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BCS Breakdown 2008 V1.6 (Irresistible Edition)

Since the ilk of OU absolutely refuse to be persuaded by reason, I'll have to counter with an irresistible force - Trashy 80's music videos with lyrics that were written by Dr. Sbaitso and the MS Word Thesaurus.  To you, OU and punditry, this is Simply Irresistible.

How can it be permissible (1)
She(2) compromise my principle(3), yeah yeah
That kind of love is mythical(4)
She's anything but typical(5)

She's a craze(6) you'd endorse(7), shes a powerful force(8)
You're obliged to conform when there's no other course(9)
She used to look good to me(10), but now I find her

Simply irresistible(11)

(1) This is exactly what we've been saying this whole time.  (2) She = OU, in case you haven't figured that out yet.  (3) Regular season is a playoff, head to head on a neutral field, decide it on the field, etc.  (4) Mythical National Championship.  That's what "love" means in this weird thing I'm doing here.  (5) Becaues typically if one team beats another and each have similar resumes otherwise, you put the head-to-head winner on top.  (6) I'll give you that.  (7)  Bob Stoops would endorse, but not me, or even Mark Schlabach (FotB).  (8) This only applies for 2.5 quarters against teams with fast defensive linemen.  (9) Which is not to say there is no other course.  Look around, do you see a gun pointed at your head?  No?  Then vote for Texas, because it's illegal for OU to hire someone to kill you.  (10) "Playing the best football in the country" will do that for you, unless you lose to Texas when everyone is saying that about you.  (11) Except in BCS Bowls.

I'll actually say things that make sense after the break...

So the Sooners are ahead of us in all the freakin' polls.  This is obviously ridiculous, and I won't get into the absolute reasons why this shouldn't be the case, but I will point out some inconsistencies with the voters choices.  Right now the Harris has OU #3, Texas #4, and Texas Tech #7.  The coaches have OU #2, Texas #4, and Tech #8.  So much for the coaches being stubborn, they actually swung more than the Harris.

The voters are screwing Texas with a double standard, here.  They're saying the three-way tie is enough to ignore the head-to-head result between Texas and OU, but then they're also saying that Tech is out of it barring an OSU upset on Saturday.  You can't have both.  If you want to argue, as Dr. Saturday does, that the three-way tie eliminates the significance of head-to-head results, fine.  But don't couple that with dropping Tech out of the picture, because that's ignoring your own reasoning when it gives you an unsatisfying conclusion.  That conclusion here is that Tech should be much closer to OU and Texas than three or four rankings down.  But if you look at that like I do, and see that Tech played no one out of conference and doesn't have near the in-conference trophy wall that Texas has, then you can see that the Red Raiders are not quite on par with the Longhorns and Sooners resume-wise.

Let's break that down, though, since there's a lot going on in that line of reasoning.

1.)  Head-to-head wins are worth a lot. 

It's the only thing we have that directly connects two teams, and it should never be completely discarded.  (Yes, even if it makes your brain hurt to think about.)

2.)  Head-to-head is not, however, everything

Do you rank Ole Miss over Florida?  Hell no.  This is an extreme case used to highlight my point that head-to-head does have limits.  If the resumes are too different, you can't use head-to-head to rank teams relative to one another.

3.)  Tech's strength of schedule and the absolutely horrid performance against the Sooners put them solidly outside of the domain of Texas and OU.

They played two FCS (D-IAA.  At what point can we stop doing this and just say FCS?  Now?  Ok, now.) teams.  They had the same opponents as Texas and OU in the South (duh), but their North draw was Nebraska, Kansas, and KSU - Hardly murderer's row.  They have one excellent win against Texas, and one very good win against Okie State, but they have one absolutely horrible loss to OU.  We know Texas and OU's schedules very thoroughly by now, and they're better than this.  OU because of Tech and TCU/Cincy, Texas because of OU, OSU and Missouri.  Texas Tech does not fall into the same category as Texas and OU.  I don't see how you can dispute that, unless you're arguing that Tech's resume is similar to OU's, in which case that just makes Texas stand out more.  Plus, OU will play OSU Saturday and then they'll have a schedule on par with Texas'.

4a.)  We can apply head-to-head between Texas and OU, because Tech is one rung down the ladder from these two.

This means exactly what it says.  If Tech had played a tougher out-of-conference schedule and lost to any team outside of the current top five or so, this would be a done-deal.  If Tech had two losses, it would be obvious without thought that their resume was inferior and that really all that matters is Texas beat OU and their resumes are similar otherwise.  Even if that loss came out of conference, Texas would still be ranked ahead of OU from head-to-head.  No one seems to notice that Tech is not on Texas and OU's level when they compare OU and Texas, but when they rank Texas Tech #7 or #8, it's pretty clear that they know it.

4b.)  Head-to-head trumps transitive property.

