Spotlight on Tim Johnston

by   |  02.09.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Staff, Careers In..., Current Students, Internships, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

B.B.A. in Marketing from ACU.

M.B.A. in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. The company I worked for was based in the Bay Area. When I moved from the field office in Denver to the corporate headquarters, the company paid for me to get my M.B.A. This was very convenient. Golden Gate University is located in downtown San Francisco, but their East Bay campus was located where the company I worked for, Triad’s Systems Corporation, was based in Livermore, CA. Triad paid for all my tuition and books. I went to courses at night, while working full-time.

 

Tim Johnston

Tim Johnston

 

What is your work background?

Originally I worked for Triad Systems Corporation in customer service, then sales, and later became a Regional Manager for our Education Services. I had a team of 12 people, working in 10 cities. This team took care of the system configuration and training for all of our customers.

Eventually we moved to the headquarters in California. I held several positions over the years, including Marketing Analyst (putting together our service offerings), Sales Trainer, and Sales Development Manager (responsible for training our training team for industry training, system training, sales training, and supporting regional manager hiring and coaching programs).

At ACU, I worked as the Chief Enrollment Officer for 11 years and then moved to the Career Center. I have worked in COBA for the last 6 years as the Assistant Dean.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

First of all, I work with the Connections team to ensure we have a good advising process and career development program to come along side the academic coursework required for each major.

A key tie-in with the Career Development work is our partnership with ACU’s University Relations Managers, who live in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. These managers are critical to our efforts to help students connect to starting career opportunities.

ACU’s alumni provide us with scholarship dollars to help improve the affordability of the COBA experience. This is another area of work I help to coordinate.

As one of the co-founders of Leadership Summit, I serve as the leader of our management team to ensure our enrollment, satisfaction, budget and connection goals are achieved through this program.

 

Tim and crew at Leadership Summit 2015

Tim and crew at Leadership Summit 2015

 

What drew you to work at ACU? Why did you want to work with students?

Rick Lytle and I met in Denver.   After earning my master’s degree, he encouraged me to consider working for ACU. Rick’s statement of, “Not everyone goes to church but most everyone goes to work”, really resonates with me.   It’s challenging to be a Christian in the workplace. It’s difficult to be competitive and honorable. It’s important for our graduates to bring hope to their workplace. I wanted to help equip students for this challenge.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

It’s great to see students understand how they can prepare to make a valuable contribution to an organization, both in terms of their business ability and their character. It’s exciting to see where they will have a place to live out the mission. A job search is difficult, it takes a lot of effort to put yourself out there in an effective manner. It can be hard on your psyche. This is where my coaching comes in. I like helping students face the challenge and win.

 

Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

Mountains, mountains and more mountains. I like to snow ski and hike whenever I can. Plus the mountain biking at Buck Creek trails here in Abilene is a lot of fun.   A few years ago I bought a shotgun and joined the Sporting Clays Club here in Abilene. COBA students have tried to help me improve my shooting. It’s a work in progress. The students tend to shoot 70 – 80% out there, but I’m usually in the 40% range.

 

 

What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

I remember working for a client in Steamboat Springs, CO. After a few days it was time to return to Denver. I was on a “puddle jumper” – we called it Rocky Mountain Scareways. As I was sitting on the plane watching them plow the runway as the snow kept coming down and the plane received multiple de-icings, I really questioned my career choice.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

Currently I am commander of the armies of the north communion team at Highland CoC, (northside of the building) at second service. Over the years I have been very involved with our church Teaching class, or running the Habitat for Humanity Building project or Bus Ministry. Also, I am very passionate about supporting missions and really appreciate the work of World Vision and Compassion International.

 

Who is your role model and why?

