Human Influence in The Toy

Mike

Administrator
So, instead of calling it the "toy", since I'm really not even sure how that got started, I'm just going to start calling it "The Machine" (you can thank Bert Kreischer).

Ok, so The Toy wasn't something that was just recently introduced. Evidently this name has been around for quite some time. So, we'll just stick with that.

Anyways, in another topic the idea that the ratings could be flawed because of arbitrary numbers that are sometimes assigned to teams. Since someone (now, me) does have to set up the pre-season rankings, which @granger agrees are "just a guess... nothing more. something to get the system started", I wondered how much affect that might have on the outcome of the rankings, especially this late in the season. It's worth noting that the pre-season rankings are the only time the ratings are altered by a human. After that, it's all left up to The Machine Toy.

Anyways, since I'm new to the internal workings of the rankings, and really wanted to answer this question for myself just as much as for anyone else, I decided to run a few tests.

Because the schools being discussed in the topic that sparked this idea were the top 3 schools in division 2, the schools being altered for the tests are Motley County, Strawn, and Richland Springs. No other school's rating, or rank, was changed from what it was to start this season.

The results show the school's rating in comparison to what their rating is at the time of this post. In other words, the results show what the outcome would be at this exact point in the season had I interfered more with the pre-season data, as compared to the way they are currently on the site.

Test 1

For the first test, I took 200 points off of each of the top 3 D2 schools' (Motley, Strawn, Richland) pre-season rating. Keep in mind this is the only time that the rankings are altered by human at any point during the season, and 200 points would be a very dramatic decrease that simply wouldn't happen. I wouldn't lower a school by 200 points even if I knew they were losing all 6 starters. Anyways, I then re-ran the rankings as I normally would.

Motley County's rating dropped from a 391.9 to a 378.83. Oddly enough, though, this would have them sitting at 2nd overall instead of 3rd.

Strawn dropped from 368.78 to 358.08. Their overall dropped from #7 to #10.

Richland Springs went from 351.82 to a 347.99 and their remained the same at #18.

Test 2

Next I removed 100 points from each of the schools.

This time Motley County dropped from 391.9 to 383.76. Their overall ranking remained unchanged at #3.

Strawn went from 368.78 to 362.29 and their ranking fell from #7 to #9.

Richland Springs went from 351.82 to 350.21 and their ranking rose from #18 to #17.

Test 3

In the next test I changed Motley County's rating to a 59, which would put them in last place to start the season.

In this test Motley County's rating ended up being a 381.25 (-10.65), and they (again) went from #3 to #2 overall.

Because of the affect that Motley's lower ranking had on other teams, Strawn's rating also went down to 361.19 (-7.59) and they fell from #7 to #8 overall.

Richland Springs also took a slight hit to their rating, lowering them to 350.34 (-1.48), and bringing them up (again) to #17.

Test 4

In the final test I kept Motley County at a 59 rating (last place overall). Then I bumped Strawn up 100 points, putting them well into 1st place overall.

This time Motley County landed at a 383.67 (-8.23) and #2 overall.

Strawn ended up with a 377.25 (+8.47) and was sitting at #4 overall.

Richland Springs got a 355.56 (+3.74) and was sitting at #17 overall.

Summary

So, to summarize, I'd say human interaction has very little affect on the rankings, especially as the season progresses. The fact that there was less than a 4% change in all ratings, even with very drastic changes to the pre-season ratings should put to bed the idea that The Machine Toy can be affected by human influence. Regardless of what I did, these three teams still ended up in the exact same order in their division and pretty close to where they were in the overall rankings too.

I think it's fair to say that what matters to The Machine Toy most is the outcome of the actual games, which is the only way to know exactly what's going to happen anyways.
 
Last edited:

phimutau

Member
What formula is used to get that initial preseason rating? Do you start at the previous seasons final rating and then make adjustments based on starters lost and returning lettermen? We are about to lose 10 seniors and this is a very interesting topic for me.
 

Mike

Administrator
What formula is used to get that initial preseason rating? Do you start at the previous seasons final rating and then make adjustments based on starters lost and returning lettermen? We are about to lose 10 seniors and this is a very interesting topic for me.

There isn't any specific formula for pre-season rankings and, honestly, I'm not even sure what I'll do yet. It was so late when I picked things up this year that I decided to just use last year's final rankings as this years pre-season rankings. I adjusted the ratings a bit bit let the order the same. That will probably be the starting point for next year but, yes, if I know a team is losing a lot of their starting team I'll probably drop that team's rating by a bit.

I wouldn't expect next year's pre-season rankings to vary all that much from the final rankings this season though. I certainly won't have information on all the teams.
 

GetARealProblem

New member
I have followed these rankings since Granger was handing out the rankings on paper. People have always insisted he adjusted the rankings manually at times. This is poppycock of course that arises because very few people have a basic understanding of advanced statistical analysis. I mean who wants learn that stuff other than a few random nerds like me? Your tests are interesting fun, thank you for sharing.

