Monday, November 26, 2007

And this is where stupid gets you

The current system of determining a so called “national champion” is indisputably stupid. If there were any doubt , 2007 has proved it beyond all argument.

For a system based on a series of popularity contests (polls) and arcane, non-transparent mathematics (computers), failure was always a possibility. Moreover, for a system based on virtually undefined criterion, failure was inevitable.

By “undefined criterion”, I suggest there is no commonly held definition of what it is the BCS title game is trying to achieve. Are we trying to place the two “best teams” in the BCS title game? The two “most deserving”? The two with the “best resumes”? Some incoherent and unable to be articulated combination thereof?

If we are looking for the “best teams”, it certainly will not happen this year. Indeed, in a field of 119 competitors of varying talent and schedule strength, it is unlikely it ever has. But has it ever been more obvious than it is this year? Consider the three teams most likely to be competing for the thoroughly artificial national title, and their cumulative schedule strengths

21. Missouri
46. Ohio State
48. West Virginia (includes Pitt game)

Essentially the national “discussion” has us pitting two of these three against each other in the faux national title game.

At this point last year (prior to the SEC Championship game), the Gators had the toughest schedule in the nation. Other contenders such as USC and Michigan were highly ranked at 5th and 3rd, respectively. Ohio State's 2006 SOS was a relatively poor 39th, which places them still 7 spots better than this year’s squad.

Is this what we want, a “national title” game against 3 contenders that are essentially untested?

To Missouri’s credit they are going to play Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, which will bring their overall opponent’s record to 0.59200, which in turn should place them about 11th overall. However, if they lose to Oklahoma (widely expected), we are looking at a national title match-up between teams that played the 46th and 48th toughest schedules.


The Mountaineers or Buckeyes as mythical national champions will answer no questions, nor prove any points. Which, in this year of manifest unpredictability, may be just about what we and this stupid system deserve.


Henry Gomez said...

But Mergz isn't the debate what makes college football great? Isn't it the fact that every game is a playoff?


Gator Boys said...

You know UF would be favored in a matchup with WVU. I would bet anybody that UF would beat WVU, OSU, or Missouri. Straight up. Whover wins the championship this year got lucky

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't the process of crowning a champion, but the desire to crown a champion.

College football doesn't need a national champion. Or a playoff.

If playoffs ensure matchups of the best teams, why are almost all of the superbowls unwatchable blowouts?

Year2 said...

"If playoffs ensure matchups of the best teams, why are almost all of the superbowls unwatchable blowouts?"

Because of the historic yet artificial divide between the NFC and AFC, and the requirement that the Super Bowl must contain one of each. Usually one conference is better than the other, and often the top two teams in the NFL are in the same conference.

Last year, the Pats and Colts were the best two teams. They met in the AFC title game and played a 38-34 classic.

Anonymous said...

excellent idea! cal vs. washington for the national championship.

Henry Gomez said...

The desire to crown a championship isn't going anywhere. It's been around since the polls started and selectors began to give out retroactive championships. In today's sports landscape people want to see a legitimate champion not someone's opinion of who is the champion.

And no, having a playoff doesn't preclude a blowout but at least the two teams facing off will have a legitimate claim to the right to be there. Something that doesn't exist today.

Anonymous said...

maybe we (SEC) should try scheduling some of the better progams at the beginning of the season to take care of them before they get up to the BCS top dog spots, just an idea.

dethwing said...

Kind of like Tennesse vs Cal? ...Oh...wait...
In all seriousness, I think it would be a great idea to mandate some kind of agressive regular season scheduling between the BCS conferences. Something akin to the Big 10 - ACC challenge (Or P10-Big 12) in basketball would be nice.

Mergz said...

Florida has Hawaii and Miami as it's first two games next year, them moves to the SEC schedule.

Like that?