10. November 2006 · Comments Off on Should We Trust the BCS Computers? · Categories: Archive 2005, BCS, Jokes, Media

Sagarin featured in Wall Street Journal in October 19, 2005 piece
The debate on the use of computers as in input to determining the teams that play in the college national championship has raged since the BCS was first introduced in 1998. One of the most prominent mathematical formulas that is used to rank college football teams is run by Hendricksville, Indiana resident and former Indiana MBA Jeff Sagarin.

Mr. Sagarin was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal piece due to his efforts to make Indiana move permanently to the Central time zone. The majority of the state for many years has remained on Eastern Standard time throughout the year, causing much confusion when the rest of us switch our clocks ahead in the summer for Daylight savings time. In April 2006, Indiana will move to use daylight saving time. The rub: each Indiana county needs to decide whether it is going to be on Central or Eastern time presenting some other dimensions of confusion, but that’s another issue.

Sagarin has lobbied hard that the position of the sun over Indiana at noon makes it senseless to be in the Eastern time zone. Here’s some of his data on the topic from his website if you are interested if you have a few weeks and can count things like Rainman. That’s fine, but that’s not what we should be concerned about.

The problem is that Sagarin takes it to another level: he thinks it makes sense to set his wrist watch “to the precise solar time for his longitude since April, even though that means he’s 46 minutes behind his neighbors.” He finds it perfectly logical. Sagarin says “When people try to defy physical reality and claim they’re right, that bothers me.” The Journal noted that he keeps time on his 2000 Sugar Bowl watch.

Do you trust with the fate of your beloved football teams with a man that finds logic in keeping his watch 46 minutes slow? Does anyone else have a problem with this? Take this to another level, one of the computers (not Sagarin’s) actually has USC currently rated as the 4th best team in the country.