Posted on: February 6, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 6:37 pm

Playoff Discussion Cliff Notes

This is lengthy, but it is also comprehensive.

Developing a new playoff format is the favorite indoor sport in NCAAF forums.  The items below are a summary of the results of countless playoff discussions in open forum, grouped under a few related topics.  A comparative analysis of the pros and cons as they apply to general formats is at the end.

Thru the topics below “Plausible sounding” statements, despite following a line of logic, are not considered evidence – after all, it was once logical the earth was the center of the universe based on plausible conclusions derived from observations.

No credence is given to searches for the “Golden phrase” – attempts to increase the validity or significance of an issue or diminish evidence by changing the way it is prosed.  Evidence stands or falls on its own merits without embellishment.  You can include in this group attempts to redefine common terms.

No credence is given to possibilities which haven’t happened – when an event occurs, it can be included and weighed with frequency it occurs, until then it is just another “What if?”

A core reason given for a playoff is that it would be a better means of crowning the best team. 

The validity of this statement depends on the playoff size.  As the size of the playoff field expands, the chances the best team is not invited drops off quickly.  However, the chances the best team is upset increases nearly exponentially as the number of playoff games increases.  As the size of a playoff increases, eventually the chances of an upset surpass the chances of not getting an invite, at which time the chances of crowning the best team decreases.

An estimate can be made for comparison
Chances the Best team is crowned  =  chances the best team is invited  x  chances of winning round 1  x  chances of winning round 2  x 

Using reasonable estimates that the best team is twice as likely to be ranked 1-2 as 3-4, twice as likely to be ranked 3-4 as 5-6, etc. coupled with an estimate the best team wins around 60-70% of the time:

4 team formats are more likely to crown the best team than a 2 team format
but only slightly (well less than a 5% improvement)
8 team or larger formats are less likely to crown the best team than a 4 team format with the results dropping off quickly.
The comparison between 4 and 8 team formats holds with any reasonable estimates.
Seeded 6 team formats are too close to call compared to a seeded 4 varying with the estimates, but are generally about the same.

You can add "Legitimacy" or "Better method" claims to this grouping - the Championship format most likely to crown the best team champion would be the most legitimate.

I have not seen where this has been disputed, only downplayed.

Everyone with access to, and the ability to project, relevant information who has looked at the issue have derived the same conclusion – a large playoff (more than 4 teams) can generate more money than the BCS, but would decrease overall revenue for the entire season.  They do not believe a 4 team format would substantially add to or detract from the overall season revenue.

This has never been disputed by the mid majors or any other group with access to, and the skill to project, relevant information.

One counter argument is that they are all lying to protect their power and/or status.  I mockingly refer to this as the “Conspiracy theory” because of the large number of groups with different priorities that are all reaching the same conclusion (networks, majors, consulting groups, BCS, bowls, etc.),  Even groups that favor large formats (such as mid majors) do not dispute these findings.  Since they are all saying the same thing, I assert that for all of them to be lying, there must be some level of collusion as they make revenue a secondary issue.

Another counter argument is that their conclusion are wrong
, but these assertions have never produced evidence to the contrary (reference “Plausible sounding” statements above).

Playoffs have been cited as a means of closing the financial disparity between the "Haves" and "Have nots." 
Financially a seeded 4 provides the mid majors with as much as the majors can give without sacrificing themselves.  The BCS provided enough gains and opportunities to benefit all groups - there was no need for any group to sacrifice financially under the BCS format.

Poll respect, etc.
is another form of disparity which follows the same discourse as Justice/Injustice below.
Neither the majors, mid majors, networks, experts, etc. disputes the above.

The assertion is that it is only important for the best team to be invited.   This argument came about after it was accepted that larger playoffs are less likely to crown the best team.

Using the same estimates used in “Results” above where the best team is twice as likely to be ranked 1-2 than 3-4, twice as likely to be ranked 3-4 than 5-6, etc. the best team would be ranked:
1-2  50% of the time
3-4  25% of the time
5-6  12.5% of the time
7-8  6.25% of the time
9-16  6.06% of the time
In a comparison between formats, the gains can be weighed by their frequency of occurrence.  For example, in increasing from a 6 team format to an 8 team format, there is only a 1 in 16 year gain – it takes a heavily slanted view to hold an event that occurs less than twice in 30 years in sports as significant.

These are estimates slanted to favor a large scale playoff – it takes a slanted view to claim the best team was ranked 7th or lower once every 8 years over a sizable sample period.

This inherently overlaps the Justice/Injustice issues below – this was split because it can be quantified by its frequency.

