Operational Research

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 279–295 | Cite as

Crowd-Ranking: a Markov-based method for ranking alternatives

  • Baback VaziriEmail author
  • Shaunak Dabadghao
  • Yuehwern Yih
  • Thomas L. Morin
  • Mark Lehto
Original Paper


Many ranking algorithms rank a set of alternatives based on their performance in a set of pairwise comparisons. In this study, a special scenario is observed in which the objective is to rate and rank a set of groups in a traditional recruiting situation, in which the groups extend offers to the set of individuals, and the individuals will select one of their available offers. The new ranking method, Crowd-Ranking, uses collective wisdom and decision-making in conjunction with Markov chains to create competitive matches between alternatives and ultimately provide a ranking of the alternatives. First, the method is evaluated by its performance in a perfect season scenario. Next, it is applied to the case of NCAA football recruiting in the power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC) in the Football Bowl Subdivision. For the Big Ten conference, the method performs significantly better than popular existing services at predicting future team performance based on past recruiting rankings. For a comprehensive national ranking of the power conferences, there is no statistically significant difference between Crowd-Ranking and the other methods.


Decision making Markov chains Ranking Crowds 



The authors would like to thank Thomas Hagebols for his contribution in gathering the data for the national ranking. The authors would also like to thank anonymous referees for helping to improve the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baback Vaziri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shaunak Dabadghao
    • 2
  • Yuehwern Yih
    • 3
  • Thomas L. Morin
    • 3
  • Mark Lehto
    • 3
  1. 1.Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics, College of BusinessJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Industrial EngineeringEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of Industrial EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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