A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another Open Letter

To all of the half-wit sportswriters who are clamoring for a 4 team, "Plus One" playoff system in college football:

Who would your four teams have been in 2007? Pick four from the group of

A) Georgia
D) Missouri
E) Ohio State
F) West Virginia
G) Kansas

and base your argument solely on regular season results, since that's what you would have had to do were the system in place this year. You are not allowed to count Ohio State's idle week against them, since it's not their fault that the Big Ten doesn't have the 12 teams required for a conference championship game.


Answer Key: The only problem with the BCS is that the fucking voters don't ever think about fucking strengths-of-schedule until after the season. If they would vote better, or stop revising the BCS formula every year to weigh the polls more and more heavily, this wouldn't be a problem.

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Blogger steve said...

I love the part where it's like, strength of schedule is this completely exogenous thing that just happens to a team. I mean, a team just has no control over their strength schedule! Fuck that. You know within a small margin who the best teams are going to be every year. So you either schedule a bunch of them and think you're the best team or you don't.

The real problem is fixing the BCS system is a multiyear game where strength schedule is continuously rewarded and some teams with one loss but really hard wins keep getting ahead of even undefeateds. After awhile, teams would recognize the system isn't changing and if they wanted to go to the national championship they had to play hard games, not get into a PR game with journalists when they all have very similar strengths of schedule. Of course, this would require major, major multiseason discipline from the sport and from the BCS, and it isn't going to happen. The teams know the BCS can't commit to it so they continue to schedule their max one hard at home non-conference foe and hope to be undefeated.

10:57 AM

Blogger steve said...

Whoops, I kept forgetting to put the "of" in strength of schedule.

10:59 AM

Blogger neill said...

And when teams have no incentive to schedule meaningful out-of-conference games except for historic rivalries (Michigan / Notre Dame, etc, though of course that game wasn't particularly important this season), you get all sorts of bizarre constructed realities about teams' relative worth.

For example, you always hear about how tough the SEC is. And yes, it's generally a powerhouse, but look at the results! LSU won, obviously, but Arkansas got blown the hell out by Missouri, and the Big 12 was paper-thin this year. Meanwhile, Florida lost to UM and Tennessee barely beat Wisconsin.

Whatever. Now I'm turning into one of them.

2:39 PM

Blogger steve said...

I'm convinced that with a system that encourages frequent good team interaction we could easily make an excellent and low uncertainty latent variable model of "football skill." Which is basically what the BCS is, but of course the high quality teams playing in it haven't interacted with each other enough to get a very reliable estimate of their quality.

5:18 PM


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