Monday, September 11, 2006

Analyzing the new CFB Top 25

Just to get some closure on my CFB rankings rant from Sunday morning...

First up, my latest Moe Syzlak Moment: I have finally found my ideal exhibit to illustrate how inane the human polls are:

In the AP/media poll, idle USC dropped from No. 3 to No. 4. Fair enough, I guess.

(Sidebar: I'd say that USC shouldn't have been as high as No. 3 to begin with -- and being idle keeps them from having that second real data point from which pollsters can make any sound decisions. Yes, I'm punishing them for having an off-week. I'd do it for any team this early in the season.)

I always found it fascinating that a team could move – particularly up -- without playing a game. And thus, this ridiculousness:

In the coaches' poll, idle USC jumped from No. 3 to No. 2. Let me try my best Moe Syzlak here: WhaaaAAA?!

The worst part of the BCS system isn't the lack of a playoff; it's that these two sets of sham pollsters each get to crown a national champion.

Notre Dame No. 2?!?! Apparently, voters couldn't WAIT to get Notre Dame back to No. 2 after that one-week exile for underperforming against Georgia Tech. What a crock -- and the ultimate example of why these polls are meaningless beyond debate fodder.

(Meanwhile, who was the jerkwheat in the Coaches' poll who voted for Notre Dame as No. 1? Jim Tressel, was that you, again?

Forget Ohio State earning it by beating Texas; how about, if nothing else, Ohio State establishing itself as FAR superior to Notre Dame when it demolished this same ND team in last year's Fiesta Bowl?)

Texas No. 8?!?! Apparently, voters couldn't WAIT to dump the Ohio State-Texas loser. Now, I understand that UT didn't play well, but I'm a Florida fan and even I'd say that Texas is better than the Gators. (Well, maybe...) Regardless, that's a steep penalty for losing to the obvious No. 1 team in the country.

So, for the record, that's 7 unbeaten teams with an inside track ahead of Texas to the BCS title game (with several others, including Michigan, Florida St, Louisville, Tennessee and VA Tech, on the outside looking in, presumably set to lose before it's an argument in late November).

Biggest jump: TCU from 23 to 20 and AZ St 25 to 22 (both 3 spots). No one else jumped more than 2 (LSU – 8 to 6; Georgia - 12 to 10; Tennessee – 13 to 11; VA Tech – 16 to 14; Oregon – 20 to 18; Nebraska – 21 to 19.

(Aside from Texas, Penn St took the biggest hit, dropping from 19 to 25. Again: Tough penalty for losing on the road at the No. 2 team in the country. Then again, they stunk it up.)

Of course, that doesn't count Boston College's jump, going from the ranks of the unranked to No. 23, which seems like an awfully big bump for winning at home against a (now-unranked) Clemson, doesn't it?

Looking ahead to next week, Pete Thamel has a great overview in today's New York Times.

-- D.S.

18 comments:

mkud said...

I agree with many of your feelings about the polls, especially the idle-moving, and the ridiculous ND and Texas jumps and slides
Question I have is this...if a win over BC would have been a QUALITY win pushing Clemson into the top 10, shouldn't a BC victory be a QUALITY wine pushing BC into the top 25?
Plus, with an eyepopping finish like that (blocked extra point in OT!?!?), you knew it'd catch the voters' eyes.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Hold on a minute. Last week didn't you reward FSU for Miami being the "best" losing team of the week? The "best" being based on... rank? Must've been rank, since neither team looked good at all in that game. And now ND demolishes a team that looked bad, but heck, was probably still better than any other losing team of the week, other than Texas. And you don't want to reward ND now? I'm confused...

Jake C said...

Let's remember one thing, ND was predicted to be one of the top 3 teams this year (thus, its #2 pre-season rank). Then, they slide down for winning because all of the nay-sayers like you Dan, immediately assumed they weren't good. Then, they follow up by man-handling a top 20 team, deservedly so get their ranking back, and people are still mad.

CorrND said...

Dan, I once again claim that you didn't watch the ND game. There's no way you watched them dismantle Penn State and still think they're overrated. I don't care if you're playing Temple, 41-17 is domination. And I'd say the final score was effectively 41-3, with PSU's 2 late TDs coming against NDs scrubs. They're the only team in the country to have played two teams with names you recognize and they beat them both. What score would have convinced you? 66-3? 97-3?

rafael said...

Why get worked up about it?

If ND is overrated, they'll lose. If not, they won't.

I have a feelign in the back of my mind that Michigan St. will be the one to knock off ND. Then go 6-6 overall. The season is setting up nicely for that.

Christian (High Point, NC) said...

Dan, by definition the undefeateds have an inside track to the national championship over Texas. Or are you suggesting a 1-loss Texas should go before an undefeated team?

Oh, and Troy: PoSU sucks. They're horrible this year. They shouldn't be in the poll, let alone 25th. Just like ND, they're there on past rep alone.

Anonymous said...

One More Thing (tm):

Why are you surprised USC rose from 3 to 2? If Texas drops out of the number 2 spot, shouldn't the teams underneath all rise up a spot?

Brian said...

Everyone repeat after me:

The polls are not meant to be fair. The polls were created in 1935 specifically to make people argue.

If you think your team (or any team) got jobbed in the polls and feel furious about it, the polls are doing exactly what they were intended to.

Anonymous said...

You are so inconsistent in your analysis. The only consistentcy is how bad you are. Let me put it in terms you can understand. BEST. FIRING. EVER. Espn finally comes through on something.