At ACU I have had several including Jack Rich who was my boss for many years. He never got rattled and he always took the high road. And be careful if you are meeting with Jack and you criticize a team member. He will get them on the phone right away and ask them to address the complaint you just levied. That helps you learn quickly. Dr. Terry Pope is so wise and a man of integrity. If you haven’t heard Terry’s 10, you need to, it’s wisdom to guide your life. Rick Lytle is the most enthusiastic, hopeful Christian I have ever met. His positive energy constantly gives me a boost. My mom and dad were awesome.  My dad was an Electrical Engineer and Elder at our church. Together they raised 5 children, one of which had special needs. I don’t think he ever wasted any time. Mom was a great communicator who would pour good Biblical wisdom into me, whether I wanted it or not. I could go on and on …

 

The Johnston Family

The Johnston Family

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

In graduate school, I had an economics professor who BELIEVED all problems are pricing problems. When the price goes high enough, people will solve the problem. I could tell his academic discipline was his belief. We disagreed, but he really made me think.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

My initial thought was to say that I really wish I could fly. But this is a selfish desire. What I really think would be most useful would be to be able to listen to people like Jesus listened to the women at the well. I wish I could tune into someone’s spirit.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I wanted to be an artist. But being an art major (courses are double blocked) and being a baseball player did not coincide well. So I switched to accounting. I really swung the pendulum on that decision. Ultimately I landed on marketing. This helps me be patient with our students. It can take a while to find your sweet spot.

Spotlight on Jonathan Stewart

by   |  01.29.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I earned my undergraduate degree in business at Lubbock Christian University. Next I went to Texas Tech where I completed my M.B.A. in finance and then my Ph.D. in finance.

Dr. Jonathan Stewart

Dr. Jonathan Stewart

 

What is your work background?

I grew up working for my family’s business, Stewart Brothers Drilling Company. Most summers I worked in the shop or on the drilling rigs. Once I started studying business, I spent my summers doing accounting and running payroll for the company.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach Financial Management, International Financial Markets, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Advanced Financial Management.

 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

I am the director of COBA Global. Also, I serve on a University committee for the CCCU Best Semester program.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

I really enjoy the energy and excitement that college students have. It energizes me. I also love the challenge of communicating complicated ideas in a way that helps make them fun and interesting. I have come to a point where I am willing to take risks if I believe it will enhance the learning environment. Sometimes, those risks pay off. Sometimes, I embarrass myself. Either way, it is exciting to help people learn and grow.

 

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

There are so many things. It is a blessing to work with talented and hard-working people who exceed your expectations. It is also a blessing to work with people who may not be motivated and are struggling to succeed. I enjoy the times when someone makes a breakthrough and achieves more than they believed that they could. I also enjoy building relationships and friendships with my students. I try to treat them as future colleagues. I take a lot of joy from watching my former students grow their families and careers.

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I’m very thankful for my family and I love to spend time with them. I enjoy reading and listening to podcasts. I love music. I play electric guitar in the praise band at the Highland Church of Christ. I try to go to the Rec Center almost every day. I enjoy snow skiing, wake boarding, and watching movies.

 

jonathan wakeboarding

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

When I interviewed at ACU, Dr. Jack Griggs took me along to his 8:00 am Investments class. He introduced me to his students and started teaching them about financial ratios. He is writing some liquidity ratios on the overhead projector about 5 minutes into class and he looks over at me. He says “Jonathan! Do you want to do this!?” I was not expecting to teach the class, so I wasn’t really prepared. However, the thought crossed my mind was “he didn’t ask because he wanted you to say ‘No.’” So I said “Sure!” and stood up and taught an impromptu class on financial ratios. I knew my ratios and I think the students felt bad for me, so they were kind to answer my questions and respond to me during the class.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

That is a hard question for me to answer. I was honored to be named University Teacher of the Year once upon a time.   I also enjoy recording my podcast, Stewllenium Radio, because it lets me do so many of my favorite things simultaneously.

 

stewllenium

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Dr. Scott E. Hein was one of my most inspirational professors because he really expected great work from his students. He has a unique ability to hold people to a very high standard while being very professional and kind. He is never arrogant. He’s never a bully. He just expects the best from people and he’s very gifted at helping people reach their highest potential.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I think it would be nice to be impervious to committees. The Dean or the Provost would try to type my name as a member of a certain committee and their keyboard wouldn’t work. They would press J and nothing would happen.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I used to be able to run really fast. I ran the anchor leg of the mile relay my senior year of high school. We won the race and our team won the Class AAA New Mexico State Championship.

 

Jonathan Stewart, the track star

Jonathan Stewart, the track star

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

I’m always thankful when students meet my wife and children. Also, I’d like them to know that I’ve grilled more than 2,000 chicken and cheese quesadillas at Grilleniums and other events over the last 7 years.

