The Daily Player 12: Don't Fight the Figures

Published on 3-Nov-2015 by Alan Adamsson

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Update

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The Daily Player 12: Don't Fight the Figures

Welcome to the second season of the rankings that take the College Football Playoff Selection Committee at its word more than it does.

The Daily Player 12 is back. The spreadsheet is formatted. And the bar bill is under budget.

If the Committee's main criteria for anointing four teams to vie for a national championship are conference titles, strength of schedule, and head-to-head results -- and that's what it's claimed -- then here's where its collective feet will be held to the fire.

Gotta say, though, the selectors' first list shows promise. They're not quite where they say they should be yet, but it's early days:

1. Clemson   3. Ohio State
2. LSU   4. Alabama
5. Notre Dame   9. Iowa
6. Baylor 10. Florida
7. Michigan State 11. Stanford
8. TCU 12. Utah

There's still a strong scent of big brand bias in this list, which is inevitable whenever human opinion is part of the equation. And with the CFP, it is. That sucks.

Well, here's change.

The Daily Player 12 criteria is empirical. No opinions, just data:

  • Until a conference title is clinched, division leaders will be considered as first-place teams.
  • Power Five scores in non-conference games will be measured on a win-loss basis.
  • If an Other Five team made it to Week 9 undefeated in conference and with two or fewer losses overall, it will be considered to have earned Power Five status.
  • Head-to-head results will be measured separately on a win-loss basis.
  • Bookies are the only evaluators who put their dosh where their conclusions are.
  • Bovada championship odds will be factored into the rankings.
  • Geeks have an unbiased place in this process; Anderson-Hester computer rankings are easily understandable and will be included.

This system's not that complicated, nor should it be:

  • The Big XII has ten teams; no other conference has a division that large, so a first-place team will get 10 points, a second-place team will get 9 points, and so forth. If a team is tied for a position, it will be considered to hold the higher position.
  • A conference champion will be awarded 5 bonus points.
  • Non-con Power Five wins will be worth 3 points; those losses will be worth 1 point.
  • Notre Dame's schedule will be measured against ACC teams.
  • If BYU ever becomes a factor, we'll figure it out then.
  • Head-to-head conference wins will be worth 3 points; those losses will be worth -1 point.
  • Bovada and Geek rankings will be based on a 25-point scale and factored down by a constant of 0.3; thus, a first-place position will be worth (25 x 0.3) = 7.5 points, second place for either will be worth (24 x 0.3) = 7.2 points, and so on. If a team is tied for a position, it will be considered to hold the higher position.

The Daily Player 12 is guaranteed to change weekly because -- like the Geeks -- it only accounts for games played. And that's allegedly what the Selection Committee is supposed to do.

So, welcome to the real here-&-now in college football:

Daily Player 12 3 Nov 15

Some observations:

  • That's right: Boise State. A Power Five program in everything but its caste. Odds are November won't be kind to them, but November hasn't happened yet.
  • Memphis gets early props because they play a schedule, and knocking off Ole Miss -- possessor of the SEC West driver's seat -- is a worthy feat.
  • Conversely, Baylor slotted No 6 with the Committee; but its cupcake crushing kept the Briles Bears down at No 19 here.
  • Alabama graded out at No 1 with Bovada, while Anderson-Hester liked LSU. Consider those a hint of things to come.

Much has been made that Ohio State started at No 16 in last year's initial CFP rankings. For the record, it took the Committee a while, lotsa computers, and greater expense than a bar bill, but by the final poll, its selections caught up with 2014's Featured Four as calculated by The Daily Player 12.

And that's a fact.