Frequently Asked Questions
(Updated for 2011)
So just what is this site, anyway?
We provide scores, standings, and computer ratings for all AHSAA (Alabama) football-playing schools. The computer ratings are based only on the results of the game. There is no information about location, weather, or anything else--just who wins and loses.
General disclaimer about rating systems
Computer rating systems are completely objective; that is, they consider no human factors. What I think about any particular team doesn't influence the ratings. Also, the ASWA "polls" are badly biased -- their rankings built on tradition, full of regional biases, and opinion. I can safely say that the computer ratings seen here, and probably all others out there, have none of that--I enter the scores, run a computer program, and post the results.
Some people think computer ratings are great, but many others don't. I could argue the point from both sides, but I would rather ask questions about why a system rates a particular team at a particular level. Are teams being rewarded for tough victories? Does a team's easy schedule reflect in its ranking? Is a team's schedule so abnormal that there is no way that team can be ranked fairly? These are all questions to bear in mind when looking at the results of a particular system.
One last thing to keep in mind: we have a hard enough time getting the 25 best college football teams in the right order -- it's even more difficult to order all 300-plus high school teams in this state. However, I think computer rating systems are a big improvement.
What rating systems are used for your rankings?
1. I use the rating system developed by David Wilson. His site, including an example and source code, can be found here. His system works very good in a case like this, where all teams are rated and have varying strength levels. I use a "fudge factor" in the first 4 weeks to keep the ratings from looking completely haywire early in the season.
2. I also recreate the system developed by John Wobus. I have reproduced the code the best I can, and I am probably as close as I'm ever going to get. This system is similar to the one by Dr. Wes Colley of UAH (his rating is used in the BCS). It is best suited for a group of teams in one division (not six, as we have in Alabama), so I adjust the result so that 6A teams are rated higher, 1A teams lower, etc.
My team's record is wrong! The score is wrong! A score is missing! What can I do?
You can e-mail me at with your team's scores. If there is one error, there could be others, and I would appreciate your help in sorting them out. Inevitably, schools fail to report game results to the AP or even to the AHSAA (they fine schools each week for failing to report scores)...so if you know one that I don't, please send it to me. I will pass on any corrections I receive.
"You are north Alabama based, and north Alabama biased."
The ratings will be the same no matter what computer I use. Once, I even updated them from a bar in England. I graduated high school almost 15 years ago, didn't go to the reunion, and have friends and family in every single part of the state. I have no allegiance to any school, north, south, city, or county.
On the subject of north Alabama bias, keep in mind that 60 percent of football playing schools are in or north of Shelby County. Our population is biased toward the north half of the state. News coverage is, too, thanks to the Birmingham market (which is the largest). Is the bias that some "see" here actually a part of the ratings, or is something else going on? Remember, high school football isn't always the answer.
"You don't consider a team's history or what great players they had last year? That means your system is flawed."
This was once said to me by a well-known former newspaper columnist in the state. I
couldn't disagree more. Your shot at making this year's playoffs is based on this year's
10 (or 9) games, not who graduated or who's coaching or that you resodded your field this
summer. Any good coach will tell his team this, to start the year. Each season
stands alone, both on the field and in the computers.
"The ratings are a joke. I would say more, but they speak for themselves." or "What a pathetic rating system."
I would appreciate constructive criticism or specific questions. If these sort of statements are the best you can do, please learn how computer rating systems work before you come back--this page is obviously not for you.
I get lots of messages like this. Please don't send me more of them.
It bears repeating that this page is in no way affiliated with, sponsored by, or sanctioned by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. You may visit the AHSAA's web site by clicking here.
The caretaker of these pages makes no money by producing these ratings--these pages are solely for your personal amusement. The donations you send are used to keep the site going; it costs about $100 a year to host a domain with enough "tools" to keep a complicated site like this functional. Because some of my information has been stolen and repackaged lately, I have copyright notices here and there, but I wouldn't put all this on the web if I didn't want to share it! All I ask is that if you use my information, please provide a link to the page and let me know--the email address is just below here. Thank you.
On using the ratings early in the season
A couple years ago, I started letting the ratings "remember" the last few games of the previous season in the ratings for the first 4 or 5 weeks of the season. Without this, the ratings tend to jump around a lot early in the year--because, just like a team's record, early-season computer ratings don't mean much. Each season stands on its own, with no influence from last year's results, after week 7.
"So you make no money and you get hate mail. Why are you doing this?"
Even today, there are only a few places where you can get complete
information about high school sports in the state. The al.com website is
slow and full of advertisements (and pop-ups on some pages). The AHSAA
site is not as well-organized as it could be. What I try to do is
provide all scores of all football games as quickly
as possible, with no bias. Large schools and small schools alike. Plus, this site
provides INSTANT results. As soon as I type in a score, it goes into the
system and the ratings, rankings, and standings are updated. No waiting around.
That's my motivation for providing the site.
"Who the heck are you?"
My name is not David Wilson or John Wobus. They created these two rating systems; I just run the computer code. I'll be happy to share my story if you email me. Until then, I'll tell you I am a late 1990's graduate of a Class 1A school in northwest Alabama. I was a student at the University of Oklahoma during their 2000 championship season, and finished my Ph.D. at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I've moved on to Boulder, Colorado, but still maintain this site because I enjoy it so much.
"I like what you're doing. Can I help?"
Sure. Email me and we can talk about it. The most help I need is in getting those scores that go unreported and are hard to find. You can reproduce the ratings (Wilson's code is freely available on his web page). If someone is willing to share scores with me (and they are accurate and reliable!), I'll be glad to mention you as a contributor on the front page. If you want to learn more about sports ratings, or computer programming, or atmospheric science and meteorology (my profession), I'll also gladly share my limited knowledge.
Again, email questions or comments to (click to send mail).