19 November 2006

Rematches

Ohio State is #1. Michigan is #2. Ohio State beat Michigan yesterday in a pretty close game.

The college football championship game is January 8. Should Michigan be invited?

On the one hand, the whole point of a championship game is that #1 gets to play #2 for all the marbles. On the other hand, there are a dozen awesome teams that have not had a chance to unseat Ohio State this year. If USC, for example, doesn't get a chance, why should Michigan get two chances?

Listening to the commentators yesterday, I could tell they were carefully restraining themselves from re-re-re-stating the obvious: we wouldn't even have this problem, if... yeah, I can't bring myself to say it again. I'm officially blue in the face.

Did you know that it's possible in the NFL for the Super Bowl to be a rematch between two teams that already played during the regular season? It has happened eleven times. And it's the darnedest thing—no one ever complains about it. In the NFL, if you get to the Super Bowl, no one ever tries to say you didn't earn it. I have a theory. I think there is a reason for this. If you're in the Super Bowl, you've beaten two of the best teams in the league in consecutive weeks. All the other contenders had their shot, and they lost. It's that simple.

In college football, there's no playoff, so you get situations like this one with Michigan.

The BCS was a huge leap forward. We now have a controversy-free, undisputed national champion about 20% of the time. Let's take the logical next step. It ain't rocket science.

Postscript: For the record, I favor treating yesterday's game as a playoff game. Michigan lost. They should be out.

6 comments:

mdj said...

I am disappointed in you. How To Lie With Statistics 101.

Did you know that it's possible in the NFL for the Super Bowl to be a rematch between two teams that already played during the regular season? It has happened eleven times. And it's the darnedest thing—no one ever complains about it.

Yes, very fair, because there are over 100 professional football teams scattered across a dozen conference, set up in such a way where one team plays 4 or 5 games of the season against J.Random.Different.Team.Every.Year. I can see why you'd see fit to make that comparison. Yup. Yessir.

jto said...

What part of that is a lie? It looks to me like three indisputible facts in a row. Do you disagree with my interpretation?

I mention the NFL because clearly there's a difference between college and pro ball. In the NFL nobody complains about this. Why not? You say it's because there are so many more college teams, or something about scheduling. And I thought about that, and obviously the NFL has it easier in some ways, but ultimately I disagree. I think the real difference is that the NFL gives every excellent team a chance to play for the championship. The college system doesn't, and that gives everybody license to complain about practically anything. And boy do they.

mdj said...

How To Lie With Statistics is the name of a book.

Your point was that two teams who played in the season played again in the championship as if that had some bearing on anything, but it's grossly unfair to bring in that statistic when teams play almost every other team in a single year, while a college team plays maybe 2% of the field. Statistically, you're WAY more likely to have rematches in the NFL for that reason alone. I'm not even mathy and I realize that.

jto said...

Well... OK, but still, fact is Super Bowl rematches happen, and nobody complains. Complaining over here, no complaining over there. I want to know why. It sounds like you think there is no fair way I can even raise the question.

Anonymous said...

You'd be right, because I don't think the super bowl comment *is* a fair question, because the way the two organizations are structured is so vastly different.

None of this is to say that I don't think there should be a playoff system, because I do. I just know it'll never happen, and have decided not to spend my last days raging against a system so totally ossified. I just accept it for what it is.

Besides, Ohio is going to clean up no matter who they play. I just wanted Michigan in it because the Florida/Ohio matchup leaves me no one to root for. I hate both teams.

jto said...

If I were comparing college football to, say, a piƱa colada, fine. But I picked the NFL as the one thing in the world most similar to I-A football.

How about NCAA basketball? Is that a better analogy? Same argument.

I haven't seen either team play this year. I'll be rooting for the SEC team.