As I mentioned, the transitive property in football could make just about any team in the nation a national champion by a long string of inequalities as long as the champion has at least one loss. It's completely ridiculous to look at the transitive property, because unit matchups dictate outcomes much more specifically than overall team "goodness" comparisons.  Therefore, it's pointless to argue that OU>Tech>Texas is more significant than Texas>OU.  What if two kids were having a throwing contest, first baseballs, then footballs.  Kid A throws a strike 45 of 50 times, while Kid B throws 35 of 50 strikes, then Kid A tries to throw a football through a tire 50 times but only makes it through 49 and Kid B zips it through 49 times, then starts the tire swinging and spinning and does it once more.  Now you have to bet on which of them will throw more strikes if they pitch baseballs again.  Harris and Coaches Poll voters are standing around when bets are due saying, "Did you see that Kid B?  He through a football through a swinging, spinning tire!"  SHINY!

The point:  What's a more likely indicator of which team is better, Texas or OU?  Texas beats OU, or OU beats Tech beats Texas?  The only fair thing is to take the simpler, and therefore less subject to random things you don't expect, path.  Texas beating OU trumps OU beating Tech beating Texas.

Phew.  Hopefully that baseball/football competition analogy makes sense, I've been trying to come up with an analogy for this situation, but I'm apparently horrible at it, because my girlfriend doesn't get it and I've been explaining it to her for like ten minutes.  If you're thinking in the back of your head "Yeah, but that trick with the tire, I dunno, I'd give him a shot, what are the odds?"  Then you must be on the Harris/Coaches Poll roster, so I won't call you stupid, but come on.  Really?

Outliers Watch:

What's this?  Horn Brain actually is going to do a BCS Breakdown post?  I voted on BZ to do it this week because I like his analogies better.

OK that was the last one.  Graph:


Well this year is turning out crazy.  All of the voters, human and computer, completely agree about the rankings of just about everyone outside the top eight, with the lone exception of poor #23 Oregon.  In good news:  The teams I pointed out as outliers last week all played like crap.  LSU was stomped by Ole Miss, Georgia Tech destroyed Miami, Ball State nearly lost to Central Michigan, Pittsburgh was getting stomped by Cincy before making a late comeback to bring the game within one score and North Carolina was smashed by NC State.  UNC and LSU were pretty big upsets, so that makes me happy for my system.  My take on the weirdos:

Alabama - You're going DOWN, Dumbo!  Seriously, we've discussed this, Alabama has shown us nothing.  They've beaten some ok teams pretty thoroughly, but they've also struggled against some mediocre competition.  If Florida shows up in the SEC CG with the same attitude they've had for the past few games, I don't know if the Tide can beat them.

Texas - The computers have us almost in first place, while the humans have us in fourth.  Don't be too worried, this is good territory to be in.  I've found the computers are usually more right, and I tend to go with them.

Florida - Computers hate them because they haven't really played anyone.  Georgia and LSU were overrated, and they lost to an Ole Miss team that's just ok.  Normally I'd say this is upset alert, but I think that the computers just don't have enough good games to go on to give the Gators the ranking they deserve.  They are playing very well (I'm NOT talking about beating the Citadel.).

USC - With the exception of every powerhouse's biggest fan, Richard Billingsley, the computers hate the Trojans for playing in a crap league.  It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they ate it in one of their next two lay-ups.  If we go to the Fiesta Bowl because of the moral breakdown of society, I really hope we get to play them.  It seems like we could look damn good beating them and possibly steal the AP title from the Sooners if they win the BCS.

Texas Tech - The computers like them because they beat Texas and OSU, whom the computers freaking love.  The people hate them because they got a hole stomped in their chest during primetime.  This is one case where MOV would help the computers see what's up.  Tech conjured up the perfect storm in Lubbock, and it hit at the perfect moment for them to take us out.  A very good football team?  Sure.  Especially for Tech.  Not so much for OU or Texas.

Oregon is too far down and not deviant enough for me to have any confidence in them being prime for upset, but hey, Miami and UNC went down and they were down there, so why not?

Billingsley Report Card:

Dude drives me crazy:


RB leads the computers in throwouts again with 10.  He actually has company in the highest standard deviation metric this week, with Jeff Sagarin's ELO-CHESS system just 0.06 behind him.  What you don't see on here is where I compare the standard deviations from the BCS overall rankings (including humans).  In those, Jeff still sticks out, but RB mysteriously has a pretty low standard deviation.  Why is that?  Because the RB report is just some conjured-up spreadsheet system that is designed to rank the teams like the humans do - preferential treatment for old hands, skeptical eyes on outsiders who overachieve.  I call BS, as usual.

Tune in next time for more BCS Breakdown:  Same nerd time*, same nerd channel!

*Actually I have no idea when the next one will come out next week.