Monday, October 09, 2006

Just Win, Baby

Growing up in San Francisco’s East Bay Area, just over the hill from the Oakland Coliseum, I loved the Raiders. And even though owner Al Davis (a former USC assistant coach) moved the team down to Los Angeles in 1982, I loved them even more because they drafted Marcus Allen after his record-setting, Heisman Trophy-winning career at USC.

As a Raider, Marcus built a Hall of Fame career on and off the field, and he gained the respect of his teammates as one of the toughest players in the league. When the Raiders won the Super Bowl during the ’83 season on Marcus’s magic 74-yard run, I thought I might love the Raiders almost as much as the USC Trojans.

But then Davis started his feud with Marcus in the early '90s, trying to prevent him from getting to the Hall of Fame, and I had no choice but to hate the Raiders. Of course, Marcus maintained his professionalism and commitment to his teammates throughout the ordeal, then beat the Raiders nine out of 10 times (including the first seven straight) during his five seasons with the rival Kansas City Chiefs. It’s so nice to see how karma works. And even better to see Marcus in the Hall of Fame, enshrined as a Chief.

But I digress …

Apparently, all the worry and stress over USC’s worrisome and stressful wins the last two weeks are just wasted energy. Turns out it really doesn’t matter how we win, just so long as we do. As Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News noted this morning, the computer algorithms that make up one-third of the BCS rankings no longer take margin of victory into account. A win is a win.

Of course, wins by other teams we’ve already beaten make our wins even better. The Times’ J.A. Adande pointed out yesterday that the more Arkansas wins, particularly against ranked SEC teams, the better our 50-14 beat down of the Razorbacks looks … not just to human voters, but even more so to the BCS computers.
When the first BCS rankings come out Oct. 15, this USC team probably will be better off than you think as well. This could be a year when Carroll and the Trojans learn to love the logarithms [sic]. The computers won't think of Washington as a 20-point underdog. The data will show the Huskies were 4-1 and undefeated in Pacific 10 Conference play coming into the game.

And as long as Arkansas keeps winning Southeastern Conference games the Trojans will reap the benefits. They won't get style points from human voters who short-sell the Pac-10 or don't realize how much Washington has improved in Coach Tyrone Willingham's second year. The Trojans just need to keep plugging numbers into the win column.
Again, I hate the Raiders. But they did have it right before they messed with Marcus.

Just w…

Actually, strike that. The Raiders don’t deserve the credit, especially since they have forgotten how to win. And, again, I hate them.

Besides, we’ve got our own motto that works just fine, thank you. Fight On!
east coast bias

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