I am summarizing this for a broad range of issues such as fairness, worthiness, deserving, etc.
Unlike the issues above, this is a highly subjective issue, but 1 aspect is common to these:
To  correct a perceived injustice to 1 group, you have to diminish the accomplishment of another group already deemed better.
Examples - discounting SOS places records in a weaker schedule close to or even with teams that played a harder schedule, inviting teams considered not as good diminishes the season accomplishments of teams considered better,  inviting conference champions diminishes the accomplishments of champions of harder conferences, etc.
In the balance, the accomplishments being diminished at least partially offsets the gain in reducing the injustice and from some perspectives creates a greater injustice than the one being addressed.

Among those who cite INVITED and JUSTICE/INJUSTICE issues
, a 4 team format is considered to do little to resolve the issues, generally feeling an 8 team format is needed.  A few use it to push for larger formats, but subsequent discussions usually reveal they are fitting the reason to their belief, not basing their conclusion on the evidence.

A playoff would add more games at the highest level.  But like the Justice/Injustice arguments, this is a 1 sided view.

Competition is not limited to the top teams.  If the level of competition is measured in fan interest and quantified by TV ratings for the season (a fair assessment), everyone with access to, and the ability to project TV ratings agree there is no substantial change in a 4 team format, a decrease in larger formats.  Elevating the context of a fewer games and adding a few more while diminishing the context of over 600 other games  is hardly an argument for competition.

This is the same as the revenue issue evidence - they project that the larger the format, the greater the number of games with elevated context and new games, but the less significant the other bowls and outcome of regular season games become.

Any system that would diminish the role opinions play, replacing them with game results would certainly be considered more objective.
This overlaps the RESULTS, INVITE, and JUSTICE/INJUSTICE issues above – it takes a 1 sided view to only look at the process and not the results to hold this as a separate issue.

You can also group politics and NCAA approval into this.

After 3 congressional hearings, countless threats from elected representatives, and countless law suit threats without subsequent action, it should be apparent the BCS is on solid legal and political ground.  The NCAA has no interest of injecting itself into the NCAAF post season issue.

This cannot be said of many playoff proposals.

covers a wide range of topics which are addressed above, but in general they usually fall under the JUSTICE/INJUSTICE heading.

A myriad of other issues are frequently brought up that may not fit in the above, but under scrutiny they are generally deemed to be insignificant in comparison to other issues, false beliefs, or conclusion lacking merit because they have no basis in fact.

They have more information, more resources, and have looked at the issue since before the BCS was formed.  I would be amiss not to recant their conclusions.
No major opposes a seeded 4 in principle.  They feel a seeded 4 would typically encompass all of the teams with a strong claim to the title without the downside of larger playoff formats.
Their opposition is based on the belief a playoff would inevitably expand under pressure, and with the larger size comes a decrease in overall revenue.
They do not believe a seeded 4 would answer the BCS criticisms  You only need peruse the comments and actions of playoff proponents to see the origin of this belief. 
It is not a question to them which is better in terms of a seeded 4, but why take the risk when there are nominal gains?  Their opinion is following the revenue issue above.

The mid majors are also driven by revenue issues – their favoritism or disfavor of a format is driven by its ability to deliver them more or less revenue.
The major difference is the regular season – mid majors have much less invested in the regular season.  Their broadcast contracts for a conference are comparable to or less than an individual team from the top major conferences.  They generally have smaller stadiums, more unsold seats, much lower booster donations, and lower advertising revenue.
Most of the mid major proposals center on expanding the number of conferences with guaranteed invites.  They do not see benefit to a seeded 4, believing an 8 or larger format is needed.

In the final analysis it becomes an issue of the net gain and loss
, with each group posing a varying degree of resolution or difficulty as the playoff size is increased or decreased.  As noted, many of the topics above are sub topics of other issues.  The core issues are RESULTS, REVENUE, and JUSTICE/INJUSTICE.

The RESULTS issue is based in statistics which I have not seen disputed by anyone who understands the analysis.  It is weak support for smaller formats (gains of a few percent) but a strong argument against larger formats (losses in performance quickly exceeding 10%)
The REVENUE issue requires supreme arrogance to dismiss the conclusions of those with skill and knowledge with no evidence to the contrary, or a conspiracy theory to declare they are all lying.  These problems are exasperated with larger formats, diminished with smaller formats.
The JUSTICE/INJUSTICE issue sees little improvement with smaller formats just as the 2 team BCS format did little to resolve these issues with the old poll system.  As the size of the playoff increases, more of these criticisms are resolved with no notable criticisms at 32 team formats.
Additional problems are introduced once a specific format is placed side by side with the BCS and other formats - it is 1 thing to find problems in 1 system, entirely different to put forth a format that answers these issues without introducing new downsides.

8 team or larger formats
diminish REVENUE, have substantially lower RESULTS.  They have varying gains in JUSTICE/INJUSTICE depending upon the perspective, but it takes a heavily slanted 1 sided view to have the upside outweigh the downsides of larger formats.

