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First Take on WFTDA’s new rankings and playoffs | The All-Knowing Derbytron

WFTDA has finally released the details of their new non-region based organization. Rather than give you a rundown of exactly how it works, I’ll let some others do that for me. If you haven’t done so, check out the official WFTDA version first and then DNN’s better explanation.

First, I want to commend WFTDA on putting in the massive amount of work and not settling for the status quo. The region system was essentially broken and they could have sat there and continued on with it for years if they wanted to but they didn’t. They came up with a new system that makes a whole heckuva lot more sense. That’s not to say there aren’t problems. Did you expect any less from me? There are some pretty massive issues but there is no doubt in my mind that this is a leap in the right direction for the organization. Hopefully after they observe it for a year, they’ll make the necessary tweaks to make sure the system is working as smoothly as possible.

The Positives

NO MORE VOTING!!!!!!

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been calling for a non-region based regular season and playoff system for years (looks familiar, eh?). The most important thing to come from the new system is taking the voters out of the equation. With the old system, teams and fans just didn’t know what they needed to do to make the playoffs. Sometimes a head-to-head win meant it was impossible to be ranked below the team you beat and sometimes head-to-head wins were completely ignored. There was no consistency and teams and fans had no idea how important a game would be in terms of their playoff chances. A new system based only on the score will make almost every game meaningful in an easy to understand way. This essentially expands the playoff system into the regular season. Much like the NFL season, where the last few weeks of the season have huge implications on where teams will go in the playoffs, the same will be said about WFTDA during June. This not only improves the playoffs by giving the best teams the best chance to advance but drastically improves the regular season.

No more regions

As soon as WFTDA went international, the region based system’s days were numbered. London and Carolina cannot be legitimately considered in the same “region.” Same goes for Victoria, Australia and Denver. For the regular season, this won’t have much of an effect. Teams will naturally play other teams near them geographically to save on travel costs. It will have a positive effect on some border teams, though, in terms of reaching their minimum requirements. No longer will states like Missouri be split into two separate regions. Kansas City and Arch Rival would actually have a reason to play each other now.

More important is the lack of regions in the playoffs. Top-heavy regions like the West won’t have six teams fighting for three spots and weak regions like the South Central won’t be sending a team to championships that probably doesn’t deserve to go. Playoffs should certainly be much more interesting moving forward. Really, the only negative is that region championships no longer exist and winning a playoff only means a first round bye at championships. But, not everything is going to be perfect.

Division 2 playoffs

Awesome. Not only will these lower ranked teams get to demonstrate their skills in front of a big audience but it will essentially work as a play-in game for the top few teams moving up to division 1 the following year. I really like how WFTDA was able to include more teams in the postseason without watering down the playoffs. Really smart.

Member confirmation

Having members vote to confirm the final standings is a good idea as well. Even though math-based systems are perfect ;)…human oversight in a system that actually decides something is very important. I don’t really see anything ever changing because of the way it’s set up unless a team is very obviously out of whack but I do think it’s necessary.

 

The Tweeners

Win/Loss Factor

Some things just aren’t all sunshine, though. The win/loss factor has its positives and negatives. First, the good thing is that teams don’t just get zero points for a loss. If that were the case, no teams would want to schedule a team they might lose to for fear of drastically hurting their rankings even in games they’re supposed to lose. This is a very good thing since teams schedule their own games. You definitely don’t want to be in the situation where no one can get a game scheduled. You want teams scheduling opponents that are closely ranked and that’s what this system promotes. Teams will schedule games based on what gives them the highest possible points and scheduling closely ranked teams will allow for that.

I do have issues with it, though. Ask yourself a question. If you’re making your team’s schedule, would you call up Gotham to set a date with them? Hell no. No matter who you are. If you’re Philly, the very best you can hope for is a close win which is unlikely. That will get you something like 320 points. But, more than likely we’re talking about what they did at Easterns last year which would be 189 points. Why do that if you could schedule someone like Boston and pretty much guarantee yourself a total in the 320 range (based on Derbytron’s ranking and their score at Easterns)? Yes, you’re looking at that right. Beating Gotham is worth just as much as beating Boston depending on the score. HUH? Unless you really really think you can keep it close with Gotham, I don’t see how you can rationalize scheduling them if you’re fighting for a high seed at playoffs. Look at Carolina, they’re a playoff team. They’d get 11 points if they schedule Gotham and had the same result from Easterns. That might knock them out of playoffs. It’s not even worth it for top five teams to play them. They’d be pretty much guaranteed better point totals by playing teams ranked in the teens or twenties (if they can schedule them). Gotham is just an example, though, there are many other issues with the win/loss factor that discourages teams from scheduling certain opponents. This is a major problem. Maybe this year, teams won’t realize the scheduling strategies and won’t be so choosy but don’t be surprised if in a couple years, teams aren’t able to get more than the bare minimum requirements and they may have to reach those by playing in events where someone else sets the schedule.

