The Juan Eraser

Many years ago, when just starting my current job, I was introduced to my new co-worker, Juan. Some would say his depth of experience with the airline industry was his most impressive aspect. But there was something else different about him.

His eraser.

Juan was determined not to waste office supplies, which meant that he wouldn’t toss away or accidentally lose a half-used pencil. He showed me his eraser, which was barely large enough to hold and use. Filled with admiration, I was determined to obtain such a trophy.

He retired a few years later, but I never lost sight of my goal. After 5 or 6 years of usage, I was able to earn my own Juan Eraser. After grinding it down to the size of my thumbnail, I decided it earned its retirement:

But who knows. One day, I may decide to continue erasing with it until it’s even smaller than my pinky nail.

Monday Fighter!

It’s always nice when a website is so backwards-compatible, time travelers from the 1980’s can be comfortable with it.

Bonus points for the seemingly random alphabetizing (it must be done by country code, which explains why Chad is in the T section)

Why the BCS is better than the playoffs

The BCS is better than the playoffs when it comes to determining a “true” national champion this year.

To put it in the simplest terms, a playoff would have meant that LSU would have had to play even more games to win the championship. People forget this when arguing for a playoff. Each additional game is a chance for LSU to lose what almost everyone agrees they deserve.

Let’s see what 4- and 8-team playoffs would have meant mathematically.

Hypothetical Numbers #1: Let’s be incredibly generous and say LSU is so good, they would beat any top 8 team 90% of the time.
Under the BCS, LSU would have a 90% chance to be crowned national champions.
In a 4-team playoff, it drops to 81%.
In an 8-team playoff, that drops again to 72%.

Hypothetical Numbers #2: Something a bit closer to reality, but still generous: LSU would beat Alabama 60% of the time, OK St 70% of the time, and the rest of the top 8 80% of the time.

Under the BCS, LSU has a 60% chance or 70% chance to be crowned national champions (depending on who ends up #2).

The math for the playoff systems is more difficult. In a 4-team system, LSU would be playing #4 then the winner of Alabama vs OK St. The chance of LSU winning the championship is somewhere between 48% and 56%. While the exact number depends on the odds of Alabama vs. OK St., it’s not much better than a coin flip.

In an 8-team system, obviously, it’s even worse. If LSU gets lucky and doesn’t have to play #2 or #3, they would have only a 51% chance to win all 3 games. The odds are somewhere between 38% and 51%, depending on the odds of #2 and #3 making it to the national title game.

I’m well aware playoff proponents will argue that the playoffs are better anyway because things are decided “on the field”. And that’s fine, as long as they are aware of what they are getting. There are simply too few games played during the football season to have a high degree of confidence that a “true” national champion was crowned, whatever the system.