After the national championship matchup between Notre Dame and Alabama, it was clear that the Crimson Tide were the best team in the country. With a 42-14 victory, everybody in college football, including Irish fans, were forced to bow down and pay respects to the deserving champions. Even Stevie Wonder could see that there was really no comparison between the two teams.
Well, everybody was able to come up with the obvious conclusion except the Colley Matrix Rankings. While Alabama is enjoying its third national title in four years, this system has still found a way to leave Notre Dame at the top, as Brad Edwards of ESPN tweeted:
Just checked final computer rankings and found this interesting item: Colley Matrix still has Notre Dame ranked No. 1— Brad Edwards (@JBradEdwards) January 10, 2013
No, this is no April Fool's joke, you can see the complete list of rankings here for yourself. The team that took Notre Dame behind the woodshed in front of millions of people obviously didn't do enough to impress this one lonely computer. However, this may be a good thing for Notre Dame judging by past history, as Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports tweeted a little zing to Alabama fans:
Notre Dame still No. 1 in one BCS computer colleyrankings.com/currank.html By Alabama historical standards, that's a claimed national title— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) January 10, 2013
No matter how you lose in the big game, everybody gets to be champions! Like field day during elementary school, we all get pretty blue ribbons when it is over. Let's not even play a national championship because we are all winners at the end of the day. You don't want to step on anybody's toes now would you?
The rankings are put together by a gentleman named Wes Colley, who received a Ph.D from Princeton University in Astrophysical Sciences. He is obviously an intelligent fellow, but this is something that can't be right no matter how you want to look at it or break things down.
The Colley Matrix focuses heavily on the strength of schedule, but does not use margin of victory in any way. This is one system's issues and rubbed Edwards the wrong way:
It just underscores the flaw of rating teams without using margin of victory. One more year of this system, folks.— Brad Edwards (@JBradEdwards) January 10, 2013
Colley wrote on his website that his rankings are put together based off the results on the field:
First and foremost, the rankings are based only on results from the field, with absolutely no influence from opinion, past performance, tradition or any other bias factor. This is why there is no pre-season poll here. All teams are assumed equal at the beginning of the year. If you include some kind of human input, what's the point of a computer poll in the first place? Garbage in, garbage out.
Garbage out! When two teams square off for the national championship, it shouldn't matter who had the stronger schedule or what number a computer is able to spit out. When Alabama and Notre Dame met, the team from Tuscaloosa dominated from start to finish and won in convincing fashion. The Irish didn't look like they belonged on the same field as Alabama.
Thankfully we only have one more year of this nonsense and we can begin the college football playoff that will be determined by a selection committee. And as Edwards points out, the guys that will be calling the shots should not let the polls and machines have any influence on them:
Computers & polls will have no impact on selection of playoff teams unless committee members choose to be influenced by them— Brad Edwards (@JBradEdwards) January 10, 2013
Teams should be judged by humans that actually have somewhat of an intelligent football IQ. While numbers play a big role in sports, they shouldn't be used so heavily when trying to decide which team is better than the rest. Just watch the game again (if you are able to sit through it all), and it is obvious which is the better college football team.
Even a computer should be smart enough to realize that.