WINNING MATTERS, PEOPLE. A 151-149 game is effectively worth exactly the same for both teams. Even though, you know, one team actually WON THE GAME. And, really, if the team that won was ranked higher, the LOWER ranked LOSING team would get more points from that game even though they lost. Just think about what that means for a minute. It’s the end of a tight, hotly contested regular season game. It’s the final jam, the scoring margin is one point. Does it really matter what happens?  There absolutely needs to be a higher factor for winning. There’s no question about it. The current score factor will eventually (or immediately) have a negative impact on scheduling and will immediately have a negative impact on the importance of winning close games.

Also, by making the score so important, WFTDA is effectively promoting blowouts. The more you score on a team, the better your ranking will be. That’s just a very bad idea, not only from a sportsmanship perspective but from an entertainment perspective for the crowd. Nobody wants to watch that. To be fair, scheduling a blowout is greatly discouraged with this ranking system as the opponent strength factor will weigh down the final measure of the game. But, that ignores the reality that blowouts happen even with teams that are closely ranked. So, how is a team ever supposed to get their bench players some playing time before playoffs? Every single point of every single game matters for the entire season. You HAVE to blowout teams when given the opportunity and because of the s-curve seeding, where you get placed is very important, you just simply CANNOT give bench players any sort of significant playing time. I think we’re going to see WFTDA teams play many more non-sanctioned games to get that time and as a season ticket holder, that’s not what I want to see.

Rankings Release Schedule

Hey, we’re going to get more official rankings now! You know, because it’s math-based, it’ll only take one person a couple hours of work each week rather than having every person in WFTDA involved in putting out the rankings. So, we’ll get TWO more releases during the year. Wait…two? Bi-monthly? What? WFTDA could easily release something once a week if they wanted to and very easily once a month and they decide to go with once every two months? Whatever. Rankings are just free publicity for the organization and allows everyone to know what teams need to do in order to move up in the rankings but continue doing as few as possible. Makes a ton of sense.

S-Curve Seeding

I don’t really know how to feel about the strict s-curve seeding practice. I understand that WFTDA membership voted it in basically saying that a perfectly fair system was more important than travel cost considerations. I realize that I’m not in a position to tell them what they should do with their money. However, even if we don’t consider travel costs, I think there are still some problems with this practice. What would be a more interesting matchup? Ohio/Cincinnati in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Or, Ohio/Arizona in Asheville, North Carolina? Which is more likely to allow fans to travel? I mean, if WFTDA wants tournaments with no fans in attendance and unappealing matchups beyond the scoreboard then they’ve done a pretty good job. There is also no mention of an exception for tournament hosts so if that doesn’t exist, if Fort Wayne makes the playoffs next year, they could be going to Salem, Oregon even though they’re hosting. I think s-curve seeding should be used for the top four seeds and then the rest should have a higher weight given to geography. Using s-curve seeding for every team is just completely unnecessary.

 

The Negatives

Divisions

A division 3 team could play in the division 2 playoffs and end the year in division 1. HUH? You thought fans were already confused by roller derby. That ought to help. Look, this is a simple fix. Just don’t use the word “division” when referencing playoffs because, in reality, divisions have NOTHING to do with the playoffs. Call the division 1 playoffs, the “WFTDA championship playoffs.” And, call the division 2 playoffs something like the “Fight for 41st” or the “Best of the Rest Invitational.” Obviously, those are stupid names but so is “Division 2 Playoffs” when it will very likely include teams from divisions 1, 2 and 3 with the winners of the tournament likely to move up to division 1.

Actually, drop the word division all together. Divisions imply a separation between the groups, you know a division of some sort. What’s the division here? #40 has to play 4 games and #41 has to play 3? Those aren’t divisions, those are just scheduling guidelines.

The Competitive Season

July through the playoffs has always been a problem. The games are essentially worthless. Playoff teams tend to get their backups some playing time because even if they lose, it won’t matter come ranking time because they’ll have three playoff games that will weigh far more heavily in the voters’ minds.

