The Daily Player 12: The Perils of Backloading

Published on 17-Nov-2015 by Alan Adamsson

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Update

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The Daily Player 12: The Perils of Backloading

Name someone who hasn't put off a major task until the last minute.

It's rarely a good feeling. Stress and fatigue levels are often higher than advisable, and performance suffers.

It's surely smarter to pace things out.

Sorta like the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 do with their conference schedules. The Big Ten and Big XII -- and now the AAC, it seems -- have clearly chosen to spend most of autumn heightening the anxiety.

Kinda like Oklahoma and Baylor last weekend, most likely with more on the way next weekend.

For decades, the conventional wisdom in college football had it that an early loss wasn't fatal to national title hopes. There was time to recover. It still seems to hold:

Among other mitigated risks, placing key games throughout the schedule allows teams to recover from potential season-changing injuries. Kinda like Baylor this year.

Well, we all know now how that worked out.

So, here's what wisdom the selectors bestowed upon the great unwashed this week:

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

Jon Wilner of the San José Mercury News is a college pigskin lifer with an AP Poll vote. He's taken flak most of the seaon for dumping on the Briles Bears. And he used a time-honored taste test technique to make his point:

Remove the name on the front of the jersey and simply assess the results:
  • Record vs. quality opponents: 0-1, with a 10-point loss at home
  • Sagarin SOS: 76
  • Best win: Over a team that’s 6-5/3-5. (That’s right: Baylor’s best win is over a team that’s 3-5 in league play: Texas Tech.)

Sorta like what the computer polls do, which is what led to the rebellion that ultimately diminished their role in the BCS system and relegated them to grist for the mill in the CFP.

Maybe then they'd be recognized for the empirical data they provide. It beats the hell out of analytical comments like this from CFP chairman Jeff Long, again defying the committee mandate of past performance:

We see a team [North Carolina] that's really emerging and playing well going forward.

Good for the Tar Heels. But emerging isn't exactly a measurable detail. What they have done, though, is crack The Daily Player 12.

Time to justify the bar bill.

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.

Well, here's The Daily Player's attempt to rise above it all, eschewing big brand bias and relying on just the facts:

Daily Player 12

A few observations:

  • Anderson-Hester still ranks the Hawkeyes No 1, which is all well and good for them. What matters, though, is if they win out, they'll make the Featured Four.
  • Bovada is all over Alabama, putting the Tide's futures odds at +225.
  • What's LSU doing up there? Body of work, of course. Yes, they've now dropped two in a row, but that's a perception thing. Every game counts, no matter when it's played. So that Florida win still looks good.
  • And Michigan? FBS non-cons. Early. Baylor, et al, take note.