Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

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Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:02 pm

I have been of the opinion for a while now that the quizbowl community on these boards does a (very) good job each year of ranking the top teams for that particular quizbowl "season" - thanks in no small part to the efforts of people like Fred and others. However, I am curious if those rankings would be identical (or even simpatico) with a ranking of the top quizbowl "programs" - schools that turn out high quality, highly competitive teams year after year. Plus, how would we go about measuring such a thing? What kind of metric would we use? Total number of tournaments won in a given school year (this could become very problematic)? Number of state championships won in succession (also problematic)? Final placement at Nationals (NAQT, PACE, NHBB, other)? Futhermore, how long of a period of time would we need to examine before determining that the school did indeed have a quizbowl "program" instead of a flash-in-the-pan 1 or 2 years of greatness? 3 years, 4 years, or more? Finally, could this (new) quizbowl "program" ranking be used as a predictive factor in ranking the next year's top teams?
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:35 pm

A few years ago, somebody took five years of HSNCT results and gave each team one point for each Saturday win and two points for each Sunday win. I think something along those lines is a good measure, though of course it would be better if you also took NSC and the final national rankings into account. It might be better if you took the better of a team's performance at HSNCT or NSC each year (weighted somehow to make a good HSNCT performance equal the same number of points as an equally good NSC performance), since teams or their top players sometimes miss one or the other for graduation or other logistical reasons. It becomes problematic if you take local/state results into account, because you can be an elite team in some states without being nationally competitive.

Picking how many years you want to use is somewhat subjective. It seems like 5 would be a minimum, since one great student can make you an elite team for 2-4 years.

This probably wouldn't have much predictive value. If you want to find out which teams will be elite next year, find out which elite students aren't seniors. Fred has done that in the past, and it has worked fairly well.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:24 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:A few years ago, somebody took five years of HSNCT results and gave each team one point for each Saturday win and two points for each Sunday win.
This weighted system intrigues me, but wouldn't final placement be just as good and much simpler to tally?
Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:t would be better if you also took NSC and the final national rankings into account. It might be better if you took the better of a team's performance at HSNCT or NSC each year (weighted somehow to make a good HSNCT performance equal the same number of points as an equally good NSC performance), since teams or their top players sometimes miss one or the other for graduation or other logistical reasons.

Yes, I would agree that taking the best (perhaps only) performance at nationals would be ideal since, as you said, many schools cannot field teams at multiple national events.
Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:Picking how many years you want to use is somewhat subjective. It seems like 5 would be a minimum, since one great student can make you an elite team for 2-4 years.

I think 5 years is a good length of time to use. We might consider shrinking it to 4 years, but probably no more than that for the reason you gave (among others).
Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:This probably wouldn't have much predictive value. If you want to find out which teams will be elite next year, find out which elite students aren't seniors.

I actually think this could be perhaps the best part of the rankings because, if the school actually had a strong program instead of a couple of super talented players, wouldn't the (eventual) departure of those talented players (and/or seniors every year) not translate into diminished results for the team in future years? Wouldn't a strong program have proven itself to possess the resources and personnel to replenish the ranks with good players year after year?
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:34 pm

I feel like quizbowl is still in some form of adolescence and am unsure how useful this ranking would be. We're only into the second decade of NAQT and PACE running national championships (and both events look drastically different from where they were a decade ago both in terms of the fields they attract and the style of the questions), and there are still huge parts of the country lacking any kind of attachment to the regular circuit. Also, new teams are constantly coming out of the woodwork that never had any real kind of program before and are clearly in the process of building something that will last. There are obviously a few programs that make an obvious shortlist possible, but right now I honestly am unsure that the list could even reach 10 teams. There's Dorman, DCC, State College, TJ, and Maggie Walker, and I'm sort of unsure that any other programs remotely have the kind of institutional history to justify being in this discussion. It will be way more interesting to see what the circuit has shaken out to be like in another decade I think, given how much more pumped up quizbowl has suddenly become.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:50 pm

I don't really see the benefit of this, I guess; I think teams' past performances at nationals are pretty self-evident and don't need some kind of system set up to measure them.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:52 pm

