Monday, December 01, 2008

BCS Armageddon

As Mergz succinctly showed, the Gators could get royally screwed by the BCS system. But forget about the Gators for a second. This blog has been outspoken about the farce that is the "National Championship" in college football since it's inception. This despite the fact that that our beloved Gators came out on top in 2006 and may still come out on top this year. This system sucks, plain and simple. J.A. Adande just exposed the ridiculousness of this system in about 60 seconds on ESPN's Around the Horn.

The theory behind the BCS is simple enough, the top two ranked teams should face each other to determine the championship. Of course that's where logic ends and horseshit begins. With 119 teams in the FBS division attempting to select the "two best" is folly, especially when you consider the small sample size that a regular season in college football yields.

Since there's no clear cut way to select the top two teams, there's a lot of room for interpretation. Is it the two teams that are playing the best right now? Is it the two teams that amassed the best resume? Can a conference non-champion actually be the "National Champion"? Should we allow for a rematch of a game we have already seen?

The big problem I have is that the BCS system is predicated on the faulty premise that voters are not being influenced by the process that they are a part of. The fact is that voters are VERY AWARE of the process and how the automated (computer) part of the process is likely to behave so they are going to cast their votes accordingly to reach a premeditated outcome. This may help or hurt the Gators but that's really besides the point. What's the point in having computers if the humans can accurately predict what the computers will do and counterbalance the result?

This is CRAZY.

The computers are theoretically free of bias but there's another HUGE problem here. By BCS dictates, the computers can't take margin of victory into account, a constraint it does not place upon human voters. The resulting computer rankings deviate dramatically from what they might show if MoV was taken into account. For example, the top ranked team in Sagarin's PREDICTOR rating is USC, followed closely by Florida. But the politically correct ELO_CHESS rating that Sagarin uses for BCS purposes gives both teams much less love with the Trojans ranked 8th and the Gators ranked 6th. So here you have a computer guru whose model says USC should be playing Florida in the national championship game but the BCS requires him to use a model that has Oklahoma vs. Texas playing a game nobody outside of Austin and Norman wants to see.

This is why I can't get emotionally invested in the BCS. To me the top prize for my Gators is winning the SEC championship. It's unambiguous, it's real, it's legitimate. Everything else is frankly concocted bullshit.


C.Cargill said...

I'm thrilled by what you wrote about the conference championship being a top prize. It seems most people have forgotten what a HUGE deal it is to win the conference championship.

I'm a Gator fan currently living in Columbus, Ohio and it amazed me after Ohio State lost to USC, it was as if the season was over for Ohio State Fans. USC was a NON-CONFERENCE matchup and the loss still left plenty of room for a Big Ten championship.

Never mind the fact that Florida is currently sitting on a 11-1 record. Doesn't anyone remember the Zook years? How much would we have all paid back then to be sitting at 11-1 and playing for the SEC title.

For me, the SEC title game is where it's at. Another national championship trophy is just gravy at this point.

UrqE said...

I am over this end of year college football bullshit. I have no love affair for Texas, but feel they are the team totally being screwed. They lost to a top 5 team on the road in the last seconds of the game. This also happened to be their 4th straight game against a top 10 team.
What annoys me more than anything is that everyone (Kirk H., Brent M., Jesse P., Chris Fowler, etc.) thinks since Texas beat OU on a neutral site they should be going to the Big 12 Championship NOT OU. If everyone thinks Texas should go than why in the hell aren't they? Blame the Big 12 conference for that one not the BCS. The Big 12 conference should step in. The SEC has a nice twist that way down in the tiebreaker if two teams are within 5 spots head to head breaks the tie-that is smart.

I know this won't be popular, but if you look at the loss of each of the one loss teams our beloved Gators own the most damaging loss.
I am glad we are in the spot we are in but you have to admit losing to an unranked (at the time) opponent at home is the worst loss of all the one loss teams.
By the way if UF wins (I expect them to wax Bama) there is no way they are not in the title game. Ask yourself this question....if you were guaranteed an 8 team playoff would you accept a Texas-OU NC game if UF wins-I would.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

What I disagree with is using rankings at the time of the contest as opposed to current rankings. That cuts both ways. Ole Miss is ranked today and LSU isn't. I think you obtain more information each week and thus the poll from week 12 is more important than the poll from week 4 or whatever.

DolFan 316 said...

It's amazing to me how, in all the years the BCS has existed, the mysterious computer ratings have always--and I do mean ALWAYS--favored Big 12 teams in general and the Sooners in particular, who have now (if they beat Mizzou) gotten to advance to THREE national title games they didn't deserve.

I thought this garbage was done with when Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg stepped down as head of the BCS (no conflict of interest there, no sir) but now it's back, and it's somehow WORSE than ever!

Might as well just call it the Big12CS. It's literally like no other conference even matters. I refuse to believe an allegedly impartial computer voting system could keep favoring the same conference and team every single time. That's just too much of a coincidence for me.

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