11. TCU (-1)
  12. Houston (+3)
  13. Oklahoma State (-1)
  14. Utah (+3)
  15. Texas A&M (-2)
  16. Michigan (nc)
  17. Florida (-3)
  18. Navy (nc)
  19. Florida State (+2)
  20. LSU (-1)
  21. Wisconsin (+2)
  22. UCLA (+6)
  23. Mississippi State (+2)
  24. Georgia (+2)
  25. Texas Tech (+4)

Network Ranking - Week 13

by Patrick Rhamey

Notre Dame falls from number one, but they're still popular with the network.  While the Stanford loss increases their loss value more than twenty fold, they still have the best value wins of any team in the FBS.

Understanding, of course, that their entrance into the playoff is politically unlikely with the CFPC, Ohio State in the 5 spot provides some interesting possibilities.  If Florida beats Alabama, could Ohio State get into the playoff?  Should be interesting.

With Navy's loss, Bama is now in.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Clemson (+2)
  2. Iowa (nc)
  3. Notre Dame (-2)
  4. Alabama (+1)
  5. Ohio State (+4)
  6. Northwestern (+2)
  7. Oklahoma (+5)
  8. Michigan State (+2)
  9. Stanford (+9)
  10. TCU (+4
  11. Memphis (+4)
  12. Oklahoma State (-5)
  13. Texas A&M (-2)
  14. Florida (-8)
  15. Houston (+5)
  16. Michigan (nc)
  17. Utah (+7)
  18. Navy (-14)
  19. LSU (+2)
  20. Baylor (-1)
  21. Florida State (+13)
  22. Temple (+5)
  23. Wisconsin (+6)
  24. West Virginia (+6)
  25. Mississippi State (-12)


Network Ranking - Week 12

by Patrick Rhamey

Still some football to played - though the sudden appearance of OU (WHO LOST TO TEXAS!!!) in the CFPC's ranking is a touch peculiar.  With the game against Stanford on the horizon, a good opportunity is still available for Notre Dame to climb into the playoff, combined with the possibility of an OU loss in Bedlam. 

With Ohio State's fall from grace, Navy sneaks into the top 4, highlighting that the Midshipmen have really been ignored.  With their one loss to Notre Dame, however, they're under-ranking is very closely tied to the under-ranking of the Irish.  Politically, however, it would be difficult for the committee to agree to have Clemson, Notre Dame, and Navy, given the Tiger beat the Irish who beat the Midshipmen, all in the playoff.  Unfortunately, political necessity and evidence based merit are at times incompatible.

However, Bama has snuck up on the top 4.  With a win in the Iron Bowl and the SEC Championship, the Network Ranking's evidence based perspective and the CFPC's expectation/political perspective may align for the Tide.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Notre Dame (nc)
  2. Iowa (+1)
  3. Clemson (-1)
  4. Navy (+4)
  5. Alabama (+5)
  6. Florida (+5)
  7. Oklahoma State (nc)
  8. Northwestern (+4)
  9. Ohio State (-5)
  10. Michigan State (+7)
  11. Texas A&M (+2)
  12. Oklahoma (+3)
  13. Mississippi State (+6)
  14. TCU (-5)
  15. Memphis (-9)
  16. Michigan (+4)
  17. Toledo (+6)
  18. Stanford (+4)
  19. Baylor (+5)
  20. Houston (-15)
  21. LSU (-5)
  22. UCLA (+4)
  23. Washington State (+2)
  24. Utah (-6)
  25. Ole Miss (-4)

Network Ranking - Week 11

by Patrick Rhamey

Committee desperately wants Bama in the top 4, but with that loss to Ole Miss looking progressively worse, its a hard empirical case to make.  Bama climbs three spots with their win over Mississippi State, but are in a distant #10.

