I have been doing this individually as if these games don’t interact. Plus personally I was able to type as I watched. But I have to comment on the full width and breadth of the college game at the highest level.
If you have read the posts associated with college football, you know I cross reference. I have even reached into posts I made in past years. So I think doing a weekly wrap up will cut down on some of the overlap.
Plus if I am afraid to change things for the better on this blog; how I can expect others to change things. This is little. So I will make a change for the better. Let’s see how it goes. It is worth a try for sure.
For Week 11, there were 6 instances of polls failing the fans. That brings the count this season to 35 times that polls have been appallingly wrong. At this point in the season; these mistakes are truly the product of a system that falls short of determining the teams that belong in the playoff.
As I have since the playoff rankings started; all the rankings are according to the current playoff poll rankings. I have completely disregarded the AP poll which I used up until the first playoff. And I have never given credence to the coaches’ poll which is a complete farce. For a complete explanation why the coaches’ poll is so bad; you would have to read the book Death To The BCS.
It is like there was something in the Moon making things happen. It wasn’t until the Sun went down in the Eastern and Central time zones that things started getting out of control. Despite only being a quarter moon; it must be a powerful bit of mojo. As a result; six evening games will be causing havoc to the next playoff committee poll.
The most significant instance of weekend involved a conference that is that is heating up the back end of this season. The #6 team and formerly undefeated Baylor loses a tough one to #12 Oklahoma. The score of 44 -34 shows a game full of good competition. After the second quarter started, Oklahoma had the score in hand. But Baylor had a few opportunities to get closer. This was a tough fought game between two good teams.
Competition has been particularly good in a conference that has four top teams that are close in their skill level, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor. But ultimately, the Big 12’s competitive nature is going to play their way out of the playoff I believe. Plus they will be looked down on for not having a championship game. Even though any championship game would be redundant in a league where each team plays the other.
Still the Committee just does not have the level of respect for the Big 12. The committee has demonstrated their “fumbles” with the ranking system in the scant three weeks they have released rankings. Revealing how little they can be expected to pick the winning teams based on higher rank. That was obvious last year when the lowest ranked team, according to the committee, won the title in the “4th ranked” Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Sooners lost to Texas in the Longhorns best game of the season. But since; the Sooners have been a solid team. Even before; the Sooners were having a very solid season. Even with this impressive win and their last two games against quality opponents TCU and Oklahoma State; I still don’t think the Sooners can play their way in. The committee has not shown the Big 12 the respect I think they deserve. Even with tough schedule, it looks like the committee is already disrespecting the Big 12. Same as they did last year leaving out both Baylor and TCU.
Since last year showed how little the committee thinks of both TCU and Baylor; they are likely both out this season again. The conference championship might come down to Bedlam. With Oklahoma State having the best chance to sneak in. As is though; that is exactly what they will have to do. Since the Irish are standing in the way right now.
As their #4 ranking shows; the committee inexplicably value Notre Dame. Maybe the Irish’s quality wins over teams like Virginia and Pittsburgh this year is more impressive to them than it is to me. I am pretty sure it is not the sentiment that the Irish “travel well” making the call for the committee. In fact with Georgia Tech already out of the top 25 and Temple possibly to follow this week, the Irish have only one win against a truly top 25 team, Navy. Still they do have a showdown with Stanford remaining. Speaking of which.
The next example of the committee’s clumsy ranking is the #7 team Stanford losing to unranked Oregon. This close loss with Oregon only getting 38 points – over Stanford’s 36 points was the result of the Cardinal missing a two point conversion for a tie.
Once again this was a tough battle. Two really good teams that have been in the conversation this year. The Ducks lost early in the season to Michigan State and Utah. These losses were a real anchor to their hopes this year. But the team is still filled with some of the best athletes in college football. So this win does not surprise me. They are a high caliber team that stumbled early. In the current system; everyone abandons teams who stumble.
The Cardinal will likely tumble this week outside the top 10. I fear that despite being the PAC 12 North champs and vying for the PAC 12 championship, the committee is done taking the Cardinal seriously. The Cardinal can still play spoiler when they play Notre Dame in two weeks on the 28th.
The Sooners and Cardinal could both end up conference champs of Power 5 conferences. Sadly though they could still end up outside of the playoff rankings. We should have a system where the champs play in a playoff because of standings. But we don’t and instead rely on 13 opinions. I doubt highly a bowl appearance or even bowl win will have the same impact as playoff champion. It is not even remotely similar experience. Anyone who tries to offer that it is; is lying.
The third example is #9 LSU losing to unranked Arkansas. This was a beating in the truest sense. The Razorbacks hung 31 points on the Bayou Bengals paltry 14 points. Leaving only doubt as to why LSU was ranked so high to begin.
The Tigers have been stymied on offense the last two weeks. They have scored few points. The Tigers have gained too few yards. The Heisman campaign of Leonard Fournette is likely over for this season.
The Razorbacks have played a much better brand of football this season. The past two years their potential has not resulted in wins. This year they have shown more fight. This team could be a real force next season. The surge is too late to make the affect needed in the strong SEC West. The momentum is something that can be built on.
