Football Season: 2017-2018

Since the inception of Fireball Cruncher, our success rate at predicting NCAA Football games has generally exceeded 60%. We are currently working on algorithms that will allow us to evaluate point spread for these games in the future.

Schedule Fragmentation

Every year the playing schedules have certain teams with bye weeks early in the season. Our system ranks teams on games played so that there are holes in the rankings because not every team has played the same number of games.

It is not critical if the teams are not in the top 50. This year some of the teams are in the Top 10 so our rankings are not an accurate representation until every team has played the same number of games.


The Fireball Cruncher ranking system was developed as a purely objective method by which NCAA college football teams can be evaluated relative to each other, which contrasted dramatically with the former Bowl Championship Series, BCS ranking system. Fireball Cruncher is predicated solely upon a team’s offensive and defensive statistical performance, rather than, as was the case with the former BCS poll, a subjective input from coaches in the Coach’s Poll.

We now have four years of NCAA Division I statistics and our results have demonstrated the model’s ability to objectively rank top teams. Furthermore, it has been possible to better predict college bowl winners; the exceptions being the games that are simply too close to call. These data indicate that the teams of the two tiers are approaching parity with regard to Game Efficiency. Tier I being the stronger conferences and Tier II, the weaker conferences.

The Big 10 Conference is eliminating what we term “tune up or fluff” games. These are games in which a strong NCAA Division I Team plays a team that is either in a lower division or simply has had a history of not being ranked highly. Final scores in these games tend to be very lop-sided. Once identified, teams can also be ranked based upon their performance both within their division and with all teams independent of the division of their opponents.