"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sports and Politics: The Attempted Control of Events by Faceless Committees as a Blight on Our Era

A question up front....
WHO runs the world?
The answer is....
WE do. ALL of us.

But this does not stop "committee-type thinkers" from thinking
that THEY do, or should, run things.
Hubris. Arrogance. Monopolistic thinking.

No, thank you. YOU do not run the world. WE do. WE ALL do. Think about it.

The so-called "rankings" of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee are an example of much that is wrong with "our" world.

In their first rankings of the present college football season the previous week, the CFP Selection Committee surprised everyone by putting Penn State 4th. It was a "we know better" selection, an exercise in hubris contrary to poll and expert rankings, and it did not turn out well. The highly favored Nittany Lions promptly lost that same weekend to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

What were Committee members thinking in making such a controversial selection, mocked subsequently by the actual results on the football field?

Penn State may have a fine team, but their season performance up to that time had simply not yet justified such a high ranking. Top 10, yes, Top 4, no.

UNDAUNTED, however, and not having learned a thing, a similar error has once again been committed this week by that same CFP Selection Committee. Who are these virtually faceless selectors? operating behind closed doors.

It is a Committee consisting of athletic directors or former athletic directors, former college football players, newspaper reporters, and the like, but there appears to be NO ONE on the Committee who is expert in ranking college football teams. So what are committee members qualifications for THAT??

In our view, Committee members are people merely "playing at selection", but, make no mistake, with serious consequences. Their team selections are ultimately worth dollar millions to the schools selected.

We would like to see a multi-million-dollar contest of these great pretenders against, for example, oddsmakers in Las Vegas ... just kidding of course. But we all know where the experts are sitting, and they are not on the Committee.

It was thus less of a surprise this 2nd week, when the world was once again astonished by the Committee vaulting the already once-beaten Georgia Dawgs into 4th position, moving the similarly once-beaten Alabama Crimson Tide to 5th place because of their narrow 46-41 loss to now top-ranked LSU.

We do not doubt that Georgia has a fine team, but their ranking in 4th place currently can only be viewed as some unknown people's personal athletico-political preference. A couple of good wins do not make a season nor determine champions. The entire record is determinative.

In a one-on-one matchup, who doubts that Alabama would be favored by the oddsmakers? Not many.

As compared to Alabama's narrow loss to undefeated LSU, Georgia's one loss was at home to unranked South Carolina, 20-17, a team with six losses this season. Indeed, as one can review in various expert-run ranking services, such as the Massey Ratings, the Bulldogs have thus far played one of the weakest FBS schedules in the Top 10 this season. MasseyRatings e.g. rank Georgia's schedule up to the present date at 39th place with only Clemson worse (schedule difficulty 66) among the top 10.

OTHER teams -- for now -- simply have better credentials.

We rank Georgia 7th in our own rankings, not that bad at all, but they simply do not have the actual performance legitimacy to be ranked higher than that, regardless of what one "thinks" of the team itself.

Maybe people think Georgia will win its SEC Division title and then win the SEC Conference Championship game. It is not impossible, of course, but rankings should be based on performance thus far, not on wishful thinking about the future. Otherwise, teams need not play any real games on the field at all, because some committee somewhere will tell us all what is what, regardless.

Perhaps this "rule by committee" is a decadent sign of the times. We see the same process occurring currently in the U.S. Congress in the House of Representatives, where virtually faceless committees and their members are trying to tell us what is what from behind closed doors. We think, no, thank you. Political elections exist to elect candidates. If you don't like one, vote for another. That's democracy. Congress has responsibilities other than trying to run the country from their committee chairs, God forbid, a task for which they are generally ill-prepared. We say: "Their main claim to fame is the campaign".

Some of us out here are not fooled, either in politics, or in football.

In fact, as opposed to politics, where "slight of hand" action is the name of the game, the great thing about sports is that champions are viz. should be determined by their performance on the field, and not by shameless partisan popularity contests in faceless and behind-the-scenes committee playrooms.

Similarly, given the recent UCF fiasco, it is time to establish a playoff system by which a national champion is determined ON THE FIELD and not by some faceless persons sitting on some athletico-political selection committee.

May the best team win.