Sunday, 7 December 2008

College Ball

College Football in the United States is a big deal, unlike England where 'college' sports consists of the Boat Race. That's it.

OK, so we could possibly include the Varsity Match, (incidentally, my school always gave us this particular afternoon off with encouragement to head off to Twickenham while the teachers presumably took the opportunity to go Xmas shopping), but I have never been to either event, and no doubt there are other college sporting events, but none capture the public's imagination.

The US is quite different though, with college sports being a huge part of the sporting landscape. College Football crowds are enormous, (with some people taking up more than one seat!), but seriously Michigan attracted over 112,000 for a game in 2003, and the average over 791 games of top-level games in 2007 was 46,962. Several Premier League clubs would envy those numbers, although of course most teams only play half a dozen or so games at home each season.

Anyway, the reason I started writing this post is to point out how ludicrous their system of deciding the national champion is each year. Basically teams are rated by various people voting in different polls) and a computer working out who the top two teams are who then get to play in the National Title game.

As of this morning Alabama was top-ranked, with Florida ranked at number 4. Alabama was unbeaten in 11 games, whereas Florida had lost once (by one point) back in September.

These two were playing each other today in their Conference Championship (don't ask), and one might expect Alabama to be favourites, but no, Florida were 9.5 points favourites and won by 11.

One can't help but wonder why the computer used to calculate the spread isn't the same one used to calculate the rankings. It's just stupid to have a team ranked at number one when the market (i.e. everybody) knows they are NOT number one.

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