Archive for December, 2015

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

Spotlight on Frankie Montgomery

by   |  12.04.15  |  Academics, COBA Staff, Current Students, Uncategorized

What is your educational background?

I graduated from ACU with Social Work degree in 1988.

 

Frankie Montgomery

Frankie Montgomery

 

What is your work background?

I worked as an assistant for a CPA in Ft. Worth before coming to ACU. While at ACU I worked as the assistant director in Gardner Dorm and director in McDonald Dorm. After graduation I worked as a social worker with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was honored to work at home while our children were little and went back to work at Big Brothers Big Sisters about the time they were in middle school.

 

What do you do at COBA?

I assist (read: try to keep up with) Dr. Lytle, oversee the COBA budget and the various tasks associated with the upkeep of the Mabee Business Building. I’m also on the staff senate.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

The fresh energy that students exude and the creativity and talent they are developing is inspirational – and I’m not exaggerating. It’s really fun watching students become who they are. Making new friends is one of my favorite things so connecting with students is really fun to me. I’m in a good place!

 

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

I enjoy gardening, traveling, antique shopping, cooking/baking, camping (mostly the part where I sit by the fire), visiting with friends and keeping connected with them. All of these things are more fun when I’m in the company of my husband, Monty. (We’ve been married 25 years!) We also care for my 92 year old father who lives 3 blocks away from us in his own home. I enjoy anything that touches, affects, is related to or involves either of our kids who are both at ACU: Seth (Senior) and Leah (sophomore). They are both pretty cool people, to say the very least. I spend a good deal of time praying for them, their friends, their future spouses and their lives in general.

 

Monty and Frankie Montgomery

Monty and Frankie Montgomery

 

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

Well, I made it to my very last week of college before being thrown into the GATA fountain. (That used to be a thing when the fountain was like a shallow wading pool.)

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I have been a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters for 5 years. My Little Sister is 15 now!

 

Who is your role model, and why?

My role model has always been my mother. Although she died 22 years ago she continues to influence me. Mom came to know God when I was approaching my teen years so I had a front row seat at a pretty critical time to observe her and my dad as they made significant changes in their lives to follow Christ. I learned about accepting grace and desiring to please God and being real and being hospitable from her. I also learned from her the value of giving people a chance.   She really grasped the concept of God doing mighty things when people are open to Him and not giving up on people because of that.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

John Willis, of course. His teaching was excellent and he had a way of making sure the students knew he was available to us. And those windmill cookies were to die for.

 

 

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

Okay, I always hate this question. But if time travel was a superpower I would pick that. There are a couple of moments in history I’d really like to witness.

 

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

That I lived in Scotland for a little over a year between my Sophomore and Junior year at ACU.

Jessup Pope (JP) College Football Rankings: Week Beginning November 29, 2015

by   |  12.01.15  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Research, Uncategorized

Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Michigan State remain our top 4 for week 14. Ohio State’s decisive win over Michigan (#15) suggests a team that has re-awakened and moves them to 5th, bumping Clemson to 6th. Other notable teams are Iowa, up to #33 from #37 last week and Tennessee holding steady at #7. (See our first post for a brief explanation of our methodology.)

 

How to measure success

One of the things I teach is how to measure the quality of predictions. What good are predictions if they are no better than chance or no better than existing systems? After four weeks of college football playoff (CFP) rankings there have been 82 games involving ranked teams. After adjusting for the 4.5 point home field advantage, the CFP rankings have correctly predicted the winner 67% percent of the time, definitely better than chance (p < .002). Our JP rankings have been even better, correctly predicted the winner in 74% of those games. Most of the time our systems predict identical outcomes yet there have been 12 games in which they differed. In those 12 games, our system was correct 75% of the time, or 3 times more accurate than the CFP! Hence, I am not really concerned when our rankings look dramatically different from those of the CFP.

 

Though I am writing this before the CFP rankings are posted, it is likely that there will be only one game where the systems predict different winners: our system predicts Michigan State will win the Big 10 championship whereas the CFP will likely predict that Iowa will win, so that will be one game to watch.

 

But why is it so weird?

I want to briefly address three issues here: why is Notre Dame still #2 after their loss, why is Iowa so low and why is Tennessee so high? Notre Dame lost by less than the 4.5 point home field advantage to a very good Stanford team (#11) on the road, effectively making it a narrow win against a good team. Iowa is a 12-0 team that has had maybe one (vs. #55 Northwestern) or two (vs. #30 Nebraska) good wins. In contrast, Tennessee is 8-4 with large wins over decent opponents and four narrow losses to OU (#1), Alabama (#3), Arkansas (#8), and Florida (#14). So which is better: to defeat many lousy teams and remain undefeated or to have tight matches against very strong opponents? Our system says the latter.

 

Rankings are less informative than PageRanks

Lastly, as Dr. Don Pope previously demonstrated, not only do we have ordinal rankings, we can also simultaneously display the actual PageRank values that underlie the rankings. The dot plot displays these values on the horizontal axis. Interestingly, #1 Oklahoma is further from 2nd ranked Notre Dame than Oregon (#13) is from Louisville (#35), whereas teams 23 (Washington) through 29 (Temple) have virtually identical PageRanks even though there are 5 teams between them. So the rankings carry less information than the values that produce them.

JP_rankings_wk14_top50