So, it seems like having those games matter would be better, right? Well, the problem is July through the playoffs under the new system doesn’t effect this year’s playoffs but it does effect NEXT year’s playoffs. Yep, you can’t play your backups in July and August anymore because it would have a negative effect on an event that is more than twelve months away. I’m not really sure if that makes any sense.

Maybe it’s an American thing to think that playoffs should be determined by what you did THIS season. What you did last year shouldn’t matter. But, with the system WFTDA has created, what happened last year actually matters MORE than what happened this year. It’s quite obvious that we’re going to see teams who lose some key skaters struggle through the regular season and make playoffs or be given a much higher seed at playoffs than they deserve because of how they performed 12-15 months ago. I don’t think that’s the system anyone wants to see play out.

 Game Weight

This, above all, is the worst part of the rankings calculator. If they wanted to give extra weight to playoff games for the final rankings of the year to determine the next year’s divisions, that would totally work. I’d be fine with that. But, why are last year’s playoffs worth MORE than a game that happened this year when determining this year’s playoffs? First of all, that makes no sense. Second, playoff games are already worth more because teams play a minimum of 3-4 of them and they’re against better teams. Third, the same teams will just continue to make playoffs year after year because of the head start they’re given. And, fourth, teams will be encouraged to play LESS regular season games. Don’t we want teams to play as many games as they can afford? Think about it, the highest possible rating of a playoff game is 900 but it’s 600 for a regular season game. Why would a team schedule a bunch of regular season games that will do nothing but drop their rating and lower their seed? Answer: they wouldn’t.

If you need a clear example of this, look at it this way. Assuming their rating stays the same, a close win over Gotham during the regular season this year would be worth 320 points. A close loss to Gotham in last year’s championships would be worth 420 points. Shouldn’t a more recent win be worth more than a 9 month old loss to the same team? Probably.

 

What do you think? Super excited? Super worried? Discuss in the comments.

 
33 comments
Christopher Walkin
Christopher Walkin

Upcoming Critical WFTDA Dates: June 30, 2013 - Division Game Play Requirements must be completed. July 15, 2013 (approx) - Rankings released. Tournament seedings for both 1st & 2nd Division playoffs released. Aug 16-18, 2013 - 2nd Division Playoffs at Des Moines, Iowa. Aug 23-25, 2013 - 2nd Division Playoffs at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Sep 6-8, 2013 - 1st Division Playoffs at Ft Wayne, Indiana. Sep 13-15, 2013 - 1st Division Playoffs at Richmond, Virginia. Sep 20-22, 2013 - 1st Division Playoffs at Asheville, North Carolina. Sep 27-29, 2013 - 1st Division Playoffs at Salem, Oregon. Nov 8-10, 2013 - WFTDA Championships at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Nov 15, 2013 (approx) - Rankings released. Divisions are set. 2014 1st Division playoff teams set.

Christopher Walkin
Christopher Walkin

(cont'd)...#51 Dutchland, & #55 Arizona. #30 Jet City & #37 Oklahoma would hold the top two #1 seeds in the 2nd Division Playoffs, followed by #38 Victorian & Bleeding Heart with the #2 seeds, and Mid Iowa taking a #3 seed. I was at the closed bout when Victorian visited Rat City. After the bout, I congratulated VRDL for a great bout, a great season, and was looking forward to seeing them in the 1st Division next year. Every player and coach gave me the impression that they were going to the 1st Division Playoffs if they held their ranking, as the Rat City bout was the last of the all-star season. I didn't have the heart to tell them. I see many posts elsewhere where I've seen fans confusion, vand this is the first time I've posted anything to help clarify. I hope it does.

Christopher Walkin
Christopher Walkin

Surprisingly, one thing I didn't see a comment on, and think is understood by FANS AND SKATERS. Come the second week in July, I think fans of some teams ranked #35-40 may be disappointed when they find out that their team WILL NOT be playing in the 1st Division playoffs. People need to understand that the 40 teams involved in the 2013 1st Division playoffs were determined with the WFTDA rankings released right after the 2012 Championships. Using the WFTDA April 30 rankings, FIVE TEAMS ranked under #40 will be in the 1st Division Playoffs; #44 DC, #46 Tallahassee, #47 Omaha

hater_mcgater
hater_mcgater

Let me start out by saying great post. This is all starting to become clearer to me!

