Easterbrook vs. the BCS

http://www.tnr.com/easterbrook.mhtml?pid=1139

Good stuff.

I’m surprised that even he played that “humans vs. computers” card. I’ve heard that a few hundred times in the last month, always uttered with the tone of “we’ll show those damn machines!!!” Shows how naive I am–I thought human beings programmed those computers and set up the mathematical formulas by which they’re to make their rankings. The problem isn’t with technology, it’s with the foolish attempts to use it that result only in misuse. It all seems to really be empowering the Lee Corsos of the world. They also treat the BCS as just one big computer poll, though the computer polls are just an element, and the bizarre way that element fits with the rest causes a lot of redundancy and error.

I don’t think the point is so much that “computurs R bad” as that the computers were misprogrammed: specifically that they were programmed to favor schools like Oklahoma and Nebraska that never play a challenging schedule and like to run the score up against inferior competition.

Yeah. Oklahoma this year wasn’t the Oklahoma of 2000…

Since I detect no sarcasm, I’d better post here. Piece by piece…

[color=red]"“They’re doomed!” my eight-year-old, Spenser, exclaimed … And so they were. Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning quarterback Jason White promptly threw an interception returned for a touchdown, … Note that an eight-year-old immediately recognized how silly it was for the Sooners to be in the shotgun near their own goal line in a close game."[/color]

Riiiight. Or in other words, coincidence. My guess is if the guy throws a TD pass there it would be as if the kid said nothing at all.

Oklahoma couldn’t run the football anyway, so making it easier on the passing game is a GOOD idea. Either that or run the ball and they’d be punting from their endzone.

[color=red]“Oklahoma’s season has been all about running up the score–it beat Texas A&M 77-0, for example–and constant passing from the shotgun formation helps run up the score.”[/color]

They’ve had plenty of practice out of that formation which makes it even more attractive to use.

[color=red]“When Oklahoma met an equal, Kansas State, in the Big 12 championship, the Sooners got pounded.”[/color]

Oklahoma 65, Texas 13, at Texas. Oklahoma also had the 11th most difficult schedule. 'Nuff said.

[color=red]“I found it refreshing that the team the computers said was best looked awful, while the two teams that human beings liked–USC and LSU–looked great in the year’s top bowls.”[/color]

Coincidence. I’ve followed programmer (computer) rankings vs. human polls and late in the year the programmer usually does a better job (Early in the year humans do a far better job since the computer begins with zero data). I wouldn’t mind more complicated formulas than the programmers usually use, however.

[color=red]“The BCS, however, now stands exposed as a sham.”[/color]

Once passed through the sieve… “The BCS now stands as an imperfect system”.

[color=red]“There was an easy way to tell Oklahoma was a Potemkin team–check its schedule, and find that during the regular season the Sooners played seven home games versus only five road games.”[/color]

The pain just goes on and on. LSU also played seven home games and five road games! I guess LSU is also a “Potemkin team”.

[color=red]“But the BCS formula was devised not to recognize gimmicks like this, in order to guarantee that a few insider favorite schools such as Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Miami would play in the BSC finale, which is also the year’s highest-revenue game.”[/color]

Bullshit.

Is Easterbrook always like garbage, or is this just an off day for him? Does someone need to instruct him on how the BCS formula works?

Oklahoma 65, Texas 13, at Texas. Oklahoma also had the 11th most difficult schedule. 'Nuff said.

If you call Texas an equal to Oklahoma, then OU had no business being in the BCS championship game. You did see Texas get throttled by Washington State, right?

If you look at the overall bowl picture, it just showed that USC’s “weak” schedule and OU’s “hard” schedule were a bit misleading. Those “tough” teams that OU beat looked anywhere from horrible to inept to average. Those teams that USC beat (and even lost to) looked much better. Hell, Cal looked unstoppable against Virginia Tech.