The famous Grilleniums

The famous Grilleniums

Spotlight on Karen Heflin

by   |  01.22.16  |  Academics, COBA Staff, College Decisions, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Springboard, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

BS Communication Disorders, (Speech Pathology).

 

Karen Heflin

Karen Heflin

 

What is your work background?

I have been at home with my children for the past 13 years, with small part-time jobs on the side.  Now that they are all in school, I’m enjoying the opportunity to work for the Griggs Center.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

I am the Springboard Program Coordinator for the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.  I help with fundraising, coordinate our business model competitions for both students and the community, and provide training events for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

I enjoy their energy, creativity and enthusiasm.

 

Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I love being with my husband and four children.  I love to travel and eat and experience other cultures–this may be because I’m a ‘Third Culture Kid.’  I enjoy reading and singing.  Also, I love to climb things.  Especially trees.

 

The Heflin Family

The Heflin Family

 

What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

My very first job was scooping ice cream for a family-owned, homemade ice cream shop.  I had a very strong right arm at the end of that summer!

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

My family and I are a mentors for arriving refugee families through the International Rescue Committee. These families have become our real life heroes as well as our dear friends. Their stories are humbling and inspiring. I am very passionate about serving this community of people and would love to tell you more if you’re interested in volunteering!

 

Karen and Houston Heflin

Karen and Houston Heflin

 

Who is your role model and why?

Corrie ten Boom and Rosa Parks- I admire their strength and tenacity and their willingness to take great risks for ideas they believed to be important.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation.  This would allow me to travel anytime to anywhere.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I lived in Iceland in the late 80’s.

Spotlight on Monty Lynn

by   |  01.21.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Poverty and Development, Research, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I studied social work, psychology, business, environmental design, and poverty reduction at Harding, Cornell, Brigham Young, and London.

 

Dr. Monty Lynn

Dr. Monty Lynn

 

What is your work background?

I’ve enjoyed teaching at ACU for more than three decades! Once in a while, I get the chance to delve into a business environment for a few weeks, most recently last summer with World Vision’s food security team in Washington, DC.

 

Dr. Lynn on a trip to Ethiopia with VisionFund

Dr. Lynn on a trip to Ethiopia with VisionFund

 

What do you teach at ACU?

Management is my primary field. For the past several years I’ve taught the Introduction to Business course and an upper-level course called, “International Poverty and Development.”

 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

I’ve served in a variety of administrative roles, and loved each one. At present I’m teaching full-time.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

We have 14 teachers in my family, nine of whom are university professors, so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. When my wife Libby and I first visited ACU, we immediately fell in love with the opportunity to contribute to a Christian business school. It’s been an amazing ride.

 

Monty and Libby Lynn

Monty and Libby Lynn

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

Although I enjoy teaching class, it’s the one-to-one encounters with students that create relationships and memories which remain for years.

 

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

I can’t imagine not working with students. Working in a university has been a lifelong blessing.

 

Dr. Lynn working with students on creating lighting for underdeveloped areas

Dr. Lynn working with students on creating lighting for underdeveloped areas

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

Several years ago I started keeping bees. It’s a modest hobby but it has some interesting bits—a little science, problem solving, the unbelievable wonder of nature, plus, the bees are always trying to kill you. Somehow it’s all quite relaxing.

 

Monty Lynn, AKA "Buzzy" the beekeeper

Monty Lynn, aka “Buzzy” the beekeeper

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

I overslept the first final exam I gave at ACU. I arrived ten minutes late with hair dried through the open window of my car as I drove to campus. Somehow the students knew.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

It’s not career, the deep love we feel for our two children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren, and for students we’ve come to know—it’s hard to think of an accomplishment that approaches these in meaningfulness.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

Currently, I serve in a local church (Highland) and on a board in Peru—both of which deal with missions and humanitarian development. I enjoy delivering Meals on Wheels on Thursdays too, and often go with students.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

My parents and in-laws have been exemplars—they’ve lived creative and faithful lives, loving and serving, in pioneering and sacrificial ways. Friends at St. Benedict’s Farm in Waelder, Texas inspire me with their quiet and steady walk with God.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

So many professors have shaped me, including professor-colleagues. In terms of inspiration: Keith Warner, a sociologist at BYU, inspired me to think deeply; Warner Woodworth, a BYU business professor, inspired me to act justly; and David Moberg, a research colleague in sociology at Marquette, did both. Duane McCampbell and Dwight Ireland, professors at Harding University, forever changed me with literature and learning.

