Survey: 5 out of 6 geeks hate USC
Pete Carroll had a mix of emotions over the unveiling of the first BCS standings for 2009. He began with shock and awe, finding it unbelievable that his program could be ranked 4th in two of the three elements of the formula and appear at 7th overall. He then went back to his usual stance of not understanding the system, and acknowledging his lack of control over numbers and data. And finally, in a short phone interview with ESPN, he says not to read too much into the first BCS posting, because numbers will change drastically as games are played.
But even as the latter of Carroll’s comments is truthful, knowing that the computers showed little love for the Trojans, spitting them out at No. 11, still left me irked. It’s common knowledge that the computer will attach itself to loss column zeros, but you would think the quality of opponents would factor.
Yesterday I stumbled upon the Sagarin ratings, which is one of the six computers used in the BCS process. After viewing the list, I learned that I had wrongfully assumed that all computers hated USC, while also realizing the other 5 must have hated the Trojans more than I thought.
Sagarin gave more love to the Trojans’ body of work than anyone else. While the rest of the geeks restricted a top five standing with heavy numbers that pulled them to seven, Sagarin gave USC the highest placement of all ranking systems, with scores placing them third, behind Alabama and Florida.
Sagarin took note of the Trojans playing four of the first 6 games on the road, and each being a hostile environment. It ranks USC’s schedule strength as the 11th best to this point. In comparison, Alabama is 26, Florida is 46, and Texas is 71. The undefeated Longhorns are ranked 9th overall in the Sagarin ratings, not nearly receiving the same love as they have from other outlets.
In this college football version of “Beauty and the Geek”, only one contestant fell in love with USC, with 5 obviously showing more hate than I first realized. If the Trojans stand any chance of making a championship appearance, this beauty will need to make an impression and win over more hearts in weeks to come. They will also need their upcoming and past opponents to maintain strength, leaving them with a December face that only a motherboard can love.