Recently released awards from the Prediction Tracker.com reveal two national awards for Richard Billingsley, owner of the College Football Research Center (CFRC.COM) and publisher of the Billingsley Report on Major College Football. The Prediction Tracker, owned by Todd Beck, is an independent organization that monitors the success of participating computer ranking systems across America. In operation since 2000, the list of monitored systems has grown from a handful to 72, and this coming season (2015) has been expanded to include the new FPI Rating system developed and published by ESPN.
Richard Billingsley’s Billingsley+ Report, which utilizes margin of victory in calculations, took home the awards top prize of “BEST PREDICTIVE SYSTEM of 2014” along with “Smallest Average Game Bias” won by the the original Billingsley Report (which does not use margin of victory). The original Billingsley Report was used by the Bowl Championship Series for many years to assist in determining participating teams in the National Championship Game. The best predictive system is chosen from being the overall leader in several major categories. Billingsley finished only 6 games behind in another category, “Straight Up Wins” won by Ted Thompson’s Computer Adjusted Line.
Billingsley has been ranking college football teams since 1970 and was the first pollster to run the entire history of college football (from 1869) through a mathematical formula. From 2001-2004 Richard collaborated in the development of the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, spearheaded by renowned editor and author Michael MacCambridge. Richard supplied the All Time Scores, Conference Standings and Poll Progressions for the Encyclopedia. His rankings were chosen by MacCambridge and published by ESPN in the encyclopedia as “computer national champions” and printed right next to the Associated Press and Coaches Polls in the Poll Progression section. Later, in a 2009 interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram MacCambridge was quoted ” I don’t know what his hidden ingredient is, I don’t know what the secret sauce is in Richard’s formula. But whatever it is it works very well and is very reliable. And that is a credit to, not his fandom, but to his professionalism and his intellect“.
When informed of the awards Billingsley was somewhat shocked and very humbled. “Just to have my work out there in the same conversation with the great one’s, ESPN, USA Today, Dunkel, and Sagarin along with my other former BCS counterparts, Anderson/Hester, Massey, Wolfe and Colley was always enough for me. But this feels great. I’m very honored.”
Often criticized by mathematicians for his lack of educational credentials (Billingsley has only a high school education and no formal mathematical training) the awards are some what a vindication for his 45+ years work in college football. In the book Death to the BCS, the authors quoted Billingsley as a “Hillbilly”. When asked to comment on the awards, CFRC Vice President Steve Billingsley said with a laugh, “score one for the “hillbilly”.