Colley's Bias Free Matrix Rankings
An Official Bowl Championship Series Ranking for 2001–2006
Bowl Championship Series

The Colley Matrix Method

(Please note: This method is copyright. I present it here for anybody to peruse and evaluate, and perhaps use for personal amusement. Please contact me directly, however, before using it for any other purpose)

Colley's matrix method for ranking college football teams is explained in detail, with many examples and explicit derivations. The method is based on very simple statistical principles, and uses only wins and losses as input—margin of victory does not matter. The scheme adjusts effectively for strength of schedule, in a way that is free of bias toward conference, tradition, or region. Comparison of rankings produced by this method to those produced by the press polls shows that despite its simplicity, the scheme produces common sense results.

This method focuses more on "deservedness" to play in the national championship game than it does predictiveness, per se, which may be of more interest to some fans and bookmakers, who often consider margin of victory, injuries and other factors in assessing the possible outcome of a particular game.

Addendum: FCS games are now used in the Colley Matrix ranking system. See this page for an explanation.
Wesley N. Colley