So Oklahoma is your initial number one in the year’s first BCS standings. How, you might ask? Solely because of the computer rankings, which make up one third of the total BCS formula.
The Sooners are ranked third in the other two-thirds of the BCS poll, the Harris and Coaches’ polls. Yet they managed to get to number one because all but two of the computers involved in the computer poll ranked them first (the other two ranked them third).
Logic would tell us that the Sooners earned that spot by defeating every team on a particularly difficult schedule and winning a lot of close games. Um, no. Here’s their schedule. See any particularly scary teams on there? I’m sure Oklahoma and everyone who inexplicably hates Boise State wants you to, but there aren’t any.
Oklahoma beat Texas and Florida State for their only two victories over currently ranked teams. People who have watched either of those teams this year know both the Longhorns and the Seminoles define big-program mediocrity (lots of athletes, no production) in 2010.
Oh, actually the overrating of OU’s schedule makes sense since most of the voters in the Coaches’ Poll don’t watch any other games anyway.
Oregon is ranked first in both the Harris and Coaches’ Polls, yet they’re only second in the BCS thanks to being inexplicably ranked 11th by one computer and 8th and 9th twice each. Here’s their schedule. Yikes. Only one good team on there. So maybe the computers are paying attention to something the voters aren’t.
And yet the reason OU is number one is because of their computer rankings, so what gives? It’s because Texas beat a top ten team this week and FSU beat a ranked team last week and BC this week. Both teams also lost to Oklahoma this season.
Oklahoma is getting credit for other teams’ victories. This is the essence of why college football is insane and the NCAA might as well be disbanded.
No one on Oregon’s schedule pulled off a huge upset, and though Virginia Tech beat a ranked team three weeks ago and dominated their last two games, no one can seem to get over the James Madison loss. Combine that with Oregon State’s double-OT loss to Washington, and you’ve got the heart of a strength of schedule nightmare that the BCS was created to avoid.
Worse, many experts (like that random, rumpled looking guy for ESPN who came up with their BCS projections before the poll even came out) agree that Oklahoma’s schedule could hurt them down the road in a manner similar to Boise State’s predicament. So not only do the Sooners get credit for the other teams’ wins, but also get punished for their losses. It’s already happened to Oregon and Boise.
Therefore, one’s strength of schedule is only as strong as the strength of schedule of the teams they’ve played, creating a scenario in which it behooves the big programs to schedule teams with weaker schedules so THOSE teams will have good records as well.
If anyone should be number one based upon what the other teams on its schedule have done, it should be Auburn. They’re the only team that has won every game on a legitimately tough early schedule.
The Tigers beat Mississippi State, who just beat a ranked Florida team. Auburn also beat South Carolina who took down then number one Alabama. Auburn also beat Kentucky, who just beat South Carolina, who beat Alabama, who won last year’s BCS national title. And for their coup de grace, the Tigers beat ranked Arkansas in an epic shootout this past Saturday. Even better, Auburn plays top ten LSU next week and Alabama at the end of the season, meaning the Tigers will get to continue to prove it on the field.
They also scheduled Chattanooga in a cowardly fashion toward the end of the season too, so maybe that hurts their shot at the title game. The point being that virtually no team currently ranked in the BCS top 25 is totally in control of its own destiny.
So thanks for fixing our problem with the polls in the 1990’s, BCS. Yep, no more worries about biased polls or strength of schedule or margin of victory anymore. Just a clean, simple system that gives college football a legitimate national champion.
That might have been too much sarcasm.
Why does any of this need to be analyzed at all? One of the things BCS proponents always say is that at least the BCS causes people to discuss college football. Apparently, they’ve noticed that no one ever talks about or covers the NFL at all what with it’s totally boring and pointless playoff system.
Another argument is that a college playoff would diminish the importance of the regular season. That’s actually a good point because there’s no way college football fans would attend Auburn/LSU or Oklahoma/Mizzou this week without the BCS telling us it matters.
It might even encourage teams to NOT schedule 1-AA teams because no one but the front-runners gives a fuck about watching Oregon/Portland State or Florida State/Samford.
Actually, maybe Oklahoma DID do a little more to earn their seemingly random ranking because, of the teams in the top five, only OU and Boise don’t have 1-AA teams on their schedules.
That might explain why Oregon didn’t get ranked very high in the computer polls. After all, they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of good football teams. And yet the voters in the two human polls saw fit to rank them ahead of Boise State because…well….
How is this any better than the 80’s and 90’s when the conferences just sent their champions to the same bowls every year and let the pollsters decide who was number one? That was a rhetorical question.
This is the point about the BCS “formula” for determining a somehow more valid national “champion” than the polls did individually back in the day: it’s no more valid than the Rumors and Rants National Championship (Coming January 10, 2011!), and the BCS “champion” is determined based upon many more insane biases and uninformed beliefs than our own championship. Worse, it’s just as confusing as the system it was supposed to replace.
We at R&R only have a few voters, eliminating many of the truly crazy things happening in BCS polls ever year (like Mack Brown shamelessly shilling for and voting for his own team in the coaches’ poll every week).
A playoff solves all of this AND it pulls in a ton of revenue for everyone involved. More than bowl games, even, if done correctly.
I have a feeling a playoff would spur discussion and getting into the playoffs would make the regular season matter a great deal to most teams. Hell, I’m sure there’s even a way to keep all those bowls you know and love like the New Mexico Bowl and the Eagle Bank Bowl too. After all, the University of Southern Mississippi needs something to do for New Years!