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Monday, July 17, 2006

I do not think that study means what you think it means. Swanky new Nebraska blog The Big Red Network collects, divides, and distributes numbers about the BCS in a post on bias, comparing the average computer ratings for every conference with their average AP rankings over the last eight years looking for evidence of dread East Coast Media Bias -- their caps, not mine. Findings:

On average, the 24 SEC teams appearing in the Final BCS standings were rated more than one full spot higher by AP voters than by the computers. The 10 Big East teams were actually ranked a half point lower on average by AP voters than the BCS and the thirteen ACC teams were also ranked a half point lower by the AP than computers on average. ... Notre Dame appeared in the BCS three times in eight seasons and on average got boosted one full spot by AP voters. ... The twenty Big 10 teams appearing in the final BCS standings in the last eight years were also a full point higher on average in the AP Poll than in the computer polls. ... The twenty-six Big XII teams appearing in the Final BCS rankings 1998-2005 were rated an average of nearly one full spot lower by the AP than the computer averages.
Leaving aside data issues, there is a faulty assumption at work here: declaring the computer polls unbiased and correct. Computers don't have traditional Argh Liberal Media biases, but they do have some annoying tendencies. Primary amongst those is overrating teams that studiously avoid any semblance of competition. Witness Texas Tech last year. As a participant in a poll with slightly less history and prestige than the AP poll, I can tell you that I hated the Red Raiders with a fiery passion because there was no evidence indicating whether or not they something more than the terror of the sandbox. Unwilling to credit a team for eight-hundred point victories over Nowhere State, Texas Tech lingered at the foot of my ballot essentially all year. AP voters agreed, but the computers must have a pro-pirate bias:
Last season, Texas Tech was dinged five spots by the Associated Press (maybe they saw the game in Lincoln).
That is another way of saying "the computers hilariously overrated Texas Tech." I'm normally a fan of computer everything -- someday computers will make toast! -- but when it comes to ranking football teams there is not enough data to create something reliable, especially when margin of victory is removed from the calculations. BRN has it backwards: if there is a problem here it is with the bitflippers.

Georgia Tech's secret weapon revealed! It's Diamond Dallas Page!

No, seriously. It's Diamond Dallas Page. Copious thanks are owed Paul Westerdawg for bringing the AJC's latest gem (ha! I kill me!) of unintentional comedy to my attention. It must be blockquoted to be believed:
When entrenched in "Yoga for Regular Guys," nothing's easy. And when Page, a former world champion professional wrestler, shows up to drill Tech's weekly class, it's like boot camp. Given a choice, blacking out might rank ahead of yelling back.

"I know you're going to kick Notre Dame's [hint: he didn't say leprechauns]!" bellowed the freakishly lithe Page, a 50-year-old human cable.
Okay. Okay. Breathe. Where to start?
  • Calling someone a "former world champion professional wrestler" as if that's some sort of accomplishment on a par with a gold medal in the 100 meters is like calling Sean Connery a former secret agent.
  • This sentence purporting to be a quote appeared in Georgia's largest newspaper: "I know you're going to kick Notre Dame's [hint: he didn't say leprechauns]!"
  • Diamond Dallas Page is described by what is probably an adult male as "freakishly lithe," which are words that conjure up images of something entirely different. Something with poles in.
And this is only two paragraphs. Wait. No. This can't be a legit article. Someone hacked the AJC this morning. This can't possibly be real...
"It helps me with flexibility and relaxes the muscles," said defensive end Darrell Robertson. "But I hate the 'Downward Dog,' where you're on all fours and your butt's in the air."
...can it? I mean, the phrase "commando yoga" is used. Where's Allen Funt?

Etc.: Justin King had hernia surgery; Nico of Roll Bama Roll relates his experiences in directed reading, which did not include "a report about the different theories and things like that"; Bill Simmons wants blood.