Fred wrote:I don't really see the benefit of this, I guess.
I would say there is some inherent interest/entertainment value within the quizbowl community on these boards, and I would also add that it could provide recognition to schools that are consistent top performers who don't necessarily win (or even compete for) national championships every year.
Fred wrote:I think teams' past performances at nationals are pretty self-evident and don't need some kind of system set up to measure them.
To us in the quizbowl community, of course they are self-evident. To a school's administration or local school board, probably not so much. Couldn't this kind of "top program" ranking be used similarly to your "top teams" ranking to help some schools garner (extra) funds for their team? Just because a team has been a consistent performer for 5+ years at the national level, that does not necessarily mean the school's administration or local school board has taken note of their results.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Emil Nolde » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:04 pm

RountreeCHS wrote: I would say there is some inherent interest/entertainment value within the quizbowl community on these boards, and I would also add that it could provide recognition to schools that are consistent top performers who don't necessarily win (or even compete for) national championships every year.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that teams that don't attend (I assume that's what you meant by "compete for") nationals aren't going to be very good programs.


I totally get the point of rewarding longevity, but I'm not sure that there's enough of a difference between that and the rankings of good teams. I guess it depends if you look at rankings as applying to the wider school (as I guess this would) to just rating the success of a definite group of four specific people that just happen to go to the same school (this might refer more to the official one). Perhaps what you're getting at is closer to "Where are the best environments to get good at quizbowl?", which I would say is less ambiguous question than "Where are the best programs?".
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:19 pm

thyringe_supine wrote:I'm going to go out on a limb and say that teams that don't attend (I assume that's what you meant by "compete for") nationals aren't going to be very good programs.
That is not what I meant at all. I meant teams that go to a national tournament every year, but are not one of the final two teams left standing at the end of said event. Think teams that consistently finish between #3-#X, where "X" represents some upper threshold of final placement that we all agree proves a team to be a top performer and highly competitive. We can discuss what that number "X" is too, but I wanted to make it clear what my meaning was first.
thyringe_supine wrote:I totally get the point of rewarding longevity, but I'm not sure that there's enough of a difference between that and the rankings of good teams.
I think this is a fair question, and I wondered this as well in my original post:
RountreeCHS wrote:However, I am curious if those rankings would be identical (or even simpatico) with a ranking of the top quizbowl "programs" - schools that turn out high quality, highly competitive teams year after year.
I am not sure they would be that different at all, but I think the program ranking could play some (small) role in Fred's first ranking of the new school year.
thyringe_supine wrote:Perhaps what you're getting at is closer to "Where are the best environments to get good at quizbowl?", which I would say is less ambiguous question than "Where are the best programs?".
That isn't what I was getting at all, but yours is an interesting question for sure.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:35 pm

RountreeCHS wrote:where "X" represents some upper threshold of final placement that we all agree proves a team to be a top performer and highly competitive. We can discuss what that number "X" is too, but I wanted to make it clear what my meaning was first.
I selected #25 as the upper threshold. I think that is a fair number to pick as it has common use in many ranking systems, though some might want lower or higher finishes to be included. I also decided to use one 4-year graduation cycle. Again, this number could be increased to 5, 6, or even more years. I picked the HSNCT results to look at since they are a bit easier to examine closely than the PACE NSC. Of course others could look at the NSC as well.

With all that in mind, here is what I found: (teams with top 25 finishes at the HSNCT over the past 4 years or one graduation cycle)
Bellarmine: 2012-1; 2011-3; 2010-4; 2009-43
DCC: 2012-2; 2011-13; 2010-7; 2009-4
LASA A: 2012-3; 2011-2; 2010-3; 2009-11
Centennial (GA): 2012-4; 2011-5; 2010-17; 2009-did not attend
Rockford Auburn: 2012-5; 2011-did not attend; 2010-17; 2009-7
Chattahoochee: 2012-8; 2011-21; 2010-17; 2009-7
Dorman: 2012-13; 2011-21; 2010-5; 2009-2
Georgetown Day: 2012-13; 2011-13; 2010-5; 2009-5
TJ: 2012-13; 2011-13; 2010-27; 2009-27
LASA B: 2012-21; 2011-21; 2010-11; 2009-did not attend
Torrey Pines: 2012-21; 2011-49; 2010-7; 2009-17
(Please add on a school if I missed one. Thanks!)