 

Dr. Lynn with students in Oxford

Dr. Lynn with students in Oxford

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I have enough trouble living with normal powers, but to see one’s desire for God, written on the heart, and to expand human flourishing for all—how wonderful.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

It’s a real stretch to locate a claim to fame, but my wife’s uncle sang backup for Elvis. Also, I was shot once (everyone survived), was lost in the Canadian Rockies, and I thought very seriously about taking a small airplane for a spin (literally, likely) after finding its key on an airport sidewalk. Oh, and I survived the ACU rodeo (barely) as a member of the COBA faculty steer riding team.

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

That God’s love, often expressed through others, sustains me; and that he loves us all.

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Rankings: Final Analysis

by   |  01.12.16  |  COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, College Decisions, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

The dust has settled on yet another college football season and we can finally evaluate the “success” of our ranking system.

As a reminder, our ranking system takes Google’s PageRank algorithm, which ranks webpages based on links, and modifies it to rank teams based on scores; further, we added some additional components to try and improve the rankings. The ultimate goal of our system is to successfully predict bowl game outcomes: who wins and by how much.

So how did we do?

Well, it could have been worse. Our system ended up predicting the correct winner 51.2% of the time over all 41 bowl games, totaling 21 correct and 20 incorrect predictions. By comparison, the college football playoff (CFP) system was correct 56.3% of the time for games involving at least one top 25 team. This only includes 16 games (they were correct 9 and wrong 7 times). In those 16 games, our model got 1 fewer correct prediction (8 right, 8 wrong). Another comparison metric, perhaps the ultimate, is the Las Vegas line. Our model beat Vegas’ line 51.2% of the time, or again, 21 correct out of 41 games. So, we performed at approximately chance. Or, as Don Pope likes to say, “We did about as well as a blind squirrel flipping a coin would have done.”

 

blind squirrel

Fig 1. Alternate and equally effective ranking system: A blind squirrel flipping a coin (image courtesy of ACU Acct & Fin major Caroline Thompson)

 

So what happened?

Let’s blame TCU. Their insanely unlikely comeback caused a 2 game ‘flip’ in all three of our accuracy scores, meaning that we had 1 fewer right and 1 additional wrong prediction when compared to (a) the overall probability correct, (b) the CFP predictions, and (c) the Vegas line. If it weren’t for that comeback, we would have beaten that squirrel.

We did predict the final very accurately (predicting a 5.7 point win for Alabama who won by 5), we missed both the Ohio State win over Notre Dame and the Georgia Southern shellacking of Bowling Green by a country mile.

Fig 2. Regular season histogram of win amount differences

Fig 2. Regular season histogram of win amount differences

 

Interestingly, the favorite covered the Vegas line 61% of the time. That’s actually rather bad for Vegas as one could have merely bet that the favorite would cover the line on every game and they would have cleaned up. The weakness of that approach is that the opposite might have just as likely occurred.

Fig 3. Bowl season histogram of win amount differences

Fig 3. Bowl season histogram of win amount differences

 

Relatedly, another factor that may have affected our success rate was the number of blowout victories during the bowl season. Figure 2 shows the distribution of win amount differences during the regular season, a beautiful half of a normal distribution (mean=17.1, SD=13.3).   However, figure 3, which demonstrates the win amount differences during the bowl season looks markedly different, particularly for everything after the 20 point range (mean=15.61, SD=12). Though we would not expect it to be as perfectly half normal as figure 2, it should look better than it does.

 

Moreover, because bowl game opponents are supposed to be more evenly matched – as teams are intentionally chosen to play each other so as to match quality – we would also expect the latter figure to be far narrower than it is, with very few blowout victories, having both a substantially smaller mean and SD (e.g., we predicted a mean win amount of 6.7 with SD=5.8).

