Eh, who needs results, anyway?

This Berry Tramel piece about Bobby Johnson’s approach to deciding which teams are playoff-worthy – which Tramel scathingly refers to as having a “god-complex” – is so, so good.  And so, so what is wrong about the CFP.

Former Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson has replaced Archie Manning on the committee, and Johnson told ESPN that he will “rely heavily on the eye test this fall,” according to the story that you can read here.

Oh brother. Will this never end? Will this self-belief that the committee members are anointed to be savants and look deep into the world of college football and determine who is the better team not by results, but by what they detect from the motion pictures they study?

Johnson said he will consider a variety of factors but “the old eye test is probably the most important. I don’t want to get too involved with statistics. I like to watch games and then I’ll go back and look at statistics and see what may have been the big difference in that one team winning or losing.

“It always gets down to who can execute and who can get the job done when the pressure’s on. To me, that’s the big thing. That’s looking at the coaching staff, that’s looking at the players, the kickers, everything. There’s a lot of stuff to look at, but when it gets down to it, the old eye test is probably the most important.”

I swear. If I’m ever in need of a strait jacket, you can blame the College Football Playoff committee. This incessant need to look past results drives me batty.

The most important thing to look at — no, the ONLY thing to look at — is results. Who did you play? Where did you play? Who did you beat?

C’mon, Berry, where’s the fun in that?  Even a computer could do that without having to meet every week in a Texas resort and then explain it on a weekly ESPN show… oh, wait.

58 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

58 responses to “Eh, who needs results, anyway?

  1. Why in the world is Bobby Johnson a member of this committee? I guess Ted Roof wasn’t available because he’s still in the business. They had about the same level of success as head coaches at the D1 level.

    DiF, this post is begging for a Steve Martin clip from you.

    Why couldn’t they leave well enough alone with a variant of the BcS standings to select the teams? The WWL could have still had their little show (which I never watched) to announce the current standings and drone on about their favorites. Instead, we have these committee members who have been anointed to make the selections and to tell us why they know best.

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    • GaskillDawg

      Why couldn’t they leave well enough alone with a variant of the BCS standings to select teams? Because the conferences had no control over the BCS selection formula and therefore using the BCS selection formula allowed two SEC teams to play for the BCS national title.

      The other conferences decided that they needed to change the BCS selection committee after Alabama, which had lost at home to LSU, got a rematch for the national title and the Big Ten, PAC 12, Big 12, and ACC watched from the sideline. The playoff format was the justification for changing the selection process. Now the other conferences can control whether 2 teams from one conference get in.

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      • Gaskill, I agree with the premise that the committee came into being as a result of 2011. The conferences managed the BCS, so they did have control over the formula. If they wanted conference champions to get bonus points in the formula or change how the computer rankings were used, they had the ability to make that happen in the playoff era.

        The committee was a Jim Delany idea made purely to make sure the B1G continued to be relevant.

        Was the BcS formula perfect? No, it was created by imperfect people. Was it objective? It took subjective data from the polls and the computer programmed by people with bias and produced a result that was as close to objective as we’re going to get. Instead, we have this committee that all have their personal bias – 12 people selecting 4 teams. It’s a joke.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      Bobby may not be able to identify a good team, but he can sure identify a bad one.

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  2. Spike

    “…the coaching staff..” What the hell is that about?

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  3. Huntindawg

    Uniforms, uniforms, uniforms. The teams with the coolest uniforms – those that look the best on TV, should be in the CFP. Don’t forget about sheer entertainment value. Look at the coach. If he is a total nut, it’s more entertaining. Have Muschamp full time, all the time. Pair him up with Oregon and they should be there every year. Make sure there is a lot of player drama as well. Can Michael Sam return to college?

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  4. JCDAWG83

    It sounds like the committee is going full on beauty pageant/figure skating. Their goal is not to really have a true champion, but to maximize the eyes on screens for the “playoffs”. There will always be four teams from four different geographic regions of the country, four teams with some human interest story (Michael Sams, some kid who came from a homeless background, etc), four teams with coaches who are “interesting”, and four teams that look good on tv. Actual on field results will be secondary.