 

Here's a question: If a team is straddling the #38-40 spot, how would their rankings improve by playing a few games with teams ranked higher than them versus playing many more teams ranked much much lower than them (ie mid-low Div 2 or even Div 3). Wouldn't that end up hurting their outcome at the end of the season? Even with attendance at the last regionals, with a "meh" performance, I'm assuming that NOT playing more competitive teams would drop their rankings into Div 2. Am I correct on making this assumption? Am I even making sense?

southbayfan
southbayfan

Dealing with only the ranking system and setting aside opinions, I think your article accurately describes some of the characteristics of the new ranking system. Thank you. In talking with some of the derby players I know they are all completely aware of the characteristics of the new ranking system as they have been discussing the new ranking system for over a year now, and some them are actually excited about exploiting these characteristics.

 

Personally I would have preferred that WFTDA simply slotted in Flat Track Stats to handle the ranking function, but that proposal was voted down. In looking at the new ranking system there is not one aspect of it I agree with. Which leads me to ask why.

 

There are many ranking systems in the world and they rank many things differently. The question really revolves around the question, what is a successful ranking system? How you answer that question determines the type of ranking system you adopt. There are broadly two types of ranking systems, rankings that attempt to predict future events and rankings that attempt to reflex past events. There are a few ranking systems that attempt to straddle the two types, but they generally end up doing neither very well. This is acceptable for many people, as it is fits their answer to the question of: What is success?

 

Ideally both predictive ranking systems and reflexive ranking systems will have the same result at the end of the season. The predictive model will simply have the result before the last event of the season while the reflexive model will have the same result after the last event.

 

So if you don't mind me asking you, what do you think a successful ranking system should do? And how do you measure whether a ranking system is doing the job you think it should be doing?

Teri Bossard
Teri Bossard

Yeah, "whoa". Much more thought and negative consequences then I'd seen anyone else discuss. Most people I know seemed to be so happy for any change that I think they blindly accepted this new model without thinking through these outcomes. I know that even the simple fact that tournament hosts may have to play in a different tournament will shock a lot of people.

WindyMan
WindyMan

Anything was better than the previous voting system, which couldn't escape the "popularity contest" bias that everyone perceived it to have. So overall I agree the new system is a big step—a step in which direction will take a while to figure out. However, I am NOT a fan of purely math-based ranking systems. (Even yours, DT.) All they do is judge teams by how many points they score and how many points they give up, not necessarily which team is better at skating, blocking, jamming, and working together, something the final score doesn't always reflect accurately. This is especially true with how easy it is to score points on power jams, which could be made even easier in the new rules. It's for this reason why I believe purely math-based systems should NEVER be used as the sole basis of ranking teams. 

 

We all know the problems the BCS has had in college football over the last several years—the NCAA has pretty much given up on it and will be switching to a playoff chosen by a selection committee. NCAA basketball has a math-based rank called RPI, but that's only used as one factor by human selectors as to who has earned at-large bids to March Madness with their play on the court, not the numbers they put up on the scoreboard.

However, with where the WFTDA is at, this system is probably the best they can do for now. They'll need to make tweaks, and I think they recognize that with the human check they built in to the system. But something like having the the previous year's boosted playoff ratings factored into the current year's playoff seedings is just silly, as is staying rigid on the S-curve seeding when making a few small, competitively insignificant deviations would save leagues a lot of money on travel and give more fans a reasonably chance to see their teams play.

Steve Chibluesteve
Steve Chibluesteve

As a member of the lowest caste in the WFTDA world, the fan, I am not happy at all with the new playoff system. If a team sponsors a playoff and they are skating in playoffs it is very unlikely that the playoff they will skate in is the on that they sponsor. With only one west coast playoff site it is unlikely that any given west coast team will be in a playoff on the west coast. When my team is in the playoffs I want to see them skate. I want my fellow fans and player's families to see them skate too. The system in place is so anti fan and family that I just don't like it at all.

 

The biggest losers are teams from small cities, fans and families.

Mr Met
Mr Met

To be honest, the math of calculating the standings is more than a little baffling to me, so I've given it as much thought as the tax code. Tell me what to pay and I'll pay it. Tell me who's in the playoffs and I'll watch 'em. The NFL's the same way (your team is in if that team wins or ties AND that other team loses or ties, but your team is out if this other team loses and yet a fourth team does this other thing...sure...). But yes, this season's games should matter for this season and this season alone. The composition of teams can be completely different from one season to the next, so how could what RCR did this year fairly reflect what should happen to them next year, when 2/3rds of their top jammer rotation is gone? It's not the same RCR!!

