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Nightmare Scenario
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NoodleOwl Offline
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Post: #1
Nightmare Scenario
I just realized something pretty awful about BCS rankings being used as the tiebreaker in the event of a 3-way division tie where the only losses are to each other (so records vs. common opponents are the same, etc.).

Assume for a moment that Rice loses to NT on Thursday, NT wins out, Rice wins out after this week, and Tulane wins out except for the game vs. Rice. Assume further that none of the three teams crack the top 25 in any 2 of the computer polls (since the highest & lowest computer rankings are thrown out) - no points given from the computers.

If no voting members of the Harris poll or other coaches rank any of the three in the top 25, there will be no points there either.

Each of the three team's head coaches are voting members of the coaches poll. Even a 25th place vote for the coaches' own team would jump that team up above the rest if the other coaches didn't follow suit. (See Iowa in the current poll - they're getting one vote in the coaches' poll, which moves them in front of Georgia Tech & USC which have better computer rankings.)

In addition, if Marshall or MTSU is the East Division winner, their coach will be in the position of being able to pick his opponent in the same manner.

Worse still, the poll used will not be the final poll, so the ballots will still be secret. Using BCS standings as a tiebreaker seems to be opening the door to immense temptation.


To sum up: Let's win Thursday so we don't have to worry about it. (and change the rules for next year!)
10-28-2013 04:41 PM
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Harry Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 04:41 PM)NoodleOwl Wrote:  I just realized something pretty awful about BCS rankings being used as the tiebreaker in the event of a 3-way division tie where the only losses are to each other (so records vs. common opponents are the same, etc.).

Assume for a moment that Rice loses to NT on Thursday, NT wins out, Rice wins out after this week, and Tulane wins out except for the game vs. Rice. Assume further that none of the three teams crack the top 25 in any 2 of the computer polls (since the highest & lowest computer rankings are thrown out) - no points given from the computers.

If no voting members of the Harris poll or other coaches rank any of the three in the top 25, there will be no points there either.

Each of the three team's head coaches are voting members of the coaches poll. Even a 25th place vote for the coaches' own team would jump that team up above the rest if the other coaches didn't follow suit. (See Iowa in the current poll - they're getting one vote in the coaches' poll, which moves them in front of Georgia Tech & USC which have better computer rankings.)

In addition, if Marshall or MTSU is the East Division winner, their coach will be in the position of being able to pick his opponent in the same manner.

Worse still, the poll used will not be the final poll, so the ballots will still be secret. Using BCS standings as a tiebreaker seems to be opening the door to immense temptation.


To sum up: Let's win Thursday so we don't have to worry about it. (and change the rules for next year!)

Wow man -- great detective work.. proving that Owl fans are quite smart. I post this and a link on our site and I imagine you will get some interesting responses. Take it a step further what if all three vote their team as #25 LOL!

http://www.gomeangreen.com/forums/topic/...-rice-fan/
10-28-2013 06:21 PM
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Fort Bend Owl Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Nightmare Scenario
Their solution for breaking a 3-way tie is really weak. I hope they change it after this year, although I'm not sure what the best solution would be (perhaps score differential?).
10-28-2013 06:32 PM
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DFW Owl Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:32 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  Their solution for breaking a 3-way tie is really weak. I hope they change it after this year, although I'm not sure what the best solution would be (perhaps score differential?).

It seems like they should use an average of the BCS computer rankings regardless of whether the team is in the top 25 of any of them. What is the next tiebreaker after BCS ranking if all teams tie with zero in that?
10-28-2013 06:35 PM
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westsidewolf1989 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:32 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  Their solution for breaking a 3-way tie is really weak. I hope they change it after this year, although I'm not sure what the best solution would be (perhaps score differential?).

This is identical to the Big 12 South situation in 2008, that involved Texas Tech, OU and Texas all being tied at the top, having only lost to each other and the tiebreaker going down to the BCS standings. Winner ended up being the Sooners, who had lost the earliest out of the three, which would be North Texas in our scenario.
10-28-2013 06:37 PM
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NoodleOwl Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:35 PM)DFW Owl Wrote:  
(10-28-2013 06:32 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  Their solution for breaking a 3-way tie is really weak. I hope they change it after this year, although I'm not sure what the best solution would be (perhaps score differential?).

It seems like they should use an average of the BCS computer rankings regardless of whether the team is in the top 25 of any of them. What is the next tiebreaker after BCS ranking if all teams tie with zero in that?