I don’t remember when “The Toy“ became common to the Texas Sixman culture but it has been many years now. It will be an uphill battle and a bit sad for people like me to see the end of that expression.
 

51eleven

Well-known member
I have followed these rankings since Granger was handing out the rankings on paper. People have always insisted he adjusted the rankings manually at times. This is poppycock of course that arises because very few people have a basic understanding of advanced statistical analysis. I mean who wants learn that stuff other than a few random nerds like me? Your tests are interesting fun, thank you for sharing.

I don’t remember when “The Toy“ became common to the Texas Sixman culture but it has been many years now. It will be an uphill battle and a bit sad for people like me to see the end of that expression.
Goob? Popycock, catfish and everkleer?
 

Mike

Administrator
I don’t remember when “The Toy“ became common to the Texas Sixman culture but it has been many years now. It will be an uphill battle and a bit sad for people like me to see the end of that expression.

Turns out, you're right about it being many years. I found a thread from 2011 where Granger referred to it as The Toy. So, let's just stick with that.
 

kbjoe1

Member
So, instead of calling it the "toy", since I'm really not even sure how that got started, I'm just going to start calling it "The Machine" (you can thank Bert Kreischer).

Ok, so The Toy wasn't something that was just recently introduced. Evidently this name has been around for quite some time. So, we'll just stick with that.

Anyways, in another topic the idea that the ratings could be flawed because of arbitrary numbers that are sometimes assigned to teams. Since someone (now, me) does have to set up the pre-season rankings, which @granger agrees are "just a guess... nothing more. something to get the system started", I wondered how much affect that might have on the outcome of the rankings, especially this late in the season. It's worth noting that the pre-season rankings are the only time the ratings are altered by a human. After that, it's all left up to The Machine Toy.

Anyways, since I'm new to the internal workings of the rankings, and really wanted to answer this question for myself just as much as for anyone else, I decided to run a few tests.

Because the schools being discussed in the topic that sparked this idea were the top 3 schools in division 2, the schools being altered for the tests are Motley County, Strawn, and Richland Springs. No other school's rating, or rank, was changed from what it was to start this season.

The results show the school's rating in comparison to what their rating is at the time of this post. In other words, the results show what the outcome would be at this exact point in the season had I interfered more with the pre-season data, as compared to the way they are currently on the site.

Test 1

For the first test, I took 200 points off of each of the top 3 D2 schools' (Motley, Strawn, Richland) pre-season rating. Keep in mind this is the only time that the rankings are altered by human at any point during the season, and 200 points would be a very dramatic decrease that simply wouldn't happen. I wouldn't lower a school by 200 points even if I knew they were losing all 6 starters. Anyways, I then re-ran the rankings as I normally would.

Motley County's rating dropped from a 391.9 to a 378.83. Oddly enough, though, this would have them sitting at 2nd overall instead of 3rd.

Strawn dropped from 368.78 to 358.08. Their overall dropped from #7 to #10.

Richland Springs went from 351.82 to a 347.99 and their remained the same at #18.

Test 2

Next I removed 100 points from each of the schools.

This time Motley County dropped from 391.9 to 383.76. Their overall ranking remained unchanged at #3.

Strawn went from 368.78 to 362.29 and their ranking fell from #7 to #9.

Richland Springs went from 351.82 to 350.21 and their ranking rose from #18 to #17.

Test 3

In the next test I changed Motley County's rating to a 59, which would put them in last place to start the season.

In this test Motley County's rating ended up being a 381.25 (-10.65), and they (again) went from #3 to #2 overall.

Because of the affect that Motley's lower ranking had on other teams, Strawn's rating also went down to 361.19 (-7.59) and they fell from #7 to #8 overall.

Richland Springs also took a slight hit to their rating, lowering them to 350.34 (-1.48), and bringing them up (again) to #17.

Test 4

In the final test I kept Motley County at a 59 rating (last place overall). Then I bumped Strawn up 100 points, putting them well into 1st place overall.

This time Motley County landed at a 383.67 (-8.23) and #2 overall.

Strawn ended up with a 377.25 (+8.47) and was sitting at #4 overall.

Richland Springs got a 355.56 (+3.74) and was sitting at #17 overall.

Summary

So, to summarize, I'd say human interaction has very little affect on the rankings, especially as the season progresses. The fact that there was less than a 4% change in all ratings, even with very drastic changes to the pre-season ratings should put to bed the idea that The Machine Toy can be affected by human influence. Regardless of what I did, these three teams still ended up in the exact same order in their division and pretty close to where they were in the overall rankings too.

I think it's fair to say that what matters to The Machine Toy most is the outcome of the actual games, which is the only way to know exactly what's going to happen anyways.
turned out well
 
Top