6 team formats
have virtually the same RESULTS as a 4 team format, better results than larger formats.  It has less REVENUE and less resolution of JUSTICE/INJUSTICE issues than smaller formats, more revenue than larger formats.
6 team formats are generally where the scale is about balanced to the next smaller 4 team format, with some nominal gains in JUSTICE/INJUSTICE balanced against decreased REVENUE.  Whether it is a gain or loss depends on the weight given to each of these issues.

4 team formats
provides a small gain in the RESULTS over the BCS, about the same as a 6 teams format, better results than 8 team and larger formats.  It provides neither a gain nor loss in REVENUE compared to the BCS, more compared to larger formats.  It is generally not considered large enough to provide notable resolution of the JUSTICE/INJUSTICE issues though it does help.
4 team formats  mark the point where you can achieve gains without a downside.
For a 4 team playoff, it isn't an issue of "Is it better than the BCS?" as even the majors find merit, but an issue of providing insufficient gains to draw the favor of playoff proponents and those making the decision.  Without substantial gains and low risks, there is little incentive to change.
It would be accurate to say playoff proponents are their own worst enemy – in demanding more (larger formats) they get nothing.

Plus 1 formats
are generally believed to have inferior RESULTS to a seeded 4, the same REVENUE impact as a seeded 4 (no notable change).  It is generally considered less successful addressing the issues of JUSTICE/INJUSTICE than a 4 team format.

across all topics is the same or less than a seeded 4, better than the old system.

The Old System
has about the same RESULTS as a seeded 8, less REVENUE than the BCS but more for most majors than a seeded 6.  It is worse than all formats on the issues of JUSTICE/INJUSTICE.

Other Formats
which incorporate the regular season and/or modification of conference composition are considered too intrusive for serious consideration, wholly unacceptable to those making the decision, and/or generally a playoff in disguise.

REFERENCES for some of the above are provided in these other blogs.
Part 1 the position of the NCAA and the BCS position on mid majors.
Part 2 majors position on a post BCS landscape.
Part 3 a playoff isn’t an option.
Part 4 no conference opposes a seeded 4 format
Part 5 a playoff’s impact on the bowls
Part 6 a playoff’s impact on the regular season
Part 7 the different economic dynamics which lead to mid majors favoring playoffs, majors opposing them.
Part 8 supporting and opposing arguments for the earlier parts.
Part 9 what playtoff proponents can do to get a playoff

Posted on: January 12, 2011 2:29 am

Trolling the Trolls 201

This is a 2 course curriculum.  In the prerequisite class Trolling the Trolls 101 we summarized troll motives and defenses.  I suggest you read it first.

TROLLS involves taking them away from the comfort of the expected response and focusing on removing their sense of control or influence using a means other than ignoring.  It doesn’t even matter if they read this and know what to expect – without their objective met they gain nothing.

is more important than what you do.
NEVER discuss content of troll post, sports, stats, records, teams, etc. unless it is to make fun of them as a person (not their team) or draw them into the discussion.  They aren’t on the site for discussion.  They made the comment – they are prepared to address responses.  Take them away from their topic to yours.
NEVER believe a troll’s profile because it is usually fake, listing their least favorite team or city – they want you to attack their “Favorite” team.
NEVER insult another team, conference, coach, player, etc. in your response because this opens possibility of fights with others - a goal of trolls.
NEVER engage after your team faced a tough loss.  You are in no shape to match his apathy.
NEVER care about his insults or display negative emotions, use obscenities, etc.  He is a troll on the internet looking to get a rise – why would you care?
NEVER lock in – take part in other discussions while engaging the troll.

OBSERVE someone doing the above and send a brief private mail
politely asking them not to insult a team, etc. listing the reason above.  Many don’t realize trolls list fake favorite teams, etc.

ENGAGE with quick comments
.  Don’t bother to look up any info other than previous comments by the troll.  Don’t go back 5 pages in a thread (evidence you are paying him attention).
Make fun of the troll, sarcasm and mocking works best.  Remember you are making fun of the troll himself - not his favorite team, etc.   If he tries to broaden it reply you are referencing him only (occasionally note your comments are only against the troll).
Annoy and insult continuously.  Don’t worry about style points.
If he references forms of self affirmation such as cowardice, manhood, etc. go for the kill and laugh at him for using an open forum to make up for what he is lacking in the real world.