My guess is that it is the average of the computer rankings (possibly still with top & bottom dropped) .. basically the ranking given at this link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/rankings/bcs
10-28-2013 06:41 PM
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Fort Bend Owl Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Nightmare Scenario
I liked the old SWC tie-breaker rule which was something like longest time since representing the conference in the championship game. Didn't we tie for the SWC title one year with a losing overall record since some teams ahead of us were on probation? IIRC, we would have won the tie-breaker if we had a winning overall record - or maybe we would have lost out to Texas Tech either way?
10-28-2013 06:42 PM
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I45owl Offline
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Post: #8
Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:21 PM)Harry Wrote:  Wow man -- great detective work.. proving that Owl fans are quite smart. I post this and a link on our site and I imagine you will get some interesting responses. Take it a step further what if all three vote their team as #25 LOL!

http://www.gomeangreen.com/forums/topic/...-rice-fan/

Rice is at a natural disadvantage in that Bailiff will likely always do the honorable thing, and won't vote for his team even if the others were to do so, at least that's my take. But still, perverse incentives aren't what you want when it comes down to something like that, especially since the western division leader may host, so there are $$$ at stake.
10-28-2013 06:46 PM
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owlatheart Online
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Post: #9
RE: Nightmare Scenario
Lets just git 'er done and none of this will matter
(This post was last modified: 10-28-2013 06:56 PM by owlatheart.)
10-28-2013 06:54 PM
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NoodleOwl Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:42 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  I liked the old SWC tie-breaker rule which was something like longest time since representing the conference in the championship game. Didn't we tie for the SWC title one year with a losing overall record since some teams ahead of us were on probation? IIRC, we would have won the tie-breaker if we had a winning overall record - or maybe we would have lost out to Texas Tech either way?

1994, and yes, we lost out to Tech who had never been to the Cotton Bowl.
10-28-2013 06:58 PM
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georgewebb Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:42 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  I liked the old SWC tie-breaker rule which was something like longest time since representing the conference in the championship game.


The great thing about a tiebreaker based on past seasons is that it cannot possibly be manipulated by conduct in the current season. And when you get to nth-level tiebreakers, there is a good argument that this non-manipulability is a more important quality than the elusive "fairness".
10-28-2013 07:36 PM
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DFW Owl Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:41 PM)NoodleOwl Wrote:  My guess is that it is the average of the computer rankings (possibly still with top & bottom dropped) .. basically the ranking given at this link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/rankings/bcs


I see. The computer rankings determine the BCS order of the teams that get no poll votes. However, a single poll vote puts you ahead of all other teams with no poll votes, no matter what their computer ranking is. Once you get at least one poll vote, then the only computer rankings that can increase your BCS rating are if you are in the top 25 of a poll.

This seems quite stupid and unfair to me and gives poll voters way too much power in determining tiebreakers of a weak league. It works better up at the top, but not well at all for the teams on the borderline of getting votes.

They should only use the computer rankings or weight the polls properly.
(This post was last modified: 10-28-2013 08:26 PM by DFW Owl.)
10-28-2013 08:24 PM
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Jonathan Sadow Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 06:58 PM)NoodleOwl Wrote:  
(10-28-2013 06:42 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  I liked the old SWC tie-breaker rule which was something like longest time since representing the conference in the championship game. Didn't we tie for the SWC title one year with a losing overall record since some teams ahead of us were on probation? IIRC, we would have won the tie-breaker if we had a winning overall record - or maybe we would have lost out to Texas Tech either way?

1994, and yes, we lost out to Tech who had never been to the Cotton Bowl.

That's mostly correct. Texas Tech had been to the Cotton Bowl before, but not as the Southwest Conference champion. The Red Raiders played in the 1939 Cotton Bowl (before the automatic spot for the Southwest Conference champion in the game was established) and lost to the St. Mary's Gaels 20-13. I remember watching the 1995 Cotton Bowl on TV, and the CBS guys actually found some old Tech geezer who'd been at that game 56 years earlier and interviewed him on camera.

The other things I remember about that game was how Southern Cal absolutely crushed the Red Raiders and that how Rice, although unlikely to win the game, could at least have held the Trojans to under 55 points....
10-29-2013 12:37 AM
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texd Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-29-2013 12:37 AM)Jonathan Sadow Wrote:  The other things I remember about that game was how Southern Cal absolutely crushed the Red Raiders and that how Rice, although unlikely to win the game, could at least have held the Trojans to under 55 points....

