Ray Waits' Retrodictive College Football Ratings
Computation by David Wilson

History of this system

I have been rating football since the early 1970's. The reason I started was that there were polls to determine the best college teams but nothing that I could locate for the NFL. I wanted to follow the season to see which were the best.

The beginnings were rather like those of most raters as I worked off team's abilities to put points on the board. (I still do a very much improved formulation of that called the "Middle Game.") This early theory was not very good as the Jets were usually at the top but never got to the Super Bowl.

When I discovered all the ratings posted on the Internet in 1998, I became inspired. The rankings fascinated me and I spent a lot of time looking at Kenneth Massey's Comparison Page, thinking about how best to formulate my ratings.

Every year, unfortunately, and several times during the year, I would 'correct' my formula. Then, one day I came up with the layout of the beginnings of the formula that is now used on David's site.

One year, I thought I had discovered the perfect system. Then Todd Beck sent me an email that my ratings were part of the BCS. My ratings, he had discovered, were extremely similar to those of Wes Colley. Obviously, I had to give up on that theory.

Eventually, the ratings evolved into a predictive formula instead of its beginnings as a retrodictive one. I still use those and they are posted on my site as my predictive ratings.

Then one day, around mid-season (that's when I usually get my ideas), I thought of a tweak to put on my system as it stood and make a retrodictive version. This tweak would prevent teams from being rewarded or punished simply for playing teams that were not at the same skill level.

Later in the season I asked Kenneth about my idea. He looked it over and said that it was David Wilson's old system. I was once again distraught. He sent all the information to David and, after a series of emails, David had his old system with my new tweaks going. I'm pleased and very grateful to David for working with me to create what I think is the definitive system for determining how well each team did within its division.

That's how this system got to where it is and I am convinced now that I will remain ecstatic the rest of my life about finally discovering the meaning of life. (At least, as it relates to football.)

Of course, if you don't agree, you can still check out my predictive ratings and my Middle Game ratings as well as the Superlist, which is a formulation of nine different rating systems representing the wide spectrum of football ratings. I and Stewart Huckaby of ARGH Ratings thought up the formula but David does all the work now. I insisted that he get top billing. Someday he'll give in.

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Ray Waits / ray@ebarrelracing.com