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Ranking Systems: FIFA and US College Football


Sport championships and leagues all over the world revolve around the spirit of competition that is maintained through the application of systems of ranking. Such systems determine how points are assigned to teams or individual competitors in order to identify the strongest ones and assign trophies fairly. It goes without saying that sport ranking systems need to be thought through very well in order to stay maximally objective and unbiased. The purpose of this paper is to compare the FIFA ranking system for international soccer and the Matrix-based Methods system used in US College football.

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FIFA Ranking System

FIFA ranking system has existed since the beginning of the 1990s. The only principle was that teams collected three points for a victory, one point for a draw, and zero points for a lost game. However, as this system started to show obvious drawbacks due to its simplicity, adjustments had to be made. Specifically, in order to ensure appropriate evaluation, the revised calculation method was introduced that included many more factors than the separate performances of teams in regard to each individual game.

The current system has been in place since 2006. According to this system, the points and ranks are assigned taking into account such factors as the end result of a game, its importance level (a friendly game, a qualifier, Euro Cup finals, and World Cup finals), the rank of the rival team, and the confederation coefficient. Finally, in order to calculate the overall rank of a team on a global scale, only the games that took place over the last four years are included in the evaluation.

US College Football Ranking System

The system of ranking used for the US college football championship is very different from typical methods applied in professional leagues of the world. This is the case due to the structure of the championship. Specifically, in most leagues, each of the competitors gets to play against all of the other rivals, and after that, the final series starts where the champion is determined. In the US college football, the division is very large and includes about a hundred teams.

Each of the teams gets to play a maximum of fifteen games against various rivals. As a result, the application of standard ranking methods would be highly unfair, especially in the situation where the ranking system is what determines two leading teams that will play for the champion title. The ranking calculation system includes such factors as eight computer-led rankings, two expert polls, a team’s schedule strength regarding its conference, and the number of lost games.


Each of the two systems is built in accordance with the specificity of the leagues to which they apply. The major disadvantage of the US college football calculation method is the presence of subjective polls where personal opinions are included in the overall ranking. Also, the formulas that comprise computer ranking also can contain flaws. In this regard, the factors that make up the FIFA system are more impartial. Since the US college football ranking system includes many conferences in which each of the teams plays steadily, it may be possible to strengthen its calculation methods with the help of coefficients similar to those assigned for various confederations in FIFA.

This measure could help assess the schedules of the teams and their rivals. The complete absence of flaws in both systems is difficult to achieve because the factors that participate in the calculation are added based on human perceptions of what is more and less important in each given championship. However, I believe that the FIFA system is more impartial due to the exclusion of subjective opinions as drivers of points.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, January 16). Ranking Systems: FIFA and US College Football. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, January 16). Ranking Systems: FIFA and US College Football.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Ranking Systems: FIFA and US College Football." January 16, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Ranking Systems: FIFA and US College Football'. 16 January.

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