Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rant of the week: Polls? Bwa ha ha ha ha!

For all the things that piss me off about college hockey, there are a few things I do like. First of all, unlike college football, there is a tournament. And unlike college basketball, college hockey uses this magical numerical formula called "pairwise" to decide who gets into the NCAA tournament. I don't understand pairwise, but thank God it's there. Using "simple math" (sorry Scooby) we can figure out who is in the tournament and who is out of the tournament at any given time. The upshot of this is that the polls and rankings everyone comes up with are useless. So everyone is happy and joyous, right? Wrong.

For some reason, there is a certain class of people in this world that just likes to argue about things endlessly. One fun subject to argue about is polls. So and so is ranked too high! So and so is ranked too low! Blah blah blah! This is sure fun in college football where the BCS and their crazy computer rankings are subject to human error. This is also a grand old time in college basketball where the tournament participants are seemingly decided by a gang of drunk and/or stoned monkeys. But we don't have that in college hockey. The polls are basically a prestige thing. I can put on the Coffin Online page that PC is the number 14 team in the country. The problem is, that doesn't mean anything. Its just fun to refer to PC as the top 14 team in the country.

Basically, polls and arguing about them are stupid. But they do serve one purpose: I get to make fun of people who talk about them! Hooray for me!

Next target: people who like to compare conference strengths. Coming soon...


USAFA Bulldog said...

Well, sort of. NCAA hockey does have a committee. PWR really doesn't decide anything, it just mimics the criteria the committe uses.

"The PairWise Rankings (PWR) are a statistical tool designed to approximate the process by which the NCAA selection committee decides which 16 teams to invite to the Division I championship tournament. Although the PWR does not precisely duplicate the method used by the committee, the PWR has exactly predicted the NCAA tournament entries in each of the last eight years. (The difference in the process is that the NCAA committee doesn't actually take the final step of totaling the comparison wins, and summarizing it into a neat PWR chart. See the Selection FAQ for more details.)"


So it could be wrong, but so far it hasn't been.

Brad (USAFA Bulldog)

Jon said...

Really? Scooby has been lying to us? Very disappointing. I do appreciate the attempt at a transparent system.