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Submission Corner
« It's Early, But... | Main | Hmm... »
Monday
Jun052006

Anti-Punditry

Don't fall victim to its suasions.

Better yet, don't break your own sarcastic little rules (ahem, #11 don't be a dick).

The piece in question was a far-from-dogmatic, pass the time type ranking of the conferences.  HP included as factors coaching, diversity of offensive scheme, schedule strength, competitiveness and talent level.  It's not the most realistic representation and HP acknowledges as much, but the methodology was explained and merits left up to the readers.

As usual, people misinterpreted or ignored the analysis and HP's responses to criticism.

I am not trying to determine which conference has the better teams per se. I think that is a tough endeavor because of the unequal data in play. I am trying to figure out which conference is best based on measures that are a little less skewed

And what does HP mean by skewed?  I don't know, maybe that whole two-division/don't play everyone in your conference combined witha few OOC cupcakes easiest way to 9 wins if your team has a pulse strategy in play in the SEC.

With that removed from the equation, different criteria were used.  They're imperfect, but the old way of simply giving conference-wide deference and a ridiculous #7 ranking to a team (2003 Tennessee, first example that came to mind) because of their name and 10 wins before falling to Clemson 27-14 in a bowl game isn't really a good idea.

The Pac-10's not immune from criticism, but at least we know their body of work is a little more complete.  In 2004 California lost to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, but we also knew that during the course of their season they pitched two shutouts in offense-happy Pac-10 play and were within a play of toppling eventual national champs USC.  As it was they held a great offense to 23 points at the Coliseum.  There was reason to believe they merited a high ranking and being in a big name bowl game.

***
In politics, people are sometimes accused of having a "Pre 9/11 mindset".  Their world views and opinions and policy actions are stuck in a time period untouched by more recent events.  EDSBS' critical post is very much in a summer 2005 mindset.  The old arguments on all sides have since been scrutinized, amended, and improved, but that doesn't stop some people from disingenuously acting like the actions from that point onward never happened.

Orson's inclusion of a 3-zoned map of the "United States according to HP" is right out of the dumb playbook.  It's satire, but still dumb.  It conveniently ignores HP's general appreciation for teams whatever the region.  I guess we've now somehow ignored all the kind words about Louisville, West Virginia, Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame and several others all in the so-called "barrens" of zone 3.

It also ignores HP's response to SMQB where he expresses surprise that the Pac-10 was in fact on top of the rankings.

I was shocked, frankly, that the Pac-10 finished where it did. I went in expecting the Big Ten to be No. 1

That and much more, conveniently ignored---in other words, "cherry-picking facts delivered with blather and ostensible objectivity."

Just don't let that get in the way of a good time.

EDSBS does great work, but this attack missed badly.  In their haste to score points against HP standard ethics of argument were ignored and their own catty rules broken.

mencken.gif 

Mencken was a pundit, too

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Reader Comments (15)

You missed the next rule:

"Building on #11…don’t be afraid to say bad things about people. It helps if they’re true."
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterOrson Swindle
And why rushing to the defense of HP? As you and he both stated, the criteria was subjective (as just about any argument on this topic would be) and the "merits left to the reader". Well, the readers have read the statements and have judged the merits. I find it as good as a take of any on the subject, but no better than previous comments on the subject. What I would have liked to see is a more complete narrative to the scores assigned to each criteria for each conference (or easier to digest, the one through five rankings for each of the criteria) so that the reasonings behind the rankings can be easily understood. The one liners that are currently in the post show that some thought went into the post, but is easily open to other interpretations because of a lack of clarity in the explanations, much as his Gang of X is not understood. By not explaining the rationale behind the assignment of scores, its no different than looking at team rankings.

For what its worth, the PAC10 is probably near the top, but getting that answer out of HP would be like getting a "SEC is the best" out of EDSBS, a "Big 12 is the best" out of BoN, or a "Independents are the best" out of an ND blog.
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfc
Only somewhat related, but it seems that the Pac-10 organization needs to take much of the blame for the lack of respect it recieves from the rest of the country. I do not follow the Pac 10 all that closely (I don't know who the Pac 10 commissioner is for example) but is there a reason why he can't negotiate better television and bowl deals? When your #2 and #3 teams go to the Holliday and Sun Bowls it is no wonder that Pac 10 doesn't immediatley spring to mind when power conference is mentioned.

The Pac 10 Bowl lineup makes it appear that the Pac10's #2 and 3 teams are the equivalent of the #5 or 6 teams in the Big 12 and Big 10.
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnon
Needless piling on by Orson. Perhaps a circle jerk from SMQ, EDSBS and Mgoblog is in order. HP can sit in the middle.
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
Piling on assumes HP's post was somehow ridiculous.

All he did was rank the conferences for 2006 under a method with criteria he's long espoused.

