Home > BASS, FLW > The BCS meets Bass Fishing–the latest BassFan World Rankings are here

The BCS meets Bass Fishing–the latest BassFan World Rankings are here

Kevin VanDam is the reigning BASS Angler of the Year, the reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion, and is quite probably the best angler the sport has ever seen.   Yet in the current BassFan World Rankings, KVD’s recent accomplishments rank him second place behind Brent Ehrler.

Yes you read that first paragraph correctly.  They have KVD listed as second.  KVD is the best that has ever been and he is currently playing at his peak level.  How can he only be ranked second?

Much like the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings in college football, the BassFan World Rankings are generated by a complicated mathematical formula after statistics are entered into a computer.  And much like the BCS, there are times when the human polls and computer polls don’t agree.  This is one of those times.

If a human AP style poll existed in the world of bass fishing, I seriously doubt that KVD would rank second behind Brent Ehrler.

I take nothing away from Brent’s impressive accomplishments.  For the last two years he has been on a very impressive tear–with a high level of consistency rarely found in the sport.

We must remember that the BassFan World Rankings are based on two year periods—the computer has no preconception of accomplishments before two years ago.   According to BassFan.com, their world rankings are not meant to provide an indication of who is/was the best bass angler ever.

Still!  KVD is the current reigning AOY and current reigning Classic champion.  You don’t win back to back Angler of the Year titles on the toughest trail that has ever existed without being phenomenally consistent.

The math isn’t adding up on this one.

The formula used to determine BassFan’s World Rankings is known only to BassFan.  Their site says that, “For confidentiality reasons, the proprietary methodology won’t be discussed in detail”.

Although I do not have the complete facts, allow me to speculate on where their formula is off.


According to their site, BassFan World Rankings award bonus points for placing in the top 10% of all regular-season events.  This is biased towards FLW anglers because it is easier to place in the top 15 of 6 events, versus the top 10 of 8 events as one would have to do with BASS.

The BASS field is so strong from top to bottom, and considering the fact they fish more events, I think it is almost impossible to place in the top 10% in every event for an entire Elite Series season.

This is not to say that the FLW Tour is not extremely competitive.  It is.  But statistically it stands to reason that it is easier to get bonus points on the FLW Tour than the Elite Series.


According to BassFan’s site, “Events are weighted based on strength of field (calculated using the BassFan World Rank of everyone in the field) and size of field, meaning that it’s easier to do well in smaller-field events than larger-field ones.”

I agree that the larger the field, the harder it is to do well.  I have no argument with that logic. The strength of field logic is sound as well.  However, I suspect there is a problem using the BassFan World Rank as an underlying factor when determining the strength of field component, and consequently the new BassFan World Rank.

If you are familiar with Microsoft Excel, you have probably received a “circular reference” error message before.  This is the same concept.

Basically, I’m saying if the existing strength of field is calculation is off, then all future calculations will be off as well.


Intuitively, I have to suspect that BassFan’s World Rankings formula needs to be tweaked.  I have listed a couple of areas where I suspect their complex formula might be off.  This is my wild speculation and I hope you take it as such.

At this point let me emphasize that I have no inside knowledge of how BassFan calculates their World Rankings.  My points here are based on my own observations and information contained in the “About the World Rankings” section of http://bassfan.com .

Finally, let me emphasize one more point that I have made time and time again.  The only way to know for certain who the best in the world is to pit these guys against each other, head to head, in a fair competition.  We can never state for certain who the best is unless pros like Kevin VanDam and Brent Ehrler have a chance to square off on an annual basis.  It is a shame that such an opportunity does not currently exists in this sport.

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  1. March 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

    It is hard to comprehend KVD is not #1 right now, although sometimes I think you get some weird changes depending on when that 24 month cuts off, could go back to the one time KVD missed the cut and Ehler just dropped a bad finish and it distorts a bit, but regardless, does not make sense, love the podcast too!

  1. March 23, 2010 at 8:53 am
  2. April 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

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