Separation of Sport and School


Recently the University of Florida announced that they were planning to cut their Computer Science program. This is a travesty for education and the university, but this is not the point of this post.

Steven Salzburg contributed an article to Forbes titled University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm. He raised several important points and then ruins the article with this paragraph,

Meanwhile, the athletic budget for the current year is $99 million, an increase of more than $2 million from last year.  The increase alone would more than offset the savings supposedly gained by cutting computer science.

He then throws in, Now, I’m not saying that UF has chosen football over science, but with the headline and the above paragraph, that is exactly what everyone is reading. If you read the comments, he does state that the title might be unfair, but the title has not changed and the comment is unlikely to be read by most.

Here are the important facts that are glossed over:

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The Best SEC Teams, 1996-2007


So, Doug Segrest of The Birmingham News decided to play a simulation tourney, the SoS Playoffs II, to determine the best SEC teams of the last 12 years. Setting the tournament up like a mini World Cup tournament, he structured it as follows:

  • Four groups of five teams each (20 teams total).
  • Each group plays a home-home set against each opponent for a total of 8 eight each.
  • The top two teams in each group advances to the quarterfinals.
  • From there it is single elimination to the finals with each game played at a “neutral” site.

Each game is run using the NCAA Football SimMatchup tool at WhatIfSports. It is a fun little device. He takes the first outcome and then captures the box scores. It only goes back to 1996 in stats, thus the limitation in this bit of entertainment.

As a little disclaimer, I started this post about halfway through the Quarterfinals, so I had no idea of the results when I started.

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Ranking College Football Winning Tradition


So, the SEC posted a All Time Final AP Football Poll. It is fairly entertaining and takes into all the AP polls since the beginning in 1936. Their methodology is pretty straightforward:

From 1936 to 1961 the wire service ranked 20 teams. From 1962 to 1967 only 10 teams were recognized. From 1968 to 1988 AP again resumed its Top 20 before expanding to 25 teams in 1989. Points were awarded based on a team’s finish in the final AP poll each year. Points were awarded on a 20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis from 1936 to 1988, and a 25-24-23-22-21-20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis 1989 to the present.

They gave out half points for ties which was also a good move. There is a flaw in their methodology though. If you were ranked before1989, you got an 5 points less than you would have if you had received an equivalent rating since then. This is unfair as teams shouldn’t be penalized for playing well before the AP voted for 25 teams. To be an accurate measure, being ranked number 1 in 1950 should weigh the same as 2007.

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