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The Retrodiction Question
Carl Banks
Todd Beck
Jeff Bihl
Richard Billingsley
Bill Born
Lee Burdorf
Warren Claassen
Tim Clavette
John Coffey
James Howell

An Interview with

Tim Clavette
Tim Clavette's College Football Ratings
NCAA Football

YL: What are the most important factors in rating teams accurately?

Tim: The most important factors I feel are avoid bias and having a large enough sample of games. After that it really depends on if you intend to have the rankings predict winners or award for past performance. For college football and the way the polls are used now, to me, it only makes sense to have retrodictive polls. In that case, important factors include keeping factors simple, avoid awarding teams for late-season play or home-field advantage. I think the fewer factors which need to be quantified as to their value the more valid the end result will be.

YL: Why did you begin to rate teams?

Tim: I've always been interested in sports and statistics, and I've kept track of standings for just about everything as long as I can remember. I found David Wilson's site about 4 years ago, looking for different computer rankings. That's when I realized it wouldn't be that hard to come up with my own. Then when the BCS came out and started adapting more and more systems, it seemed like there was a reason to do something with my method. Plus, I've tried to study all the available ways of doing rankings, and I've been able to pick out what I like about some and use them in my own way.

YL: Is your system predictive or retrodictive?

Tim: Retrodictive.

YL: Do you think computer ratings will continue to play a role in a system like the BCS?

Tim: Since, the BCS has made changes every year of its existence, all involving the computer rankings to some degree, it is an interesting question. In the short term, I believe the computer ratings are in jeopardy of being eliminated. However, as long as there is a system like BCS I think that there will be always some type of formulized factor like the SOS now. If they choose to select teams by a committee, a single system like the RPI could play an undefined role, just like in the other sports' at-large selections.

YL: What are your interests outside computer ratings?

Tim: Well, basically watching all sports, specifically football/basketball, college and pro. I try to attend about 5 football games per year, Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers, and I have a half-season ticket package for the Milwaukee Bucks. I play basketball, or lift weights just about everyday. Outside of sports, spending time with girlfriend, movies and hanging out.

YL: You seem to have it together. Exactly where do you call home?

Tim: I work and live in Madison, Wisconsin.

YL: What is your chosen profession?

Tim: I received an undergraduate degree last May in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from UW-Madison, I now work as an Electrical Engineer for a small company.

YL: What else does the world need to know about Tim Clavette?

Thanks to Tim for his interview. You can visit his site at

Here are some other places you will want to visit:


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