Mike Leech's fighting cougars have cracked the top 25.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Notre Dame (nc)
  2. Clemson (nc)
  3. Iowa (nc)
  4. Ohio State (nc)
  5. Houston (+2)
  6. Memphis (-1)
  7. Oklahoma State (-1)
  8. Navy (+2)
  9. TCU (-1)
  10. Alabama (+3)
  11. Florida (+1)
  12. Northwestern (+3)
  13. Texas A&M (+6)
  14. Wisconsin (+4)
  15. Oklahoma (+8)
  16. LSU (-2)
  17. Michigan State (+4)
  18. Utah (-1)
  19. Mississippi State (+1)
  20. Michigan (+5)
  21. Ole Miss (+3)
  22. Stanford (-6)
  23. Toledo (+6)
  24. Baylor (-13)
  25. Washington State (+6) 

Network Ranking - Week 10

by Patrick Rhamey

So falls Michigan State.  In the wake of Michigan State and LSU's losses, Notre Dame rises to the top.  Even when discounting their win quality by the Clemson loss, their total body of work surpasses every other team in the country.  The Big 12, however, despite two undefeated teams (#6 Oklahoma State & #11 Baylor), can't break into the top 4 due to their overly squishy schedules.  Put simply, the combined quality of Oklahoma State's wins are not even as good as that of Memphis, even after subtracting the effect of the Navy loss.  

Now, Oklahoma State/Baylor have more room to grow than Memphis or Houston (as do the leading teams in the SEC and PAC 12), but the dissatisfying position of the Big 12 in the overall CFB Network is persistent. As for the reason, we can compare their out of conference opponents which strongly influence the positioning of the conference relative to other clusters in the network.

Baylor - #102 SMU and #103 Rice
Oklahoma State - #71 Central Michigan and #122 UTSA


Memphis - #24 Ole Miss, #36 Bowling Green, #126 Kansas
Houston - #61 Louisville, #111 Texas State, #70 Vanderbilt

Just as a matter of logistics, it would be pretty difficult to play worse non-conference opponents than Baylor.  Art Briles really went out of his way to schedule the worst teams he could short of scheduling nothing but FCS opponents.

As for the SEC, the Ole Miss loss to Arkansas punished Alabama, even if they beat LSU.  Why?  Because Bama lost to Ole Miss and Ole Miss lost to Arkansas, Alabama is now subsumed in the loss networks of such teams as Toledo and Texas Tech.  Not good SEC, not good at all. But, still much better than the train wreck that is the PAC 12.

Remember, the network ranking is not arguing Memphis is "better" than Oklahoma State, just that they have a more impressive total body of work at this point in the season.  Also keep in mind much of this will necessarily change.  While Clemson should be alright (unless they go Clemson on us), Notre Dame still has to play Stanford, Iowa and Ohio State will eventually come to blows (assuming Ohio State makes it past Michigan and Sparty), Memphis and Houston will square off, and Oklahoma State will face Baylor, who still has to play TCU, and both of them have yet to play Oklahoma. 

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Notre Dame (+1)
  2. Clemson (+1)
  3. Iowa (+1)
  4. Ohio State (+3)
  5. Memphis (+1)
  6. Oklahoma State (+9)
  7. Houston (+10)
  8. TCU (+4)
  9. Temple (+4)
  10. Navy (+11)
  11. Baylor (+7)
  12. Florida (-3)
  13. Alabama (-5)
  14. LSU (-9)
  15. Northwestern (+9)
  16. Stanford (+6)
  17. Utah (+8)
  18. Wisconsin (+2)
  19. Texas A&M (-8)
  20. Mississippi State (-1)
  21. Michigan State (-20)
  22. Penn State (-6)
  23. Oklahoma (+5)
  24. Ole Miss (-14)
  25. Michigan (+1)


Network Ranking - Week 9

by Patrick Rhamey

With Notre Dame continuing to chalk up impressive performances, would the College Football Playoff Committee allow a Clemson v. Notre Dame rematch?  Could a one loss Notre Dame leapfrog an undefeated TCU or Baylor?

