How the ScoreCzar system works

I’m often asked about how the ScoreCzar system works, and find myself repeating the same things over and over. So, I thought I would provide a definitive breakdown here and send it to those who are curious in the future.

The system loves a good offense! But, it also really loves defense! If you don’t allow your opponent to score, then how are they suppose to win the game? But, what about weak leagues vs strong leagues. All of these things play a role in the ScoreCzar system.

The most important number you need to pay attention to is the Overall Power Rating (OPR) of each team. OPR is a product of a rather simple formula, but is perhaps more sophisticated than most may realize.

The OPR ratings determine the rankings. Lowest OPR value to the highest.

The basic structure of the formula is pretty simple to grasp. The computer takes points allowed and divides it by points scored. This is referred to as Defense/Offense (D/O).

If your D/O figure is higher than 1.00, then you have allowed more points than you have scored. If your D/O figure is less than 1.00, you’re a good team and mostly like are rated in the top 1/3 of any ranking list I put out in any sport.

This makes sense because if you have allowed more points than you have scored, then you have failed, as a whole, to meet the level of competition. The opposite must also be true then too, and it is.

Okay, but what if you haven’t really played the highest level of competition? The system will ultimately catch up with these paper tigers and will de-rate these teams due to their high Strength of Schedule (SOS) value.

Some have called to my attention that a 2-2 team is rated above a 4-0 team. The SOS value attached to the 4-0 team is why. SOS is not as accurate early on as it is later in the season. The system just needs more data.

SOS is determined by averaging your opponent’s OPR over the course of the season. Add up each of your opponents OPR and divide by the number of games played. We know this as an average, but rarely will this ever truly be the average of any team’s SOS.

Here is Chiawana Football’s current SOS figures:

  • Hanford 3.35
  • Kennewick 7.13
  • Richland 1.44
  • Pasco 8.86

Add these values up and divide by the number of games played (4) and you should get 5.20. But if you look at the RiverHawks actual current SOS you will see that the computer has it rated at 3.95

Confused? Good, you should be. It’s a nuance in the system that is really quite important and this value will eventually get closer to the real number once more games have been played.

Here’s a link to a past blog item that discusses this nuance:

Still confused? Even better…my goal is not to make statisticians of us all, but rather to give you the confidence that the computer has taken into account some of the outside influences that are meaningful, yet hard to define.

SOS is a tricky value to pin down, but through trial and error and experience with the numbers, I feel that it’s been cornered as well as possible. This nuance is the pinch of cayenne pepper in the guacamole, and it had better be right because it’s fully a third of the formula.

The basic structure of the formula can be defined as:


Remember how D/O tells us whether or not you’ve met the level of competition? SOS defines that level.

If your D/O value is above 1.00, your OPR will be higher than your SOS. OPR tells us by how much.

The reverse is also true. If your D/O is less than 1.00, your OPR will be lower than your SOS. You’ve exceeded the level of competition, OPR tells us by how much.

There are still other nuances to the system, some I’ve discussed and other’s I haven’t. The above may only be interesting to merely a few numbers nuts, but if past results are any indication, it might be well worth your time to stick with the computer and see how close it comes to accurately portraying the real world.