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These three factors, in order, are taken into consideration
when ranking teams:
- Winning percentage. A team with a higher winning percentage
is always ranked higher. Teams with identical winning percentages
may or may not be tied (see below). Beginning with the 1992 season,
every NESCAC team plays every other NESCAC team but one, so any
"strength of schedule" problems should be mitigated by the
end of the season.
- Head-to-head competition. If two teams have equal winning
percentages and the two teams have played one another, then the team
that won is ranked higher. Note that ties can occur, if team A
has beaten team B, team B has beaten team C, and team C has beaten
team A (and all three teams have identical records). For example, in 1997,
Amherst beat Wesleyan, Wesleyan beat Williams, and Williams beat
Amherst. All three teams had 7-1 records, so there was a tie for
first place. In 1996, Bowdoin beat
Wesleyan, Wesleyan beat Colby, and Colby beat Bowdoin. All three
teams had 3-5 records, so there was a tie for sixth place.
- Results against common opponents. If two teams have equal
records and head-to-head matchups have not occurred, results against
common opponents are considered. First, the win-loss record
against common opponents is considered; for example, if two teams
have played three common opponents, and one team is 1-2 against those
three while the other is 2-1, the latter team will be ranked higher.
If the win-loss record is indecisive, the point differential against
common opponents is considered. If a team wins by more points or
loses by fewer points, it is considered to have done
"better"; the team which has done "better"
against more common opponents is ranked higher.
If these three factors cannot differentiate between two teams, then
the two teams are tied. Usually, many teams are tied during the first
few weeks of the season.
(For games prior to 1992, the factors are (1) winning percentage
within NESCAC; (2) head-to-head competition; (3) overall winning
percentage; (4) results against common opponents.)
By the way, I should point out that NESCAC itself doesn't rank its
football teams. These are unofficial rankings.
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Page last updated: 26 November 1998
©1998-1999, Richard J. Yanco