CONTENT of the response
should draw the troll off of familiar ground and establish your control – he is prepared for an emotional response, an attack on his fake favorite team, and comments towards his posted topic so avoid this.
Question everything you doubt except his chosen topic - his profile, his listed favorite team, having multiple accounts, claims about other fan bases, anything he denies (like being a hater), questionable stats, etc.  Ask for references and proof on any of these.  Take away his control by having him chasing down side issues.
Control the conversation.  Ignore his topic and make his attributes you are making fun of the topic thru your posts.  Control the flow by responding at random, the tone with humor and directed insults.  Get them to respond to you to protect their false sense of self worth, and in the process remove their sense of control.  They can’t escape their impulses – gaining self esteem is why they are here.
If he complains you ignore his topic note you are discussing your topic of choice.
Note any contradictions or mistakes (except spelling errors) he makes during the exchanges, such as claiming not to be a hater but posting comments against a team, incorrect use of a word, the wrong stat, etc.
If he uses twitter speak or really bad grammar refuse to answer until he changes to common English.
Consider not addressing him directly if several are in the thread – send them a PM asking if they are interested in letting him make comments while you mock him and discuss another topic as if he isn’t there, only occasionally quoting him with the response similar to “Nobody cares about the opinions of a troll.”
Blow off his insults with apathy.  Never defend anything you said with more than a quick line as this is handing control back to the troll.
If he complains reply “Nobody cares about the hurt feelings of a troll/hater/homer/etc.” coupled with the insult of choice.
If they are trying to disguise their efforts note they are failing in their obvious goal.
Don’t overuse the word troll.  Change it up with other terms he is not accustomed to routinely defending.

stressing your control if he doesn’t exit 1st.  Don’t leave your exit open for a response.  He will desperately try to draw you back in, so when you exit, exit for good.

Trolls who view the exchange
as a test of courage, manhood, etc. will comment forever.  If you will be around, keep it up.  Laugh at them when you exit, noting how they research stats when nobody cared, followed your topic, self contradicted themselves, etc, as it applies, but don’t phrase it as an achievement – nobody cares – it is just a troll.

Trolls who just need some form of attention
will drop a comment or start a thread and scurry to the next thread.  These trolls view success in terms of the number of responses.  It might be best to ignore them.  If you do respond, draw them into a discussion by repeatedly noting they don’t have the skill/intelligence/facts/etc. to support any of their comments, question their favorite team, etc. over and over while mocking their lack of response.

TROLL THREADS headers should be ignored in your comments
, instead send the discussion in a different direction of your choice.
The troll may use multiple accounts to try to get the thread back to his topic, or other trolls might join in.  If someone posts in support, lump them together in the same quotes and responses without showing you do or do not think they are the same person.

by the same troll are common.  Most are easy to spot by looking at their comments in their profile – you will see almost no comments for extended periods of time, comments only made in support of a small set of accounts, or a long absence followed by a profile change (changing tag name and favorite team).
They could really be another troll, so accuse them of using multiple accounts without listing the other accounts – if they deny, just reply along the lines “Nobody believes the claims of a troll.”

trolls posting as a fan of your team, conference, etc. – they are not prepared to be questioned or attacked by fans of the same team.  The fan base of your team is elevated in stature while preventing a fight among other members (a troll objective).  Question if they are really a fan of your team.

if you don’t have the knack.  Add support to someone else, splitting the troll’s attention.

and a game not a source of self gratification.  If you find you are getting more enjoyment from trolling trolls than the rest of the site’s offerings, step away before you begin using the forum for self esteem just like trolls do.
If you haven’t noticed, all you are doing is trolling the trolls, taking their game 1 level higher and establishing personal boundaries.  Don’t kid yourself into believing you are taking the high road – you are right down there with them.  If you aren’t comfortable with this or feel sympathy for the troll, then don’t try it.

the “NEVER” “ENGAGE” and “CONTENT”  Don’t worry if you fail at 1st (no shame in not being good at troll tactics) – your instinct in a forum is to look up information and talk sports, not ignore it in responding to a comment.

Category: General
Tags: Trolls
Posted on: January 12, 2011 2:23 am
Edited on: January 12, 2011 2:33 am

Trolling the Trolls 101

This is a 2 course curriculum.  In the 100 level class we briefly learn about the typical troll based on psychological profiles anyone can find with an internet search (an easy A).

In the 200 level class we look at ways to Troll the Troll.  It is a different approach from what you will find elsewhere on the internet, but it is effective and a whole lot of fun.

I actually appreciate an imaginative troll
with pride in their craft and the skill to build and an imaginative character of unique style, maybe even a catch phrase.  Unfortunately, they aren’t here.  We are stuck with the witless trying to substitute quantity for quality.
Rather than getting annoyed or just ignoring, if you are up to it, make them your side entertainment.  The following details some common troll characteristics.

A simple task
carried out every few months might remove them for good – request the site to implement an ignore button.  You can contact the site thru this link which is at the bottom of the site page:
User Feedback

is that trolls are just looking for any attention.  The truth is that they are looking for specific responses.  If the response doesn’t meet their requirements they do not gain from the effort.

