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Richard Billingsley's Computer Is Beyond Broken

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Back in 2003, when USC wound up #1 in the human polls but didn't get a chance to play for the national title because computers didn't rank them highly enough, the BCS formula was changed. More weight was given to the humans ranking these things; the computers were skeptically pushed to the side a bit because they didn't spit out results that people watching these teams were comfortable with.

Not only were computer rankings' weight in the BCS formula devalued, the computer rankers were disallowed from taking margin of victory into account. This struck me as absurd, given that human voters invariably were taking margin of victory into account in their own rankings.

Well, today, in one of the most bizarre years of college football in recent memory, I took a long, hard look at the current BCS Standings. And among all the oddities of the 2007 season - of which there have been many - one thing stood out...

This:


That #16 circled in red? Means Richard Billingsley's computer ranks USC 10th in the country.

Honestly, USC's way, way, totally, without-question out of the national title hunt, so my gripe has nothing to do with wanting to see USC suffer. I could give a shit about the Trojans' fate this year (and truth be told, I think it'd be neat if Texas and USC matched up in the Holday Bowl). My outrage is based upon the fact that one of the computers which counts in this mess of a formula has the Trojans ranked #10 in the country. NUMBER 10!

Based on what, pray tell? USC's schedule to date:

vs Idaho (W, 38-10)
at Nebraska (W, 49-31)
vs Washington State (W, 47-24)
at Washington (W, 27-24)
vs Stanford (L, 23-24)
at Notre Dame (W, 38-0)
at Oregon (L, 17-24)

Strong wins: None
Good wins: None
Bad losses: Home vs Stanford
Billingsley computer whirls, computes: #10

Based. On. What???

As someone who loves the idea of a computer taking a huge input of data and spitting out a reasonably objective ranking of teams, this makes me throw up. More to the point, it makes me wonder what algorythm Richard Billingsley could possibly come up with to spit out this result. Whatever it is? F-cking blows.

I'm honestly more disgusted with this than I am with anything else in this whole sordid process.

--PB--