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    • It’s not even that. It’s set up to allow the P5 to manipulate the field to best suit their financial requirements.

      And that’s why the playoffs will expand.

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      • JCDAWG83

        I still say we need a three round playoff of 8 conference champions, that would solve almost all of the problems. You are correct, but their manipulation is going to end up destroying the playoff. Once most viewers realize it’s nothing more than a manipulated beauty contest that doesn’t really produce a “champion”, the tvs will go off and the money will dry up.

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        • that doesn’t really produce a “champion”,

          The 2007 NY Giants, 2010 Green Bay Packers, and 2011 NY Giants all say hi. All teams with average / mediocre regular seasons that backed into the playoffs because the pool has gotten large enough, but that none would consider “great” teams that got hot and won 4 games in a row.

          the tvs will go off and the money will dry up.

          Seems like things are working out just fine for these guys.

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          • Macallanlover

            Actually, they do produce a “champion”. What playoffs never do is guarantee everyone will agree on who is best, and I don’t think most fans get the distinction. “Best” will always be arguable. A golf tournament may have every single one of the top contenders in the world but the winner may not come from the top 100, just the “champion” of that week.

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            • Well yeah – small sample sizes are a bitch and all. I personally prefer the team that exhibited sustained excellence over an entire season to be rewarded rather than the team that got lucky to make the beauty pageant and got hot, but many folks mileage varies and they love the absolutism of a bracket. I get that, trust me. I just think they’re wrong. 🙂

              Hell – look at the Women’s World Cup that just happened and even in a “settle it on the field” situation, you get screwed by the whims of a bracket if matchups are based on television ratings and not some semblance of seeding. Japan played NOBODY until the USA because FIFA decided to set up the brackets with TV viewership times in mind and placed the #1, #2, and #3 teams in the world on the same side of the bracket and erego, France (#3) got screwed by having to play Germany (#1) before the semi-finals. Keep that in mind as you clamor for a bigger playoff for CFB and the importance television broadcasting has become to these idiots in charge. They’ll rig the bracket just the same for optimal viewership times without giving a damn about the fairness of the bracket.

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        • Macallanlover

          Close, we definitely need the 8 team, three round playoff to minimize the chance that all teams have shot at getting their spot but there aren’t 8 conferences that qualify for that. Power 5 champs all get one spot, minimum of one spot from the non-Power 5 conferences based on highest rated, and remainder of spots from the best/highest rated. Granted, that leaves some subjectivity but ensures that no major team is denied their chance due to subjectivity since all have a chance to win their conference.

          Most all the complaints arise from the flawed, four team playoff model. Expansion will not be just because expansion is inevitable, it will be driven because the plan was a mistake from its inception. There was a problem, the wrong option to fix it was chosen. The only possible logical reason for starting with four that I can see was to show how popular the playoffs would be through using TV ratings to use as leverage when the improved version’s payday was negotiated. I don’t think that group was smart enough to think that way.

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          • Bless your heart, Mac.

            You get bonus points for staying on message, that’s for sure.

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          • Macallanlover

            Excuse-a-me, “maximize”, not “minimize” in the 1st sentence.

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          • Mac – I firmly believe that the playoff will be expanded sooner rather than later and it will be in a year where the SEC and/or the Big 10 are shut out of participation. If Notre Dame finishes the regular season with just a single loss, you know that they are in. With 5 Power conferences and only 4 spots, 2 conferences will be out if Notre Dame is in.

            The reality is it not hard to envision the SEC having a 2 loss champion this season. If that is case and let’s just say that TheOSU goes to the B10 championship with 1 reg season loss but loses to a 2+ loss MSU or Wisconsin.

            The rest of country plays out with FSU (13-0) running the table in the ACC, Notre Dame (12-1) beats everyone including USC but loses at Clemson, USC (12-1) losing once to ND but running the table in the PAC-12, and then the Big 12 Champion being undefeated or a single loss team from TCU, Baylor, or Oklahoma.