  The sense of control or influence can come from attention, they consider the ability to annoy others or cause disruption an accomplishment, and even a delusional belief they are achieving a greater objective such as garnering hatred for another team.

that trolls lack empathy because they are not dealing with others face to face – if they could get away with their actions in the real world, they would.  The impersonal environment of the open forum enables their action, but it is not the reason for the actions.

their objective entails effecting fans following their hobby on a personal level.  They justify their actions to themselves in 2 ways:
The delusional belief they are achieving a higher objective - the end justifies the means.  I knew 1 troll who thought he was doing a benefit by pretending to be a fan of his least favorite school, drawing negative attention to a fan base.
Others deserve it for taking their hobby or the internet too seriously - perhaps true but not an excuse.

  This open forum is the only affirmation they can access.  Do you know an obnoxious guy who tries to make up for his self doubt with loud, constant boasting and false bravado?  Ever meet a nut case so annoying that people would cross the street rather than risk getting caught in a conversation?  That arsehole so socially inept others have gone from pitying to avoiding?  When they found open forums on the internet, they became trolls.

have a low sense of self worth to consider their personal gain enough to override any sense of empathy.  They are delusional to believe their justifications.

Like all of those in the examples above, Trolls will deny their low self esteem to the end with a false bravado front.  They will claim it is just for fun, but they know they need it for affirmation they cannot get in a life spent otherwise ignored or disdained.

are false profiles and selected apathy
Nothing in their profile or comments can be believed – most list their least favorite team – they know the reaction they will draw, so they direct that response to another team thru their profile and comments.
They don’t care what arguments you form in response to their comment.  They are not here for a discussion.
Don’t attack their profile or comments – this is what they want.  Any counter should be directed at them personally.

could be effective - remove the attention, remove the control, remove his reason for trolling.  Unfortunately someone always responds, so other tactics that allow for engaging the troll are needed.  Some trolls don’t leave openings to engage making this the best option.

you do against a troll within the site guidelines is out of bounds.  If someone else questions your actions, simply respond “There is nothing anyone could post against this troll that would make them feel bad.”  The accusation is probably coming from a different account by the same member.

  Like anything else I look up, I was curious.  Research lead to thoughts about actions other than ignoring the troll.  The idea of an option lead to a need to test... and this site certainly has no shortage of trolls to try a new approach.

In the next course Trolling for Trolls 201 we look at the specifics of how to turn the tables on the troll.

Trolling the Trolls 201

Google… it has been a popular topic for research papers in psychology and guides for forum hosts.  The only unique aspect is that I take an active approach rather than ignoring.

Category: General
Tags: trolls
Posted on: October 2, 2010 10:31 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 6:38 pm

Common SOS Calculation and Perception Flaws

All Strength of Schedule calculations I have seen have some major flaw(s).
Depending on the calculation, some common recurring faults:

1. They don't count FCS teams correctly
Most just don't count the FCS team, and rescales the other games.  This makes the FCS worth the same as the average FBS opponent they play - clearly not the case.
An FCS team should be valued the same as their record against FBS opponents with their remaining 12 games considered losses (a likely outcome for an FCS team that played 12 FBS opponents).  The result is better than a loss, but not much better.

2. They penalize teams for winning, reward teams for losing
If the opponents games against the team in question is counted, it penalizes teams for winning and rewards teams for losing.
This is apparent in rankings where the top teams have lousy records - this is because they are giving their opponents lots of additional wins compared to the teams that have better W-L records.
An SOS calculation should be a measurement of a team's opponents, not how they performed in that schedule (the latter would be a computer poll).  SOS calculations shouldn't count the head to head result of the team in question.

3. They don't count teams they lose to
By incorporating the team's record, the SOS transitions to a computer poll under an SOS name.

4. They penalize teams that play more conference games
Once teams enter their conference play, their max number of points is nearly sealed.
At the current extremes, a 10 team conference playing 9 conference games starts out 10-10 compared to an 8 team conference playing 7 games.  The difference can be made up, but starting 1 group 10-10 before  the season starts is a flaw.
This is a downside that cannot be resolved without exasperating other problems.

5. Scaling for an unequal number of games
Continue adding points and you penalize teams from smaller conferences that don't play a title game or a road game against Hawaii.
Scale all to a 12 game schedule and you discount the extra game against a top opponent.
If used properly, there isn't a reason not to count the 13th game without scaling - the arising problem is the misapplication of the SOS by the fans, something that shouldn't factor into the calculation itself.
In the opposite case where a team plays fewer games, it gets a bit easier.  If a game is canceled because of weather, etc. it should still count in the SOS (as noted above, the SOS shouldn't count the team's performance against an opponent, so what the result would have been is irrelevant in the calculation).

6. They don't account for the venue
There is an advantage to playing at home.  There is an advantage to playing in large venues.  Playing in front of a loud home fan base is an advantage.  Few neutral fields are truly neutral.
You could never fully account for the venue without a DB meter at every game, but you can make an adjustment based on historic results.

7. Some don't have a sufficient number of layers
By layer I mean who a team plays, who their opponents beat, who their opponents' opponents beat, etc.  The more layers, the more accurate - 3 should be the minimum, not the standard.

