M'Kay Computers

By Jason Priestas on October 7, 2009 at 2:00p
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John Clay Wants to Eat Your ChildreneCash is on the line Saturday

The first batch of the BCS standings will be released on Sunday, October 19th, but that hasn't stopped curious minds from digging into the available data to get an idea of what to expect. We linked yesterday to a Dr. Saturday article highlighting the fact that LSU sits atop each of the five sets of rankings that have been released (Peter Wolfe's first set will be released the day the BCS rankings come out).

Of course, the computers can't take into account things like the ever-so important level of blue blood respect and coaching tree or conference affiliations you see in the Coaches Poll. Oh, and margin of victory:

Remember, though -- just to demonstrate how objective and definitive this process really is -- that the computers might spit out completely different results if they were actually allowed to consider all the factors that human voters are; the most glaring of the many, many fatal flaws in the BCS computer system is that the machines aren't allowed to account at all for margin of victory in their rankings. Beating Mississippi State by four points in the final minute, for example, is exactly the same to them as beating Mississippi State by 25 points in a game that was effectively over in the third quarter.

So basically, the Evil Tress/Hazell braintrust might be earning the Buckeyes some love from the humans, the computers don't care if you beat Illinois 30-0 or 3-01. This is reflected in the two human polls, which, on average, have the Buckeyes 6.4 spots higher than their silicon counterparts. In the five computer rankings, the Buckeyes are 8th, 9th, 18th, 18th and 19th.

Looking on the bright side, the three polls that have OSU outside of the top ten, Anderson & Hester, Colley, and Massey, have the Badgers 5th, 3rd and 3rd, respectively. And they like Iowa even more. There's a lot of football to be played, to be sure, but with that comes plenty of opportunity to make up some ground, both with the computers and with the human voters.

IOWA WISC OSU PSU MICH
Sagarin 9 23 8 18 42
Anderson & Hester 3 5 19 24 29
Billingsley 8 30 9 16 39
Colley 2 3 18 23 27
Massey 2 3 18 26 20
Computer Avg 4.8 12.8 14.4 21.4 31.4
Coaches Poll 14 25 8 12 NR
Harris Poll 11 25 8 13 NR

The Big Ten as a whole is in pretty good shape with the computers. As I mentioned, they absolutely love the Hawkeyes, giving them an average rating of 4.8. Of the four that publish conference rankings, Massey has the league 2nd, Anderson & Hester 3rd, Colley's 4th and Sagarin is the set we ignore because he gives an edge to the Big East over the Big Ten (the UC love is getting a little out of hound).

Before I get into wild guesswork linking to other sites that know what they're talking about, it might be handy to review the BCS formula:

BCS = (CP/1575 + HP/2850 + (C1 + C2 + C3 + C4)/100) / 3

That would be a team's Coaches Poll points divided by the max plus the same formula for the Harris Poll, then the high and low computer rankings are thrown out, the remaining four are added up and divided by 100 and then finally, the whole thing is divided by three to reveal the magic tens of millions of dollars winning numbers.

The guys that actually study this stuff for a living predict Iowa would be 9th, followed by the Buckeyes 10th, Penn State 15th and Wisconsin 18th if the BCS standings were to be released today. Assuming the Buckeyes take care of business on the field the next two weekends (and the Badgers still make me more nervous than they probably should) and the spate of upsets marches on, they should find themselves in a slightly better position than they were in when the initial standings were released last season. Catch fire and finish strong against Penn State, Iowa and Michigan and who knows where this time might end up.

So Far, They're Biting as Pups

Marcus Hall saw the first action of his career Saturday night in Bloomington and this week, thanks to the flu bug hitting some teammates, he's repping with the ones. Tressel indicated Hall could play two or three series Saturday against the Badgers and may start to earn more time going forward. With Block O finally voltron'd up (and getting a chance to grow into one set and base of plays) and Jim Cordle expected to be out a couple of more weeks, a lot of young guys are getting quality snaps on the line. It's almost scary to think about this offense next season when everyone but Ballard returns and Pryor, Boom and Posey are juniors.

Improvements for iPhone Viewers

A couple of you have written in asking for access to polls, Good Shizzy and other portions of the site that weren't available when browsing with an iPhone and we finally got around to taking care of that. We upgraded to a new, more flexible iPhone theme that provides some additional features/options, not the least of which is the ability to view the site in it's "normal" state (or what you'd see in a non-mobile browser). Hopefully this works out for you guys and as always, feedback is welcome.

  • 1 As Hinton points out, both Sagarin and Massey's ranking comes in two sets. The first is their actual rankings, while the second removes margin of victory to satisfy the BCS. When considering MoV, the Buckeyes jump from 18 to 12 in Massey's index and from 8 to 4 in Sagarin's set. Odder still, the Sooners jump from 70 to 19 for Massey and 16 to 3(!!) for Sagarin when factoring in win margin of victory.
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