Nitt Picks Is Saying 'Yeah!'

Sometimes in life it's better to let other people do the talking. You are a homer anyway, and so quoting someone else will probably make whatever is said more credible.

Penn State > USC? Yeah! The most disappointing thing about the post-Iowa polls (other than them showing Penn State with a loss, of course) was the fact that so many pollsters found it a forgone conclusion that USC was a more worthy one loss team than the Nittany Lions. My spitting into the rain seemed futile, but the MSM just might catch on after all.

If Oregon State beats Oregon, then could you put USC in the national title game over Penn State? How? Penn State blew out Oregon State and beat Ohio State in Columbus. USC lost to Oregon State and beat Ohio State at home. Besides, USC, in this scenario, doesn't even earn the top spot in the Pac 10, even if it does win a share of the Pac 10 title.

Ok, so that's just one writer who probably doesn't even vote. But the point is not that everyone needs convinced, just that they need to justify it either way.

Computer polls going all "I, Robot"? Yeah! I used to support the fact that the computers are included in the BCS; they seem to apply objective criteria to everyone equally and, therefore, help guard against any sweeping bias. My high regard for the digital changed this season. Dr. Saturday explains it's not the computers' fault.

This is the kind of absurdity that results when you withhold information: If the computers were allowed to take into account margin of victory instead of treating every win as exactly the same, those algorithms would make infinitely more sense (the poll Sagarin would submit if he could has Oklahoma No. 2 and Tech fourth).

Including margin of victory is a double edge sword and, to be honest, those running the BCS are totally justified in excluding it from the formula. It allows the computers to come up with much more logical results, but the problem of excluding them is replaced with the problem of understanding them. Coaches feel the need to take unnecessary end zone shots after the opponent has already put in the second string defense, all to make the victory a +28 instead of +21. When voters see these things they often are able to put them in context, but a computer will not. 

Dr. Saturday expands later:


[Computers are] forced to throw out margin of victory by BCS rules, eliminating the difference the humans see in winning 65-21 and winning, say, 3-2. When there are so few games to compare, no win is really just a win, period, but them's the rules.

That's right, of course, but it's not the golden ticket. In my example above, if the team that wins by 28 with a late TD against non-starters better than the team that, up 35, is scored on a la last Saturday's late Michigan State drive against third team players? That two point conversion at the end would make a computer think so. It allows too much manipulation and, besides, doesn't take into account things like weather and officiating.

So what do I think after seeing Penn State two spots lower in the BCS than their consensus human poll average? Seeing them ranked behind Ohio State in Billingsley's poll? Trailing Georgia and Oklahoma State in other formulas?

Just get rid of them. They are imperfect machines that aren't being allowed to use all the data available and don't seem to be adding any value. If you want a broader base for the BCS average, there are other ways of achieving this.

A rivalry is born? Umm...Yeah! No. Adam Rittenberg at ESPN wonders if the fake rivalry didn't "get legs" this weekend.

Dantonio said later that his two timeouts were not a reply to Devlin's touchdown pass.

"There's no motivation there. I think the problem was earlier in the game. I was just trying to give our guys a rest."

Hmm, not so sure I buy that.

One of the things I love about Dantonio is that he doesn't downplay games or certain opponents. He certainly doesn't minimize the Michigan rivalry, and he might have just injected some flavor to a previously bland rivalry with Penn State.

The back-to-back timeouts at the end of the last weeks game made me realize something, but it wasn't that Michigan State is now a rival.  It's that MSU might have just done the impossible: replace John L. Smith with someone just as ridiculous and pathetic.  Michigan State fans: if you want to lose the "little brother" tag, stop defending a coach that acts like a whinny brat.

The letters come with the bus? Yeah!  The first blue bus has been sold, winning bid?

The "ultimate tailgating vehicle" was recently auctioned off on eBay -- a bus Penn State used to transport its football players to Beaver Stadium for home games from 1980 to 2007, the first of several to put up for sale. The winning bid for the first bus on the block: $4,050.

And who says the marketing people at PSU don't know what they are doing?  In a line right out of The Price Is Right:

"Entertain friends in style at next season’s tailgates with a vehicle steeped in Penn State football history," read the promotional copy.

 

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