The school soccer playoff course of should not profit from the doubt
The idea that the college football playoff selection process is governed by what is known as an “eye test” (which team looks best) is easy to buy in … but that doesn’t mean you should get involved.
Dave Bartoo, a college football analyst and consultant, has produced cutting-edge work at his @CFBMatrix location for many years. He is the creator of the Coach Effect metric, which measures how well coaches are doing relative to their recruiting results and various other benchmarks. As a soccer analyst, he constantly spends his time measuring which coaches and programs create or waste value relative to their resources and the situations they live in. Bartoo is a creative and original analyst who regularly has something fresh and interesting to say.
He attended Portland-based Pac-12 commentator and radio host John Canzano for an in-depth college football conversation that covered a wide variety of topics. One was the eye test and whether it is actually used by the members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee:
Whether there is an eye test for the College Football Playoffs:
“There is no eye test. First, none of them have the experience of doing the eye test. Maybe Barry Alvarez, but he’s an exception to 12 people. None of them have the time to take an eye test. Who has time to watch two hours of each team on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and to rank 30 teams? You watch 60 hours of film and you know what you are seeing. Then you rank 25 teams. I’ll call BS. Huge amounts of BS on the eye test. It does not exist. You have to go fast and those are numbers. “
It is true that some committee members may not have crowded schedules … but some of them certainly have busy lives, which would make it very difficult to fully evaluate teams through the lens of the eye test.
If we’re serious about applying the eye test label to the playoff selection process – which means we sincerely believe the process is the result of an in-depth examination of every team in the film, as opposed to numerical calculations, as Bartoo says – buy We have the idea that all committee members (or at least a large majority of them) not only watch games on Saturdays, but also study films from different teams for hours.
Bartoo’s comments are helpful on many levels, but the most central way his analysis leads to healthier college football conversation is by forcing us to ask a simple question: when transparency benefits the playoff evaluation process then why haven’t we seen any public? Disclosure or broadcast of committee members studying film and making assessments based on the number of hours they have spent observing teams?
If film studies take place behind closed doors, why not make film studies more transparent and observable?
We shouldn’t just assume that the members of the playoff committee are doing long hours of film study, which necessarily implies an “eye test” thesis.
This, like everything else, is the main point I derive from Bartoo’s analysis. The college football playoffs have not demonstrated a level of transparency that gives the process – or its committees each year – the benefit of the doubt.