Posted by Steven Hayward
. . . then Germany would have won. Can we please either have a real playoff system, or go back to the old conference bowl game system? I rather liked the old Rose Bowl matchup of the Pac 10 versus the Big 10.
Well Steve, they almost did!
Once they knocked the French out, they should have prevailed. But for some of Hitler's blunders,................................ it easily could have worked out very, very differently.
Who played in the Rose Bowl this year?
Penn State played against Southern Cal.
Well Dan, Penn State did about as poorly as OSU. Had the Trojans not lost to Oregon St, and had Penn State not lost to Iowa it probably would have been the national title game. Nevertheless neither team was the best from where I sit (albeit I wouldn't argue against a Southern Cal fan). My point if I have on is actually that the BCS system did a pretty good job of matching up the teams. Utah did an exceptional job against Alabama and was the only undefeated, but there is little question that Florida after the sermon by Tebow following the Mississippi loss was the best team in the nation from that point foward. Texas could be somewhat upset because they beat Oklahoma heads up, but after the loss to Texas Oklahoma was as incredible as Florida after Miss. Oklahoma and Florida probably were the best teams in the nation representing the two strongest conferences this year...albeit my prejudice is probably against the Pac 10 and yet, they did do an excellent job in all bowl games. Big 12 south was exeptionally strong on the other hand. Probably SEC, Big 12, PAC 10, Big 10 in that order. Again if Southern Cal wants to complain it shouldn't have lost to Oregon State but still I suppose they might be the best in the nation. Utah did beat Alabama impressively and most importantly lost no games. Still I think that one could almost argue that Oklahoma was the best team in the nation despite the loss to Texas and Florida, of course I would accept the claim of Southern Cal before entertaining anything so foolish. I mean I am not altogether unhappy with the BCS pairings, and even if there was a playoff...an improvement, you still wouldn't have a cut and dry answer. You would simply have a "peak"/confluence of factors answer. I mean if Florida played OK 100 times I expect OK to win 40 times, if Florida played Southern Cal 100 times I would expect a similar result the same general pattern might hold with Texas and possibly even Utah.
Which means that in a playoff you might still get upsets that advance unjustly giving you TCU as a National Champion.
I mean computers can't decide World War 2, obviously a world of factors did decide world war 2, and all antecendent conditions being the same it might not have been possible for it to be otherwise, but a computer that simulates for germany simply takes into account tipping points in fate that argues in effect that it is possible for germany to have won World War 2.
In effect a simulation that argues that Germany could have won world war 2 argues in part against a strong deterministic account. The strong deterministic account is in some sense what folks want when they want a clear winner/national champion, but part of that sense of finality in the crowing of a national champion is illusion, in so far as events could have unfolded differently. In some sense being the rightfull national champion projects its own inevitability. If events would have unfolded differently a plurality of the time then an upset has occured. In college football not enough games are played to determine the best team without a shadow of doubt, but still I think that with the number of games played we do get pretty close.
It was a good year for college football and Florida probably was the best team with SC, Texas, OK, and Utah close behind.
Of course this is a long rambling digression but so permeating of a topic as determinism and what might have been otherwise all antecedent conditions being the same...as McCain said that is why we play the game.
You really think Germany could have won? I mean there were times when they were unlucky, but there were times when they were lucky, if both bad luck and good luck were random didn't events ballance themselves out. I mean if in the life of a single person good luck and bad luck tends to cancel itself out per the maxim of Churchill, how much more complete is the process in such a broad and complex endevor like world war 2?
I am thinking of a Darwinian luck matrix, involving survival of the luckiest where bad luck is fatal...somewhat like college football(ask USC)...Luck that builds momentum, bad luck that destroys it. Almost none who survive are unlucky, and yet almost none who survive are not also fit. In some sense not getting unlucky is a form of good luck, because a long enough series of 90% favorites will lose eventually. In some sense winning when one is supposed to win and loseing when one is supposed to loose encourages behavior that is conducive to deserving to win, while the intrusion of good luck or bad luck can be destructive, hence Horrace's dictum that all luck is bad luck and Machiavelli's opposition of Fortuna with Virtu, and yet this is purely academic because winning "ugly" or "lucky" is always desireable...please God just this once.
While I am not against a playoff, I think that a lot of folks are for a playoff in part because they want the team they like most to still be in a position to get lucky. But Texas would have had its shot had they not lost in the last seconds to TT, USC would have gone had they not lost to Oregon State, Penn State would have made it but for the field goal against Iowa, a ton of small moments/plays within the college football season accumulate to drive out the final course of affairs. In college football every game is terminally important, a playoff in some sense allows more forgiveness into the picture conceding in effect that even a USC will lose a fluke game. But a playoff will not be forgiving to a team that played a great season and looses its fluke game in it. In some sense then informed voters may be the best guide to picking the national champion, just as historians who know much of world war 2 might be able to parse out some of the lucky moments within it. Of course I doubt that the Axis could have won, I doubt that the Confederacy could have won, I doubt that McCain could have won...in general I think large scale events have an inevitability by virtue of cancelled out luck.
John, I watched the game over at the home of some long time friends. I passed over mentioning the game, the score, the play of the teams, not because I was unaware, -------------------------------- but for the fact that to this Pennsylvanian, it was all TOO painful to dwell upon.
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