Monday, December 04, 2006

The BCS Mess

What a joke. The events of yesterday have proven that this system sucks more than a "recruiting hostess" when a 5-star is in town. I wouldn't have a problem with Florida going if I believed for a second that people voted for them because they truly felt Florida was the best team. That's not what happened though.

You're not going to read anything new here, but I took the time to respond to someone on the Packer Wire who asked me my thoughts, so I might as well paste them here.

If people felt that the Gators were better than U of M, they would've jumped Michigan the week we lost to OSU. Not two weeks later. I have a very hard time believing that an ugly win over Arkansas convinced people that this team was better than Michigan. The voters didn't vote for the 2nd best team, they voted to set the matchup. And that is not at all what their job is when voting in these polls.

One has to go no further than breaking down the components to see how stupid the BCS is.

Why is the coaches' poll stupid? Urban Meyer inadvertently explained it in his interview with Chris Meyers. The question was asked, "How does your team match up with Ohio State?" His answer? "I don't really know. We haven't seen too much of them. Down here in the South we don't get a lot of film of their games." What are these coaches basing their votes on then? They obviously aren't watching other college football games on Saturday. It's impossible. They've got their own gameday duties to worry about. And Meyer admitted as much.

The other reason it's stupid is that not every coach has a vote. I understand that part of that could be that they don't want to give the Non-BCS conferences too much power--or at least that's the only thing I can come up with. But Joe Paterno doesn't have a vote. Joe freaking Paterno doesn't have a vote. Urban Meyer didn't have a vote either. Coaches don't vote based upon who they think is better. They vote based upon geography and their own personal interests. Seriously, do we really think Mike Bellotti knows if Michigan or Florida is better? How many of each team's games do you think he watched?

The Harris poll is even dumber. Who are these people and why are they qualified to send a team to the title game? According to stuff I've read today, there's a voter who has a radio show in Ohio, who regularly refers to Michigan as "Skunkbears" and "scUM" on his show. There's a bar owners, radio hosts, ex coaches. Are we accounting for bias in this poll? Nope, the NCAA shot that idea down last year. This little tidbit is included with the Harris Poll rankings: "Last season the 11 Division 1-A Conference Commissioners and Notre Dame Athletics Director Kevin White decided to not accept the Harris Interactive recommendation to apply a standard statistical practice that addresses potential instability, error, or bias associated with unusual ranking patterns."

So you get things like the jag-off (Jim Walden) who put Florida #1 because "The Big Ten is a joke of a conference"...despite the fact that they've got 3 of the top 6 teams in the country, and in his coaching career he was 0-17 against teams from "That joke of a conference".

You've also got guys like George Lapides who was quoted in the NY Times (HT: mgoblog) as saying that he feels Michigan would beat Florida if they played, but he put Florida in anyway because he likes the idea of conference champions playing each other. Where was that sentiment when everyone was loving on Notre Dame??? When did "I like the idea of it" become an option for ranking the teams?

Then there's the guy who put Michigan behind USC! USC!!!! The team that lost to two unranked teams is ahead of one whose only loss was to the #1 team in the country on the road?

There are several who have Michigan (or Florida) behind Louisville. I like Louisville. They're a nice team. I'm from there originally. There's no justification for that. Someone put them #2! Just as egregious was the guy who put Florida number 5 behind Michigan, OSU, Wisconsin, and Louisville.

Someone had Boise State #2, which I guess is kind of understandable if you want to prove a point that you should get to play for a title when your best win is Hawaii). I heard that someone had TCU in the top 10, though I didn't check every ballot to verify that. Someone definitely had BYU in the top 10. How can we trust these people to make a rational decision when there's no accountability for someone whose ballot is completely out of whack. A poll that allows someone to vote Florida #1 at this point loses all credibility.

Then there's the computer polls. For an example of how stupid these can be, look no further than this this breakdown from awhile back.

The argument that "Michigan had their chance" absolutely holds no water. Unless Florida is going to go play OSU in Columbus on that crappy field, things aren't equal there. Why didn't Florida "blow their chance" when they lost to Auburn on the road. Last time I checked, Michigan didn't "have their chance" at beating Ohio State on a neutral field. OSU beat us by 3 at home, which as Vegas will tell you, is pretty close to being at wash at a neutral site.

