THE VALUE OF MODELING. Is there a simple algorithm to pick a national college football champion? Perhaps, and it involves simulated monkeys flipping simulated loaded coins -- now if you could include a subroutine to pose sympathetic leading questions, you'd have a sports correspondent. There is a technical paper and some background. I disagree, however, with the assertion of one of the researchers that a collegiate football tournament is desirable, for reasons similar to those I saw in a Sports Illustrated column that got the basketball tournament about right: the winner has to win six straight games often in far-away sites against opponents of dubious quality that might have a good night. The proliferation of bowl opportunities for the major conferences as we currently see it is close enough to that situation already.

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