5 schools have finished in the top 25 in each of the past 4 years (or one graduation cycle): DCC, LASA A, Dorman, Chattahoochee, and Georgetown Day.
3 other teams have finished in the top 25 every year they went to HSNCT, but they did not attend one year in the cycle: Centennial (missed 2009), Rockford Auburn (missed 2011), and LASA B (missed 2009). I feel very confident that Rockford Auburn would have made it into the top 25 had they gone in 2011. I also feel very confident that Centennial would not have made it into the top 25 had they gone in 2009. I am not sure about LASA B, but my guess is they probably would have made it into the top 25 in 2009.

To compare these results to Fred's current rankings, we have:
Bellarmine - 2
LASA A - 4
Dorman - 6
DCC - 7
LASA B - 10
TJ - 15
Chattahoochee - 31
Rockford Auburn - 36? (not sure if this is the same school? if not then Rockford Auburn - UR)
Torrey Pines - 67
Georgetown Day - 83
Centennial (GA) - UR
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by jonah » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:30 pm

RountreeCHS wrote:Rockford Auburn - 36? (not sure if this is the same school? if not then Rockford Auburn - UR)
It's the same one. There is also an Auburn High School in Auburn, Illinois, but it is not in the Frankings.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:38 pm

I/We at Cistercian were there at the very first HSNCT Nationals in 1999 in Norman, Oklahoma, and already I/We have been consigned to the dustbin of history without having made the cut to be mentioned in the history books of Quiz Bowl. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi!
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:17 pm

You overlooked Maggie Walker: 2012-33, 2011-5, 2010-1, 2009-5.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:05 pm

jonah wrote:It's the same one. There is also an Auburn High School in Auburn, Illinois, but it is not in the Frankings.
OK. That is what I thought, but I wasn't 100% sure. Thanks for clarifying that for me.
Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad wrote:I/We at Cistercian were there at the very first HSNCT Nationals in 1999 in Norman, Oklahoma, and already I/We have been consigned to the dustbin of history without having made the cut to be mentioned in the history books of Quiz Bowl.
Forgive me Brother Gregory. I didn't include any teams that did not qualify in 2 of the 4 years, save for TJ which narrowly missed the cut in 2009 and 2010. Certainly Cistercian has a long history of producing good quizbowl teams.
The Laughing Cavalier wrote:You overlooked Maggie Walker: 2012-33, 2011-5, 2010-1, 2009-5.
Yeah, that was my bad. I started with the top 25 from last year's HSNCT and worked backwards so I missed MW, a school that has obviously produced a lot of really good teams over the years. Oops.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:31 pm

I decided to go ahead and expand the range to 6 years to help narrow the field, so to speak. I got rid of all the teams that had 2 or more years without finishing in the top 25 at the HSNCT. Here are the new results:

Top 25 finishes every year for the past 6 years:
DCC: 2012-2; 2011-13; 2010-7; 2009-4; 2008-17; 2007-8
Dorman: 2012-13; 2011-21; 2010-5; 2009-2; 2008-5; 2007-4
Georgetown Day: 2012-13; 2011-13; 2010-5; 2009-5; 2008-17; 2007-21

Top 25 finishes every year for the past 6 years except for one:
Chattahoochee: 2012-8; 2011-21; 2010-17; 2009-7; 2008-did not attend; 2007-21
LASA A: 2012-3; 2011-2; 2010-3; 2009-11; 2008-7; 2007-105 (what an improvement from 2007 to 2008!)
Maggie Walker: 2012-33; 2011-5; 2010-1; 2009-5; 2008-17; 2007-1
State College: 2012-71; 2011-1; 2010-2; 2009-3; 2008-7; 2007-2 (how could I forget them?!)
TJ: 2012-13; 2011-13; 2010-27; 2009-27; 2008-1; 2007-3 (I kept them on because they were so close in 2009 and 2010)

Please let me know if I missed a team that should be on either list.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Charles Martel » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:33 pm

