CFDP 1381

College Football Rankings and Market Efficiency


Publication Date: September 2002

Revision Date: March 2005

Pages: 23


The results in this paper show that various college football ranking systems have useful independent information for predicting the outcomes of games. Optimal weights for the systems are estimated, and the use of these weights produces a predictive system that is more accurate than any of the individual systems. The results also provide a fairly precise estimate of the size of the home field advantage. These results may be of interest to the Bowl Championship Series in choosing which teams to play in the national championship game. The results also show, however, that none of the systems, including the optimal combination, contains any useful information that is not in the final Las Vegas point spread. It is argued in the paper that this is a fairly strong test of the efficiency of the college football betting market.


Football rankings, Predictive information

JEL Classification Codes: C52


Published in Journal of Sports Economics (February 2007), 3-18