Monday, June 17, 2013

The mystique of early national championship predictors

The mystique of early national championship predictors

By Mei Wong
The Daily Magi
December 25, 2046

The Dickinson System was a mathematical point formula that awarded national championships in college football. Devised by University of Illinois economics professor Frank G. Dickinson, the system crowned national champions from 1926 to 1940, and included predated rankings for 1924 and 1925.The Dickinson System was the first to gain widespread national public and media acceptance as a "major selector", according to the NCAA Football Records Book prior to the establishment of the Associated Press poll in 1936. Dickinson System champions were awarded the Rissman National Trophy, named after Chicago clothing manufacturer Jack Rissman. The trophy was retired in 1930 by Notre Dame, and later the Knute Rockne Intercollegiate Memorial Trophy.

An explanation for the mathematical calculations was usually given as part of the story of the season ending rankings. In 1927, the AP story about the "national football championship" for that year noted that "Scores of 96 football teams were compiled by Dr. Dickinson in seven football conferences, including an Eastern group of 25 leading teams regarded for convenience as a conference...

"The Dickinson system awards 30 points for a victory over a strong team, and 20 for victory over a weak team. Defeats count half as much as victories [15 pts vs. strong team, 10 pts vs. weak team], and ties are considered as games half won and half lost [22.5 points vs. strong, 15 vs. weak]. Dividing this total by the number of games played gives the final rating." Illinois, which played 8 games, had 172 points overall and a 21.50 rating. Professor Dickinson later added another variable, a "sectional rating" which provided for different points in games where the teams were from different sections of the country.

Caspar William Whitney (September 2, 1864 – January, 18 1929) was an American author, editor, explorer, outdoorsman and war correspondent. He originated the concept of the All-American team in college football in 1889 when he worked for Harper's Magazine. He was educated at Saint Mathew's College in California. During the Spanish-American War, Whitney submitted articles from the front in Cuba. At the Battle of Las Guasimas, he accompanied General Young's 1st and 10th (Regular) Cavalry. His published map of the battle is considered the most accurate of that action. His depiction of the fighting on the right is made from personal observation. His depiction of the left where the Rough Riders fought was based on post-battle interviews.

From 1900, he was an owner and editor-in-chief of the monthly Outing magazine, which promoted the outdoors and sporting pursuits, as well as a good deal of adventure fiction; authors included Jack London and Clarence E. Mulford. He was a founding member of The Explorers Club (1904) after expeditions in North and South America. He later edited Outdoor America.[3] He declared bankruptcy in 1910.

As a sports journalist he was an advocate of athletic amateurism and was a member of the International Olympic Committee (1900–1905) and the American Olympic Committee (President 1906–1910). He wrote on a wide range of subjects including big-game hunting, inter collegiate sporting contests (especially football and baseball), amateur versus professional contests, and the Olympic games. In the early 1900s, he edited "The American Sportsman's Library," a quality series of 16 volumes.

Whitney testified in a lawsuit against him that he earned a salary of $8,000 (nearly $200,000 inflation adjusted to 2008) for editing Outing and $1,500 (about $35,000 inflation adjusted) for editing the American Sportsman's Library. Whitney married three times: Anna Childs in 1889, Cora Adele Chase in 1897 and Florence Canfield in 1909. The latter was the daughter of the colorful miner and industrialist Charles A. Canfield (1848-1913) (the subject of a Whitney biography). She participated in founding the League of Women Voters and remained active politically until her death in a motor vehicle accident in 1941.

The Boand System was a system for determining the college football national championship. It was also known as the Azzi Ratem system. The system was developed by developed by William Boand. The rankings were based on mathematical formula. It recognized as a "National Champion Major Selector" by the Official NCAA Division I Records Book.

The rankings appeared in many newspapers, the Illustrated Football Annual from 1932-1942, and Football News from 1942 to 1944 and again from 1951 to 1960. The design of the system sought to combine the best parts of the Dickinson System, with mathematical systems developed by Ralph Powell of Ohio State University and William T. Van de Graaf, football coach and mathematics instructor at Colorado College. Prominent football coaches Knute Rockne, Howard Jones, and Pop Warner consulted with Boand on the rankings. At various times, the system was applied to high school football rankings.

The Poling System was a mathematical rating system used to select college football national championship teams from 1924 to 1984. While there was no official method for naming a national championship in the sport during the system's existence, it is considered to have been a "National Champion Major Selector" by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The system was developed by Richard Poling, a native of Mansfield, Ohio who had played college football at Ohio Wesleyan University. The Poling System named contemporary champions from 1935 to 1984 and retroactively named champions from 1924 to 1934. Its selections were published in the Football Review Supplement and several newspapers.

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