SMQB had a nice rebuttal, but it wasn't a skewering by any means. His response boiled down to "you're ignoring defense" and HP responded with "creative offenses make for better defenses because they force a defense to handle more and more looks presented to it".

I'd call that a draw, pard'ner.

As for the Pac-10, its commish is a career bureaucrat (Tom Hansen).

He's withdrawn from the football operation based on the bowl matchups and TV deals.

It is their problem and by not fixing it in over a decade its hurt their perception and recruiting, certainly.

fc,

I defended HP because EDSBS' post was nothing but a ridiculous attack, a hatchet job. The merits were not left to the reader, only a catty rehash of old arguments that don't really fit HP's profile.

I didn't respond to the SMQB reply because for the most part it was a fair-minded response, for example.

Finally, let's avoid talk of circle jerks. That's just... not appropriate here. Save the sarcasm and juvenile humor for another site that caters to that.
June 5, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
That would be us, Anonymous. Feel free to come on over.
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterOrson Swindle
I thought HP did good work, it was statistical, analytical, and well researched. That being sad I enjoyed reading Orson's account much more, if only for the humor. He had a particular quote that stuck out for me...

"This is the heart of antipunditry, a practice you can see on display at SMQ, on Feldman’s blog at ESPN, or most anywhere you look in the college football blogosphere. We’re biased, we know it, and we let events dictate the drift of our thoughts in between sodomy jokes, high-tech Microsoft Paint slander, and calling people dumb."

I think it really speaks to the development of the different blogs you laid out last week, CFR. I spend 5 mins of HP and I learn something new, I spend 2 hours on EDSBS, and I've lowered my IQ by 30 points, but at least i got a laugh.

I just think ranking the conferences is such a risky proposition. I think Ivan Meisel tried to a few weeks ago on ESPN, and was said on the Podcast he was just hammered with emails. Anyways, shows how far offseason football talk has come, like the humor, like the analysis, good stuff all around.
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAdam
I thought HP's post was thoughtful he obvously ut a good amount of work into the post. But because rating the conferences is so subjective someone is always not going to be happy.

As for EDSBS, well there was some funny stuff posted over there even HP had a good natured post which shows he's not so thin skinned. All in all it got the conversation started and that's a good thing.
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterParagon SC
The conversation had already been started at SMQB and others. EDSBS contributed nothing unless a contextless recap of last year's bowl games counts as discussion.

I know everybody likes them and I do too but sometimes being an idiot and tapdancing over one's own silly rules is going to get you a reprimand from over here.
June 5, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
If you do a detailed analysis of the PAC10's ooc schedule over the past 6 years or so you will see that it has been no better (and I believe not as good) as the SEC's, which was ridiculed at The House Rock Built. The disdain for the SEC espoused right now by sites such as HP, is a cyclical occurance. As the balance of power shifts back to the east and south, he and others like him will lose their bully platform. I challanged HP and CFR to post the PAC10-SEC comparison on ooc schedule, but so far they have not.
June 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAndy T.
CFR, you would do better to not defend the indefensivable. HP's analysis of the conferences was nothing more than BS in gives BS out. He decided what the conclusion was going to be and then did his analysis. The criteria is questionable (defense not a criteria?)but, even more questionable is his grading of the criteria. i.e. pac 10 coaching better than SEC coaching. That's a joke!

June 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1
dawgy,

I called him about it, trust me it's not a case of deciding the conclusion ahead of time.

The guy's been on the Big 10 train lately, I don't think he was anticipating the Pac-10 coming out on top.

He's got a forum to quibble with his rankings, take it up there.
June 6, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
Andy I certainly don't remember you ever having appeared here.

The disdain is not a cyclical occurance. Even if the OOC schedules are improved, there's still that matter of having a goon squad of national media (Craig James, Tim Brando etc.) taking as gospel that the SEC is No. 1 (something a Vegas guy, Phil Steele, doesn't believe most years he looks back on the seasons).

Oh, and that whole bifurcated conference thing isn't going away, either. Until the SEC, B12 and ACC each remove two teams and go round-robin there's going to be problems from many of us. It's a cheap trick to game the system and get 9-10 wins for teams that otherwise would have 8-9 and not be in the top 10.

So no, its not cyclical.

We can acknowledge when the SEC has good years, but we're also going to call it straight and not take as gospel the BS that's been sold to people the last 20 years. I have two SEC teams in my top five this year, for example. We'll see what they do, but you guys are so thin-skinned about the conference that you confuse skepticism for intellectual dishonesty.
June 6, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
CFR, I have taken it up on his forum. You commented on it and, I responded to that. If you don't want me to post here, I can live with that. Didn't think that was suppose to be like it worked? See Ya, Dawgy1
June 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1
You're welcome to be here, just you were commenting about HP's nitty gritty, which is best addressed by him on his forum. I'm just the middle man on that topic :o).
June 6, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR

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