I don’t think this ever gets resolved without a playoff system, and everyone says that’s unlikely because of the money involved. So I guess that means people will always complain. Before the BCS, everyone was upset that a bunch of sportswriters who never played the game decided the champion. Now everyone’s mad at the computer. I wonder if people would be appeased if they got rid of both the BCS and the AP poll and just had the coach’s poll determine the champion. At least then you’d have “football guys” making the decision, since a lot of people seem to have a problem with anyone else doing it.

Good points, but at the beginning of the season it looked like a good schedule. It’s hard to know which teams will really be good in college football (or the NFL for that matter). OU scheduled decent games (and don’t they do so a few years in advance?). The teams just faltered. And Texas WAS ranked 7th going into that bowl game. That’s the ranking the computers had to use. Texas should have been a better team than they were, but now I am losing my main point :).

My main point is that these teams go up and down through the season and change a lot from beginning to end. USC beat Auburn, which looked like a good win until Auburn dropped 4 more games. When the Texas OU game was played, it looked like it would be a good battle. It wasn’t. When the LSU/OU game was played, it looked like it would be good. I think it WAS a good game because I like defensive struggles. The game was close too and OU had a chance to tie it up. Yes, they blew it, but I don’t think OU didn’t deserve to be there. Kansas State didn’t look amazing in their bowl game either, but they looked great against OU. The BCS is a flawed system because football, like most sports, is a flawed game in the sense of being unpredictable. We don’t know what an LSU/USC game would have looked like. Maybe LSU would have killed them more than they beat OU.

What I think should happen is that the BCS computers should be used in those cases were the other polls can’t agree on the top teams. It should be a tie-breaker, not a decider. Another solution would be to keep the system as it is, but play an extra game ONLY when there is a split championship. That has logistic problems of course, but would be a nice solution if it was workable.

Playoffs - top 8 teams. Seed em and let em play it out over 3 weekends in December leading up to a New Years weekend climax. Might even go for 16 and 4 weeks to sort it out. Ratings would be higher, Fan interest would be higher and all the same sponsors would sign on for em just like the bowl games…its the “DUH” answer I just can’t believe the NCAA does not get it right.

I don’t think it’s such a simple solution because it messes with final exams for the students (the whole reason they get 3 weeks off).

I honestly thought Stoops made an interesting argument on ESPN (I think) when asked what he thought about the BCS controversy. He said, essentially, who cares? Is it so bad to have co-champions? Does anyone beside the press even really need a definitive champion? Does the press even want one? There are too many things at work with college football to really get it right. Even with a playoff system, there would be controversy about who gets the last spot (a few years ago #2 Miami lost to #10 Washington or something like that, things like that would still occur).

I really don’t think co-champions are too bad myself. Some sports reporters are foaming at the mouth about this like they were actually talking about a genuine travesty of historical proportions.

And damn, some of these sports reporters act like their part of some higher power think-tank addressing world issues. They report sports, that’s all I have to say about this stuff.

If the final exams are such a deal killer, then how come DII and DIII have playoffs? Those players are less likely to go pro, and thus more likely to actually attend their classes and take the exams, than the meatheads in DI.

The interfereing with the classes is such a tired excuse. Does anybody notice that Div 1-AA, II, and III schools do payoffs just fine? Look at how long the season goes already. By the time the conf champoinships are played its right at the end of the semester for those students already. Don’t here compalints about that do you? Ohh wait I forgot it makes those schools and conferences allot of money cause its about the students ya know? :roll: A small playoff could be worked out during the Christmas break time with no interference.

Bottom line is the BCS is and always will be a complete and utter joke. It exsists right now for one sole reason. Money.

“I really don’t think co-champions are too bad myself.”

Err yea like lets just have everybody go the way of collage football. I mean just throw out those dumb playoffs everybody else does.

Everybody gets a gold star just for effort!!!

I have a feeling that D2 and D3 playoffs don’t interfere with final exams either. I went to a D3 school and the season was shorter if I remember correctly. I guess D1 could shorten the season a little or do playoffs in January.