 

Other thoughts and final musings

On the whole we have thoroughly enjoyed running our college football prediction system this season. Although it did not quite work out as well as we had hoped, there is always next year. Plus, this little exercise has helped direct us to some weaknesses in our current system worth addressing this offseason.

 

To close, Don and I would both like to thank MC Jennings for allowing us to make these blog posts and we hope that the readers have found them at least mildly interesting!

 

Previous JP rankings posts

If you are interested in learning more about our rankings, feel free to read some of our previous posts, linked below.

 

Post 1: Week 10: Introduction of JP ranking system and initial rankings

Post 2: Week 11: Rankings and additional information on how the system works

Post 3: Week 12: Rankings

Post 4: Week 12: Addendum – Tears on my slide rule, or, What happened to dear old Texas A&M

Post 5: Week 13: Rankings

Post 6: Week 14: Rankings and a measure of comparative predictive performance

Post 7: Week 15: Rankings and discussion of our system’s flaws

Post 8: Final rankings and bowl predictions

Post 9: Bowl predictions addendum

Post 10: Final analysis

 

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Playoff Final Bowl Prediction

by   |  01.11.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Events, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

Before we make our final post next week summarizing our bowl prediction results we wanted to let you know that our system predicts Alabama will defeat Clemson by approximately 5.7 points.

 

Previous JP rankings posts

If you are interested in learning more about our rankings, feel free to read some of our previous posts, linked below.

 

Post 1: Week 10: Introduction of JP ranking system and initial rankings

Post 2: Week 11: Rankings and additional information on how the system works

Post 3: Week 12: Rankings

Post 4: Week 12: Addendum – Tears on my slide rule, or, What happened to dear old Texas A&M

Post 5: Week 13: Rankings

Post 6: Week 14: Rankings and a measure of comparative predictive performance

Post 7: Week 15: Rankings and discussion of our system’s flaws

Post 8: Final rankings and bowl predictions

Post 9: Bowl predictions addendum

Spotlight on Terry Pope

by   |  12.17.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Careers In..., College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

B.A. – Mathematics – Abilene Christian University
M.A. – Mathematics – University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. – Statistics – Southern Methodist University

Dr. Terry Pope

Dr. Terry Pope

 

What is your work background?

Cities Service Oil and Gas – 10 years
Conoco – 8.5 years
ACU – 24 years

 

What do you teach at ACU?

Currently teach Finance courses: Financial Theory and Practice, Portfolio Management, and STAR, our student-managed fund. While at ACU, I have taught 16 different courses.
 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

In the past, I served as Chair of the Management Sciences for 5 years and as Associate Dean for 10 years. Currently, I am on the Academic Committee in COBA and the Disciplinary Review Committee for the university.
 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

I left a really interesting job in industry to come to ACU. I would not have left that job for a teaching position at any other university. I thought that I could contribute to students by teaching them what they need to know to be successful in industry.
 

What’s the best part of working with students?

I have developed so many great friendships with students over my time at ACU. I enjoy trying to make difficult concepts understandable for all students. I enjoy helping students build self-confidence.
 

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

As I said earlier, I gave up a really interesting job to come be a professor. Financially, that job was much more rewarding, but I would not trade that for all of the great friends that I have made with students.
 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I really like to go outside and play: golf, tennis, running, biking. I also enjoy woodworking. We really enjoy travel, having visited over 25 foreign countries.

One of COBA's own golf pros

One of COBA’s own golf pros

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

My first semester at ACU had me scheduled to teach Financial Management and Statistics – courses that I was well-prepared to teach. On the second day of class, I was asked to take a class in Macro Economics, as Professor Brister was asked to serve on a university committee and needed to be released from the teaching assignment. So, I played catch up all semester in that class.
 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

While in industry, I provided the financial analysis to support investments totaling billions of dollars all over the world. While doing so, I tried to always have Christ as the center of my life and to conduct my business in a manner worthy of a child of God.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

In the past, I have served for long period on the boards of Herald of Truth and Faithworks of Abilene. For most of the past 35 years, I have been an elder in the church.
 

Who is your role model, and why?

My dad. He was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never met a stranger and treated all people with great respect.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Sam McReynolds in the Mathematics Department at ACU. He was always very well prepared and expected excellence from his students.
 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Bring peace to the world. To replace hatred with love.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

My hair is actually blond.