HSNCT placings can be very weird. Draw a bad result in the double elimination and you could be out quickly without a chance. The difference between being in and out of the top 25 has a lot of luck.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:01 am

Charles Martel wrote:HSNCT placings can be very weird. Draw a bad result in the double elimination and you could be out quickly without a chance. The difference between being in and out of the top 25 has a lot of luck.
This is true, and it would be beneficial to look at PACE as well for teams like St. Anselm's.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Rountree » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:50 pm

Charles Martel wrote:HSNCT placings can be very weird. Draw a bad result in the double elimination and you could be out quickly without a chance. The difference between being in and out of the top 25 has a lot of luck.
While "luck" certainly has some role to play in almost any competitive activity, I would posit that finishing among the 25 best teams at nationals at least proves your teams is very good and highly competitive. You cannot simply "luck" your way into that final kind of finish. Also remember that this top 25 cutoff isn't out of a field of 40-60 teams; all of the HSNCT's going back to 2007 had 160 or more teams.
merv1618 wrote:This is true, and it would be beneficial to look at PACE as well for teams like St. Anselm's.
I agree. Is there a place online where all the NSC results are stored so someone could do the same thing I did? I looked on the PACE website but was unable to find them.

Here is what 8 years would look like, which is exactly what Charlie said it would look like if we went back far enough in time:

Top 25 finishes every year for the past 8 years:
DCC: 2012-2; 2011-13; 2010-7; 2009-4; 2008-17; 2007-8; 2006-4; 2005-13 [average finish-8.5]
Dorman: 2012-13; 2011-21; 2010-5; 2009-2; 2008-5; 2007-4; 2006-25; 2005-8 [average finish-10.4]

Top 25 finishes every year for the past 8 years except for one:
Maggie Walker: 2012-33; 2011-5; 2010-1; 2009-5; 2008-17; 2007-1; 2006-3; 2005-8 [average finish-9.1]
State College: 2012-71; 2011-1; 2010-2; 2009-3; 2008-7; 2007-2; 2006-2; 2005-3 [average finish-11.4]
TJ: 2012-13; 2011-13; 2010-27; 2009-27; 2008-1; 2007-3; 2006-7; 2005-1 [average finish-11.5]
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:06 pm

DCC's streak continues to 1999 with our first place, meaning DCC has finished in the top 25 every year, while Dorman continues to 2002, with their first hsnct placing in 2001 being just outside 25 at 26.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Cassian » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:10 am

There was no LASA B team in 2009 - there were only 5 people in the entire program that year, and all 5 played on the A team. The current incarnation of our team started in 2007, and the 2007 HSNCT was our second tournament ever (and the first one I ever coached). There had been an LBJ team (made up of Science Academy students, before there was a LASA) in the 90s, but it had been defunct for a decade or so when we revived it.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:48 am

Cassian wrote:There was no LASA B team in 2009 - there were only 5 people in the entire program that year, and all 5 played on the A team. The current incarnation of our team started in 2007, and the 2007 HSNCT was our second tournament ever (and the first one I ever coached). There had been an LBJ team (made up of Science Academy students, before there was a LASA) in the 90s, but it had been defunct for a decade or so when we revived it.
Which drives home my point that quizbowl is still young and right now there are lots of teams that are clearly in the process of skyrocketing their programs into intense competitiveness who were a blip on the map 5 years ago, making this whole exercise silly.
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Re: Best Quizbowl Programs in the Nation (Ranking?)

Post by Mewto55555 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:04 pm

I think another thing that can be looked at is how many players from a given program go on to play in college. Obviously, coaches can't do all of the work in making this come about, but I imagine too-hard-driving coaches can achieve long-term success by constantly restocking, only for their players to burn out and not continue to play after high school -- if a program keeps churning out superstars every year, all of whom immediately quit after graduating, that's not necessarily a sign of strength. Certainly, very few high schoolers go on to continue at any meaningful level, but I respect the program far more that produces two or three people a year who love the game enough to continue than the one who squeezes people dry within four years and usually cracks the top 25 at HSNCT. (this is not directed at any team in particular, fwiw)
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