One of the things I have been thinking about lately is a way to build a completely objective football ranking system that accounts for the quality of play on the field and can not be "gamed" by coaches.
The original idea of a way to include quality of win was by looking at the win margin. It is obvious that a team that won by a large margin is much better than a team that won by only a small margin against the same team. However football coaches knew that this was a factor so when they played easy teams the would pile on the points to help out their rankings. I believe now the computer components of the BCS are not allowed to take the margin of victory in to account when they make their rankings. So this lead me on to think about ways we can measure how good a team is, more than by just who they beat.
The first measurement I want to propose is to look at the "Time of Win". That is, how much time was left on the game clock when the eventual score that won the game was made. So if a team runs back the opening kickoff and then holds their opponents to less than a touchdown for the whole game, their Time of Win would be essentially 60 minutes, where as a hail marry at then end of the game would result in a Time of Win of a couple of seconds. This measurement would allow polls to take into consideration how much one team dominated another without encouraging the scoring to spiral out of hand. It would, however, make the teams play defense throughout the game.
I thought of a second good measurement last night while laying in bed: Offensive Yards per Point. This number would incorporate a few aspects of a teams performance into one figure. It would measure how well a team can finish off long drives, reward teams for creating turnovers, and also give a bonus for a team that has a good kick return game. It also would be somewhat difficult to game because scoring as many points with the fewest amounts of yards obtained is already a primary goal for coaches, so they can't really make much of a game plan change to reflect this being measured.
Other factors that I would consider would be power rankings, like the Massey rankings, which looks at who beats who. Also if the game was home or away. I would also like to include a couple of other measurements but it is kind of hard to think about relevant ones that can't be taken advantage of. Anyone else have any good ideas for ways to build a better football polling system?