The year of 2007 will go down as an epic year for college football. It's about 1:00, and I'm fighting off the urge to get some much needed rest as the final regular season game of the college football season plays out between Washington and Hawaii. It is the final week of the season that will hopefully signal the beginning of the end for the BCS and the primary reason I waste my time with a ranking system called the D-I20 Register.
Having just settled into my seat for a cross-country trip from Washington, DC to Tucson in the fall of 2006, I quickly realized the reading material I planned to take with me had been left behind leaving me with about four and a half hours to either entertain myself or watch Nacho Libre. Oh yeah, and a few outdated episodes of the New Adventures of Old Christine. Needless to say, I needed something to kill the time.
In all honesty, there are some reasonable arguments on the merits of keeping the bowl system but perhaps not as many for a playoff. Most of them are rarely used; however. We here the ones that basically insult our intelligence about academics and "every game is a playoff."
The biggest problem with the current system is that it's just weird. It doesn't really make much sense nor does it apply two of the most critical elements of life…logic and good old common sense. At least when college football wasn't settling it on the field back in the 80's and 90's it was because of traditional bowl ties. Although there wasn't much logic to the system, at least we all understood why it was that way. Even at the Olympics we always understood why the Russian and French judges gave the American competitors less points than all the other judges. Who understands the complex formulas of the BCS? It's a hodgepodge of concurrent objectivity and subjectivity. That concept would have seemed like a paradox before the invention of the BCS, so I guess we should at least give it credit for challenging our mental capacity to apply abstract thinking.
At some point during the flight, it hit me that anyone could probably design a simple system using basic addition and division and create something just as valid (or absurd depending on your perspective) as the BCS. I wasn't really looking to create a ranking. There wasn't a burning desire to do this, because life is busy enough as it is. I jotted down a few thoughts and numbers as an initial theory on this and figured that's about as far as I would get.
On my return flight a few days later, I had the forethought to print off college football scores just in case my viewing options were as limited as the first leg. To my dismay, we had the exact same viewing schedule, so it was more Jack Black in tights. Fiddling with football scores suddenly didn't seem so tedious. Thus, the D-I20 Register was born.
The premise was to develop a system that first of all was simple and easy to understand. Second, it needed to illustrate that anyone could come up with a comparable system with little effort that would display just how silly the BCS is (not that it needs much help). The next objective was the serious aspect. Start with basing it off wins and losses. If you win you do better than if you don't. Pretty simple…eh? And finally, it should have strength of schedule component that would be based on where the opponent was ranked at the time of the game.
Once I started to put it all together I realized it would probably need a few tweaks along the way, but it was looking practical. That really provided some motivation to follow through.
Now to the 2007 season. It's been such a busy year personally that I was planning to forego any further development of the Register, but I honestly enjoy the college football and once the season started it sucked me back in. So, I decided to try it for one more year to see how it goes and what a year it has been. It has been interesting to have the opportunity to look at the outcome of every single college football game and team in Division I-A, which is something I never did previously despite being such a self-proclaimed fan.
So back to the original questions. What's the point and do I expect this to go anywhere, and if not why do it? The answer is I honestly don't care. It has its place. I enjoy it to an extent. It's interesting to see it develop over the course of the season and compare it to the BCS. Following Week 10 of the season, the Register had the exact same teams ranked in the top six spots. If that happens at the end of season I'm not sure if that means I've proven the point or if means it needs to be scrapped. As previously stated I get a good impression on every team's season, which can be fascinating, especially when you meet people and learn where they went to school. Knowing their alma mater's football record is an immediate icebreaker, so that's about all I get out of it.
In the end, this thing ranks somewhere between picking up dry cleaning and catching a movie, so it's future is probably contingent on how much time I have to watch college football. Hopefully, there are some of you out there that enjoy my ability to ridicule the BCS.
Click here (http://di20register.blogspot.com/) to see the final 2007 rankings.