Anonymous said...

PENN STATE SUCKS!

ND beat another cupcake team on their cupcake schedule. Teams like OSU, Texas, Va Tech, Auburn, etc all challenged ND, and the Irish TURNED THEM DOWN!

Its just another way to brainwash their "fans" into thinking that Notre Dame is good- by playing the WEAKEST SCHEDULE IN THE TOP 25!!

CorrND said...

Anonymous, you do realize that ND makes their schedule 5 years in advance, right? There's no way to predict how good the teams ND schedules are going to be. The best they can do is schedule big name programs and hope they're good. Why blame ND for the fact that Penn State sucks?

kito said...

Dan,
You obviously have a hatred towards the Irish. They have played TWO QUALITY teams and won both games. They won on the road, and then demolished Penn State. For them to be ranked behind those three teams is a joke and it takes away all your credibility.

They are the ONLY team in the top 25 that has played two SOLID opponents. All the other schools have either played tow cupcakes, or 1 cupcake, and 1 solid team.

Not saying you have to love the Irish, but try to be OBJECTIVE, because you just look like an idiot right now.

Christian (High Point, NC) said...

More on the USC moving to 2 issue:

I thought about it some more, and I still don't have a problem with it. I'll use an example.

Let's say you believe the top 5 teams in the Country are:
1. OSU
2. Texas
3. USC
4. Auburn
5. Notre Dame

Now, OSU beats Texas. Auburn and Notre Dame both win. USC is resting for next week. Say I drop Texas to 5, because I still think they're better than WVU. What should my top 5 be?

In my case, I'd rank them:
1. OSU
2. USC
3. Auburn
4. Notre Dame
5. Texas

USC slides up a spot, as does Auburn and Notre Dame. Nothing that happened on Saturday changed my opinion as to the *relative* standing of the teams involved. Yes, I dropped Texas to 5, but that's because they honestly did not look great against OSU, #1 in the nation or not. But neither Auburn or Notre Dame showed me anything that indicated they were better than I had them previously ranked. Therefore, USC has no choice but to move up to 2.

QED, as the math boys say.

Richard said...

If I had a vote in the polls, which I obviously don't, Texas wouldn't be in my top 25. Allow me to explain. First and foremost, the rankings should be based on record. Texas has a .500 record. The top 25 (for now) should be comprised of the teams with the best record. Quality wins should be the tie breaker. Obviously the polls are a sham but Steve Spurrier had it right when he gave Duke a preseason vote in the top 25. Since Duke had the same record as everyone else, it was just as ridiculous to vote for them as anyone. No team that has lost a game has a case to be ranked.

Anonymous said...

Well Dan, ND was the same team in the Fiesta Bowl last year (returning the majority of its starters), but Ohio State isn't (losing the majority of its defense). And while OSU hsould be #1 (and is by far the best team and scariest team in College Football and I admit that even though I hate them). Your bias in reporting is getting a little out of hand. The Irish demolished Penn State (although you predicted they get slaughtered) and clearly established themselves as #2 or 3. Two quality wins (GT is a quality win no matter what you say)You are a sham.

Anonymous said...

I think that at this point in the season, the polls are completely meaningless. Dan, I agree that by the end of the season, we will all see that Notre Dame sucks and didn't deserve any attention at all. In their defense, they did beat a ranked team but after watching saturday, penn state has no business in the top 50

Anonymous said...

As a Buckeye fan I hope that ND runs the table along with OSU so we can meet up again in the Fiesta and see what happens.

The only thing that scares me about that is they moved the Fiesta Bowl this year from a stadium that we were 3-0 in over the last 4 years... :(

MichaelJLucasWV said...

Texas is NOT better than WVU. That Texas D couldnt stop the WV O at all, the only thing that can stop the WVU offense is the WVU offense. period. And with a rookie QB in there, WVU's Defense would be able to keep Texas from scoring more than 24 points. WVU 35 Texas 24. And as far as this WVU schedules cupcakes crap, if you actually look at the situation, its not their fault. As we all know, schedules are made 5 or so years in advance. 5 years ago, when they were looking at this years schedule, Miami, VaTech, and Boston College were all supposed to be on it. All three teams decided they didnt want to play WVU anymore. WVU tried to keep all 3 on the schedule, but for some reason they all backed out of a series that had been going on for over two decades. (actually Miami was from like 91 on) WVU didnt even have a Division 1AA team on the schedule, until Buffalo backed out of their contract, This calander year, to get more money for playing Auburn. So WVU had to scramble to get at 12th team, hense Eastern Washington. The WV Governor strong armed WVU into playing Marshall on a yearly basis, which doesnt help our SoS this year at all. Add that to the fact that three estabolished programs are having unusually bad slumps right now, (Pitt, Syracuse, & Maryland) AND the fact that Mississippi State is down too, and you get the schedule that WV has. (btw, Maryland is backing out of that yearly series after next year too. Its getting ridiculous with these ACC bums running from us) BUT, though WVU didnt have enough time to fill in the vacancies with quality opponents when the ACC teams abandoned the Big East, and the long running series that they had been playing, They ARE playing tougher nonconference teams in the near future. Coming up, we play Auburn next year, and Florida State & Michigan State very soon. So while the schedule isnt great (but it isnt as bad as people suggest, Pitt is almost in the top 25, and Rutgers is for real.) It wasn't the fault of WVU. So at least cut them a little slack.