Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Where are the Trees in this Great Big Forest?

The problem with the computer rankings used by the BCS is that they are mathematically indefensible. The primary reason why this is so is that the computer rankings are forbidden from accounting for scoring margin. Thus, a 12-0 team that wins every game by 30 points looks exactly the same to them as a 12-0 team that won its games by seven points. If a bettor placed wagers looking only at record and strength of schedule without accounting for scoring margin, he'd end up at a bar being berated by Nicky Santoro. ("You call yourself a man?") And yet we have these ridiculous computer rankings that the programmers themselves view as inferior playing a major role in who plays for the national title.

So what's the problem with the computer rankings according to Tony Barnhart? The fact that Wes Colley made a data entry error. Yes, Tony, it would be nice if the computer rankings made their formulae publicly available. You know what would be even better than that? If Massey and Sagarin could actually use the formulae that they believe are far superior than than the drivel that they have to report to the BCS. Coming back to our inept bettor, let's imagine that Nicky's victim is wasting his family's money by playing craps instead of paying the power bill. Barnhart's complaint is the equivalent of Nicky ripping on the gambler for one decision that he made during an eight-hour binge at the tables instead of tearing him a new one for playing craps in the first place.

1 comment:

peacedog said...

The phrase being looked for, with respect to Colley, is "Garbage in, garbage out".

Is it me or is Barnhart slumping lately?