 

Now, as for the divisions, I think they should follow the FA model: Initially, WFTDA unilaterally declares - perhaps by a vote - the top 50 teams. The next 50 are Div II, the next 50+ are Div III. As the season progresses, the ranking system will declare a top 40 in each division, who go to the division's playoffs. After the season is done and champs are crowned, then the bottom, say, 5 teams are relegated to the division below for the next season, and the top 5 are promoted to the division above. Every year it'll be like that. That gives incentive to win your division (and a reward to the winners of Div II and Div III), and motivation not to suck in your division (though you'd then have a chance to fight your way back). Sure, the top 20 in Div I are going to remain unchanged forever - as they do in the FA - but a marginal team that started out in Div II can have the chance to prove themselves against better talent and have it count. If they can't hack it, they go back to the level they "deserve."

 

And finally, I agree that tournament hosts should play in the tournament they're hosting (assuming they're eligible for the playoffs). That's just common sense. True, tournaments are more likely attended by hard-core derby fans who'll watch ANYone play live, but you can't deny that Craneway was NUTS when Bay Area were on the floor, and not so much for RMRG-Arizona...

 

I'm new to derby - only been a fan since May - but it seems that WFTDA are willing to be flexible (if not speedy) at adapting to feedback from skaters and fans. I hope after this next season they do, in fact, fix whatever turns out to ail them.

Zandra Herron
Zandra Herron

Winning doesn't matter?! What's the point...

Dave Wood
Dave Wood

Lots of good points! Glad to see someone else bothered by the "winning doesn't matter" aspect of the ranking system. I'm excited overall, but I hope the concerns you've brought up will be addressed.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @Christopher Walkin You're in the wrong here. Divisions are set after playoffs. Divisions have nothing to do with playoffs. Division 3 teams can be in the Division 1 playoffs. The July 15 rankings release will be when we find out what teams are in the playoffs.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @hater_mcgater  It really just depends on the final score but, in general, I would say beating teams ranked lower would actually help a team's ranking more than losing to teams ranked higher.

 

For example, assuming there's something like 160 teams. If the #40 team were to play the #30 team and pick up a decisive loss 150-100, they would get a score of 195 for that game. If that #40 team instead won a decisive game 150-100 against #60, they would get 225.

 

To take that further, assuming we don't think there's any way #40 beats #30, the best score they can possibly hope for in that game is about 228. Barely above beating #60. If #40 could actually blow out #60, they could be looking at a score like 312.

 

But, #40 could potentially get blown out by #30. That would give them something like 135. So, losing to a higher ranked team gets them a score in the 135-228 range. Whereas, beating #60 would get them in the 175-312 range. So, it will almost always pay to actually play lesser competition than it will to play better teams.

 

A "meh" performance at regionals is probably going to drop a team into division 2 right after playoffs. If you think about it, they're going to have a few losses and maybe a blowout. That's going to drop their score pretty far. But, teams that win at the division 2 tournament will pick a bunch of wins against not as good but still quality opponents. I would imagine the top 3-5 (and maybe more) teams of the division 2 tournament would likely move up to division 1 every year.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @southbayfan  I'll answer your question but first:

 

"some of them are actually excited about exploiting these characteristics."

 

That statement is insane. You're telling me that you know skaters that knew the drawbacks of the system and voted for it because they were excited about exposing those drawbacks?

 

As to your questions, the only perfect ranking system is W-L Record when every teams plays every other team home and away. As far as I know, that system only exists in European soccer and then they don't even have a playoff so they don't even use it other than to crown a champion. There are some NCAA basketball conferences that play this way but conference tournaments are basically worthless at the top tier level.

 

To me, a ranking system that decides things (so not Derbytron or FTS or DNN) has to be simple to understand and a team and fans has to understand what they need to do entering a game in order to achieve what they want to achieve, whether that's moving up 2 spots to make the playoffs or maintaining their position or whatever.The system is very very good in this regard (aside from only releasing rankings once every two months).

 

No system is going to be perfect when we're talking about accurately ranking teams. FTS isn't perfect. W-L record isn't perfect. Obviously, this system shouldn't be predictive and nobody should judge it based on how it does in upcoming games. People should judge it on well it ranks teams based on what they've done this season. That's what the "member confirmation" is for. People are going to have minor quibbles here and there but overall, more than half have to independently agree that there's a problem and for that to happen, it has to be a major problem.

 

Overall, my problems with the ranking calculator don't come from the idea behind the system whatsoever. I think it will eventually work and work well. Like discussed lower in the comments, there's just not a perfect system with the way WFTDA is structured. I really think this is the best system available to do the job.

