Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

How will college football panel pick top teams?

Oliver Luck

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, AUG. 9-10 - FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2011 file photo, West Virginia University athletic director Oliver Luck speaks during a press conference in Morgantown, W.Va. As the playoff era begins, 13 people will be in charge of choosing the best four teams in the country to play in the first national semifinals. (AP Photo/David Smith, File)

By
From page B3 | August 10, 2014 |

Might as well call it Mission: Impossible.

Starting in mid-October, a panel of 13 football experts will begin meeting once a week to determine the four teams who will compete for the national championship in the very first College Football Playoff. Their goal is to choose the four best teams in the nation at the end of the regular season.

But how does someone answer a question for which there will almost always will be more than one correct answer?

“We need both faith and reason,” said committee member and West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. “We have to use our logical skills and the deductive skills that the people in that room have. But the college football world needs a little bit of faith that we all check our pasts at the door and we go about this in a very straightforward and honest manner.”

Where the College Football Playoff has the Bowl Championship Series beat is simply the number four. Twice as many teams will now enter the postseason with a chance to win the national championship. Most fans agree this is progress over an old system were deserving teams were left out.

How will the new panel decide on top teams? Will so-called great teams still be left out? As its first season unfolds, the group could create an all-new set of questions about whether the process works.

THE HUMAN ELEMENT

The biggest change in the process is that people — not computer rankings — are solely in charge of teams’ fates. So the panel will have to learn how to effectively debate, compromise and even account for bias.

“This small number of human beings sitting across the table from each other can evaluate nuances to a much greater degree than the old system could,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff. “There can be give and take. There can be questions and answers. That element just wasn’t a part of the old system.”

The down side of that is with so few people, if there is bias in the room it can have a greater impact on the final decision. If someone consistently overrates the importance of offense over defense, for example, that can affect the process more so than when the teams were chosen by more than 100 voters in Harris and coaches’ polls.

“With 13 people, if somebody really has it in their head that no matter what South Carolina is not that good, if one person votes them No. 15 even if everybody else has them around the top four, they’re probably not going to get in,” said Bill Connelly, a writer for SB Nation whose statistical rating system called F+ can be found at www.footballoutsiders.com .

On Oct. 21, the committee will release its first weekly rankings, a top 25 that will allow fans to see what the panel is collectively thinking down the stretch of the season.

Hancock has said the weekly rankings were a nod to college football tradition, and transparency. The ranking give fans a way to assess to some degree where teams stand in the championship race and they shine light on the process.

Maybe a little too much light?

“The obsession with transparency drives me crazy,” Connelly said. “I get the idea that it’s good to know how somebody came up with what they come up with, but they have gone overboard. It’s going to make it a far more painful process for them.”

Dave Bartoo, a data analyst, consultant and founder of www.cfbmatrix.com , said he anticipates the selection committee will rank teams similarly to other poll panels. Traditionally, college football poll voters tend to create tiers based on the number of loses and wins and adjust the teams within those tiers, making some alterations to account for perceived schedule strength.

“I feel that’s what should happen because they (the committee) don’t have enough information to do any better than the people who have been doing it,” Bartoo said.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

The committee has been instructed to place an emphasis on strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups and conference championships.

Strength of schedule has become a particular buzz phrase this offseason, with coaches and conferences already touting the virtues of their lineup.

Bartoo said it’s misguided to emphasize strength of schedule because calculating it accurately is not possible, no matter how it’s done.

“A lot of people want to believe that strength of schedule is a valid stat for separating teams,” he said. “It’s not the best one or the worst one. They are all about a coin flip.”

There are not enough data points in college football to make a good sample size to study strength of schedule because teams play so few games and the best teams rarely play each other, Bartoo said.

ANALYZING THE DATA

The committee will have a virtual bank vault full of data at their fingertips, provided by a company called SportsSource Analytics, to help them judge teams.

Bartoo is concerned about information overload and the committee using numbers that have not been properly vetted.

“Who is helping with oversight on that?” he said. “Can the playoff committee call me? ‘We think this metric is valuable, can you back test it for that?'”

The BCS taught college football fans there is no perfect way of picking the best teams. That won’t change with the College Football Playoff.

“They will do the best they can and I’m confident they’ll pick the best four teams,” Hancock said. “Some other group of 13 people might come up with different teams, but our group will spend a season evaluating teams unlike any other group with fall. More time watching video and analyzing data than any other group.

“But I certainly know that another group of 13 might come up with something different.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Girl Scouts explore sweet side of chemistry

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time again for my Cheers and Jeers

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Total Home, Garden & Harvest Festival wraps up

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Pumpkin Patch Festival set for final weekend

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Sessions teach about child support process

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Arrivederci! Italian Festival

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Red Kettle Program returns for holidays

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Holiday Fashion Extravaganza registration deadline looms

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Elder depression and substance abuse topic of discussion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Vacaville library to host composting series

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Senior Center hosts monthly travel presentation

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Napa man jailed for running over ex-girlfriend

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A4

 
Local governments schedule meetings

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4

Weather for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Expelled Nazis paid millions in Social Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Cruise ship docks with Ebola-watched health worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama switches gears, confronting Ebola head on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

CDC to revise Ebola protocol, Pentagon preps team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lottery sales top $5B for first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Archaeologists seek movie set in California sands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

On the road to find the world’s funniest person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New England raking in millions from leaf peepers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police hunt for clues near where Va. remains found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Super drunk woman arrested, mistook jail for bar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Robotic device helps paralyzed groom walk aisle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coroner: 6 fire victims died of smoke inhalation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pope beatifies Paul VI at remarkable synod’s end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sweden: 3 credible sightings in submarine search

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Opinion

Is it truly affordable health care?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8

 
Suisun mayor offers his endorsements

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Which candidates support Alzheimer’s cure?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Beware a Trojan horse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Pulse poll question

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Breaking news ‘facts’ worthy of note

By Jack Batson | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I’m too scared to leave my abusive husband of 15 years

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Comedians honor Jay Leno with humor prize in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Report: Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Reported ‘Easy Rider’ chopper sells at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘New Girl,’ ‘Cosmos’ win Environmental Media Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

‘Letterman’ cue card man fired for colleague clash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17 win over 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tim Lincecum waits his turn, still yet to pitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings pick up G Ben McLemore’s option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao makes professional basketball debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal receiver Trevor Davis released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rangers net 2 in 4 seconds; Lundqvist stops Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL roundup: Jaguars bounce Browns, gets first win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ski champ Svindal injured while playing soccer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams hits back at Russian official

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Royals dependent on 3-headed bullpen monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Hend wins Hong Kong Open in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ilonen beats Stenson in World Match Play final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Jay Haas wins Greater Hickory Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ben Martin wins 1st PGA Tour title in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Denkinger’s miss revisited as Series returns to KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Facebook, Apple pay for egg freezing, sperm donors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield October 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7