Thursday, November 16, 2006

College Football Rankings

I was having a discussion with my Worthy Grand Knight after church on Sunday about the College Football rankings. I asked the question as to how many of the Top 10 teams right now were ranked at the start of the season?

Well comparing Week 1 with Week 12 and the answer is 8 of the Top 10 teams were ranked at the start of the season. Of those 8 Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida, USC, LSU, and West Virginia are in the Top 10 both weeks (full disclosure here, I did not check to see if they fell out of the Top 10 at some point during the season). Rutgers and Arkansas are the two "party crashers" in this sense but both were receiving votes at the start of the season. (Furthermore, I think Rutgers' ranking is due entirely to the fluffing of the Big East Conference for BCS purposes.)

But nowhere else is the Rankings insanity worse than it is when it comes to the ACC. In that first poll, F$U, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Clemson were all ranked. Today none of those teams has any chance of going to Jacksonville on December 2nd and only VT and Clemson are still ranked. Boston College and Georgia Tech received votes in both polls, Maryland got a few in the Coaches' poll, and Wake Forest was entirely shutout of the process (Steve Spurrier always casts a vote for Dook in the Coaches' poll at the start of the season).

So what's my point? While it is clear that Ohio State is the best college football team by far in the country, the rest of the College Football rankings are pure politics. The lack of respect being shown to the ACC is appalling simply because the better teams in the ACC got little to no recognition at the start of the season. Wake is 9-1 (but should be 10-0) and the highest ranked ACC team at 14. But why is that? Wake just laid a 30-0 thumping on F$U in Talahasse. The same F$U that was ranked 11 and 10 at the beginning of the football season. Wake's schedule and early season results aren't any worse than Rutgers who is ranked 7 and 8, yet Wake is behind them. Three seasons ago, Maryland laid a 34-7 whipping on West Virginia in September. Yet when the teams met later that year in the 2004 Gator Bowl, Maryland was ranked lower than West Virginia despite that victory AND having a better record than the Mountaineers. BTW, Maryland beat West Virginia even worse the second time around, 41-7.

IMHO, the scam is not that the College Football National Championship is determined by a one game bowl playoff. It is the rankings systems that are entirely politically charged. College football would be well advised to do away with the rankings. But I am not holding my breath.

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