BCS; Survivor

Just when I was starting to get back into a semi-regular posting schedule, basketball happened. I had completely forgotten about the College Basketball tournament (the brackets as my wife and many others call them) right until my wife got home earlier than expected on Wednesday. It turns out that since the ‘brackets’ had bumped Survivor from Thrusday to Wednesday, the wife was not nearly as inclined to ride her horse on Wednesday. That is, sure she loves to ride the Horses, but when that interferes with Survivor, Fuck ’em.

I am no better than the wife when it comes to revolving my schedule around that silly show. I didn’t even get to complete my daily surfing activities before it was time to go and watch the show. I know that is not such a big deal since I can visit a website at any time, day or night, while her horse riding activities don’t share the always available quality. But, It did screw up my day a little bit. Damn those Collegiate Athletes!

I really don’t care for college basketball at all, of course I really don’t care about the NBA either, so I suppose that isn’t all that surprising. I do like that they have a playoff system in place for the NCAA, however I really think that the system they use for basketball is at once too inviting and not inviting enough. I am not completely sure of the logistics involved, but what I do know is that in any given year there are teams who should have a legitimate shot at the national title that end up playing in the (secondary) NIT competition. As I say, I don’t follow college basketball so I don’t really know why it ends up this way. I would speculate that they are trying to make sure that they don’t end up with too many teams from a specific conference in the ‘Big Dance’, since, like everything else, this is all about money and too many colleges from a specific region would likely sour the viewing audience, thus leading to less revenue from advertisers. That is all speculation of course.

It is pretty sick of me to bitch about the way the NCAA handles this tournament though, since I really do enjoy college football. NCAA football, of course, has absolutely no playoff system. The national champion every year is picked by a combination of Coaches votes and a computer model that sends teams to face each other in the BCS. I would link to something to try to make sense of this all, were there anything on the face of the earth that could make sense of it. There is no playoff system at all in college football, the ‘Bowls’ (be it the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, etc.) are alternated every year in respect to which one is hosting the actual title game. The teams that go to each of the ‘Bowls’ is somehow chosen by a computer. One of the many problems with that approach is the “Margin of Victory” category (which is one of the weighted categories in the BCS model). So, if your team is up by 24 points in the fourth quarter and you just try to run out the clock, you may be screwed later by a team that continues to humiliate the other team for the duration of the game. The computer can’t factor in humility.

I am going to try to piece together a scenario to prove the inherent flaws with the BCS right now. Bear in mind that people have been doing this for years and we have yet to see a change in the way it is handled. All information I am about to present is fictional and for the sole purpose of making the fallacy that the BCS is fair more obvious. I am going to use the teams Florida, Arizona and Texas in general terms and not related to any team from any of those states.

Let’s pretend that Texas has only won 3 games in a season. They have a mediocre offense, but a pretty darn good defense. Further, we must pretend that Arizona has an amazing offense, but a useless defense, while Florida has an amazing defense, but a useless offense. Now I have to pretend that both Arizona and Florida played Texas, and for the sake of this post I am going to say that they both won the game. The Arizona vs. Texas matchup (in my scenario) is going to end with Arizona’s amazing offense beating the Texas defense pretty handily, but, the useless defense of Arizona allows Texas to get some easy points. I’ll call it 37-24 just in case you are nitpicky, so a 13 point win. When Florida plays Texas (in my scenario) it is going to end with Florida’s offense unable to score against the mediocre Texas defense, while Texas can’t score against Florida either. The points that are scored are all on defense or special teams. I’ll call this one 16-7, so a 9 point win. What we learn from this is that, for one team, their offense alone won the game, while, for the other team, their defense alone won the game. If Arizona never plays Florida how do you really know which team is better? The computers will tell you that Arizona is better since they won by 13, but, the same computer is going to tell you that Florida is better since they only gave up 7 points. (not that playing a worthless team really matters all that much in the grand scheme of the BCS, I was just trying to explain it in a logical manner.)

If there were any type of a playoff system in college football the majority of the variables would be sorted out on the field. Of course the second anyone tries to modify the system to a playoff format there will be teams that want to be involved, regardless of the fact that they simply don’t have the players to win big games against good teams. I do understand that football is a sport that is a bit more draining than basketball; not a game that the players can play two days in a row. Yet, somewhere in my mind, I have to wonder why they don’t have all of the teams that have ‘Bowl Bids’ set into a playoff format. It would add a game or two to some of the teams’ schedules, but only the winning teams. That would also result in a lot more revenue for the colleges, with the extra ticket sales. Not to mention giving NFL scouts more opportunities to see all of the top players.

Perhaps the NCAA enjoys the controversy in college football since it allows many teams to believe that they were really the national champions?

• Survivor was what I really wanted to talk about today. It turns out that someone over at the studio had read my latest bitch about the show and bought a Time Machine, then went back in time to alter the episodes that they already had on tape. Sure, it is possible that they just realized it was all getting a bit too predictable, but what would be my stake in that?

The latest episode of Survivor featured yet another loss by the “Ulong” team. This one was a bit different though, for two reasons. The first reason is that both teams were going to have to vote out a player, the second is that I have never seen (in my survivor watching history) a team so easily and adamantly agree on voting someone. The guy that the strong tribe (Koror) was going to vote out has been obvious since day one, however they had never lost an immunity challenge so they never had to think about it. There was a twist, as there always is, that made it so Koror got to give immunity to a single player from Ulong. The winner of immunity was the guy that everyone in Ulong was going to vote off. So, instead, they voted off the only player on their team that excelled at anything…Survival of the weakest I guess.

I really have to hand it to Survivor, they took an impossible situation and made a nice spin out of it. Unfortunately the teams are now at 8 and 4. If they merge the first four to go are pretty obvious. Yet, the team dynamic is so precious to the game (at least to ratings) that I don’t know if they should try to screw it all up.

Half of me thinks that they should let the losers continue to lose. The losing tribe has shown over and over that they don’t really want to win. Perhaps, this time, they will let them all just get voted out. The other half of me wants them to mix up the tribes. Some of the alliances on Koror are getting pretty strong, strong enough that they may never break. If they mix up the tribes at this point, the are doing it only a couple of votes from the merge. If they leave the one team to kill itself it will be a whole new game. The other team has already shown, on several occasions, that they don’t really want to win. I really think that the best way to shake up the game right now is to leave them alone.

The people in the game are expecting a merge so much that they never stop to think about what would happen if they never merge. Which would lead pretty nicely into the winning tribe having to vote out people that they have very strong alliances with. Hell, with one team having only four people, while the other has eight (and they would have been 9 strong were it not for one screwy challenge), I am not entirely sure if the other team really should have the salvation of the merge. Of course with the one team doubling them in numbers it probably doesn’t matter anyway.

My vote is going heftly to the “no merge” theory. That would make for a much more interesting game.

It is possible that they would allow the losing tribe to pick two of the people from the winning tribe (or try to redistribute the members and end with the same result), but I really think the losers have chosen to lose. It was their choice to vote out the most athletic and intelligent players first. This is their Titanic, they should go down with it.

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