Saturday, January 31, 2009

New WFTDA Rankings

As you've undoubtedly heard, the WFTDA released their latest rankings (Fourth Quarter 2008) this week. In the North Central Region where Ohio is now included, the Cincinnati Rollergirls were ranked #3. Congratulations to CRG for the ranking that reflects their hard work and effort leading to the Derby in Dairyland tournament last fall.

With that being said, I must say I have never been thrilled with the WFTDA ranking process. There are two main reasons. First, I don't like the fact that the rankings come out quarterly. The system should aspire to be more like the college football poll rankings that come weekly during the season. Second, I don't like the voting aspect to the ranking. According to DNN, rankings are based on votes from member leagues in that region. What is even worse is that leagues that have not kept up on their WFTDA membership requirements are excluded from the rankings. For example, Detroit (who beat CRG last September) isn't in the ranking.

Maybe it is the scientist in me, but an objective ranking system is much more appealing. One attempt at that is the ranking provided by Flat Track Stats. If you look at the North Central Ranking there, CRG is #5 (still very good). Why the difference? Flat Track Stats uses an algorithm to make the ranking a bit more objective. You can read about the their approach and what goes in their ranking system here. Is that perfect? I say no. My main concern with the FTS algorithm is that they are still using bout results from 2007 to calculate a team's final rank. Clearly that makes it harder for teams on the rise to move up in the ranking. Eventually FTS will need to toss the old data out.

Is there a better system out there? Please leave a comment or send me a note if there is. In the meantime, we'll just have to keep up on bout results and watch teams in the region to see who is improving and who is struggling -- and also decide how non-WFTDA teams fit in the picture.

Right or wrong, sports fans keep up on scores and stats. Flat track derby needs a better system to suck more fans in to the fun.


  1. I much prefer FTS's method of ranking; leaves less room for interpretation - unlike WFTDA's "voting" process. I hope that WFTDA is using their hiatus to consider, among other things, making a more accurate ranking system.

  2. Can anyone explain how the leagues vote on these rankings? Is it standardized in any way or up to individual leagues? How does CRG determine its vote? Do all skaters participate or just the executive board? Just curious as it seems kind of mysterious.

  3. It is mysterious! I believe that each WFTDA league has one or two skaters that represent them, on WFTDA's board.

  4. oops. I need to pick one login and stick with it ;) Im the same commenter as above.


  5. While the ranking system is not perfect, it seems to be as mysteriously accurate as it is mysteriously derived. With the exception of a few "close calls" and the oddly ousted "inactive" teams, you cannot deny that the strongest teams at regionals and nationals are typically ranked very high throughout the season. The addition of stronger stat tracking this season will help, tremendously, to begin to demystify the rankings.

    Thanks, Earl!