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NESCAC Football
Ranking Methodology

These three factors, in order, are taken into consideration when ranking teams:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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