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

That I really love them and want them to make good choices in life.

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Final Rankings and Bowl Predictions

by   |  12.15.15  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

Below are the final JP rankings of the regular season. We account for the Army-Navy game in our rankings and I have no idea why the college football playoff (CFP) committee does not. Interestingly, Bowling Green has stealthily worked their way to #7, just ahead of Stanford. You might recall from our initial post that we fully expected our rankings to increasingly cohere to expectations as the season wore on (e.g., observe that we share 7 of the same top 10 as the final CFP rankings) yet nonetheless end with some surprises, and I’d say that is exactly what has happened.

 

JP rankings week of december 14

 

Bowl game predictions

Whenever I tell people about the success of our ranking system, one of the question I am reliably asked is “yes, but how does it fare against Vegas?” I agree that Vegas is an appropriate benchmark for success in that they excel at selecting a favorite and setting an appropriate line (Vegas’ goal is for bettors to be evenly divided between the two sides of the line as that is how they make the most money with the least risk). In our first post I mentioned that we have beaten Vegas 56% of the time, a claim much easier to make than to substantiate. So here is our chance to back it up by making a priori predictions. Below you can find our forecasted winners for all 40 bowl games other than the national championship. Each of the bowl opponents are listed in the table below, the Vegas favorite is the first team listed (odds are even for the last two bowls), our projected winner is in bold, and our projected win margin is in the rightmost column.

 

There are two games in which we predict rather large margins of victory: Bowling Green over Georgia Southern by approximately 4 touchdowns and Arkansas over K State by more than 3 TDs. None of these teams are ranked though both of our projected winners are favored by Vegas.

 

Another interesting match-up involves North Carolina and Baylor: our system has had less respect for both of these teams (relative to the CFP) all season. Nonetheless, our two systems end up making the same prediction in this match: NC over Baylor. Perhaps even more curiously, Vegas favors Baylor. I find this curious because when there is disagreement between the 3 systems about the favorite, this is the least likely event (other possible events: (1) Vegas and our system align but not CFP, (2) Vegas and the CFP align but not JP).

 

Also, though our system favors Oklahoma over Clemson, in contrast to the CFP, Vegas currently favors OU by 4. This puts our system in the strange situation of being guaranteed to outpredict one system (either the CFP or Vegas) but virtually guaranteed to lose to the other. Only if OU wins by 1-3 points can our model beat both systems. My favorite bowls are where the CFP and Vegas align against the JP rankings, such as the Fiesta Bowl where both our competitors agree that Ohio State will defeat Notre Dame yet our system nonetheless predicts an Irish win.

 

Lastly, our system appears to have little respect for the Big 12 – only predicting 2 wins out of 7 games. Conversely, it expects Pac 12 and SEC teams to both win 7 out of 10 games.

 

