Our site is the exclusive home to BennettRank, an enhanced RPI ranking algorithm we use to predict the results of every NCAA Soccer game. How good is it? Let's compare it to ranking systems you might be familiar with to give you a better idea.
You tell us every year in our post season surveys the Coaches Poll has the most credibility. If we want to "be the best," we need to "beat the best." As such, we do a postseason post-mortem to show how well BennettRank performs vs. the Coaches Poll, and for that matter, the RPI for applicable D1 sports.
The results are in for the 2016 fall season. Here they are:
Let's focus on soccer. We took the average ranking of all teams at each stage of the tournament, from the field, to the Sweet 16 to the Championship game.
We'll start with D1 Women's Soccer. These are the pre-tournament BennettRank, Coaches Poll, and RPI rankings, arranged in tournament finish order:
This is the calculation of the average rank by ranking system for teams at of the four stages of the tournament. (Lower numbers are better.)
In this specific example, there was really no differentiation among the three ranking systems.
So now, let's take a look at all divisions of NCAA college soccer; using this formula yields the following results:
We draw some conclusions from this overall exercise:
1. We can do better, and we are tweaking our formulas to do even better next year. We think we gave a little too much weight to strength of schedule this year and will dial back that knob for next year.
2. Some coaches poll committees do better than others. The D2 men's soccer coaches committee did an outstanding job this year. D2 consistently is the hardest to rank because of its regionalized nature and low levels of cross-pollination between conferences and regions. The coaches poll committees that did not do very well consistently undervalued strength of schedule, and put too much emphasis record.
3. There isn't much differentiation between the ranking systems at the D1 level.