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The ordinal interval number is a form of uncertain preference information in group decision making (GDM), while it is seldom discussed in the existing research. This paper investigates how the ranking order of alternatives is determined based on preference information of ordinal interval numbers in GDM problems. When ranking a large quantity of ordinal interval numbers, the efficiency and accuracy of the ranking process are critical. A new approach is proposed to rank alternatives using ordinal interval numbers when every ranking ordinal in an ordinal interval number is thought to be uniformly and independently distributed in its interval. First, we give the definition of possibility degree on comparing two ordinal interval numbers and the related theory analysis. Then, to rank alternatives, by comparing multiple ordinal interval numbers, a collective expectation possibility degree matrix on pairwise comparisons of alternatives is built, and an optimization model based on this matrix is constructed. Furthermore, an algorithm is also presented to rank alternatives by solving the model. Finally, two examples are used to illustrate the use of the proposed approach.