 

That being said, WFTDA screwed up in a lot of regards. Last season shouldn't be more important than this season. I honestly think this is going to be the only that could make the member confirmation change where a team is ranked. People just do not remember games that happened 12 months ago and those games are just as important in this system as the games that happened last week and even more so if they happened in the playoffs. It's also going to have a negative impact on teams putting their schedule together. Once teams start doing the math, they're not going to schedule certain teams because it will hurt their playoff chances and there will be teams that will struggle to get to their minimum. And, to not have winning factor into it at all is just stupid. Sports are about winning. To take that away makes the end of regular season games completely irrelevant which is very bad for the sport.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @WindyMan So, would you argue that the NFL playoffs shouldn't be determined by W-L record but by a selection committee? Because W-L record is a math-based system that doesn't take into account any sort of eye test.

 

I'm sort of on the fence about what the ideal system would be if cost and timing were not a factor. A selection committee could make sense but I really like the idea of a team knowing exactly what they have to do to move up in the rankings. The selection committee is a lot of the reason why college basketball's regular season isn't very popular. Bubble teams may think they made the tournament with a win but they may not have. It diminishes the value of every game.

 

Obviously, W-L record isn't an option. Voting was stupid. A selection committee would be extremely difficult until the video of every game could be viewed somewhere and the committee could be paid for their time and I'm still not sure that's the ideal system. A play-in model where teams play qualifiers would require forcing teams to play specific games and WFTDA seems leery of that. So, a simple math-based model that takes strength of schedule into account with some human oversight is really the best model for now. As long as they're willing to tweak it every year until they get it right, there should be no question that this was a positive move.

johnmaddening
johnmaddening

 @Steve Chibluesteve

From the rumor mill, there will be weight given to host leagues skating in the tourney they host. And pure math-wise, if 13 of the teams in the Top 40 (as currently, via FTS) are (former) West Region teams, then there's a better-than-average chance that 3-4 of them will be playing in Salem this fall.

 

Much like the North Central Playoffs this year, if there is not a viable applicant from that section of the country, there will not be a tournament there. At least the West Region has a playoff in their area this year. North Central has one playoff (and Champs), and East has two Playoffs. South Central's got nothing.

 

Hopefully, more leagues in the South Central and West will apply next year.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @Steve Chibluesteve Agreed completely. However, that's only one small part of the system. WFTDA could easily step in next year and throw the strict s-curve seeding into the garbage and move to a more regional based playoff system. Like I suggested, seeds 1-4 should be based on an s-curve whereas seeds 5-10 should be based on geography.

CostaLadeas
CostaLadeas

 @Steve Chibluesteve

 when you get down to it, derby is no different than the 4 major pro sports in the sense that they could give 2 sh!ts what the fans think. In that spirit, I've kept my derby spending to a bare minimum and any self respecting fan should do the same

DOriginalDonald
DOriginalDonald

Mr. Met said "I'm new to derby - only been a fan since May - but it seems that WFTDA are willing to be flexible (if not speedy) at adapting to feedback from skaters and fans. I hope after this next season they do, in fact, fix whatever turns out to ail them."BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's a good one. Don Fehr is better at getting things done for the sport he represents than Juliana Gonzalez 

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

This will actually work a lot like relegation except better. Instead of having a specific number that move up and move down, the right number will move up and move down. Why set it at 5 teams if only 3 teams deserve to move from each side or 10? The winners of the division 2 tournament are almost guaranteed to play division 1 the next season and there will be a ton of shuffling between division 2 and division 3 every year.

 

To be honest, I don't see the point of divisions anyway. It seems like it's there to force teams to play teams of their level but they will do that anyway. The math of the rankings calculator forces it. A division 1 team won't schedule a division 3 team because even if they win by 600 points, their rating will move down.

 

"I'm new to derby - only been a fan since May - but it seems that WFTDA are willing to be flexible (if not speedy) at adapting to feedback from skaters and fans."

 

I guarantee this impression will be short-lived because that really couldn't be further from the truth.

Christopher Walkin
Christopher Walkin

 @Derbytron  @Christopher Walkin

Sorry Guys!  I apologize - GEEZ i"M RETARDED!  It's the first time I looked at the WFTDA Division System booklet, and I OBVIOUSLY misread. 

Just to be sure I understand: WFTDA rankings that come out after the Nov championships are used for the establishment of Division Game Play Requirements to qualify for either D1 or D2 playoffs the following year.  That makes more sense to me.