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            • Macallanlover

              You may have just given me a reason to support a ND run! I agree about the likelihood of a 2 loss SEC champ this season, still wouldn’t mean they are the most qualified for a “best team in football” label, but that is not the way the mainstream CFB fan’s mind works. SEC and PAC 12 look like the best conferences this year, at this point, and is why the winner could be left out. If that is what it takes to bring about the needed changes, let it happen. 🙂

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              • I was always curious as to why they chose 4 teams in the first place except it was a hedged bet in case it was a total disaster.

                My guess is that they move to 6 and it stay there for a long period. 6 allows you to take the champion from each P5 conference plus an at large like Notre Dame, an undefeated non-P5, or even the most deserving P5 that isn’t a conference champ. Top 2 seeds get byes, teams 4-6 play 3rd week of December, semis are around NYD and the championship is a week later.

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                • Uglydawg

                  Union, you can’t give a team a bye in this kind of a situation. It’s just too hard on a team to play a team that is rested..look how important bye weeks are in the SEC…now imagine playing a top two team that is rested after you’ve fought a war..not fair at all…way too much advantage and there would be so much bitching and moaning and arguing about the ifs and buts and unfairness of it all, that we would be worse off than we are now (as far as consensus is ever going to happen).
                  Do you agree?

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                • Macallanlover

                  Don’t know about Union but that is the only thing I have against six. Adding two more doesn’t hurt anything at all and levels the playing field. That extra rest and reducing the number of times you gave to win is just too much of an edge. And you would never satisfy fans that those teams are better than the other four. Just one more level of dissatisfaction.

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      • Uglydawg

        Yes, they have to expand it to keep it from sucking…because it does suck the way it is now…Geographically Correct.

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  5. 3rdandGrantham

    If that’s going to be the case, I say we rest our two deep until the Bama and UT game, then again until UF and finally AU. Thus, by the end of the season we’ll be totally fresh with limited injuries, and the ol’ eyeball test on us will look pretty damn impressive. Sure, we’ll have an 8-4 type record, but the fact that will be literally trucking everyone the latter half of the season will more than make up for it. Heck, we can even spend the first half of the season putting in all sorts of new formations/gameplans in practice that will totally screw with our opponents when we unveil them for the first time later in the year.

    Oh, towards the end of the year would be a great time to break out ultra skin tight, all black unis, which will improve our chances in the eye ball test even more. Bobby Johnson will be sitting at home thinking to himself, “damn, even those big uglies up front for UGA look like they have 6% body fat with all that black they’re wearing. Shoe-in for sure.”

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  6. GaskillDawg

    Damn I miss the BCS. The committee members are insufferable.

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    • DawgFaithful

      I have no problem with a 4 team playoff or a plus 1 but the committee is a joke. Should have stuck with the BCS equation to determine the 4 teams. Now it’s really all jacked up

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    • Chipperdawg

      “Damn I miss the BCS.”
      Never dreamed I’d read those words… AND agree with ’em!

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  7. The Quincy Carter of Accountants

    If you told me that we were going to just end the football season after the SEC championship I think I could deal with that.

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    • JCDAWG83

      That would suit me too. At most, have about 12 bowl games for the conference champs and runner ups to play each other in.

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  8. Bulldog Joe

    But do they get to wear the cool jackets like the bowl committee reps?

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  9. Bulldog Joe

    “…rely heavily on the eye test this fall”

    I hear Bobby was misquoted. He actually said he will “rely heavily on the ‘I’ test this fall”.

    An entire season of watching football while being wined and dined by the schools and the conferences…what a country!

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    • Bulldog Joe

      Bobby and fellow committee member Dan Radakovich by the time December rolls around…

      “I’m thinkin’ Clemson. How ’bout you, Bobby?”

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  10. Scorpio Jones, III

    Once I got past the grammatical error in the first sentence, I am a little surprised the good Senator finds this argument compelling. Johnson was a pretty good football coach, had a couple great long snappahs as I recall.

    Personally I’d rather have Bobby Johnson than Archie, but that is a personal thing.

    At least Johnson has some experience coaching football in a decent league or two.

    Point being, how else, other than watching the game on TV do you suspect these decisions are gonna get made?

    You folks who just had to have a fucking playoff, who are now dissatisfied with the fucking system you got are tilting at windmills.

    I have no dawg in the hunt over whether Bobby Johnson should be on the selection committee, frankly could not care less.