If, for no other reason, we would have held the ball for 40 minutes and played the game in under 2-1/2 hours (only that long due to television breaks).
10-29-2013 10:33 AM
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georgewebb Offline
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RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-29-2013 10:33 AM)texd Wrote:  
(10-29-2013 12:37 AM)Jonathan Sadow Wrote:  The other things I remember about that game was how Southern Cal absolutely crushed the Red Raiders and that how Rice, although unlikely to win the game, could at least have held the Trojans to under 55 points....

If, for no other reason, we would have held the ball for 40 minutes and played the game in under 2-1/2 hours (only that long due to television breaks).

I loved those Rice games in the 1990s. We would have eight- and ten-minute drives, chewing up clock and chewing up ground 3-4 yards per play.
10-29-2013 10:51 AM
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DFW Owl Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-28-2013 08:24 PM)DFW Owl Wrote:  
(10-28-2013 06:41 PM)NoodleOwl Wrote:  My guess is that it is the average of the computer rankings (possibly still with top & bottom dropped) .. basically the ranking given at this link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/rankings/bcs


I see. The computer rankings determine the BCS order of the teams that get no poll votes. However, a single poll vote puts you ahead of all other teams with no poll votes, no matter what their computer ranking is. Once you get at least one poll vote, then the only computer rankings that can increase your BCS rating are if you are in the top 25 of a poll.

This seems quite stupid and unfair to me and gives poll voters way too much power in determining tiebreakers of a weak league. It works better up at the top, but not well at all for the teams on the borderline of getting votes.

They should only use the computer rankings or weight the polls properly.

One clarification.. even if you get no poll votes, getting in the top 25 of two computer rankings will vault you above all teams getting less than two Top 25 computer rankings without poll votes. Not as likely or bad I think as the other scenario. You will already likely be above almost all those teams in computer ranking.
10-29-2013 11:01 AM
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I45owl Offline
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RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-29-2013 10:51 AM)georgewebb Wrote:  
(10-29-2013 10:33 AM)texd Wrote:  
(10-29-2013 12:37 AM)Jonathan Sadow Wrote:  The other things I remember about that game was how Southern Cal absolutely crushed the Red Raiders and that how Rice, although unlikely to win the game, could at least have held the Trojans to under 55 points....

If, for no other reason, we would have held the ball for 40 minutes and played the game in under 2-1/2 hours (only that long due to television breaks).

I loved those Rice games in the 1990s. We would have eight- and ten-minute drives, chewing up clock and chewing up ground 3-4 yards per play.

You must have missed the Ohio State and Michigan games.

This post will self-destruct in 80 minutes
10-29-2013 11:28 AM
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Rick Gerlach Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Nightmare Scenario
(10-29-2013 11:28 AM)I45owl Wrote:  
(10-29-2013 10:51 AM)georgewebb Wrote:  
(10-29-2013 10:33 AM)texd Wrote:  
(10-29-2013 12:37 AM)Jonathan Sadow Wrote:  The other things I remember about that game was how Southern Cal absolutely crushed the Red Raiders and that how Rice, although unlikely to win the game, could at least have held the Trojans to under 55 points....

If, for no other reason, we would have held the ball for 40 minutes and played the game in under 2-1/2 hours (only that long due to television breaks).

I loved those Rice games in the 1990s. We would have eight- and ten-minute drives, chewing up clock and chewing up ground 3-4 yards per play.

You must have missed the Ohio State and Michigan games.

This post will self-destruct in 80 minutes

Exceptions not the rule, at least in the late 90's when we regularly Top 3 in the country in rushing YPG. And our average gain per play was over 4, and much higher for some games.

It took the occasional Michigan, LSU or OSU to keep the averages to what they were.
10-29-2013 03:06 PM
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75src Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Nightmare Scenario
Tech had been to the Cotton Bowl but never as a SWC member. Rice's last previous Cotton Bowl was on 1/1/58 so Tech went by the tie breaker of the 5 co-champions. We could have gone if we had won or tied one of our SWC losses or Tech had not been one of the co-champs.

(10-28-2013 06:58 PM)NoodleOwl Wrote:  
(10-28-2013 06:42 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  I liked the old SWC tie-breaker rule which was something like longest time since representing the conference in the championship game. Didn't we tie for the SWC title one year with a losing overall record since some teams ahead of us were on probation? IIRC, we would have won the tie-breaker if we had a winning overall record - or maybe we would have lost out to Texas Tech either way?

1994, and yes, we lost out to Tech who had never been to the Cotton Bowl.
10-29-2013 10:20 PM
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