Once again the college football world was rocked by craziness in the top 10. LSU and Cal both lost in last-second fashion. Cal’s backup quarterback made one of the worst decisions in sports history while Les Miles unsuccessfully channeled Bo Schembechler for four-straight runs in OT. Both teams will have a chance to climb back into the National Title picture rather quickly. While those losses weren’t season-enders for either team, they were catalysts for the polls to exhibit unprecedented idiocy. I feel for the pollsters. This season has been borderline-insane. It is not easy to rank the top 25 teams. However, it is easy to avoid making moronic rationalizations. A full list of those will come later.
The biggest annoyance for me this week is that the polls have become a reflection of what the pollsters don’t think. Boston College is ranked 2nd in the AP poll and 3rd in the USA Today poll. I’m pretty sure that 95% of all pollsters do not believe that Boston College is a top three team. So what are they doing ranked near-unanimously in the top three? What good are the polls if they don’t even reflect what the voters actually think? BC hasn’t beaten a team in the top 30 of either poll. Among BC’s underwhelming victories are UMASS, Army, and Bowling Green. We went through this earlier in the season as Wisconsin climbed to #5. I can probably count on one hand the number of voters in the country who actually felt Wisconsin was a top five team. The polls should reflect which teams the pollsters think are the best. I don’t think it’s that difficult of a concept.
Not nearly as controversial—but worth noting nonetheless—is Ohio St. being ranked number one by virtually everyone despite the following victories: Youngstown St., Akron, Kent, Washington, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue. I’m not sure there is a team in the top 25 with a worse collection of wins. Ohio St. has been thoroughly dominant in getting to 7-0. They are clearly talented. It is just odd to see a team with that sort of resume as the overwhelming pick as the top team in the country. Unfortunately, Ohio St. probably won’t be tested all year. Likewise, if BC beats Virginia Tech on Thursday, then it will be undefeated without a single ranked team remaining on its schedule. Based on performance to date, South Florida deserves to be ranked number one ahead of Ohio St. and BC.
On to the massive list of poll-related atrocities…
I’m going to break things down by poll this week to make things less repetitive.
USA Today Poll
Penn St. over Michigan
Do these guys watch football? Both teams have the same record and Michigan beat Penn St. with its back-up true freshman quarterback. Amazingly, it gets much, much worse.
Boston College over South Florida
South Florida has two victories over teams ranked in the top 20 (#7 West Virginia and #19 Auburn). Boston College hasn't even played a team that is currently ranked.
It was absurd that Purdue was even ranked at all last week by the USA Today Poll. After back to back losses in embarrassing fashion Purdue chimes in at #32? That victory over Central Michigan must carry a lot of weight considering that is Purdue’s marquee win thus far. Just to prove that the AP Poll does follow college football, Purdue didn’t receive a single vote in its poll.
Kansas St. not even ranked
Ranking Texas over Kansas St. at this point is dumb. Both teams have two losses. Kansas St. killed Texas by 20 points. Kansas St. has the best win and the best losses. However, ranking Virginia over Kansas St. is beyond the realm of incompetence. Virginia has six wins against; Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee St., Connecticut and Pittsburgh. Virginia beat North Carolina, Middle Tennessee St., and Pittsburgh (teams with a combined record of 6-14) by a grand total of five points. There are 40 teams in I-A football with a better collection of victories. Virginia also managed a whole three points in a 20-point blowout loss at the hands of powerful Wyoming. So, if asked who Kansas St. should be ranked ahead of, my answer is: Virginia.
Virginia Tech over Kentucky
Virginia Tech and Kentucky are 6-1. Virginia Tech’s best win? Unranked Clemson. Kentucky’s best win? #5 LSU. Virginia Tech’s loss? 48-7 to LSU. Kentucky’s loss? 38-23 to S. Carolina. Again, both teams have the same record. Both teams played LSU. Kentucky beat LSU. Virginia Tech lost by 41. I don’t have anything else to say.
Hawaii stays at #16
Hawaii squeaked out another impressive victory in overtime fashion nonetheless. This time it was against San Jose St. It can now add that to its other overtime win against feared Louisiana Tech. Hawaii now has two victories over I-AA teams, two overtime victories against San Jose St. and Louisiana Tech, and the other three wins were against teams with a combined record of 3-17. Sound like the #16 team in the country? If you answered yes, then you should be a college football voter.
Pretending games didn’t happen
There are so many violations in the USA Today poll of teams beating other teams with equal resumes yet being ranked behind those teams. To save time, I’ll tackle all of these at once…
Wisconsin over Illinois
Wisconsin hasn’t beaten anyone of note. Illinois has (Wisconsin and Penn St). Illinois beat Wisconsin.
Florida St. over Wake Forest
Both teams are 4-2. Wake has the best loss of the two teams. Wake beat Florida St.
Georgia over Tennessee
Both teams have two losses. Tennessee crushed Georgia.
Maryland over Wake Forest
Both teams have two losses. Wake Forest has the better wins. Wake Forest has the better losses. Wake Forest beat Maryland.
