As college football fans we all hate the BCS. It offers no resolutions to who truly is the best. So everyone comes away cynical except for the team anointed number one (and even then there are issues). So when I saw this article on Slate I was amazed. First because it was on Slate and second because it was well written. Bill James argues four points as to why the BCS is broken:
- That there is a profound lack of conceptual clarity about the goals of the method;
- That there is no genuine interest here in using statistical analysis to figure out how the teams compare with one another. The real purpose is to create some gobbledygook math to endorse the coaches’ and sportswriters’ vote;
- That the ground rules of the calculations are irrational and prevent the statisticians from making any meaningful contribution; and
- That the existence of this system has the purpose of justifying a few rich conferences in hijacking the search for a national title, avoiding a postseason tournament that would be preferred by the overwhelming majority of fans.
I’m sure there are more than 4 well-written arguments that can be made for why the BCS is such crap, but he does a good job in laying down reasons as to why the BCS is bad and why he thinks statistical analysts should steer clear of helping them.