Sunday, December 03, 2006

What Kirk Herbstreit wants

I was watching the BCS selection coverage on Sports Center tonight and Scott Van Pelt did a segment with College Game Day talking head Kirk Herbstreit. Kirk almost came out of chair he was so adamant about the selection process that saw Michigan miss out on an opportunity to have a rematch with Ohio State. He said that the computers are fine but that the coaches and Harris poll voters can't be making informed decisions if they are basing them on 1 game they have seen Florida play. You see because he watches 20 games a week during the whole season Herbie knows better than the coaches and others who have a role in the selection process, or so he'd have you believe.

Herbstreit said, and I'm paraphrasing, that you can take all your sheets with your statistics and analysis of the schedules and throw them out the window. He believes that the voters' obligation is to subjectively pick the team they think is better based on what they have seen not what they read in the box scores in the paper. Of course we take offense to Herbie's recommended approach, seeing as how the premise of this whole blog is to dive into stats and present them in a persuasive way.

But let's take Herbie's approach and see what happens. Two weeks ago Kirk Herbstreit had both Arkansas and West Virgina ahead of Florida on his AP ballot. He obviously felt subjectively that those two teams were better than Florida. The following weekend West Virginia lost to South Florida and Arkansas lost to LSU. Everybody knows that Florida beat Arkansas last Saturday as well, proving that Herbie was wrong in his assessments. This week Herbie's ballot has Florida at number 3 while he has West Virginia at 10 and Arkansas at 15. Apparently watching all those games didn't help Herbstreit make the right decision about who was better in week 13. Why should we accept his word for it in week 15?

Because of the way college football is organized, with more than 100 teams of varying quality spread out among about a dozen conferences of varying quality and with very little inter-conference play, YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT STATISTICS. Anything else is voodoo prognosticating.

What Kirk Herbstreit wants is for you to ignore FACTS and go with your gut instict. But you have to use facts to back up your arguments if you want to be taken seriously otherwise you are just a pretty face talking shit out of your ass on TV.

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