UA Huntsville Professor’s BCS Poll Ranks Alabama No. 2

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (CBS) – On Monday night Alabama convincingly beat Notre Dame to win the BCS National Championship. It was a game that was never close, and it was a game in which Alabama showed itself to be the superior team.

Just don’t tell that to one of the BCS’ computer polls.

Yes, even after Alabama’s 42-14 beatdown of the Golden Domers, the Colley Matrix poll still has Notre Dame ranked first with Alabama in second. How ironic that a machine would choose the football program of a private, religious institution rather than the football program which is pretty much just a football machine.

The Colley Matrix poll is one of six computer formulas used by the BCS in determining its rankings. While there’s a more detailed description of the formula used in the Colley Matrix poll, there’s also a more general description of the formula on the poll’s website.

Colley’s matrix method for ranking college football teams is explained in detail, with many examples and explicit derivations. The method is based on very simple statistical principles, and uses only wins and losses as input—margin of victory does not matter. The scheme adjusts effectively for strength of schedule, in a way that is free of bias toward conference, tradition, or region. Comparison of rankings produced by this method to those produced by the press polls shows that despite its simplicity, the scheme produces common sense results.

This method focuses more on “deservedness” to play in the national championship game than it does predictiveness, per se, which may be of more interest to some fans and bookmakers, who often consider margin of victory, injuries and other factors in assessing the possible outcome of a particular game.

Well, since it doesn’t consider margin of victory, that might explain why an Alabama team that just beat Notre Dame by 28 points is still ranked behind Notre Dame. Of course, it also says it “uses only wins and losses as input” so who the hell knows what exactly is going on here.

All I know is that it’s just too bad we’re going to get rid of such a sound, accurate system in the near future for a four-team playoff.

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