The college football season is now officially underway. Mainstream TV coverage begins early on Saturdays, and the first game is generally preceded by hours of pre-game programming to fuel the hype. Typically, a panel of a half-dozen sports journalists, former coaches and players will debate the pros and cons of every player, churn through all the latest breaking news stories, and share their individual picks in each of the games. This year, they will also argue passionately about college football’s new playoff format for choosing a National Champion. For the 2014 season, a committee of 13 distinguished individuals will select the final four teams. All but three of them have careers linked to college athletics; the outliers include a sports journalist, a former Air Force Academy administrator, and a former Secretary of State. If you follow college football at all, you already know they are doomed to fail.
Each team plays a very different schedule, and it’s difficult to judge the strength of that schedule until all the teams on it have completed their games, against a bunch of teams which all play a very different schedule….Some teams will start strong, and then limp through to the end. Others will take a while to figure everything out, and then finish the season strong. Each and every committee member is a college graduate, but of course none of that will produce any bias. There is absolutely no hope of avoiding controversy.
But we seem to be overlooking one important fact. College football, like most major sports today, is saturated with big data and statistics. How many third down conversions has Jameis Winston completed when the temperature was below 50 deg F in months ending in “R”? Just give me a laptop and a minute…The answer to the playoff problem is obvious; where is Watson when you need him?