Upon looking it over again while drinking an iced tea (and not a third beer), it seems as though Oly won't qualify for either D! or D2 per WFTDA game play requirements.

If I'm right there (oh lord help me) i'm guessing the #41 team, and everyone above, rolls up one seed. Right?

WindyMan
WindyMan

 @Derbytron A selection committee is not necessary in the NFL, because unlike college football, college basketball, or roller derby, everyone plays everyone in a fixed, equalized schedule. It's not math-based, it's purely based on competition and direct comparison of records, which can be fairly compared due to the schedule.If the NFL, you win more games than everyone else in your region/division/conference across the same schedule, you are going to the playoffs. If you are one of two teams that win more games than everyone else in your conference that didn't win your division, you're still going to the playoffs. Easy.

 

If it were exclusively math-based, we'd be saying "you need to beat this team by X points and a team in a different game needs to lose by Y points" as the primary factor on whether or not a football team makes the playoffs, which would be dumb. (This could happen in the tie-breakers, but not until like the 5th or 6th one down.) This is why you'd have college football teams trying to win in huge blowouts, because relative points spread has been a significant factor in how a team was ranked.As long as the WFTDA tries to lump everyone together into one big "region" or one large rankings table, there can be no true solution to the problem. In my opinion, the only way you ultimately solve this (later down the road, obviously) is split up everyone into several regions and divisions, like the college conference and divisional model, and fill a national bracket with conference/regional winners (regardless of their overall ranking) first, then by whoever else is deserving.You can use a math-based system to fill in the rest of the bracket, but it shouldn't be used to fill it exclusively. There must eventually need to be a "win and you're in" system to be a competitive check against the numbers.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @Christopher Walkin It happens. Everyone was confused when they first came out. I think divisions are completely unnecessary and are just confusing for no reason.

 

As it sits, you appear to be right about Oly.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @hater_mcgater "A #40 team plays lower ranked teams after lower ranked team and artificially cushioning their score and moving them up in rankings." Except, those teams won't want to play them because they'd rather play teams ranked below them. I think teams will have a harder time than ever scheduling games and we're not going to see as many games as we're used to.

 

This is one of the reasons why it's so important to have a win just be a win (instead of scaling it based on the score). Other than the reasons mentioned in the article, if a team got an automatic 3 points for winning, whether it's by 1 point or by 100, more teams would want to play each other. If a team thinks they have a chance to win, then chasing that 3 points is completely worth it. However, if the best they can legitimately hope for is barely above 1.5 points, then they would much rather play a less risky opponent.

 

Like, my example above, if a win was worth 3 no matter the score, the top-side of beating #30 would be 488 whereas the top side of beating #60 would be 375. In that scenario, playing #30 would totally be worth it.

 

Also, to compound on what you're talking about, a lower ranked division 1 team would be required to play 3 D1 teams that they are likely to lose to. But, the top D2 teams wouldn't have to play anyone ranked above them. So, a team actually has a better shot at making the D1 playoffs if they're in D2.

hater_mcgater
hater_mcgater

That last comment is atrociously written and I apologize for that. I've got a head cold and my brain doesn't feel like cooperating. My bad.

hater_mcgater
hater_mcgater

If I understand this right, is where the exploitation of the system comes in. A #40 team plays lower ranked teams after lower ranked team and artificially cushioning their score and moving them up in rankings. 

 

Seems legit.

 

I would think, that for the upcoming season, this will be less prevalent in seasons to come. Eventually the stats will sort themselves out. I hope anyways. I don't see how playing more teams below you than above you can realistically establish that you'd belong in Casey Kasem's "Top 40" when there is nothing to back up that you could win against anyone above you, because your team has never given themselves the opportunity to do so. 

 

In the meantime, I'll applaud THE WFTDA for getting away from that deficient voting debacle and moving into something that is more rational and wait to see where this goes.

WindyMan
WindyMan

 @Derbytron Okay, that makes more sense when you put it that way. But my point about lower-ranked teams someday having an opportunity to "play their way in" despite their ranking still stands.

 

 

When it comes down to the final spots in the D1 (or D2) bracket, there's always going to be an argument that team #41 could have gone to the playoffs instead had they been afforded the opportunity to play and beat team #40. (Of course, this would be true in any ranking system, so whaddyagonnado.) On top of that, you make it sound as if a team can (or would want to, if they were #40) schedule such a game quickly. Just about everyone's 2013 schedule is locked-in already, so they wouldn't necessarily have the opportunity to play the games they feel they need to do jump up at the last moment.