Date Bowl Vegas Favorite Opponent Predicted Win Margin
2015-12-19 GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL Arizona New Mexico 2.3
2015-12-19 ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL Utah BYU 5.7
2015-12-19 RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL Appalachian State Ohio 5.7
2015-12-20 AUTONATION CURE BOWL San Jose State Georgia State 5.7
2015-12-20 R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL Louisiana Tech Arkansas State 5.7
2015-12-21 MIAMI BEACH BOWL Western Kentucky South Florida 2.3
2015-12-22 FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL Utah State Akron 5.7
2015-12-23 MARMOT BOCA RATON BOWL Temple Toledo 5.7
2015-12-23 SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL Boise State NIU 10.7
2015-12-24 GODADDY BOWL Bowling Green Georgia Southern 28.7
2015-12-24 POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL Western Michigan Middle Tennessee 13.3
2015-12-25 HAWAI’I BOWL Cincinnati San Diego State 1.0
2015-12-26 ST. PETERSBURG BOWL Marshall Connecticut 2.3
2015-12-26 HYUNDAI SUN BOWL Washington State Miami (FL) 2.3
2015-12-26 ZAXBY’S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL Washington Southern Miss 10.7
2015-12-26 NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL Indiana Duke 8.3
2015-12-26 CAMPING WORLD INDEPENDENCE BOWL Virginia Tech Tulsa 8.3
2015-12-27 FOSTER FARMS BOWL UCLA Nebraska 1.0
2015-12-28 MILITARY BOWL PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN Navy Pittsburgh 5.7
2015-12-28 QUICK LANE BOWL Minnesota Central Michigan 2.3
2015-12-29 LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL California Air Force 5.7
2015-12-29 RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL Baylor North Carolina 5.7
2015-12-30 NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL Colorado State Nevada 2.3
2015-12-30 ADVOCARE V100 TEXAS BOWL LSU Texas Tech 8.3
2015-12-30 BIRMINGHAM BOWL Auburn Memphis 8.3
2015-12-30 BELK BOWL Mississippi State NC State 10.7
2015-12-31 FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL Texas A&M Louisville 1.0
2015-12-31 HOLIDAY BOWL USC Wisconsin 10.7
2015-12-31 CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL Florida State Houston 2.3
2015-12-31 CAPITAL ONE ORANGE BOWL – CFP SEMIFINAL Oklahoma Clemson 1.0
2016-01-01 GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL – CFP SEMIFINAL Alabama Michigan State 2.3
2016-01-01 OUTBACK BOWL Tennessee Northwestern 16.3
2016-01-01 BUFFALO WILD WINGS CITRUS BOWL Michigan Florida 5.7
2016-01-01 BATTLEFROG FIESTA BOWL Ohio State Notre Dame 5.7
2016-01-01 ROSE BOWL GAME PRES. BY NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL Stanford Iowa 5.7
2016-01-02 ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL Ole Miss Oklahoma State 13.3
2016-01-02 TAXSLAYER BOWL Georgia Penn State 1.0
2016-01-02 AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL Arkansas Kansas State 21.7
2016-01-02 VALERO ALAMO BOWL Oregon TCU 1.0
2016-01-03 MOTEL 6 CACTUS BOWL West Virginia Arizona State 5.7
2016-01-12 CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PRESENTED BY AT&T TBD TBD

 

Previous JP rankings posts

If you are interested in learning more about our rankings, feel free to read some of our previous posts, linked below.

 

Post 1: Week 10: Introduction of JP ranking system and initial rankings

Post 2: Week 11: Rankings and additional information on how the system works

Post 3: Week 12: Rankings

Post 4: Week 12: Addendum – Tears on my slide rule, or, What happened to dear old Texas A&M

Post 5: Week 13: Rankings

Post 6: Week 14: Rankings and a measure of comparative predictive performance

Post 7: Week 15: Rankings and discussion of our system’s flaws

Post 8: Final rankings and bowl predictions

Spotlight on Andy Little

by   |  12.11.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Events, COBA Faculty, COBA Staff, College Decisions, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I graduated from ACU with a BA in Political Science in 1997, then received a JD from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2000. I also earned an MA in History from West Texas A&M in 2014.

 

Dr. Andy Little

Dr. Andy Little

 

What is your work background?

I practiced law from 2000 to 2010, primarily at a regional law firm in Amarillo. My legal practice encompassed employment law and business litigation.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach the business law classes, and occasionally teach a class related to ethics and corporate social responsibility. I also teach Honors College colloquia from time to time.

 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

In addition to teaching, I also serve as Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

I grew up the son of an ACU professor, and I had a wonderful experience at ACU as an undergrad, so I think I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be back in the university setting at some point.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

Students have a spirited vitality and sense of hope within them that keeps me young. I really enjoy walking alongside them at this transitional phase of their lives. In my better moments, perhaps there is an opportunity for me to share my faith journey with them, and for us to learn from one another.

 

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

This is a hard question to answer. At a very superficial level, yes, I gave up considerable income and positional power as a partner at a regional law firm to work here at ACU. But during the time period in which I made the transition to teaching (around 2010), I was in the process of discovering that money and power weren’t my priorities anyway, so I’m not sure I was giving up something I really wanted in the first place. I guess I would say I gave up something I thought I wanted.

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I like the wilderness—hiking, backpacking, skiing, camping with family and friends, etc. I like music. I read a lot of books about history and religion. I try to be involved with my church family.