Given the politics involved, the answer to both is probably no.  However, given how close the loss to Clemson was (22-24), a rematch has a lot of potential to be a great game.  As for the latter, given their soft Big 12 schedules, Notre Dame has a much more impressive body of work thus far this season than undefeated TCU (#12) or Baylor (#18 and the worst ranked undefeated).  Indeed, in the Network Ranking, they have the most impressive body of wins of any team, and are only second due to the negative impact of losing to Clemson.  If Clemson remains undefeated and Notre Dame wins out, I would expect that to continue to be the case regardless of the final result out of the Big 12.  Right now, the most probable outcome out of the College Football Playoff Committee is Michigan State, Iowa, or Ohio State out of the Big 10, TCU or Baylor out of the Big 12, and if they win out, LSU and Clemson.  Unfortunately, there will be good arguments to be made by Notre Dame and a possibly undefeated Memphis or Houston team, highlighting the problems of selecting four teams for a playoff on the basis of anything other than an evidence based system.  Right now, Notre Dame fans should consider themselves in the running, but they'll need some help elsewhere to survive the politics of the playoff committee.

This coming weekend, we'll get what amounts to the de facto SEC championship when LSU faces Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  At minimum, the absence of an undefeated champion from two or more power five conferences is what Notre Dame needs.  If Bama can take down the tigers, the Irish are much closer to being in the conversation.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Michigan State
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Clemson
  4. Iowa
  5. LSU
  6. Memphis
  7. Ohio State
  8. Alabama
  9. Florida
  10. Ole Miss
  11. Texas A&M
  12. TCU
  13. Temple
  14. Toledo
  15. Oklahoma State
  16. Penn State
  17. Houston
  18. Baylor
  19. Mississippi State
  20. Wisconsin
  21. Navy
  22. Stanford
  23. Appalachian State
  24. Northwestern
  25. Utah

Network Ranking - Week 7

by Patrick Rhamey

Not a lot of surprises here given the big performances this week.  And, looking forward to next week, no big games within the top 4.  One big difference between this ranking, as an evidence based system, vs. the AP Poll, which is a speculation based system, is Ohio State and Baylor.  For fun, let's compare Baylor's wins to LSU's.

Quality of Baylor wins as determined by the losing team's Network Rank:
84. SMU
71. Rice
34. Texas Tech
85. Kansas
51. West Virginia

Quality of LSU wins:
28. Mississippi State
33. Auburn
79. Syracuse
125. Eastern Michigan
59. South Carolina
8. Florida

The variance in team quality is higher for LSU, with both the best and least impressive wins, but the average opponent ranking for Baylor is 65, while for LSU it's 55, with wins over Florida, Mississippi State, and Auburn all more impressive than any win by Baylor.  Baylor has a back-loaded schedule, with their, at present, four most difficult games in the four final weeks of the season.  If they win they will very likely climb into the top four, but they haven't earned the right to be in the conversation yet.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Utah
  2. Michigan State
  3. LSU
  4. Clemson
  5. Iowa
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Memphis
  8. Florida
  9. Alabama
  10. California
  11. Ohio State
  12. TCU
  13. Texas A&M
  14. Michigan
  15. Ole Miss
  16. Oklahoma State
  17. Northwestern
  18. Temple
  19. Toledo
  20. Stanford
  21. Baylor
  22. Washington State
  23. Florida State
  24. Oklahoma
  25. Brigham Young

Network Ranking - Week 6

by Patrick Rhamey

Big shake ups this week driven by a few big games.  Florida gets leaped by Utah, Michigan, and the Aggies.  Utah jumps (and jumps dramatically) for two reasons: (1) They beat Cal, who beat Texas, who just upset Oklahoma, as well as Washington, who upset USC.  The consequences of those two upsets reverberate pretty strongly throughout the network.  (2) They beat Michigan, who just beat Northwestern.  The value of both Utah and Michigan's wins are really quite impressive, with Michigan only receiving a slight negative for losing to undefeated Utah.  The Aggies and the Gators are pretty close, and though the Aggies were on a bye, the value of their wins increased this week by slightly more than those of the Gators.

While Utah should take care of business at home against Arizona State, Michigan gets another test with #23 Sparty in the Big House.  In the SEC, we'll find out if the Aggies and Gators are for real against #14 Bama and #13 LSU.

