Ranking–What science is there behind it?

As I sat at my computer to begin typing the outline for this coming Sunday’s sermon, I read the message board and saw that someone thought I was dead. Wanting to defend myself, I looked over the course of my last few month’s work and concluded that I have completely blown my task. Preaching every Sunday has kept me busier than I ever dreamed, but I should not have shirked this duty, so I apologize.

Now for the meat of the article. I figured I would talk about ranking. I think that last year I (although it could have been Brant, as I was talking with him when the idea came to me) popularized the idea of Bible Quiz having four majors. The fact is that these aren’t well established. Three years ago, few thought of Colorado as anything more than a tournament out west. Ten years ago, Athens NYC was just starting. So, these “majors” are called that just because those are the tournaments in which we place the most value this year. Of course next year, the best teams may completely change and we may think the Midseason Invitational, Marquette Manor, and the Kickoff Classic were the strongest events. I thought in my last article that if Pleasant View did not attend SCQANIT, it might not be a major tournament.

Let me assert that I am a firm believer that as a coach, you should make every opportunity and effort to get your team to as many events as possible. Just because I have heard recently that none of the top three Florida teams and Pleasant View from Kentucky are all skipping SCQANIT does not mean that your team should not come. Just as the fact that TMA and Southside have been excluded does not mean that you should not come. The fact is that a well run-tournament is still not exceedingly common and if you can make one, you should. Nevermind the fact that states have been pulling out of AACS since its pinnacle of 27 states in 1995, every state champion should make every effort to attend AACS.

Now, from a ranking standpoint, this is where we evaluate “majors” and how important an event is. This year, Athens NYC was solid as always. But the finals in the gym were so accoustically bad that I discount (not dismiss, just discount) those results. Further, Faith (MI) and Capitol City were absent. Pleasant View, FBCCF, Faith (SC), New York, Woodside, and Valley had multiple teams, thus bringing into question the potential that they were less than their best. On the other hand, Woodside’s tournament had 13 top ministries and only one had multiple teams. No potential top ten team (in my mind, anyway) was absent. This year, the Colorado Invitational is given way more credence than any other tournament up to this point because of these facts.

March is a month filled with tournaments that get little dap on our site–Blue Ridge, DC Area, California, and state championships to name a few–but the fact is to the teams who attend them, they are very important. We don’t cover them because we, like many teams, aren’t usually able to attend. However, a strong showing in these events can be a necessary confidence boost or a weak performance can be the spurring that a team needs to do better. Also, no team can dream of winning AACS unless they win their state tournament.

When we rank teams at the end of the year, doubtlessly there are many criteria we evaluate. But we usually think what happens at the end is most valuable. Therefore, the AACS champion is usually the first consideration. Now if the body of work does not line up, that can be over-ruled. A team winning five tournaments, including all events that we call “majors,” and then getting second place at AACS to a team that finished 9th-10th-7th at the big three earlier events would probably not lose their #1 ranking.

Similarly, a team cannot be punished because it can’t make an event for whatever reason. For example, Illinois and Michigan have not been able to come to AACS for a few years now. Also a team that dosen’t come to SCQANIT, either because of logistical reasons (like PVKY) or former student issues (like TMA), would not lose anything because it wasn’t there. Of course if you are like Open Door from Florida, who comes to Athens NYC and is not heard from again, that is a horse of a different color.

What I would say to coaches is go to everything you can, try to win everything you can, and if the musings of four wannabe journalists really matter, than win everything. But just because I think the only two teams that could be ranked #1 at the end of the year by skipping SCQANIT and winning AACS are PVKY and FBCCF does not mean that anyone should change their Easter plans. The fact is that both Faiths will be at SCQANIT and they are the next two best teams. The fact is that in ten years if people are talking about Blue Ridge, California, and DC Area as being the three biggest events (because they have cycled to be bigger), that noone will know what “George” Lindsay thought of it the year you won it. And the kids who got to take a road trip with their crazy-fun coach, compete with some friends from around the country, and maybe take an all-time great team like PVKY to a middle win will never forget those memories and accomplishments.

As for my rankings, I will mirror AACS except when I see teams that were close there and SCQANIT gave me more information or Colorado showed me something entirely different unless I just have a gut feeling that a 12th place finish was actually better than a 4th place finish because that one quiz they had against one another, the 12th place team got a high win by 10 points.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.