Number two-ranked West Virginia just lost to Pitt (just as USC lost to UCLA last year). Number one-ranked Mizzou followed that by losing to Oklahoma.
As I sit here and watch ANOTHER final day of the college football season unfold with unfathomable results, I can only imagine how
AWESOME – uh, I mean MEANINGLESS today’s football games would have been if we had that all important “playoff” for which so many fans think that they desperately long.
A little after 11pm ET, ABC’s Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit commented that today could be the “BCS’ worst nightmare” and the system is literally imploding today. Conventional wisdom would agree with them. I do not.
You see, days like today and seasons like this season are exactly WHY college football is so wonderful. If a playoff existed heading into today’s games, then imagine how unimportant and unremarkable today’s events would have been. Heck, West Virginia probably would have played all of their back ups to rest their starters and lost their game with Pitt on purpose. (Why can’t fans ever recognize that behavor is not static when environments experience significant change?
College football continues to prove that every week is a playoff and fans just keep forgetting that if a playoff system existed the regular season wouldn’t be nearly as excited as we have today.
The events of this year is expose the crux of the BCS’ REAL PROBLEM – the selection of the TWO teams to play for the National Championship.
The problem with the BCS is NOT that more teams need an opportunity to play for a national championship after having an entire season to rise to the top of the polls. The problem with the BCS is that they need a more specific, precise and scientific formula for choosing the two teams to square off in the Championship Game.
If the BCS would construct a single, universal, scenario-tested, scientific computer formula then why would you need to select more than two teams after every team in the country has played 12 regular season games?
Contrary to popular opinion, the current system does NOT really utilize a computer program to analyze data to rank the teams. The current system actually uses a computer to sort the heavily weighted rankings of humans along side with various independent computer rankings, some of which are weak and based on misguided weightings of data that create stupdid rankings. The result is a diluted mess whereby the subjective polls outweigh everything and invariably is going to create controversy.
If a single computer program existed to analyze RESULTS from the field – not the subjective opinions of humans – then college football would achieve the kind of CONSISTENT ANALYSIS and OBJECTIVE RANKINGS for which we all want.
Take a look at this discussion about the reality of how “Strength of Schedule” is neglected under today’s current situation. People like to talk about SOS, but the reality is that even a ‘consideration’ of SOS is grossly subjective unless some kind of objective and consistent measurement criteria is applied. If a solid, accurate and UNIVERSAL computer program was used to analyze actual performance on the field and not various subjective human opinions then factors like strength of schedule would really matter than the system could accurately choose the two best teams in the country
I don’t care what teams that other people ‘THINK’ are better than each other. This means NOTHING. If the pundits were actually right about their selections, then the rankings would actually never change. I believe that the actual PERFORMANCE of team’s on the field should be all that matters. If #1 beats #10 by 1 point and #2 beats #10 by 50 points, then #2 has PERFORMED better than #1. It’s not that difficult. But, it doesn’t work that way in today’s world when the #1 could be a ‘loaded’ USC team with 25 first rounders on the roster that everyone knows is the ‘best team’.
Should the National Championship be awarded to the ‘best team’ or the ‘team that has performed the best’?
The construction of the computer formula would not be easy, but it would not be impossible. One current mistake that I would like to see fixed is the impact of WHEN a team loses. If all teams play 12 games per year, why does it matter more that a team just within the last month instead of in the first month? It’s absurd. The ONLY reason this problem currently exists is because of the imperfections of humans. Yet, they are the ones that complain about the rankings. The relative performance as judged by a team’s ENTIRE BODY OF WORK during the season should be criteria for judgement.
Every school, fan and media member in the country would know the criteria and the formula used to rank teams. Records (“Wins”) would obviously still be the driving factor, but strength of schedule, margins of victory (capped at something like 30 points), location of games and other criteria would/could play a major role in the rankings. For example, if a team went undefeated, but played one of the weakest schedules in America then they have nobody to blame but themselves if they can’t achieve a #1 or #2 ranking.
Allow me to give you a hypothetical example to make my point of the problems with the current system and how a computer could fix it -
Consider that Ohio State begins the season ranked #1 in the country and Minnesota begins the season picked last in the Big Ten with no expectations. Consider that it is one of those seasons in the Big 10 where the two teams do not play each other but they play identical Big 10 schedules.
If Ohio State and Minnesota beat each Big Ten team by the identical margin of victory who do you think would be ranked #1 in the country at the end of the year? What if OSU played an embarassing non-conference schedule and Minnesota played a particularly difficult non-conference schedule. Do you think that today’s Einstein-voters would rank Minnesota ahead of OSU who started the season #1? If they PERFORMED identically against the conference schedule, why wouldn’t Minnesota’s PERFORMANCE merit a higher ranking than OSU?
What if Oklahoma also ended the season undefeated and ended the season ranked #2? Minnesota would be more deserving to play OU than OSU yet would be boxed out by today’s ridiculous rankings. If we had a single computer formula there would never be a fear of this playing out and there never COULD be a situation where the more deserving team was discriminated against.