Chaos Rankings

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Toe Meets Leather 2014

A hearty "welcome back" to college football! The season kicks off tonight with a game that barely qualifies as a Division I-A contest: Abilene Christian of the Div. I-AA Southland at recent addition Georgia State of the Sun Belt (itself just a collection of nominally I-A leftovers). But hey, it's football, right? And things improve considerably tomorrow with Texas A&M at South Carolina and Boise State vs Mississippi in Atlanta before we roll into Labor Day weekend with a slate chock-full of cupcakes to hold you over between the few intriguing matchups.
In other news, the BCS is finally dead and we have a "playoff" this season. I'm more than willing to concede that 4 teams barely constitutes a playoff, and that it's just as likely we end up with only 3 apparently worthy teams as it is we end up with 5-6. People scrutinize the NCAA selection committee for their March Madness picks, but they're largely only deciding which teams on the outer fringes of the field of 68 are getting in, not which teams to place in the final 4 (at least, not directly - yes, 1 seeds typically have an easier path, etc etc). My point here is that there's still a considerable margin for error and a lot of subjectivity on the football playoff committee when it comes to selecting only 4 teams from a field of 128 (but really more like 8-10). My guess is that in most years, picking the first 2 or 3 teams will pretty unanimous, even if their specific order isn't, but picking the last team or two who gets is will be a much bigger challenge.
With that in mind, I have every intention to continue producing Chaos Rankings for the upcoming season. Maybe the selection committee will one day find it useful. I think I am going to drop the bottom 10 however, as it doesn't seem to add much value, and I may tweak the top 24-30 to only be the top 16 (in the hopes of a larger playoff field someday) or the more standard top 25. I haven't really decided yet. I'm also considering evaluating where the largest gaps between groups of teams in the weekly ratings exist and using those as my cutoffs, such that the number of top teams may be somewhat elastic.
Enjoy the games this weekend and I'll leave you with perhaps the greatest sports anthem ever produced.


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