Finally, where's Baylor?  While the Bears are undefeated, their best (and only half-decent) win is against Texas Tech.  While their schedule improves with West Virginia next week, it doesn't get interesting until mid-October, where in a three week period they play OU, Oklahoma State, and TCU.  If they make it out of that, they'll have a case to make.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking):

  1. Utah
  2. Michigan
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Florida
  5. TCU
  6. California
  7. Clemson
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Ohio State
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. Northwestern
  12. Temple
  13. LSU
  14. Alabama
  15. Iowa
  16. Toledo
  17. Penn State
  18. Ole Miss
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Memphis
  21. Baylor
  22. Florida State
  23. Michigan State
  24. Stanford
  25. UCLA


Network Ranking - Week 5

by Patrick Rhamey

Florida hangs on to the top spot after crushing Ole Miss, but faces yet another test against #25 Missouri in Columbia.  USC shoots into the top 25 despite being on a bye week thanks to Arizona State's (who USC defeated last week) victory over UCLA.  Northwestern is looking strong with a defeat of Stanford (who beat USC, who beat UCLA, etc.).  But, Saturday they face #6 Michigan in The Big House.  Utah, likewise, has a test in their home game against a decent Cal team, while Ohio State should take care of business at home against Maryland, who Michigan shut out 28-0 this weekend.  Other than Ohio State's conference cupcake, great weekend of football ahead.

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Rankings):

  1. Florida
  2. Northwestern
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Utah
  5. Ohio State
  6. Michigan
  7. Stanford
  8. TCU
  9. Temple
  10. LSU
  11. Michigan State
  12. Oklahoma 
  13. Alabama
  14. UCLA 
  15. Clemson 
  16. USC 
  17. Iowa 
  18. Ole Miss
  19. Memphis 
  20. Toledo 
  21. Oklahoma State 
  22. Kentucky 
  23. Arizona State 
  24. California 
  25. Missouri  

Network Ranking - Week 4

by Patrick Rhamey

Inaugural 2015 rankings have arrived (a bit late in the week)!  The Gators, with pretty good wins against a high performing Kentucky and a ECU team that took down Virginia Tech, take the first spot.  For a comparison of the difference between a post-dictive, evidence based model and the popular survey approach, I've placed each team's ranking in the AP poll in parentheses below.  The difference between the two provides some indicator of the degree to which teams at this point in the season are under or over rated.  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Ranking)

  1. Florida (25)
  2. UCLA (7)
  3. Utah (10)
  4. Northwestern (16)
  5. TCU (4)
  6. Texas A&M (14)
  7. Ole Miss (3)
  8. Oklahoma (15)
  9. Ohio State (1)
  10. Temple (NR)
  11. Kentucky (NR)
  12. LSU (9)
  13. Indiana (NR)
  14. Michigan (22)
  15. Michigan State (2)
  16. Alabama (13)
  17. Georgia (8)
  18. Notre Dame (6)
  19. Stanford (18)
  20. Memphis (NR)
  21. Miami (NR)
  22. North Carolina State (NR)
  23. California (tied for 22) (24)
  24. Navy (NR)
  25. Minnesota (NR)
  26. Florida State (tied for 25) (11)
  27. Iowa (tied for 25) (NR)
  28. Oklahoma State (tied for 25) (20)
  29. Toledo (tied for 25) (NR)

The Network:

2015 State of World Liberty Index

by Patrick Rhamey

The State of World Liberty Index was a combination of indices compiled originally in 2006 by Nick Wilson.  Since then, I've periodically updated the index.  My methodology is similar to the original with the following exceptions: I use only the civil liberties portion of the Freedom House, economic liberty (Fraser/Heritage) is weighted evenly with social liberty, and the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Scores are of equal weight to each of the Freedom House Civil Liberties sub-components.  All changes are done with the purpose of creating the most accurate relative ranking of countries by the degree of liberty (economic and social) enjoyed by the average individual within the state or territory.  Note, the ranking is not reflective of, nor does it include, political or electoral rights.  Where data is available, territories or colonies (e.g. Hong Kong) are included.

2015 Rankings

2015 Liberty by Quintile.  Colors represent countries grouped by quintiles in order of blue (top 20%), green (20-40%), yellow (40-60%), orange (60-80%), and red (80-100%).

