Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If It's Wednesday, It Must Be Polls

The new coaches' poll is fairly uncontroversial. Princeton drops from a first place tie with Wisconsin to second. Given that Princeton's margin over Georgetown last weekend was less than Wisconsin's the week before, this move was expected. It's hard to view the Tigers' performance against the Hoyas as a disappointment, but when someone has to be ranked first, you look at things like margins. The coaches continue to rank Bucknell despite it's plan to only race lightweights at IRAs.

In response to my musings about a possible Dad Vail light eight field, a few readers have wished for that same field to race at IRAs. If a big field from Dad Vail moved on to enter IRAs, in addition to the Sprints schools and at least Stanford from the West, we could find ourselves with more than 12 schools entered. The IRA regatta committee hasn't faced the issue of more than 12 lightweight eight entries for some time and it's not clear what they would do. I suspect (although I don't know for certain) that the field would be held to 12. If this happened, where would that put Bucknell? With their biggest wins (and only races) being victories over Temple and Radcliffe's 2V, would their entry be accepted? How could it be accepted over say, Duquesne, who has also beaten Temple, along with UMass and Lehigh? All of a sudden Bucknell may be playing a dangerous game. Unless, of course, lightweights aren't a concern.

The cMax rankings are also out. The first four places are the same as the coaches and FITD, but UCF is ranked fifth over Radcliffe. This is probably explained by UCF's two races against Princeton. The Golden Knights lost to Princeton by 20 and 25 seconds while Radcliffe lost to Wisconsin by almost 23 seconds the one time they raced. Even though Wisco is higher than Princeton, UCF has some consistent results vs the Tigers while Radcliffe has just one race against Wisco. That's all speculation, however, and the Cliffies have an opportunity to jump back up when they race Princeton this weekend, so it's not worth getting too worked up over.

The second half of the cMax rankings are a bit of a surprise. LMU and Long Beach State are 8th and 9th, while LMU checks in at 15 on the coaches' poll and LBS doesn't appear at all. Could it be that we're all East Coast biased? That's undoubtedly true, but it doesn't mean we're wrong. These boats will race at WIRA, but without Stanford, it will be hard to gauge their speed. In any case, at this point we really have no reason to believe that these boats aren't as fast as Buffalo or Dayton. LMU was only 21 seconds behind Princeton, 18 behind Stanford, and 10 behind UCF. Actually, as I wrote those last two sentences, I started to think that cMax has a point. This is the beauty of these kinds of computer rankings, they challenge your assumptions and make you consider your biases.

Whatever these rankings say, I'll be running the FITD reader polls after this weekend's racing. Other commitments may force me to put them up Saturday night, but I suggest you wait until after all racing this weekend before voting. They'll be up for a week and I'll include a fours poll (although I think I'll only have you vote for the top five fours - tell me if you think I should do top ten).


Anonymous said...

at mid-day, here were the cmax rankings for L8s:
Team Rank Secs Back

L Wisconsin 1 -
L Princeton 2 9.9
L Buffalo 3 13.3
L Georgetown 4 14.5
L Stanford 5 15.9
L Radcliffe 6 16.8
L Dayton 7 17.6
L UCF 8 21.9
L Lehigh 9 23.0
L Duquesne 10 26.0
L Temple 11 30.3
L PennSt 12 31.4
L LMU 13 31.5
L UMass 14 32.4
L MIT 15 32.6
L LBS 16 35.1
L OSUClub 17 35.2
L Cal 18 42.2
L Chapman 19 43.0
L UCSD 20 47.9
L ArizonaSt 21 48.3

Thursday morning\late Wednesday they were apparently changed or updated. The heavies were re-shuffled as well.
Wonder what is going on here......

JW Burk said...

cMax caught a couple of data mistakes between the two releases. The Buffalo ranking was a trigger. As you can imagine, the data collection job is huge and with human input it's impossible not to make a mistake now and then. Also, when he first distributes it, people get a look and with individuals focusing on different things, they're sometimes able to catch things that Chris missed. Sometimes it causes re-releases, but it usually means the data ends up being correct.

Anonymous said...

are you going to count top-four-rower fours and teams that have raced rowers 9-12? I would think a team like princeton or wisconsin would have a B4 that would beat a lot of teams A4s.

JW Burk said...

This is one of the things that makes ranking fours so difficult - you never quite know who is in (or will be in) any given boat. I'll try to list as options most of the faster boats that have raced this season, and I think we can only go on what they've done. So, if Wisconsin has only raced freshmen as their four, we can't rank the boat as if it contained the 9-12 varsity rowers, or the 1-4 varsity rowers. We can only go by what we've seen. The problem is that we don't know who the Sprints schools will race at Sprints. Even worse is the fact that the best non-Sprints fours will never get to race the best Sprints fours. That's what really hurts an attempted ranking. Maybe someday we'll have fours at IRAs. I think it's more important for lightweights because so many schools only race a light four.