Judging the Judges

December 5, 2014

Two days away from Selection Sunday (football variety) is as good a time as any to to give a no-whining review of the Committee's choices to date.

D1 Playoff version 1 is likely to be pretty uncontroversial, despite the best efforts of the Talking Heads to create some. To wit,

How hard is it?

I had a playoff epiphany the other day while pondering that last bullet item. The general consensus is that the BCS' objective was to get a matchup between "the two best teams", and the only year where there was some doubt that the process worked was 2004, when there was no unambiguous way to determine which two of the top three were "the best two." While it's really cool that for the moment the Committee's top 4 probably are measurably the best four teams in the division...
...for the Playoff Committee's success factor our criteria shouldn't be "did they pick the four best teams?" It should be the same as it was for the BCS: "Are the two best teams in the field?"
Think about it. The great benefit of the playoff is that with four spots to fill it will be almost impossible to create a field that doesn't include the two best. If you can't decide between second and third -best (the only problem the BCS ever had, and only had once in 16 chances) it doesn't matter because you can choose 'em both. Since the BCS came into existance there never really was a three-team race for the #2 spot, so the fourth playoff spot just provides insurance that we get the top two in the playoff.

OK, you might be able to make an argument that, say, #5 is really better than #4 (or even #3) but if you can't make an argument that they should be #1 or #2, all of the rest of us have no gripe and you're just a homer. No controversy except that manufactured to sell papers (internet ads.)

So enough with "the committee has a hard job" stuff. Their only job is to make sure the "two best" teams are included, and they get to pick four!.

Long live the "best 2" + 2 format!

© Copyright 2014, Paul Kislanko