    But I fail to see the objection to the way Johnson says he will pick his teams, which is very close to exactly how everybody here and everybody else on the committee will pick the teams they like.

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    • At least Johnson has some experience coaching football in a decent league or two.

      Gee… maybe they could put together a bunch of coaches to rank the best teams for the playoffs. Kinda like a poll.

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      • Sh3rl0ck

        While I appreciate the snark, Scop has a point. Current coaches might not have the time to evaluate teams that are not on their schedule, former coaches like Bobby Johnson have both the time and expertise to thoroughly evaluate the top 10-15 teams. If there is going to be any human input into ranking teams for a playoff, former coaches are probably the best option.

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        • Why does Bobby Johnson’s “eye test” have any more validity than, say, Bill Connelly’s advanced stats? I’d argue it has less.

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          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Because Bobby Johnson has coached in the SEC, and the Southern Conference, can watch, interpret tape, can read, interpret stats, understands football dynamics from a perspective none of us, or Bill Connelly’s stats will provide no matter if we read them from now till the end of time. Bobby Johnson sees more watching a game than any of us, surely you don’t argue with that.

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            • Surely I do.

              Coaches are human beings, first of all, which means they come with the same biases and conflicts the rest of us do. And I’m not talking about the obvious stuff here – the “I don’t like School X” bias – but the bias about what a coach thinks a player or a system should look like. Maybe Bobby Johnson thinks the Air Raid sucks, for example, and winds up downgrading a team because he doesn’t like the look of an offense.

              I also find your “in the arena” uber alles attitude narrow minded. Read Chris Brown’s stuff and tell me he doesn’t have as much on the ball as Bobby Johnson.

              As for your dismissal of Bill Connelly, surely you jest. 😉

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              • Newbergian Self-Promoting Social Media Bitch

                Them that can do, them that can’t or wish they could, or think they know more than them that can, write about it.

                I am shocked, just shocked you find my attitude about actually doing it, more compelling than talking about it.

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                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  Oopsie.

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                • Johnson’s not coaching. He’s picking teams for a playoff. So what exactly does “can do” have to do with it anymore?

                  I mean, if I were hiring somebody to coach a team, I’d pick Johnson ahead of Connelly. But that’s not the job at hand.

                  Do I take it that you believe the entire selection committee should be comprised only of people who’ve been in the arena?

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                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  Are you saying that a statistician would be your choice for the committee over a former football coach?

                  No, I suppose not everyone on the committee should be a former football coach, although, frankly, I can’t imagine a rational reason why not.

                  I am aware Johnson is not coaching, but he will be using all the skills he acquired as a coach, which he could only have acquired as a football coach, player, etc.

                  True, Johnson might be influenced by not liking the offensive scheme, or the defensive coordinator (Louisville 🙂 ), but a “civilian” might be influenced by the color of the team’s jersey or the mascot or any of a hundred other things.

                  I would trust a former football coach more than I would trust any statistician or anyone who thought they knew more about football than a football coach.

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                • The issue isn’t that Johnson is no longer coaching. It’s why do Johnson’s skills as a coach make him better at handicapping teams than someone who hasn’t coached? Seems to me those are two different skill sets.

                  Look, I get where you’re coming from, but remember, you’re the one who started this by saying,

                  But I fail to see the objection to the way Johnson says he will pick his teams, which is very close to exactly how everybody here and everybody else on the committee will pick the teams they like.

                  I’m explaining to you what my objection is. If you fail to see it, that’s on your mindset, not on my failure to explain.

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                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  Just so there is no confusion. I am and do enjoy batting this ball back and forth, but at the end of the day, I think the whole playoff construct is money-driven bullshit, serves no purpose other than to line pockets.

                  Most of those pockets belong to ESPN, which has been setting us up for this for the last decade. This is about generating profit, not about finding the best college football team in the country. Bobby Johnson? Frankly my dear, who gives a shit.

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                • LMAO.

                  So your point here is that only by asserting Bobby Johnson’s natural right to serve on the selection committee can one truly observe that the playoffs are all about the money?

                  Gosh, don’t I feel foolish now.

                  There are times when I think you argue with me just to have an argument.

