Boycott’s in the Wild

Today on Slate, there is an article about Hal Stern’s call for all qunatitative analysts to boycott the BCS. I would like to let everyone know that in addition to Hal Stern and Bill James, the Stats in the Wild Blog is officially joining the boycott. That ought to bring the BCS to its knees.

A few notes about the article:
1. Statistical analysis is fantastic for ranking teams, but I don’t think it should have any place in deciding who wins a national championship. I think it is always preferable to have a deterministic set of criteria to decide who goes to the post season, like all professional sports. That way no one can complain when someone gets into the play-offs. (Except, in the NFL when the criteria lets in 9-7 Arizona and 8-8 San Diego and leaves out 11-5 New England…..) If you want to get in, meet the criteria and stop whining (like me).

In NCAA basketball there are both deterministic criteria (win your league) and at large bids for getting into the tournament. Every year teams are left out of the tournament, but, by including 65 teams, I doubt that any team with a legitamate chance to win a national title has ever been left out. And with the tournament the way it is, it allows team to make great memorable post-season runs. (Remember in 1997 when Arizona was a four seed and they beat THREE number one seeds on their way to a national championship? If NCAA basketball were run like NCAA football Arizona would have won some horseshit bowl game and no one would remember.)

If football went to an 8 (or 16) game play-off, sure good teams wouldn’t get in, but 8 is probably enough teams that you aren’t leaving out anyone who has a real shot to win it.

(Note: These last two notes have nothing to do with statistics and ramble on for much longer than they should. Enjoy.)
2. I hate the NCAA. I hate that young athletes are risking serious injuries and are making no money (except scholarship), while the schools, the administrators, the head coaches, and the television stations are collectively making billions of dollars. The kids see none of this money. And I hate it even more when these scum bag college coaches try to get a kid to stay for a 3rd or 4th year of eligibilty instead of entering the draft. Easy for a coach to say when he is making 3 million dollars a year. If some one was going to offer me a few million a year to do anything when I was a sophomore or junior in college, I would have left in an instant.

3. This is the last paragraph of the article:
“When it doesn’t, you can put the blame on the greedy small schools that wanted to milk money from the big football factories, on the greedy big schools that wanted to keep as much money as possible in the fewest possible hands, on the lunk-head football coaches who can’t program a computer to play tic-tac-toe but want to make all the rules, or on the Congress that sits idly by and watches it happen. You guys want to make a mess of this, you can make a mess of it without our help.”

Listen. I am all for a play-off in college football, but Congress doesn’t need to get involved. If I were to make a list of things that were (or should be) more important to Congress than the BCS and college football, I would never stop writing. You realize we are in TWO wars AND the worst economic crisis since the great depression AND are facing a 1.2 trillion dollar deficit. And you want to fix the BCS? Have some perspective.

Examples of Congress and Senate being ridiculous about footbal:Arlen Specter and T.O., Arlen Specter trying to punish the Patriots, Orrin Hatch whining about Utah’s team, and Cliff Stearns asking for Congress to postpone votes so he can attend the BCS championship game.

A short open letter:
Dear Orrin Hatch, Arlen Specter, and Cliff Stearns,

Grow up.

The Statsinthewild Blog.

Posted on January 8, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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