Metrics can help the CFP committee

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
4:00
PM ET


The 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee met in Washington, D.C., this week, and it was announced that it will reveal four interim rankings before the inaugural selection weekend in 2014.

Of course, a little light bulb immediately fizzled to life -- bizzz-fizzzz! -- over the heads of many in the ESPN offices in lovely Bristol, Conn. Interim rankings? Why wait until 2014? Let's do it now. As in right now.

That's what everyone wants, right? The playoff to start this year, not next. Or so you think.

The committee will be made up of 13 human beings, ready-made with their own ideas about evaluating and ranking college football teams. Many of them will be old-school, laboriously reviewing hours of game tape and giving teams their fearsome "sight test." Some will embrace the sabermetric revolution that has unceremoniously stomped on cherished sporting ideas such as clutch play, momentum and locker room chemistry.

For our purposes, the ESPN.com 2013 College Football Playoff Selection Committee will be made up of the guys who made A's in calculus in 10th grade and then moved on to the Jacobian conjecture: ESPN Stats & Information geniuses.

Those folks have devised an all-encompassing metric -- Championship Drive Ratings -- that measures the résumés of college football teams, putting a heavy emphasis on strength of schedule, as the CFP committee is expected to do. It measures how difficult it is for an average FBS team to achieve the team in question's results.

So, the season ends today, and based on Championship Drive Ratings -- drumroll, please -- the four-team playoff would go: 1. Alabama; 2. Stanford; 3. Florida State; 4. Ohio State.

That's right, unbeaten Baylor, you are eclipsed by Stanford, which lost to now-4-5 Utah on Oct. 12.

Got a feeling ESPN's Stats & Info's Q-rating just dropped precipitously in Waco.

The good news, of course, is the season doesn't end today.

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Ted Miller | email

College Football

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