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          • Sh3rl0ck

            To quote myself: “If there is going to be any human input into ranking teams for a playoff, former coaches are probably the best option”. Bill Connelly’s statistics are numbers generated by a computer. That is not human input; that is a human generated algorithm. My general point was that being a former head coach is a better qualification than former Secretary of State.

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            • I think we’re splitting hairs with this. A “human generated” algorithm doesn’t involve human input? If you say so.

              And I’m not suggesting that Bill – to use him as an example – would just show up, hand over a spreadsheet and leave. I would expect his analysis to inform his decision making, just like Johnson’s eye test would inform his.

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              • Sh3rl0ck

                By “Human Input”, I am referring to subjective human reasoning. There is nothing subjective about an algorithm; it is pure mathematics. There are the so-called “intangibles” that an algorithm can not encompass. It is the inductive vs. the deductive.

                By the “eyeball test”, 2012 Alabama had the best collegiate offensive line I have ever seen. No amount of cyber-metrics will convince me otherwise.

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                • You don’t think there’s any subjective human reasoning that goes into constructing advanced stats? You need to read Connelly’s work more carefully.

                  I’m not trying to say there’s no place at all for intangibles in the selection committee’s evaluation. But Tramel’s right about what should be front and center. To the extent that Johnson’s eyeballing takes his attention away from actual results on the field – which I thought was the gist of “settle it on the field” – that’s wrong.

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  11. Dog in Fla

    @eethomaswfnc July 9, 2015 at 8:20 AM
    “DiF, this post is begging for a Steve Martin clip from you.”
    Okay! But only because you insist…

    Global War on Bobby (GWOB)
    Interrogation Room/Bridal Suite
    Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center

    1100 hours
    9 July 2015

    Baghdad Bill briefs Bobby before his first meeting as a rook on the Selection Committee

    reminds Bobby that him being constantly shafted by SEC officiating krewes when Bobby was skipper at Vanderbilt and how it made him act the jerk prepares him perfectly for this job.

    tells Bobby that he’ll be only one of many members

    tips Bobby that although Jeff thinks he’s the Chair of the Committee, the de facto chair is the Lone She-Wolf on the Committee,

    suggests that Bobby become familiar with officially sanctioned Q & A practices

    and under no circumstances ever cross anyone or ask for water at the meetings because every now and then “[p]risoners were subjected to ‘rectal feeding’ without medical necessity.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/09/cia-torture-report-worst-findings-waterboard-rectal

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  12. Since the brilliant blog firejoemorgan is long gone and baseball related, I really hope Bill Connelly and Phil Steele band together to start anonymously writing a CFB version called firebobbyjohnson.

    Relying strictly on non-quantifiable subjective whims of a voting committee is just ancient.

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  13. Uglydawg

    Suppose you,
    UGA fan, were appointed to the “committee” and in your first year on the job, Georgia Tech won the ACC but lost every game that the opponent had a bye week to prepare, except the WSOCP, which they won because it was pouring down rain and the other team was ravaged by the flu bug.
    Now you’ve gotta give them the “eye test”. A thru F how you gonna rate ’em?

    Schdule
    Coaching Staff
    Offensive Scheme
    Defensive Scheme
    Campus and Stadium Impressiveness
    The uniforms
    Fan Support/ Crowd

    Or maybe “eye test” is trolling lingo for rewards…like a recruit visiting the Plains. Nice sportscoats, rings, and even spending money.
    (Not that I believe that, but this offseason is getting long in the tooth and we’ve got to peck out something)

    I’d say
    Schedule…C at best, just for being in the ACC.
    Coaching Stafff…Eye Candy? this is an easy F.
    O Scheme……….It’s why they win on short-rest games…but it works and
    keeps GT in the discussion every year in the ACC..this, if
    nothing else makes PJ a budding genius
    B
    Defensive Scheme? B
    Camus and Stadium Impressiveness..Except for the dome…F
    Uniforms…Not bad..B
    Fan Support…tough one because wherever even two or three nerds are gathered it feels like a crowd. Realistically though F

    Intangables? Are there any hot family members or girlfriends in the crowd?
    probably not, but it’s possible..C

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