8. Improper discounts per layer
Most make each layer worth less and less as it should - the more games, the greater than chance of an upset (an upset win by a team you played should be just an upset win by another team, not a boost in your schedule strength).  Most use multipliers around 1/2 for each level (1, 1/2, 1/4, etc..) or no multiplier at all, but these are far higher than the chance of an upset.  Consider that 2 nearly equal teams will have close to 50/50 chance of winning - the overall average is over 70% chance the better team wins.
This would have the multiplier by layer at around 1.0, 0.7, 0.5, 0.35,0.25, etc.

Even if you created an accurate SOS measurement, what would you really have?  It isn't a reflection of how good a team is, just a reflection of how good their opponents are.  It can bring into question a team's performance, but it can't prove their performance - most fans use it in the latter respect reflecting an inability to differentiate between an SOS calculation and a computer poll.

To show which team is better, SOS has to be coupled to the W-L record creating a computer poll.  When you incorporate an SOS calculation into a computer poll, it becomes necessary to count a team's record against their schedule (2 and 3 above) and scale by the number of teams played (5 above).

The BCS has this aspect about right - the computer polls (most of which use an SOS calculation as their basis) are a substantial 1/3 of the final ranking, but they aren't the majority.  They serve as a type of reality check for the pollsters - a team doesn't have to be better than the next lower to hold their BCS poll position, they just can't be too far behind.

If I were to improve the current BCS Calc, I would suggest a scaling rather than a hard number for the computer polls.
The voting polls are scaled by the number of votes, not a hard 1-2-3-etc.  The computer polls have the ability to do this given their inherent numeric calculation.  This would reflect a better team to team difference rather than a 1-2-3-etc. ranking.

You could also improve the BCS computer poll calculation by averaging the most accurate polls over a 4 or 5 year sliding window and only using the most accurate polls.  The accuracy would be measured by their ability to predict bowl results after the regular season is over (the time frame of the most significance to the BCS).  The accuracy of the result could be improved by making the number of polls used variable, using however many are needed to yield the best prediction over time.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 12:31 am
Edited on: April 5, 2011 6:39 pm

Just how much $$$ are we talking about?

Big Ten expansion is driven by revenue.  Updating my original notes with some research by BrendonTi, here is the best current and projected revenue breakdown I can find.  I am using 2016 as the future projection date - this is when the existing broadcast contracts for football and basketball run out and new contracts take effect.  (The BTN contract runs much longer.)

6% to 8% per year growth is common throughout this discussion.  This is derived from the amount NCAAF broadcast contracts have been increasing.  This can be tracked to the growing NCAAF audience (about 3% to 4% a year) and average inflation (about 3% to 4% a year).  This audience growth is on the low side based on recent articles I could google.

These estimates do not include gains from expansion except for the CCG.  In the case of Nebraska their gains will not significantly impact shared revenue until 2016 – their financial gains falls outside shared revenue.

BTN Licensing Fee currently $5.45 Million
$60 Million yearly is paid by the BTN to the Big Ten before splitting network profits and is not to be confused with the subscription fees collected from cable carriers.  Delany and the Illini AD noted the Big Ten has been in negotiations with the broadcasters during expansion.  Unlike situations with ESPN where they already own rights to teams in other conferences, adding teams to the Big Ten represents a new audience to Fox.  I do not know how this is structured - it may be fixed over the duration of the contract, or it may go up each year.  I am going with the more conservative former estimate:
Projected $5.45 Million (low estimate)

BTN Shared Revenue currently $6.5 Million
Estimates I could find projected this to increase $2-4 Million from 2010 to 2013 (4 years).  I am going to be conservative and estimate growth of $1-2 Million for 2014 to 2016 (3 years) since applying an inflation rate would not be accurate as it does not capture the license fee or network operating costs.
Projected $9.5-12.5 Million (accurate to low)

FB and BB Broadcast Contracts currently $8.43 Million
The 10 year NCAAF contract is for $1 Billion total ($9.09 Million a year average) and the BB contract $20 Million total (a paltry $.18 Million average).
The 10 year average is about $9.27 Million a year.
Contracts have been increasing an average of 6% to 8% a year.  I use the more readily available average over the lifetime of the contract, and the current contract length of 10 years.
Projected $16.6-19.93 Million (accurate for average, high for 2016)

Shared BCS and Bowl Revenue currently $1.98 Million
I am going to use the 6% to 8% a year increase over 7 years.
Projected $2.97 to $3.39 Million (accurate)

Basketball Tourney currently $350K/team
I don't know the revenue growth of NCAABB. so I am going very low here.
Projected $400K (low)

Update Conference Championship Game $2.08 Million
The Big Ten is maximizing CCG revenue by marketing it seperate from the broadcast contract. 
5 year broadcast deal for an escalating amount from $20 to $25 Million.  This includes sponsorship and advertising rights.
Indianapolis is reported to have paid $5 Million to host the game.  I believe this includes ticket sales.  I will lowball the estimate and make this amount constant.
Projected $2.5 Million (low estimate)

Total Current Shared Revenue $22.8 Million per team per year (excludes CCG)
Total 2016 Projections $37.4 to $44.2 Million per team per year (including CCG)
This is a low to accurate estimate before expansion, definitely low after expansion.