Additionally, the campaigning that Gary Danielson did on CBS for the entire second half was shameful. I laughed my butt off when he put his "victory comparison" up on the screen. That was all well and good to compare wins, until you realize that he wasn't taking into account the score, how the teams played, or anything like that related to the games themselves. Only who beat whom. That's when you get asinine things like Michigan's win against Vandy being a push with Florida's win against Vandy. Even though Michigan beat them by 20 and Florida won by 6. And you know, Michigan actually had more yards than Vandy in their game.

That win over South Carolina looks ok, until you realize that they slept through that game, needing what? A couple blocked kicks to beat them by one point? They squeaked by a BAD Florida State football team. And Arkansas was leading that football game the other night until their backup punt returner decided it would be a good idea to try and Willie Mays catch a punt inside his own 5 yard line.

Michigan was in a game they could have lost/did lose twice this year. Every other game was never in doubt. Ball State made it a game, mostly against the 2nd and 3rd string defense. And of course Ohio State beat us.

I love that a pair of voters on CBS Sportsline admit that they voted for UF because...umm...well...13 games is harder than 12. Good thing UF scheduled that game against 1-AA West Carolina. That made the difference, by God! If you're going to schedule a 1-AA team, at least pick one that is within sniffing distance of .500....

What else, what else, what else? Oh yeah. Vegas is pretty good at this stuff. Even they agree that Michigan is the better team. It was said that if Michigan and UF played on a neutral field, Michigan would open a 6-6 1/2 point favorite. But Florida is the better team. Riiiight.

Michigan was also hurt because they sat idle for two weeks while Florida and USC were still playing. After the country's last look at the Wolverines, the voters still thought Michigan was the second best team in the country. That after a LOSS even. But somehow in there, they were jumped by not one, but TWO teams. One of which scraped by Florida State and won a decently close game against a bumbling, depleted Arkansas team. The Big Ten needs to do something about the schedule. Build in an extra bye week or two, or something. Who wouldn't be in favor of us taking our bye against Ball State and then playing a game after OSU at this point? I know OSU is supposed to be "The Game" but these other conferences have a HUGE advantage by playing after we're done. Since the media appears to be so distracted by bright and shiny objects that they can't remember how most of them were in favor of a rematch just a couple weeks ago.

If USC had won yesterday, there's no part of me that believes Florida would be ranked ahead of Michigan today. The anti-rematch sentiment took over, and the voters manipulated the rankings to make sure it wouldn't happen, ignoring their job to rank the teams by how good they are--NOT by what matchup they want to see.

It's too bad too, because they've robbed the nation of an absolute EPIC national title game, in favor of what will likely be an Ohio State 20+ point victory. All that gimmick stuff isn't going to work against OSU. I just can't imagine how good a Michigan/OSU game would be, when neither team has anything to do but prepare for each other for a full month.

Through it all, I'm still very excited about the Rose Bowl. It's hard to complain about a "traditional" Big 10/Pac 10 matchup against a team like USC. It's a chance to get revenge for a couple years ago, build some momentum for next season, and snap this bowl losing streak.

Go Blue, Beat USC. And ::gulp:: Go Buckeyes. The best thing for college football would be for both those Big 10 teams to win easily...I'm willing to take one for the team and deal with the OSU fans after another national title if it means we move closer to a playoff. And I'm thankful that we have a coach that won't whore himself to the media just to buy votes.

BTW, Jim Tressel is a bitch for not voting in that last poll. I understand that it was a lose-lose situation for him, but still. Bitch.

The BCS screws someone almost every year, and this year it just happened that our number was up. The networks may love it because it creates controversy, and controversy = ratings, but if the NCAA is actually interested in crowning a true champion, they need to move to a playoff system as soon as it is possible. I'd much rather the controversy be over who is the 8th seed and who is left out as #9 than for it to be over who should play for the friggin' National Championship. Let the players prove it on the field. Don't let coaches with agendas, who likely haven't seen enough games to make an accurate judgement haphazardly throw a ballot together, dopes from all across the media who have about as much right to pick teams as I do, and computers that aren't fed enough information determine things.

That's all I got.

1 comment:

Brad said...

The thing that makes the Harris poll so bad is that is was intentionally chosen to have voters with bias in the hope that they would cancel each other out. That's just idiotic.