It would be interesting to send just one category of entries from one judging center when done to another and see if the same 3 placed.
I would highly doubt it since, IME, even the exact same beer won't score the same necessarily in separate venues. I had a beer in NHC last year that scored a 27 in Seattle that scored in the 40s a couple months later in Houston and Biloxi. I'm sure there are obviously going to be variables in handling and transportation that will play into it. I'm of the opinion lately that those play more into it than we think. I've tasted the same beer in a comp and later the same week that were surprisingly different. I've also judged a beer that I was the first one to offer to kick it out of BOS because the two bottles were that different.
I like the analogy but that teams have good days bad days, and in contact sports at least, there can be key individual matchups that result in big play upsets. Beer is pretty much mano a mano between two relatively stable opponents. For example, a 30 can advance with gold but then face a slew of 45s... In that vein, its like a touney between different leagues.
Isn't that in some ways what the NCAA tournament is? The stability is somewhat relative. As entrants, we try to control as much as we can, but since beer is somewhat of a living organism, there are going to be variations even within the same batch sometimes that get amplified by differences in handling or storage.