Rutgers over Maryland
Both teams have two losses. Maryland has the better wins. Maryland has the better losses. Maryland beat Rutgers
Rutgers over Wake Forest
I’m just going to use the Transitive Property on this one. There. I used it.
Arizona St. first place vote
I know it’s just one guy but come on. If there’s a team in the top 20 with a worse collection of wins than Ohio St. and BC, it’s Arizona St. I don’t think anyone doubts that Arizona St. is at the very least, a good team. There’s just nothing, whatsoever, that would indicate Arizona St. is the best team in the country. Thankfully, this is guaranteed to only be a one or two-week phenomenon. Arizona St. plays Cal this week and Oregon next week. If ASU wins both, then there is sufficient evidence to vote ASU #1. If they lose either, then they clearly aren’t #1. This is just a minor annoyance.
Alabama over Florida St.
Again, both teams have the same record. Florida St. beat Alabama. This is one of the only cases of the entire year in which the AP Poll has a team ranked ahead of another team with nearly identical resumes in which it lost to when the USA Today Poll did not also do the same thing. In other words, the USA Today Poll must have missed this one on accident.
In a shocking turn of events, the AP Poll actually dropped Hawaii a whole spot after needing overtime to beat San Jose St. This should send a message to frauds everywhere that you will be punished for terrible performances. I don’t know what’s worse: Virginia at #27 or Hawaii at # 17? It’s a toss-up. In all seriousness, Hawaii is ranked ahead of Auburn, Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia among many other superior teams.
At least the AP has Kentucky ranked ahead of Virginia Tech. Still, Virginia Tech hasn’t beaten anyone ranked and lost by 41 points in its only test of the season. The Hokies should be ranked at least five spots lower than #11.
USA Today and AP
Texas over Kansas St.
The AP is usually good about handling the x beat y with nearly identical resumes and records situation. In this instance, they got it wrong along with the USA Today poll. Kansas St. and Texas have two losses each. Kansas St. has the best losses and the best win. Kansas St. beat Texas by 20.
Florida over Auburn
Both Polls are guilty of this one. This comparison is pretty much the same as the Kansas St./Texas comparison. According to the rankings, Auburn has the best loss of the two teams. According to the rankings, Auburn has the best win of the two teams. Both Florida and Auburn have two losses. Florida lost to #5 LSU. Auburn lost to #2 S. Florida. Auburn beat Florida on the road. How can Florida be rated ahead of Auburn at this point?
Oregon over Cal
Cal and Oregon are both really good teams. They are both rated in the top ten. They both have one loss. If only these two teams could play each other so we could see which one is better. Oh, wait. They did play. In fact, they played at Oregon. Cal won. At this point in the season, Cal should be ranked ahead of Oregon. Cal has the better win. Oregon has the better loss. Cal beat Oregon. I have a feeling that this is the least egregious thing on my list according to the average college football fan. It shouldn't be. Cal won and they have the same record. Plus, Cal’s loss was with a freshman, back-up quarterback. That doesn’t change the outcome of the game but Cal very likely would have won on Saturday with Nate Longshore in the lineup.
Rutgers over Maryland
Both teams have two losses. Maryland has the better wins. Maryland has the better losses. Maryland beat Rutgers.
Anyone voting for UCONN at this point is either its head coach, or thinks Dan Orlovsky is still in college. UCONN has beaten Duke, Maine, Temple, Akron, and Pittsburgh. UCONN basically lost to Temple. An apparent Temple touchdown was disallowed with 40 seconds left despite video evidence showing a touchdown. I almost forgot; Temple is bad. Please stop voting for UCONN.
The USA Today poll has Virginia ranked #24 which is ridiculous. The AP disappointed me big-time with this one, too. Just when I thought the AP might be getting its act together, it goes and ranks Virginia # 27. Here is a refresher about Virginia…
“Virginia’s six wins are against; Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Middle Tennessee St., and Pittsburgh. Virginia beat North Carolina, Middle Tennessee St., and Pittsburgh (teams with a combined record of 6-14) by a grand total of five points. There are 40 teams in I-A football with a better collection of victories. Virginia also managed a whole three points in a 20-point blowout loss at the hands of powerful Wyoming.”
Penn St. over Illinois
Both teams are 5-2. Illinois beat Penn St.
More signs of college football craziness:
USC is not ranked in the top 25 in three of the six computer polls used in the BSC rankings while South Florida is ranked number one in five of the six computer polls.
Four of the teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll were not even ranked to begin the season including South Florida, Boston College, Kentucky, and Oregon.
11 of the 25 teams ranked in the AP pre-season top 25 aren’t ranked anymore.
Arizona St.—despite not beating a team that was ranked at any point this season or a team that received even a single vote in the rankings this week—is rated as the number two team in the country by two computer polls.
The AP’s number one and three teams—Ohio St. and Boston College—have combined to beat zero ranked teams. In fact, together, they have only beaten one team that received even a single vote in the AP poll.