One of the first reasons we started covering cross a few years ago was because we wanted to publish our own rankings. Today marks an evolution in that idea, as we introduce a brand new ranking system. No longer is it simply our opinion on the top-ten riders in cross right now. Instead, we’ve created a system that uses a combination of computer rankings and fan input that ranks the top 25 riders in cross each week. This system was developed last year and is finally ready for prime time.
While I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details, our new system combines five factors: UCI Points, Race (Field) Quality, Winning Percentage, Strength of Schedule (SOS) and fan votes. These five factors are combined to come up with an overall point total. This points total is then converted to decimal form (1.0 being the maximum possible score) and riders are ranked highest to lowest. If you’re familiar with the BCS in college football, the end result will look much the same.
So, why did this take so long? The mathematical formula for field quality is complicated and has taken a while to develop. Same thing goes for the strength of schedule, which was a new addition for this season. After working out most of the bugs last year, we’ve decided to roll it out. One downside to the system is that the computer needs a few weeks of data to accurately rank riders. As a result, we decided to wait until the first week in October to release the rankings. From here on out, the rankings will be released every week.
The most important part, and most interesting, is the user input. Every Monday, anyone and everyone can vote for their top 25 cross riders. We have set up a simple dropdown form that users can submit every Monday (the computer will calculate the rankings Monday night). So far, five experts have been voting each week to give some base data. From here on out, anyone can vote.
One final note on voting. I will have all the information on how to vote (it’s a simple as visiting a webpage) and the deadlines to vote later this week. You will notice that the dropdowns are pretty lengthy. That’s because every single rider who finishes a UCI race is in the ranking system. As of right now, we have over 300 riders in our system, and that number grows each week.
The new rankings will be unveiled tomorrow and, like I said, the public voting page will be available later this week.