April 5, 2014 by Charlie Eisenhood in Analysis with 38 comments
With Brown and Central Florida getting not only reinstated in the rankings, but also reinstated into the top 20 ensuring bids for their region, the picture of bid allocation we saw fleetingly on Wednesday and Thursday looks much different now.
The Great Lakes and North Central watched their bubble teams get muscled out to make room for Brown (New England) and Central Florida (Southeast).
There are going to be frustrated teams griping about Central Florida, who only had results from one of their major tournaments — Easterns — reinstated. It ultimately proved to be a boon for UCF, because their two weakest tournaments were not counted; they even moved up in the rankings. It also helped the LSU’s performance at T-Town Throwdown — which included a win over UCF — was not included in the algorithm.
Few know anything about what actually happened at UCF. I have spoken at length with coach Andrew Roca about the situation; what I can say is that it appears that it was a very unfortunate situation for UCF, not some oversight or mistake. I don’t think anyone would argue that they deserved to not earn a bid, and the competitive playing field will be more fair with three teams advancing from the Southeast.
I can also say they tried their hardest to reinstate results from the Stanford Invite and Warm Up. This was not some grand plan to benefit their ranking.
The obvious outlier in these rankings is Brown, who earned a fourth bid for the New England Region on a very thin schedule. They played just two tournaments: Huck Finn and Spring Awakening. They rolled their way past weak competition and went up against just one Ultiworld Top 25 team — Luther. In that game, they lost 15-7.
It’s difficult to argue that Brown truly deserves a ranking of #14 in the country (by the way, Luther is ranked #21). It’s also hard to fault Brown. No team went to greater lengths to try to play their tournaments. They drove 10 hours to try to catch a flight from Washington DC to get to the President’s Day Invite after their Providence flight out to California was canceled.
At the end of the day, they did exactly what you’re supposed to do: go out and win games. If you don’t like the results, blame the ranking algorithm, not Brown.
All that said, it’s a shame that New England will get four bids at the expense of the North Central, who ends up with just two. Three was already a generous haul for the region.
On The Big Picture
Aside from that extra bid in the hands of New England, this looks like a fair distribution of bids. There is no question it stings the Southwest — a deep Region filled with good, but not great, teams — to end up with just one bid, but they weren’t robbed: they hurt themselves with weak performances at early tournaments.
The North Central faces a bit of a down year with just two bids; both Luther and Northern Iowa had chances to win their way in to a bid late in the season. Luther struggled at Easterns; Northern Iowa lost a close game to Eastern Michigan at the Old Capitol open that may have sealed their fate. Regionals, as usual, will be a slugfest.
The Metro East is perhaps the weakest it’s been since the redraw. But let me stop you here: they still deserve a bid. That’s how college sports work. Every conference gets their shot. Who’s to say the Metro East qualifier won’t make a splash at the College Championships?
Regardless of your take on the bids, it now comes down to winning. Everyone can win their way in. That’s just how it should be.