November 30, 2006

Inside the BCS with Wesley Colley of Colley Matrix

I have been chatting with Wesley Colley all season long because I have great respect for the work he does on his college rankings (basketball too). So when I saw that this week he was the lone computer poll to have USC at #1, we had to keep our conversation going...

Vince Mullins: Wesley, you are the only system that has USC as the overall #1 - tell me about what your work likes about the Trojans this year over Ohio State. Also, what are the other polls missing in your opinion?
Wesley Colley: First, some of the other systems have USC VERY close to OSU in their internal ratings, so I'm not really much of an outlier. I suspect some of the systems may join me if USC beats UCLA. What my system likes about the Trojans is that they've won their conference outright, beat SECW champ Arkansas, Big XII-North champ Nebraska, and by far the best indy in Notre Dame - all while, they've played zero creampuffs.
VM: Florida fans are killing me with questions - is there any chance that the Gators can leap above USC and get to the Championship Game with a win over Arkansas and a USC loss to UCLA? What about in your work? The big BCS score gap makes it look difficult to me....
WC: The short answer is yes. UF can absolutely get into my top 2 if USC loses.
VM: Also, I quickly scanned the computer "index" and the biggest variance to the pollsters is Wisconsin (computers average 12, voters agree on 6)...how would you explain the gap in the pollsters opinion and the bias-free nature of the computers?
WC: Wisconsin lost early and has percolated up the human polls, but hasn't beaten a ranked team. Wisconsin is essentially the OTHER beneficiary to the lack of Badger-Buckeye matchup this season, while Ohio State's SOS suffers because of it.
VM: Are there any other issues you want to highlight with your system or the polls?

WC: It'll be a lot more interesting if the Bruins pull off the miracle.
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can you respect his work? Not only does he have USC #1 over an Ohio State team that is by far the best team, but he's got Butler #1 in his bball poll. What a joke. Geeks like this that just plug numbers into a formula shouldn't be allowed to impact the landscape of college football.

Vinnie said...

Tucker Carlson? Former U.S. Senator Paul Simon? Sorry, my attention span was only able to process the bowtie and nothing else. I bet this was a good post though.

Vince said...

Anon, his work is based on statistical principles rather than assumptions and preconceptions. Early in the season there are fewer data points, hence more opportunity for some crazy outcomes like Butler at #1. Butler has some big wins early in the year, so they are #1 now - in November.

And if you would ANONYMOUSLY look at the ESPN link, you see that there are other computer polls with USC a very close #2.

I would rather see an index of computer formulas than a coaches poll decide who gets the big bowl money and a shot at the crystal football.

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