I got two messages today asking me some form of: “WHERE ARE YOUR COLLEGE FOOTBALL RATINGS, ANDREW? I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THEM!” (I may be exaggerating tone) I actually forgot to do it. Sunday is when I usually do it and I was busy. Then I just plum forgot. There’s not much controversy this year, as there were no major upsets in the last two weeks, and the BCS is going away in a year.
However, the current setup can still be mocked for it’s figure-skating-like approach to placing teams in the national championship. What, exactly, separates Alabama from Kansas State in the minds of the voters? They look better? They pass the eye test? I’m not saying Alabama’s not better. They’re way better in my opinion, but sports should be settled on the field and with pre-determined rules for how teams can advance, not based on how certain coaches felt a victory looked to them, or style of play, or anything like those variables that.
But anyway, given the records of all the teams, if I had to pick two teams to play, I would pick ND and Bama. However, I don’t have to pick 2 teams, I pick 8. And also, I don’t pick them based on how I think they looked. As always, here are the rules for my system:
- All teams are rated using a formula with 4 inputs: wins, losses, strength of schedule, and conference strength of schedule. Conf SOS is a very small factor.
- Teams are then ranked by their rating. Ratings for the top teams go up as the season goes on, as teams are credited for more wins.
- 8 teams make the playoff: top 6 rated conference champions (any conference), and the top 2 rated remaining teams, whether they are champions or not.
- Top 4 conference champions are seeded in order, and host a playoff game at their home field.
- The remaining 4 teams are seeded in order, and are assigned to play a top 4 conference champion in reverse order of their rating. So it goes like this:
#1 – Top rated champ
#2 – 2nd best champ
#3 – 3rd best champ
#4 – 4th best champ
#5 – next best-rated team of the 8 playoff teams. This team will be hosted by #4.
#6 – next best-rated team of the 8 playoff teams. This team will be hosted by #3.
#7 - next best-rated team of the 8 playoff teams. This team will be hosted by #2.
#8 - next best-rated team of the 8 playoff teams. This team will be hosted by #1.
- These first-round games are played on campuses two weeks after the conference champions. The winners of these games are assigned to two major bowl games that will be used as semifinals, on a rotating basis. The losers of these games will also be assigned to two major bowl games, used as…bowl games.
- First round games are on CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN/ABC. I know there are contracts and all that to consider, but this is what I want in a perfect world, so we get each network’s best broadcast team. Although I could do without Gus Johnson (A paraphrasing of Johnson’s insight: “Martineeeeeeeeezzzz….yes! MARTINEZ! TAYLOR MARTINEZ!… … …TOUCHDOWN!!!!”), and we could go with two from ESPN/ABC.
- #8 Northern Illinois at #1 Ohio State, 12/9 Pacific (ESPN). This is so obviously the first game of the day. Nice midwest matchup
- #5 Notre Dame at #4 Kansas State, 3:30/12:30 Pacific (NBC). Of course, NBC would have some sort of ND-specific contract.
- #7 Florida State at #2 Alabama, 7/4 Pacific (CBS). I want to see this.
- #6 Florida at #3 Stanford, 10/7 Pacific (ABC). Stanford gets the late game because of location.
With that, see you next year!
“So what you’re saying is: you didn’t like how we played in the first half.”
As we enter the last week of the season, let’s take a look at all the conference championship games that will affect the BCS national championship:
- SEC – #2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia – winner goes to the national championship.
And let’s also look at the conference championship’s that have no effect whatsoever on the BCS national championship:
- Every other conference championship game.
This is a problem to me. With an eight-team playoff, here’s how each conference championship matters, using my ratings:
- SEC – #5 Alabama vs. #7 Georgia – Winner goes to playoff and is guaranteed to host a game. Also, Florida will likely get in as a low seed, but will not host a game. Is it fair that Georgia has to play their way in, and Florida is already in? In my mind, yes. Florida has played a much tougher schedule, and is likely squeaking into the playoff; there’s some luck to their draw, in other words. Georgia and Alabama have control over their outcomes and the winner will get to host a game as a conference champion. It’s not an ideal setup, what with Florida so high up and not playing for their conference championship, but that’s the system the conference has chosen.
- PAC12 – #6 Stanford wins, and they are guaranteed to host a game in the playoffs. If UCLA wins, they would sneak into the playoff as a low seed. Oregon might sneak in as the second wildcard but it’s unlikely. If you think this is unfair, see the Florida example above.
- BIG10 – First of all, #2 Ohio State should be playing in the conference championship. So, if they win, they are essentially the top seed. If #11 Nebraska wins, they have earned their way into the playoff, maybe hosting a game.
- BIG12 – #9 Kansas State is the conference champion if they beat #26 Texas this week (although it’s a regular season game), and will host a playoff game if they win. #13 Oklahoma needs a Kansas State loss to sneak into the playoffs.
- ACC – #18 Florida State will get into the playoffs if they beat #72 Georgia Tech. How GT is in a conference championship game is beyond me. For the record, there’s no way they could make the playoffs.
- Big East – #24 Rutgers is the only team with a real chance, and even if they beat #30 Louisville, they are very unlikely to be one of the top 6 conference champions after this week.
- MAC – #15 Kent State and #21 Northern Illinois are still in it, and why not? They are both 11-1, 8-0 in conference. The winner of this game would get into the playoff by virtue of being one of the top 6 conference champions in the country.
- WAC – #22 Utah State could still make it in, if Georgia Tech beats Florida State. They would then be a top 6 conference champion.
Also, Texas is very out. Just in case you were wondering.
If everything goes as expected this weekend, here’s how the playoff would look:
Florida State at Ohio State
Kent State at Alabama
Florida at Stanford
Notre Dame at Kansas State