Help for Tie-Breakers
Tie-Breakers are the rules and criterion that dictate team standings. Typically
several tie-breaker criterion are specified to be applied in sequence in
order to unambiguously determine each team's standing. Well-known tie-breaker
criterion include winning percentage, games back and head-to-head comparisons,
but oftentimes it is necessary to rely on lesser known criterion such as
common opponents and schedule strength. And when all else fails, the traditional
coin flip can come into play.
Different sports use different scoring units. Softball and baseball use "runs",
soccer uses "goals", and basketball uses "points". For the remainder of this help screen,
the term "runs" will be used as the scoring unit, but it should be understood that the same tie
breaking concepts apply regardless of the sport and its particular scoring units.
QuickScores provides 16 different tie-breaker criterion and allows the league
administrator to specify up to 12 different criterion in a specific order
of application. Most leagues will only need five or six different criterion.
On the organization's Setup page, the administrator can define a different
tie-breaker sequence for each sport. When a tie-breaker sequence is submitted
on the Setup page, that sequence is instantly applied to all existing leagues
of that sport and that sequence is used to initialize any future leagues
of that sport. On a particular league's Options page, the administrator may
choose to override the tie-breaker criterion for that one league.
The standings table at the top of the league will always display the team
names and the number of wins, losses and ties. The league administrator specifies
which of the tie-breaker criterion are displayed in the standings table.
Associated with each tie-breaking criterion is a selector that indicates
whether the results from that criterion should Always
be displayed, or displayed As Needed
, meaning that criterion
was needed to break a tie in the standings. The following is a representative
standings table of a softball league.
The first tie breaker in this league is Winning Percentage, as shown in the PCT column.
If each team had a unique percentage, no further tie-breaker criterion
would have been necessary. However, note that three teams are tied
at .900, three are tied at .300, and two are tied at .100. Because a tie exists,
QuickScores automatically applies the second tie breaker,
which is Head-To-Head in this example. In this case, the three teams tied for first each beat the other
in a contradictory circular fashion, so they each receive an identical 1 in the HTH column.
The ties at .300 and .100 are totally resolved by the head-to-head criterion.
To break the three-way tie at .900, the Average Run Differential criterion is applied.
The ARDiff criterion shows that Riley's Whalers is the best of the three, but the other two teams
are still tied. The third tie-breaker of Average Runs Against is applied
and this finally uniquely resolves all of the standings.
The following defines the 16 available tie breaking criterion.
Describes where a team stands
relative to the best team in the league. The best team in the league is
the team with the largest difference between the number of wins
and losses, and is defined as being zero games back.
The number of games back is the number of times a team would need to beat
the leader in order to be tied with the leader in the standings.
The Games Back number may include halves. If, for example, a team is 1.5 games
back of the leader, beating the leader once will put this team just behind the leader,
while beating the leader twice will put this team ahead of the leader.
The number of wins plus half the number of ties, divided by the total number of games.
A comparison of two or more tied teams based on who has won or lost when
playing against each other. Games played against non-tied teams are ignored.
If a team is not tied, its head-to-head (HTH) column
is blank. If two or more teams are tied, but not enough games have been played between the teams to come to any
conclusions as to the rankings, then the HTH column will show "--". If teams are tied and
enough games have been played to make conclusions, each team will be assigned a HTH number
such as 1, 2, or 3. In ambiguous situations, such as the circular case of A beating B, B beating C, and C beating
A,the teams will receive the same HTH number.
When there are only two teams tied, the HTH tie-breaker
is very easy. When the number of tied teams is three or more, analyzing the HTH relationships quickly becomes
quite complex, and we've found that some league administrators incorrectly calculate the HTH rankings by hand.
To understand exactly how QuickScores calculates the HTH rankings for any number tied teams,
download this paper
Total Runs For
The sum of all the runs scored by the team in all games. The higher the number the better.
Average Runs For
The sum of all the runs scored by the team in all games, divided by the number
of games played. The higher the number the better.
Total Runs Against
The sum of all runs scored by the team's opponent in all games. The lower the number the better.
Average Runs Against
The sum of all runs scored by the team's opponent in all games, divided by
the number of games played. The lower the number the better.
Total Run Differential
Essentially the total number of runs scored by this team in all games, minus
the total number of runs scored by the team's opponent in all games. Some
league administrators are hesitant to use Run Differential as a tie breaker
because it could encourage dominant teams to run up the score on weaker opponents.
To counter this tendency, the administrator can specify a Max Differential
which is the maximum number on the run differential that can be earned in
any single game. For example, if the Max Differential is set to 10, the winning
team gains no advantage by running the lead up to more than 10 games. If
the Max Differential value is set to zero, there are no limits and the run
differential in a game will be tallied no matter how large it is. The higher the number the better.
Average Run Differential
The total run differential as described above, divided by the number of games played. The higher the number the better.
Total Calculated Points
Most commonly used in soccer, points can be assigned for a game won, a game
lost, a game tied, and for some number of runs/goals scored during the game. The higher the number the better.
Head-To-Head Run Differential
A combination of the Head-To-Head analysis and Total Run Differential, this
criterion uses the total run differential, appropriately limited by the Max
Differential parameter, for games played between the tied teams. This criterion
is most useful when two teams are tied, they have played each other twice,
and each team has won once. This tie breaker rewards the team that has won
by the larger margin.
A comparison of teams based on whether they have won or lost against common
opponents. For example, assume teams A and B have both played team C.
If A beat C and B lost to C, then team A is assumed to be better than team B.
If A and B both beat C or both lost to C, nothing is assumed about the relative strengths of A and B.
If the tied teams haven't played any common opponents, "--" will be displayed and the next tie-breaker will be used.
The average winning percentage of all opponents played. The higher the number the better.
The number of games forfeited is counted and the
team with the fewer number of forfeits is ranked higher.
The total number of games played. This is usually paired with, and immediately following,
the Calculated Points tie-breaker. The lower the Games Played number, the better.
When all other tie breakers fail to discriminate between two teams,
a coin flip will always break a tie. Whenever a team is added to or deleted from a league,
every team in the league is assigned a unique random number starting with a low of one.
If two teams are tied and a coin flip tie breaker must be used, whichever team has the lower random
number assigned to it wins. Because each team has a unique number, these pre-assigned coin flip
numbers work equally well if there are three or more teams tied. Although QuickScores automatically
calculates the random coin flip numbers, the league administrator may override those computer-generated
numbers with the results of a physical coin flip. On a league's Options page, the administrator can
manually change the coin flip numbers, as shown in the sample table below.
Using the "Value" input box, the administrator can manually reorder the teams' coin flip numbers.
The Value input accepts decimal numbers and will automatically re-number the events with integer values after submission.
For example, if you want the 4th item in a list to become the 2nd item, change the "4" to "1.5". After clicking "Save tiebreakers",
the team with "1.5" will be re-numbered as "2" and all other teams will be moved down the list accordingly. With this
flexibility, the administrator can manually represent physical coin flips for any number of teams that may be tied.
Overriding the Standings
If the league administrator wishes to override the calculated league standings, he can click the Override checkbox at the top of the standings.
He will then be presented with boxes where the desired order of ranking can be entered. After clicking "Save tiebreakers", the manual ranking will be shown
to the public forever... until the manual rankings are changed or turned off.