Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Average Margin of Victory on Rise in BCS

The Big Lead has posted additional statistical analysis backing the claim that the Bowl Championship Series is falling far short of its stated goal "to match the two top-rated teams in a national championship game and to create exciting and competitive matchups between eight other highly regarded teams in four other games."

Max Wasserman, a student at Cornell, compared the margin of victory of every Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls from the past 30 seasons, the last 10 of which have been under the BCS system. Outside of the Fiesta Bowl, the average margin of victory has increased by at least two points in the 10 years under the BCS.

Crappy games equal crappy TV ratings. No wonder there was a sharp decline in viewership of four of the five Bowl Championship Series games this past season.
The Rose Bowl had a 32-point margin of victory and saw a ratings drop of 20%. The Sugar, with a 31-point spread, dropped 25%. The BCS title game (spread of 14) dropped 17% and the Fiesta (20-point margin) dropped 8%. Only the Orange Bowl, a competitive game with a three-point spread, saw an increase in its rating at 6%.

Wasserman also compared the average margin of victory in the 10 BCS title games to the average from the past 30 I-AA title games. The BCS games averaged 14.5 points and the I-AA games 12.87.

Wasserman writes: "Just goes to show that if you want the best chance of having the truly best teams play for the championship, have a playoff. It’s better for everyone and everything. Except the Rose Bowl."

Thanks to Image of Sport.


Anonymous said...

I don't see how a playoff solves the margin-of-victory problem. It would match up a #1 seed vs. a #4, 6 or 8 seed--and just as possibly result in a large margin of victory. Not every Super Bowl is "exciting."

The seeding of teams in a playoff still must rely of rankings by imperfect writers, coaches, and computer programs.

Another thing--a large m.o.v. doesn't mean the game wasn't exciting. And number of viewers doesn't exactly parallel how exciting a game is, either.

Anonymous said...

What is the standard deviation of these margin of victory averages? My guess is that the std dev of the 14.5 and 12.87 overlap and there is no statistical difference betweeen these numbers. Don't even get me started on sample size. God, this is stupid and I can't believe you went along with this "number crunching"

Anonymous said...

As a fan, who can afford to watch 3 neutral site college football games three weeks in a row? Airfare, hotels, game tickets...almost nobody can afford to take that much time off. Also, like NCAA basketball nobody would go to the early round games unless they were at one of the teams home stadiums which would totally eliminate a true playoff.

College football already has a playoff and it starts the first game of the year and doesn't get decided until the final game. A traditional playoff system would destroy what is great about college football.