 

 

Also, I think you're misunderstanding what I mean when I reference a selection committee. Despite having one in NCAA basketball, it's dead-easy for teams to know what they need to do: WIN. Win your conference regular season and/or win your conference tournament, you're going to the Big Dance guaranteed, even if a selection committee would have thought you were ranked #69 in a 68-team field. Well, screw them: You won your way in!

 

 

I know I'm wishfully thinking for things that are currently impossible in the WFTDA right now, but here it is anyway: If WFTDA was set up in such a fashion where a team had the best record among a small group of similarly-ranked teams in their region, they automatically go to a divisioregional tournament, as an appropriate seed, regardless of their overall ranking. Everyone else that doesn't get in directly via their play will be ranked by a math-based system and slotted in similarly to how it's being done this year. The best of both worlds, that is.

 

 

But until we see that day, I'll learn to live with what we've got now. :) 

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @WindyMan  It depends on when that game between #43 and #40 happens. If it's at the beginning of the season, then #43 SHOULDN'T be guaranteed to make the playoffs, there's still a whole lot of season left. If it happens on June 28, I think it does guarantee them a spot in playoffs. If it's a blowout, like you said, there's no way they don't move up enough to at least be ranked #40. The teams at that level will be incredibly closely ranked and a result like that will move a team's ranking up significantly.

 

"It's just that I feel there should be a way for the lower-ranked teams to make it to the main playoffs knowing there's an absolute way to win their way in by playing against other teams" Why do you think this won't be the case? Teams will know EXACTLY what they need to do in the games they schedule to improve their ranking to get them into playoffs. They'll know EXACTLY the type of teams they need to schedule to make that happen. I don't have any issue whatsoever with teams knowing what they need to do to make playoffs. None. It's really easy to see what they need to do. It's far easier for teams to know what they need to do than if there was a selection committee.

 

"Because if math-based systems were truly fair, there would never be upsets." This is one of my biggest pet peeves when people say this. It just isn't true. If it was true, there would ALWAYS be an undefeated team in every season of sports ever played. How often has that actually been the case? Lower quality teams beat higher quality teams. It happens. That doesn't make them better, it doesn't make the rankings wrong. It means they won that game. If a higher quality team is expected to beat a lower quality team 7 out of 10 times, guess what? The lower quality team will still beat them 3 times. You play enough games and those 30% chances will happen 30% of the time. I know, it's weird how that works.

WindyMan
WindyMan

 @Derbytron Oh, don't get me wrong. I think the idea behind the system is fine too, even with its initial flaws. But now that there are no more regions, the 40 teams in the playoffs are THE top 40 teams. Therefore, the first round of the divisiregionals is the first round of the overall Championship tournament, meaning winning the regivision is not that different than moving from the 4th round to the quarterfinals (albeit with a bye) in an 8-round bracket.

 

 

That being the case, there are too many factors for the teams ranked in the 31-50 zone for them to comfortably know if winning all their games will be enough to make it into the 40-team big dance. If I'm ranked #43, for example, winning by a huge points spread over a full-strength #40 team local to me is no guarantee I'll make it to the D1 playoffs. That doesn't seem very fair.

 

 

All I'm saying is that if you're going to have teams enter a national tournament where the teams don't have anything resembling a standardized national schedule, there should be multiple opportunities for them to qualify for it. That is, win all your games against quality opponents, win all your games against teams in your region by large margins, win in a small regional playoff to qualify as one of the lower seeds, etc. A math-based ranking cannot guarantee this. The best 12 teams that will eventually make it to champs are going to be in the top 40 no matter what system is used. That's not the problem. It's just that I feel there should be a way for the lower-ranked teams to make it to the main playoffs knowing there's an absolute way to win their way in by playing against other teams, regardless of what the numbers may tell them otherwise. Because if math-based systems were truly fair, there would never be upsets.

Derbytron
Derbytron moderator

 @WindyMan There is a "win and you're in" system. That's what the (regional) playoffs are for. They determine who will make the championships not based on rankings but based on who wins.

 

I think the idea behind the system is completely fine. For the foreseeable future, there's no way a team that's in the #35-45 range will compete for a championship that season. So, strictly in terms of crowning the most deserving champion, this system will definitely do that.

 

In reality, it's more fair than the NFL system because home field advantage isn't used. An NFL team could take advantage of a weak division and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs (all NFL teams do NOT play each other (totally confused by that statement)). Whereas, the only advantage given to teams in WFTDA's playoffs is the top 24 teams get a first round bye.

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