Sunday, December 02, 2007

Self Reflection: Sportswriters & the BCS

Sportswriters have been whining for years about the BCS's selection process for determining which college football teams play for the national championship.  For me this is a classic example of not reflecting on how one's own behavior impacts outcomes... particularly reflection regarding self-improvement.  I find this very annoying so I'm venting  with this blog post.

Several years ago, I read the following statement on the chalk board in the bathroom of the Crossroads Cafe in San Francisco:
"You Must Be the Change You Wish to See in the World."
I think the media itself is the problem with the BCS.  The problem is the voting mentality of the participants in the various polls.  How is that an average team like Kansas ever cracks the top 10 with out having any quality wins on their schedule? The Big 12 is awful this year and Kansas didn't play Oklahoma or Texas and lost to Missouri.  Even if they had beaten Missouri, they don't deserve to play in the national title game.  Going undefeated simply is not enough to play in the title game.  And the arguments about "you can only beat who you play" or locking out non-BCS schools are complete B.S.  If you want to be have a shot at the national championship you have to schedule solid non-conference opponents.  Kansas's non-conference schedule was pathetic:
  • Central Michigan 
  • Southeastern Louisiana 
  • Florida International 
  • Toledo
...and they only have 2 victories against opponents with winning records:
  • Central Michigan (8 - 5)
  • Texas A&M (7 - 5)
So the problem with the BCS is not their formula, but rather with voters who mindlessly shuffle teams up the rankings based on record alone.  The BCS system is heavily weighted towards the sportswriters polls, so if these guys just voted for who they thought was the best team in the country rather than who has the best record in the country, the system would work.  Why is it that Missouri (then #1) was an underdog against Oklahoma (then #9)?  Clearly, sportswriters were ranking a team #1 that they didn't believe would beat #9... which makes no sense at all.  (No, betting lines and rankings aren't the same thing, but they usually tightly linked)  And back to bashing Kansas... They're currently ranked #8, but how many top 25 teams would they really be competitive with?  In my opinion they would be underdogs against every top 25 team except Hawaii, BYU, Cincinnati, South Florida & Boise State.  If Kansas is the 8th best team in the country, shouldn't they be the favorite against all 17 teams behind them in the top 25?

So bottom line to sportswriters... stop whining for a playoff system and change your silly voting practices.

P.S.  Here is my personal top 10:
  1. LSU
  2. USC
  3. Ohio State
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Virginia Tech
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Tennessee
  9. Illinois
  10. Arizona State

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