Explaining the Tournament of Champions simulation
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Whatifsports.com's college football simulation database dates back to 1996. If you do the math, 1996-2010 adds up to only 15 national champions. Our Tournament of Champions bracket has room for 16 and therefore we elected to share the wealth like Michigan and Nebraska shared the national title in 1997. The co-champions were both allowed to participate in this simulation tournament.
We also encountered a few more hanging chads, if you will, that needed to be addressed before proceeding with the seeding of the 16-team field.
The first issue dealt with LSU who beat Oklahoma in the 2003 Sugar Bowl BCS National Championship Game. The Tigers finished first in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but second in the Associated Press Poll. The USC Trojans earned the AP votes needed to split the nation's opinion of the best team in the country. So, in order to determine which team should earn the right to compete in the Tournament of Champions, we conducted a sidebar simulation between the 2003 Tigers and Trojans 2,001 times.
2003 LSU vs. USC Runoff Simulation
Our second issue also dealt with the Trojans who have, for the time being, vacated their 2004 BCS National Championship after the NCAA ruled Reggie Bush received improper benefits. Now some believe the undefeated Auburn Tigers, and not the Oklahoma Sooners, deserved recognition for their 2004 campaign. The Sooners were beat 55-19 by the Trojans in the BCS title game. When the NCAA ruling against USC came down last summer, we simulated Oklahoma versus Auburn to learn if the Tigers were worthy of championship consideration. As you will learn by reading the article, our simulation engine concluded that the Tigers were not. With USC out, Oklahoma slid in as the 2004 national champion representative.
With the field of 16 selected, we created a round-robin simulation where each team played the other 51 times. Our college football simulation engine generated each team's overall winning percentage and average points scored per game. This college football power ranking was used to seed the 16-team field. The 2001 Miami Hurricanes finished the simulation with the top winning percentage ahead of talented programs like the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide and 2008 Florida Gators. The Hurricanes are the Tournament of Champions number one seed.
Tournament of Champions Seeding Simulation
|1||2001 Miami (FL) Hurricanes||77.8||35.1|
|2||2009 Alabama Crimson Tide||74.6||32.1|
|3||2008 Florida Gators||68.8||32.4|
|4||2003 USC Trojans||61.1||30.9|
|5||2005 Texas Longhorns||63.7||30.5|
|6||2004 Oklahoma Sooners||59.0||29.9|
|7||1999 Florida State Seminoles||54.7||28.2|
|8||1996 Florida Gators||51.4||29.9|
|9||2000 Oklahoma Sooners||48.5||25.7|
|10||2006 Florida Gators||41.7||24.5|
|11||1998 Tennessee Volunteers||41.7||25.3|
|12||2002 Ohio State Buckeyes||37.4||23.7|
|13||1997 Michigan Wolverines||32.5||21.1|
|14||2007 LSU Tigers||31.2||23.9|
|15||2010 Auburn Tigers||25.7||25.7|
|16||1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers||25.2||24.4|
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.