Friday, October 23, 2009

More On The Rankings

All kinds of V-Reds bits and pieces in Bill Hunt's article in today's Daily Gleaner, including a good suggestion for exhibition competition.

On the rankings issue, we tend to agree.  Nobody was overly concerned with the stray Brock vote other than for casual hockey-talk purposes.  On the other hand, it is good to voice an opinion and let the voters know that some credibility needs to be maintained.

However, we would argue that the rankings are a bit more than just a catalyst for friendly debate.  They hold signficant importance at the end of the year as they determine the ever-important seedings at CIS Nationals.  If you don't think the schools know that, all you have to do is recall last March were one school lobbied heavily to have the seedings gerrymandered in a way that would avoid having them play in the "pool of death". 

But for now, riot gear on standby.


Bill Hunt said...

Which supports the point: The rankings are manipulated at the end of the year to support the purposes of the host committee anyway. Haven't done the research to point to specific cases where that's true, but three Atlantic or three Ontario or three Western schools never wind up in the same pool regardless of what the rankings leading up to final week say.
They're something designed to spark discussion and they do. They're very subjective and would be until you put together a CIS "Super League" of say Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba perhaps, and UBC in a Western Division, a Central of perhaps Western, McGill, Brock, UofT and perhaps a couple of others, and an Atlantic of UNB, Saint Mary's, Acadia and X, say.

Ken C said...

Agreed on the subjectivity. I wouldn't expect every voter to always pick UNB or Alberta since so many don't see these teams or even those conferences during the year. I think AUS people are guilty of underestimating the top OUA teams at times...especially considering an OUA team has denied an AUS team a gold medal game appearance 2 years in a row...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the host committee was denied the request to alter the rankings to suit their purpose last year, which resulted in Lakehead being grouped with Alberta and UNB.

Actually, maybe some of the historians here can chime in, but I'm not sure the rankings have ever been manipulated to support the purposes of the host committee? To minimize the same-conference matchups in each pool, yes, but otherwise it's been reasonably transparent, hasn't it?

Over the last 7 years, when the host team goes in champ it's a non-issue, and when Lakehead, UNB, and Moncton went in as hosts, they had Alberta in their pools, which probably wasn't high on the wish list...

David Kilfoil said...

I would concur with Ken. I have never heard rumblings of manipulation of the final ranking ranking of the season, which is a vote by a media panel.

The CIS regulations state that the three conference champions (AUS, OUA, CanWest) will be SEEDED 1-2-3 at the University Cup, based on their position in the last CIS poll. So the rankings do matter for that decision. In Thunder Bay, since Alberta was the highest ranked of the conference champs at #2, they got the #1 seed. What the host committee tried to do, was argue that SMU had defeated the #1 ranked UNB, so SMU should get the #1 seed and host Lakehead could be in that side of the pool. They felt they had logic behind them, but that's not what the CIS regulations state.

Where the maneuvering can happen, is that the CIS rules state you have to split up teams from the same conference, so UNB and SMU couldn't be in the same pool, and the three OUA teams (including host) had to be split up as best as possible.

This coming March, there will be two CanWest teams, so they will be split up. There will be two OUA teams plus host Lakehead. Whoever wins the AUS will be in a pool with a CanWest team and an OUA team, and those teams will be decided by rankings, and whether they are champs or runner-ups.

So a long post to say that the last ranking polls of the season DOES MATTER, and the previous polls are obviously are going to have some influence on that final vote. But, in reality, the rankings in the first half of the season don't influence much more than talking points and press releases, as a barometer perhaps for media who don't follow the CIS closely.

Bill Hunt said...

Seedings,'re talking semantics really. CIS regulations allow them to shape the pools the way they want them. And I would argue that expanding the voting base from six to 17 is an attempt to dilute the effect of those who don't take their voting responsibility seriously. I know Bruce Hallihan, who has been on the committee for years, is diligent in looking at results among common opponents, etc. There are others who might not be so.
We do agree though, that the top 10,at least until we get to playoffs, is simply something to discuss and debate and fight about/

David Kilfoil said...

Semantics? Uh ... no.

I know I should probably let this go, but let's review. A media panel votes for rankings each week. The last week's rankings DICTATE what the seedings shall be between the three conference winners (AUS, CanWest, OUA). No fussing, meddling or fiddling - the CIS states the University Cup tournament committee must seed those three teams by those rankings. That sounds pretty meaningful to me. The other 3 teams are then seeded depending on some flexibility to balance the two pools of 3 teams, as been discussed.

The CIS coaches asked the Top 10 coordinator, Steve Knowles, to get more voters for better conference/regional representation. Was that to statistically minimize the effect of "rogue" OUA voters who seemed to be out of the loop? Perhaps, but that wasn't the stated intention. Knowles then asked all of the SIDs across the CIS to nominate additional potential voters, and several accepted, bringing the voting pool now to 17 for hockey.

I have and will continue to agree that for the most part the rankings serve as a talking point, or marketing point, until the LAST POLL. So it is a bit disingenuous to appear to discount their worth in their entirety, by using the term "semantics" as if to say that rankings and seedings are the same thing, which of course they are not, and to imply that rankings can be manipulated like seedings, which they are not.