And Becker, what are you talking about? You’re posts are covered in incoherent drool. Why would everyone go the way of D1 football? Other leagues have a system that works for them, but college football as a whole is a disorganized mess. The BCS was supposed to be an attempt to use the latest technology to bring a definitive order to that mess and it failed in its current incarnation and it will continue to fail as long as you have variables in there like strength of schedule. It may work when the outcome is more clear cut, but the polls probably would have worked then as well. The BCS system can’t work (at least in its current form) when it really needs to.

Becker, you bring up the heart of the problem when you say that the Bowl games are all about money. As long as Bowl games are the clearest prostitutes advertised sports have ever seen, there’s really no point in worrying about a true solution. They will make bids to teams that travel better over teams that deserve to be there, they will make bids so local teams play in local stadiums. The whole system smells like human waste. Check out this http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/scoreboard and tell me what you see. The Rose Bowl presented by Citi? The Continental Tire Bowl? Are they serious? That’s why I don’t mind co-champions, LSU and USC both deserve it, and the whole system is so void of any dignity that it’s really not worth worrying about in its current incarnation.

If that’s the case, maybe college football players should be paid. God knows they’re not there for an education.

That’s the thing, if the players were paid and this was a professional league, then I would demand a champion. The NFL wouldn’t work with co-champions. But this is a collegiate league where the students are there to go to school as well (just reading their majors brings tears of laughter to my eyes… when I was at U of Miami a few years ago, I heard some players were actual students but some were just jokes in the classroom).

Personally I would rather see colleges get rid of sports before seeing collegiate players paid, but with the amount of money these programs bring in, you wonder why more of that doesn’t go to the people bringing in the bucks.

Ugh. the Divisions with playoffs also don’t have scholarships (or at the least, don’t have nearly as many), so student athletes are motivated financially to do well in school. They don’t practices as often or as hard (the D3 champ never practiced in pads!). D1 schools practice as much as 20 hours/week (and that doesn’t count unoffical practice time that players do “on their own” like lifting/running).

Also, lower division schools don’t travel as far for games as D1 schools. No Michigan D2/3 school traveled to Oregon this year, while D1 Michigan did.

All of that adds up to a lot more time and motivation for student/athletes to devote to school.

So let’s throw out the whole “smaller divisions have playoffs and it doesn’t hurt students” nonsense.

A playoff could work with 8 teams. You need every conference to play a title game (ugh) or wipe them out entirely (yay!). Knock out 1 non-conference game, teams play 13-14 games total. But people who talk about how big money the playoff would be are ignoring the fact that the first round of a 16 team playoff would be poorly attended unless games were held at the home stadiums of higher ranked teams (which is hardly fair, given the massive home field advantage in football), because fans can’t afford to drop $2,000 or more to make 3 or 4 road trips to playoff games. It’s the same for first round NCAA hoop tourney games. Aside from the 7 and 9pm games, the arenas are half-full at best.

And Easterbrook is a clown. He constantly hops on his political hobby horses, like how awful and amoral the entertainment industry is, while at the same time needing a drool bib to talk about cheerleaders (even going to far as to invite women to help him commit adultery, or at least promiscuity). Very good example setting for the child, Gregg. Add to that how he presents his pet stats like they’re carved in stone, despite the fact that they’re often as strong as wet paper.

Dan - you realize there are no exams on the weekend right? You realize that D1 Basketball teams manage to get in roughly 4-7 games a piece during the exact same timeframe? Most of the teams take off maybe 7 days - usually a Sat to a Sat to handle this. You really see this as an insurmountable problem? Especially for “students” who are taking the types of courses football players are taking for the most part? Do you really think those guys are studying for 3 weeks between Dec 1 and Dec 20??? Really? I have some swampland I’d like you to take a look at.

My school would sometimes schedule exams on the weekend. Finals were definitely scheduled through weekends. And while it’s true that student athletes often take a joke curriculum, I hate the idea of encouraging that by disregarding their academics even more than we do already.

When a 3.2 GPA gets you praised across the land and included in all kinds of all-academic teams while studying the rigors of sociology (the staggering favorite amongst athlete-students), anybody intelligent enough to be attending college in the first place (which is what, 80% of athletes?) could pass the damn exam DURING a game.