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The Harbin point system is a way to calculate team ranking in a sport or conference when it is impossible for all teams to play each other directly. The Harbin system awards p…oints in three levels. Level 1: Games won Level 2: Games won by defeated opponents. Level 3: "Divisor" to account for unbalanced schedules. L1 & L2 points can be weighted to account for inter-divisional play (Small teams play large teams) Example - wins worth 5 points/ simple three week season: Team A beats teams B, C and D. Teams B beats teams C and D and lost to team A . Team C beats team D and lost to teams A and B. Team D is defeated by teams A, B and C. Team A would get 15 L1 points and 15 L2 points (5 level one points for each of their three victories and 5 level two points for each victory the teams they beat gets.... or 15 L2 points.) Team B would get 10 L1 points and 5 L2 points. (5 level one points for each of their two victories and 5 level two points for the only victory the teams they defeated won.) Team C would get 5 L1 points and 0 L2 points. (5 points for their sole victory and zero level two points because the only team they defeated is winless. The level 1 average is calculated by taking the average L1 points and adding the one tenth of L2 points. Essentially Level 2 points are worth only 10% or level 1 points. So in this example: Team A would have (15 points divided by 3 games played) 5+1.5 level 2 points for a level 1 average of 6.5 points. Team B would have (10/3) or 3.333+ 0.5 level 2 points for a total of 3.833 L1 average. Team C would have 1.667 L1 + 0 L2 for a total of 1.667 L1 average. Team D would have a ranking of 0. This system gets complicated when you add "divisors" to account for unbalanced schedules (one team plays more games than another.) and create different point values for inter-divisional play (large and small teams playing where the larger team has a distinct advantage). This is also considered the L3 points. So let's say victories over a Division 1 team is worth 5.5 points. A victory over a Division 2 team is worth 5 points. A victory over a division 3 school is worth 4.5 So if team A is Division 2. Team B is division 1. Team C is division 2 and team D is division 3. Team A's rating drops slightly only because of level 2 points. 5.5 points for victory over D1 team (B) 5 points for victory over D2 team (C) 4.5 points for victory over D3 team (D) It still gets 15 points. 5 average. However the level 2 points would be lower because instead of receiving 15 (1.5) level 2 points, it gets 1.4 because of the easier schedule the teams it beat had. So a total level 1 average of 6.4 instead of 6.5 unweighted points. Then you add a divisor to account for unbalanced schedules. So lets say team A only played 3 games and the other teams played a fourth game, this means that team A would receive slightly less level two points. Instead of getting the full 1.4 points, it would get 1.386 or 99% of the points it otherwise would have received because the other teams played more games. If it misses two games, it would be 98% and so on. So in this example Team A's average would drop to 6.386 compared to an unweighted 6.5 average. So if you have a similar situation in the league except all the teams are division 1 , you would see the difference in the scores right away and be able to rank that team above team A in a quantifiable way. For example Average Level 1 points 5.5 (all schools were division 1). 1.65 level 2 points times the 99% divisor 1.633 for a level 1 average of 6.633. You can see right away that the school with the harder schedule (larger teams) has a higher score (6.633) than the team with the easier schedule (smaller teams) (6.386). One can surmise that the team with the higher score should be ranked higher than the team with the lower score without these two teams ever meeting each other . The Harbin point system is used in Ohio to determine the top teams in each region for high school football play-offs. It is a tried and true system that always picks the top teams to make it to the 32 play-off spots every year. It is not without controversy, but it has proven itself as an accurate predictor to determine the rankings of teams that have never faced each in other head-to-head competition. This system was devised by Jack Harbin in 1972. At the time Coach Harbin was an assistant for the Willoughby, Ohio High School team to figure out why some undefeated schools would be left out of the state playoffs. (MORE)

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