2015 Changes in Liberty.  Blue is an increase in rank by >11 and green >5.  Orange is a fall in rank of >5 and red >11.

2015 Most Free Countries:*

1. Bahamas
1. Hong Kong
3. Dominica
3. St. Lucia
5. Barbados
5. New Zealand
5. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
8. Australia
8. Canada
8. Switzerland

*note data for Liechtenstein on economic freedom, tied in 2014 with Bahamas for overall most free, was not available in the most recent time period.

2015 Most Tyrannical States

1. North Korea
2. Venezuela
2. Central African Republic
4. Zimbabwe
5. Iran
5. Cuba
7. Eritrea
8. Ethiopia
8. Equatorial Guinea
8. Republic of Congo
8. Chad

2015 Greatest Increases in Liberty:

1. Madagascar
2. United Arab Emirates
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
3. Myanmar
5. Tunisia
6. Fiji
6. Qatar
6. Mozambique
9. Uzbekistan
10. Costa Rica
10. Sao Tome y Principe
10. Georgia

2015 Greatest Increases in Tyranny:

1. Thailand
2. Argentina
3. Turkey
4. Malawi
5. Ecuador
6. Egypt
6. Hungary
8. Lebanon
9. Iran
9. Slovenia


Colored maps modified from images at http://www.outline-world-map.com/. 

Final 2014-2015 Season Rankings

by Patrick Rhamey

As with previous years, attempting to answer "who had the best season?" based upon their full body of evidence doesn't always line up with who the eventual college football champion may be.  In a retrodictive ranking system, you seek to evaluate the total quality of evidence, not predict who wins games (or preoccupy ourselves with who won the championship game above all else).  Treating playoff games equally with the regular season games, Ohio State's victories over Alabama (who drops to 6) and Oregon (who drops to 4) catapult them up the rankings by subsuming the win networks of both these impressive teams.  In a ranking that evaluates all the evidence, however, we can't simply overlook the fact they lost to Virginia Tech (ranked 43).  In the end, it's just not enough to get them into the number 1 spot, with Florida State despite a somewhat embarrassing loss to Oregon, holding on to number one (though, it's certainly close!).  

Top 25 (Explanation; Full Rankings):

  1. Florida State
  2. Ohio State
  3. TCU
  4. Oregon
  5. Michigan State
  6. Alabama
  7. UCLA
  8. Clemson
  9. Ole Miss
  10. Arizona State
  11. Georgia
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. Mississippi State
  14. Boise State
  15. Missouri
  16. Baylor
  17. Auburn
  18. Arizona
  19. Wisconsin
  20. Texas A&M
  21. Marshall
  22. Utah
  23. Oklahoma
  24. Notre Dame
  25. Louisville

The Professor Ranking

by Patrick Rhamey

Last week I compiled the rankings I could find done by professors with appropriate methodological skills.  More about those rankings here.  I've repeated that process for the end of the season, adding to the list the Simple Rating System by Dan Drinen.  Taking the median ranking (and then the mean to break ties) the results are that the professors don't like Florida State.  Poor TCU remains in the top 4, with Ohio State beating out the Seminoles for the fourth spot.  If you look at the rating methods, the ones including win margins are those that really punish Florida State, whereas the more simple win-loss methods, such as my own, have them much higher. The 8 professors are:

Jay Coleman, University of North Florida - PhD Industrial Management, Clemson University (http://www.unf.edu/~jcoleman/minv.htm)

Wesley N. Colley, University of Alabama in Huntsville, former BCS contributor - PhD Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University (http://www.colleyrankings.com/)

Doug Drinen, University of the South - PhD Mathematics, Arizona State (http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/years/2014-ratings.html)

Cody Kirkpatrick, Indiana University - PhD Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alabama in Huntsville (http://talismanred.com/ratings/cf/)

Kenneth Massey, Carson-Newman College, former BCS contributor - PhD Mathematics, Virginia Tech (http://www.masseyratings.com/rate.php?lg=cf&sub=FBS)

Peter J. Mucha, University of North Carolina - PhD Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University (http://rwrankings.blogspot.com/)

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

Matthew Rissler, Loras College - PhD Mathematics, Notre Dame (http://discnerd.wordpress.com/)