Some References
Big Ten (Network) bonanza
Big Ten Conference on Television 
Big Ten’s title game rights to hit market 
I could not locate all of the references – they are buried behind literally millions of google links now.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 5:16 am
Edited on: April 10, 2011 12:47 am

Deciphering and Shortcutting the Reputation Index

This is everything I could gather and decipher concerning the site's reputation system.  If anyone has any additional insight on the rating system, please post below and I will include here, shamelessly taking full credit for your discovery (just kidding – full credit will be given).

The 4 Reputation Elements  (Connections, Value, Participation, and Skill) are a ranked list of all users.  Each element is relative to other users, listed by percentage.  The index is your position among all users - 68 means you are higher than 68% of the site members. 

This is why:
-Everyone active has a participation in the 90s – there are lots of zeros in the scale from people who have left the site.
-It is easy to get big reputation gains as a noobie (you are jumping over inactive users) but progress slows later (you are compared to people who post all of the time).
-It is hard to decipher – the scales are unknown, non-linear. and change daily.
-Many stall in the low 90s – there are a lot of people grouped in the range of 220-260, lots of inactive accounts below this.

Reputation Index 
is the sum of the 4 reputation elements.  It is a comparison of your total against other users. 
The index has a limit on the rate of increase for new accounts - the fastest a noobie can reach 99 is about 2 months from your initial comment.  The time limit does not start until you begin posting comments.

This scale changes daily.  Right now you need about 200 to be a Superstar, 350 to be in the top 1000.

You can get an estimate of the total you need to obtain a given reputation index.
  Locate several users who have nearly constant values in their 4 elements and reputation for 2 months, and a reputation in the range you are targeting below 97.  Add up the total of their 4 elements and you have an idea of what total you need to be to achieve the same reputation!  Exceptions were discovered among people who had low value but high skill indexes – we could not determine what caused this.

Shortcutting the System  can be done by achieving as fast as possible, and maintaining as easily as possible, a total of the 4 categories of around 240 (enough for Superstar, more than enough to keep full site access).

It helps to have a unique avatar and unique tag name so you can be recognized - until you have enough site rights to change to a custom avatar, select one that is not common in the area you post (try an avatar from a different sport).  This makes it easier for others to recognize you.

1. Connections are the sum of the reputations of people who list you as a favorite member.  The more who list you as a favorite, the higher your connections index.  Being listed by someone with a low reputation will still improve your connections.  The site limits you to 150 people in your favorites, but you can exceed this as described in the blog linked to below:
How to Exceed the 150 Favorites Limit

To add some one as a favorite, go to their profile page and click on Add Favorite in the top right corner.  Page thru your connections regularly, adding anyone who lists you as a favorite (otherwise they will get annoyed and drop you as a favorite).  When you add someone as a favorite, be patient – it may be some time before they scan thru their favorites to return the favor.  (I usually give them at least a month).

Bloggers are good source of favorites (bloggers need love too).  They can still use a boost to maintain their reputation index, and having their blogs appear in the profile of others helps promote their hobby.  Be certain to leave a nice comment to attract their attention.

Check your "Reviews Of" in your profile.  If someone is reviewing a lot of your comments over time or are part of an ongoing discussion, they will probably reciprocate a favorites addition (you aren't just another Avatar).

Boost Your Connection/Favorites Threads provide a location where participants mutually add each other as a favorite.  If you start a thread some suggestions are in the 1<sup>st</sup> comments of this blog.  If you start a thread in a new section or know of a thread not listed below, post the link below and I will add it to this list of existing threads:
Off Topic Boost your connections rating!!

College Football
Boost your value today
MLB Add Value And Favorites To Your Profile

2. Value
is the total of all ratings a user gets across all their content divided by the number of posts made by that user.  I believe the system goes back over all of the contents for the previous 30 days, but could be as long as 90.  You can rate comments up to 30 days old.

Rating  =  reputation of the reviewer (0-100)  x  rating (1-5)  x  scale  x  content weight

The scale is the average score the reviewer uses. Users that give everyone 5 stars will have their 5s worth 2.5 stars only. If you only value comments a 5, you might as well continue because the system will adjust whatever your rate to average 2.5 anyway – vsarying the rating won’t make a difference to the avrage score you give.

Getting a low score (1 star) will not drop your comment value (a 1 is still better than no rating).  Giving a low rating to troll comments will still boost the author's score.

