Bill James vs the BCS

The master takes on college football’s arcane ranking system: “It is very difficult to objectively measure anything if you don’t know what it is you are measuring.” I’m enough of a Bill James geek to recognize this passage as a slight rephrasing of a piece of the Oakland A’s comment in the 1984 Abstract:

[T]he rankings are routinely described as “computer” rankings. Computers, like automobiles and airplanes, do only what people tell them to do. If you’re driving to Cleveland and you get lost and wind up in Youngstown, you don’t blame your car. If you’re doing a ranking system and you wind up with Murray State in western Kentucky as the national football champion, you don’t blame the computer.

And so, “whenever the computer rankings don’t jibe with the ‘human polls,’ they fix the computers.” He gets crabbier after that, in classic Bill James style.

One thought on “Bill James vs the BCS”

  1. The most incredibly stupid arguments you will ever read are the ones directed against the BCS. James is correct in pointing out that the BCS has been changed over the years to respond to all the idiots who bash the BCS with the wrong arguments.
    There are good reasons to take issue with the BCS. Unfortunately, points like the one made by James are too few and overwhelmed by those from the idiots.

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