 

andy and girls

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

I had a student named Brody Smith who insisted that we listen to part of the Top Gun soundtrack one morning in BLAW 461. I liked Brody. And I liked Top Gun. So I accommodated his request. It was a great class period. I’m sure everyone learned a lot that day.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

I was honored to be ACU’s Teacher of the Year in 2012.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I’ve been on the boards of directors for several non-profits over the last 15 years, most recently the Christian Village of Abilene.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

He will likely be embarrassed by this mention, but I’ve tried to watch Monty Lynn closely to see how I can better emulate him as he emulates Christ.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Mel Hailey in the Political Science Department consistently made me think deeper than any other professor. In a series of three courses dealing with political theory, he led us through an extended collection of readings that addressed the central question, “What is justice?,” which has animated much of my professional and intellectual career ever since.

 

Jennifer and Andy Little

Jennifer and Andy Little

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Who’s to say I don’t already have superpowers?

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I’m a big fan of the punk band Social Distortion.

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

As before, this is a hard question to answer. The easy, church-y way to answer it would be to say, “I want others to know Jesus when they know me.” And this would be a true statement, so far as it goes. But I’m also realistic enough to know that I am not Jesus, and that the Jesus people get to know when they know me probably looks and feels different than the Jesus they might get to know if they know someone else.

It’s also a hard question to answer because I’m a private person, and I’m not comfortable being known through social media at all. This is not a space in which I want to live, so I choose not to disclose much in these kinds of formats. I prefer unmediated relationships in which to know others and be known by them.

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Rankings: Week Beginning December 6, 2015

by   |  12.08.15  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Research, Uncategorized

Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Clemson are our top 4 teams, respectively, for week 15. Notre Dame falls to 5th, Ohio State is bumped to 6th, and Stanford rose to No. 7 on the strength of their strong win over USC (#13). All the major moves were by teams that played this weekend and most of their moves were upwards. Strangely, Texas (#29) has two wins over top 25 college football playoff (CFP) teams – there are very few teams out there with that distinction!

 

Prediction quality measurement

Out of the 87 games involving teams ranked in the CFP top 25, the CFP continues to correctly predict the winner (adjusted for home field advantage) 67% of the time. We can actually compute the probability of being that successful out of 87 games if you are purely guessing: it happens less than .001 of the time, or less than 1 in 1000 attempts. We look at something called a binomial distribution to obtain this “p value.”   Our model continues to outperform the CFP system, correctly predicting the outcome 74% of the time for these same games. As of this weekend there have been only 14 games in which our system makes a different prediction than the CFP rankings and ours has “won” this competition 10 times. If our two systems were equal in predictive ability, then the probability of this happening would be less than .029, or about once in 35 tries.

 

week 15 JP rankings

 

A bug – or a feature?

George Box famously said “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” Similarly, we know that our system is flawed and this process of producing rankings each week has brought some of those flaws to the forefront. One of the goals of successful modeling is to seek out flaws so as to eliminate or minimize them. If we are trying to build better models, what good would it do to hide the flaws?

 

The primary weakness we have found in our system is that teams which play more games are ranked higher than those that play fewer games. In fact, nearly every team that played this weekend, win or lose, moved up in our rankings due to this fact. This clarifies why Clemson edged back into the top 4 and Notre Dame fell out – all three teams that moved ahead of them played this weekend. (On a sidenote, I am genuinely bummed that we have the exact same top four – though in a different order – as the CFP.) This flaw might also explain why we expected a large Michigan State win over Iowa and a narrow Stanford win over USC when in fact they won narrowly and largely, respectively. This issue is definitely one we will address in our college football offseason. Interestingly, the fact that our model is working better than its primary competitor, the CFP, suggests that it might be a feature instead of a bug!

 

In later posts, we will present some additional comparative analysis of our rankings and, further, list our predicted bowl winners and win margins.

 

Previous JP rankings posts

If you are interested in learning more about our rankings, feel free to read some of previous posts, linked below.

 

Post 1: Week 10: Introduction of JP ranking system and initial rankings (week 10)

Post 2: Week 11: Rankings and additional information on how the system works

Post 3: Week 12: Rankings

Post 4: Week 12: Addendum – Tears on my slide rule, or, What happened to dear old Texas A&M

Post 5: Week 13: Rankings

Post 6: Week 14: Rankings and a measure of comparative predictive performance