Each type of content has a content weight - blogs have a content weight of 9 while messages have a weight of 5.

The site notes objectively rating others' content will help your reputation, rating content in a haphazard or contrary manner will hurt your reputation.  I have seen absolutely no evidence this is true – I suspect it is an attempt to discourage retaliatory scoring or value threads (viva la revolution!).

Comment Score is not part of the value calculation.  It is used for placement in the listings.  Achieving a high or low comment score has no effect on your value index.  It appears to be a function of the the author's reputaion, grammar (a series of exclamation marks drops the score), spelling, use of obscenities, paragraph foramtting (1 paragraph scores higher), and overall length.  Since it doesn't matter, I didn't break it down further.

For the hard core (noobs looking to boost their value while they build up their other elementsd and those looking to be in the Top 1000) find a group where they mutually agree to rate each other’s comments.  This involves going into their profile, viewing all of their comments, and rating every one a 5.  It is very effective, but it is time consuming.  If participants are in each other’s favorites, as their value (and reputation) goes up, your connections and reputation goes up as well.  This then boosts the connections and reputation of everyone who has you as a favorite, which then boosts your connections and reputation again.  The loop eventually dies out, but the impact increases the more common favorites there are in the group.

Boost your Value Threads provide a location where you post anything and everyone rates the comments a 5.  When you post go back at least 3 pages and hand out 5s to everyone else.  If you plan to participate heavily for a while, go back and rate every comment in the thread (you can go back 1 month).  If you plan to make a LOT of comments, spread yourself out among the different threads rather than create lots of comments in a single thread – it can take a long time for participants to rate every comment in a single thread.  If you start a thread in a new section of the site, post below and I will add it to this list of existing threads:
College Football Boost your value today
College Football Looking To Boost Value???
Off Topic
Boost you Value rating!!!
MLB Add Value And Favorites To Your Profile

3. Participation
is so easy to get I didn’t bother to try to figure out its details.  Doing just about anything that leaves a foot print counts toward participation.  I think it is more related to how often you comment than many comments you leave.  So many accounts have been started and abandoned it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get participation in the 90s.

If you are busy or returning after an extended leave, I recommend posting in the “Boost Your Value” threads.

4. Skills are based on fantasy games.  Points are awarded at the end of the season, so they are a better tool for vets wanting to keep access rights than noobs.

Set up some fantasy teams in every free game if you followe the sport to see if you can get some easy points.  Even if you don't follow the football, NCAAF and BFL is very easy (I won the regular season with my fantasy NFL team even though I didn't watch a total of 10 minutes of NFL games all season!)  On the other hand, NBA and NHL is a bit more complicated so I abandoned these teams.

To access these, click on fantasy in the top left of the screen. 
The site has an auto draft feature for fantasy teams used by some leagues, so you don’t have to know anything to participate – enter or start a rookie league that uses auto draft, set your starting roster, then you can forget about it.

The Top 1000 is a distinction for those with the highest total of all 4 categories – you will need to do well in all to make this level.   Last I checked, the threshold looks to be around a total of over 350.

I would suggest:  Max out connections and participation to 99 with the above hints including the procedure for exceeding the 150 favorites limit.  Max out value by joining with noobs to mutually value each others comments.  Take part in Boost Your Value threads.  Skill is no longer an option – if fantasy teams aren’t your thing, look for a rookie league to join, and follow the bloggers who give advice as their hobby.
Consider starting a 2nd account for commenting in threads and blogs since comments that do not receive a 5 star rating drop your vale index - you can make the new account identical to the old except for a minor change in the name spelling, and can even note it is a 2nd account profile so others know it is you.

Warnings and Reports limit your Reputation index if they are found valid, otherwise they make no difference.  If you are a superstar, 1 waring limits your reputation index to 94 (All Star), 3 limits you to 79 (Pro), 6 limits you to 49 (Amateur), and 9 limits you to 24 (Rookie) for 3 months.  No matter what you do, you cannot shorten this time span or get above the limit.  On the 1st day you drop to 0, but on the 2nd day it return to the new limit.  Making too many reports can result in your account being limited, but i do not know what the limit is. 

How ridiculous is this systemI have a member in my favorites who went to super star in 2 months.  He only made 9 comments, no other activity.  I would ask him to tell about his experience, but he quit using the site after 10 days – that’s right, he went from a reputation of 14 to over 95 after he quit participating with just 9 comments.

References redesign comments and answers
My Value is Going Down 
Rating Changes Effective Tomorrow
XxBronxBomberxX helped me crack the reputation threshold totals
C.Coolidge1933 detailed the warnings and reports penalty
orangemen90 helped me sort fact from "Urban Legend"
R.W. Chan is an administrator who verified the value rating system
dAdXeR is an administrator who helped with the comment score use

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or