Thursday, December 06, 2007

If Computers Ran the (BCS) World

So might say they already do. But what would have happened if the BCS Title Game were left up to any single computer ranking?

Before we look at that, it is interesting to note that both the human polls – the Harris Interactive and the USA Today Coaches Poll – that make up the BCS had exactly the same one and two: Ohio State and LSU, respectively.

For the 6 computer rankings that make up the BCS, had any of them had the final say, results would have (for the most part) looked very different. Only Richard Billingsley would have had Ohio State as 1 against LSU as 2. The others would have had –

Anderson & Hester

Ohio State (1) v. Missouri (2)

Colley Matrix

LSU (1) v. Virginia Tech (2)

Kenneth Massey

Virginia Tech (1) v. LSU (2)

Jeff Sagarin

Virginia Tech (1) v. LSU (2)

Dr. Peter Wolfe

Virginia Tech (1) v. Oklahoma (2)

If it looks to you like the computers didn’t much love Ohio State, you’re right. An average of the computer rankings – the very same average used by the BCS, would have had a title game pitting Virginia Tech as 1 against LSU as 2.

The Hokies got hosed!

It was the strength of the human voter that returned the Buckeyes to the BCS Title game. We’ll see if the faith was justified.


Anonymous said...

I think this is one of those situations where removing margin of victory, has really skewed the computer polls (especially given teh fact that some of the formula's had it previously and don't appear to have been altered all that much to compensate for this, I wish I could see what Sagarin uses for his algorithim).

dethwing said...

At this point you might as well just drop the computer rankings. The humans have so much control that their 1 and 2 will almost never be overruled. The only way they could come into play is if the 2 and 3 are particularly close in both polls, and the 3 has a lead in the computers.

dethwing said...

Oh, and I might as well continue to harp on Billingsly. His rankings look like the polls, because that's how he designed them. He's got a pre-season ranking, and OSU "started" the year at 2. That's why they're number 1 there.
Look at week 8 on his site for instance. Do you know of anyone else in the world who had Michigan at 12, well above an Oregon team that thrashed them?

Anonymous said...

Hokies already got hosed by LSU 48-7, much like Michigan last year how could you allow a rematch, thankfully computers have little say in the BCS. Virginia Tech had Ohio U., William and Mary, and Duke all Hokie cupcakes too. Back in 2003, commentators considered it a great injustice that USC (who had one loss to Cal) did not make the BCS champ game, while Oklahoma made it despite being drilled by Kansas State in the Big 12 Champ game (never mind that the game was meaningless to OU cause they were already in). The reason they were higher in the BCS ranking than USC? Strengh of schedule. It was the complaining and constant lobbying after that the powers-that-be changed the formula so the schedules no longer were a factor. As a result USC made it the following two years and no complaining. Now that USC is once again getting the shaft in their minds (even though they lost to a horrible Stanford team), they're bashing the BCS once again by saying OSU doesn't belong there. Maybe they should just lay in the bed they made and be happy with it.

Gator Duck said...

And, that's why we need a playoff.

DolFan 316 said...

I like how the computers' influence has been decreased. Everybody gripes about the human voters, but as far as I can tell when things were left up to humans, they've gotten it right the past two years.

On the other hand the computers produced...a split national title in a system specifically designed to prevent that by sending the wrong team to play LSU in the "official" title game in '03, and these same computers put Nebraska into the title game in '01.

Personally I think both the computers (who the hell knows how they're being programmed since different people's computers rank the same teams with the same results differently) and the coaches' poll should be eliminated altogether.