Thursday, August 27, 2009

Champions League Seeds are for the Birds

College football fans love to whine about the BCS rankings, especially the obscure computer rankings that spit out unpredictable results. But the co-efficients that UEFA uses to determine the seeds for the Champions League draw, being held today, might be even goofier.

UEFA uses past European performances to weigh the teams, then splits the 32 squads into four pots of eight teams each. The top eight ranked teams are one seeds, the next eight are two seeds, and so on. Each four-team group is supposedly balanced by including one of each seed. While this system takes away subjectivity, it fails to factor in the current squad. The flaw in this method is shown in the fact that AC Milan is a one seed and Real Madrid is a two seed.

AC Milan have been one of the more successful European sides of late, winning titles in 2003 and 2007 and finishing second in 2005. But the current squad has been lessened by transfers and will struggle to contend in Serie A this year. One of those key transfers? Kaka, who joins Cristiano Ronaldo at star-studded Real Madrid. But Real have been Euro duds since their last title in 2002, so one of the pre-tournament favorites find themselves in a pot with the likes of AZ Alkmaar and CSKA Moscow.

A system that incorporated some judging of the current roster's abilities would no doubt add controversy to the process, but if done in the name of common sense, the end result would enhance the group stages.

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