The SEC will likely have a representative in the playoff. The West champ is already determined, Alabama. The East champ is determined as well, Florida. Something tells me that if the Gators can pull off a win in the championship, that the committee would just put both team into the playoff anyway. The committee’s bias is evident. 6 teams in the initial standings. 4 teams in the second week. Maybe two of those teams are deserving of the ranking they are getting. Those are the teams that will play for the SEC Championship. And in my system; they are the ones that would be the focus by this point in the season anyway.
Fourth instance of committee erroneous picking is Utah the tenth ranked team losing to unranked Arizona. As the score indicates; The Wildcats had to fight hard to win 37 – Utah 31. This was another good game.
The state of college football is strong. To see two PAC 12 South rivals fighting hard in a late night game is exciting. NCAA should be excited about it. The Wildcats did not just “phone it in”. Good to see that Richard Rodriguez “Rich Rod” is keeping his team motivated.
Unlike the committee; I appreciate this. I want to see a full season of 127 teams giving it their all. This would be even better if more teams were up for the championship. If they could rely on their effort and record being the determining factor. Right now; the whims and folly of 13 people are making the decision. So far; I would not want to see either one of the playoffs that they have proposed out.
Still the PAC 12 South potential champs, the Utes will not get any consideration for the rest of the season from the committee. The Utes will likely play the Cardinal in the very dangerous Levi’s Stadium. I don’t think either team coming out with a win in Santa Clara will get into the playoff this year.
The fifth blunder this week was also in the PAC 12. UCLA was ranked #19 and was beaten by the unranked Washington State 31 – 27. These are two well matched teams. I think the only reason UCLA is still ranked in the top 25 is they are the Bruins.
The historical acclaim of UCLA has not been shown this season. Since being early favorites in the PAC 12; the Bruins have not lived up to the hype. Not even close. Their former glory should not influence the committee to manipulate the rankings. But there is little else that made UCLA a ranked team and Washington State unranked other than bias. The Bruins play on the field has not been solid enough to warrant such a high ranking.
The last instance poll inaccuracy was Temple the #22 ranked team losing to South Florida. This one was another shackling to the Owls as the lost. The Bulls scored 44 to the Owls 23. This was not a good game for Temple.
This Owls team has vexed me all season. Opening win against my Nittany Lions upset me personally. But it buoyed the Owls chances to make a run. Their most high profile game was against Notre Dame. They could have made a strong statement for a non Power 5 conference being including in the playoff. But this time; the Owls blew it.
#24 Houston also beat #21 Memphis. It was a squeaker. The Cougars 35 – Tigers 34. Really does not get much closer. This does not meet my criteria as an error by the committee.
It is worth mentioning since it is also in the American Athletic Conference with the Owls. The Cougars will likely meet the Owls in the championship game. Possibly in Houston if the Cougars can beat UConn and Navy. It is only in Houston because the Cougars are undefeated so far and in the lead to host the game. Maybe the Conference members read Death To The BCS and see the potential positive reaction of hosting another game.
Still even if the Cougars can run the table; I can’t see the committee including them. No team outside the Power 5 other than Notre Dame will get their honest consideration. They are far too parochial in their polling so far. I can’t see that changing. Although if anybody of biased commentators can sway wildly based on very little; it is this committee who seems to have little stopping them from putting whomever they want in the playoff.
In another matchup between top 25 teams was very negative to the SEC’s reputation. Or at least it should be. Mississippi State barely put up a fight versus number two Alabama. I have to wonder if they deserve to remain in the top 25. The committee’s imperfect and unpublished system will likely keep them there though.
The SEC is not the only conference that the polls and committee have had a tough time figuring out, but the SEC does dominate my list. I have to question is the committee is accurately assessing the PAC 12 who has the second most instances. I have commented on Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, and Washington State either positively or negatively throughout this season. That only leaves out Oregon State and Colorado. That means the polls have been wrong about 80% of the teams in the conference. Why would we continue to express any support for a system that is wrong the majority of the time?
The matchups in the playoffs will be affected by the rankings. Will they be accurate by the end of the season? Or is it even worthwhile pursuit? Last year the top ranked team got knocked off easily. There seemed to be little advantage for that ranking. So maybe it means nothing. Especially since it doesn’t even come with a benefit like home field advantage.
Having said that; it shouldn’t bother me that last season’s reigning National Champ – Florida State had a record of 27 – 0 going into the playoff. Still they were ranked second going into the playoff. Not for any other discernible reason than they are an ACC team.
This year you would think the committee would not want to make the same mistake. The current reigning Champ has been ranked #3 in the first two polls. Over the last four seasons including the current one; the Champs are 48 – 3. Yeah, I can see why they are #3. Even a fifth year senior has only 3 losses in his career. Why would they be top of the pops?
Lastly, I have been asked by someone who is imminently more intelligent than I am to create a hashtag that might create more traffic for this thread. The one that resents the most with me personally is what I am advocating, that NCAA Division 1 college football needs a commissioner to coordinate in all things. Scheduling, bowls, conference commissioners, fans and all other people who are interested in college football. Making the season more balanced. Holding all teams involved accountable. Ensuring we haven’t been forced to endure a game that is based on a few people’s opinions. Instead we get a true National Champion.
So my hashtag is #NCAAFootballCommissioner. Position I would be glad to pioneer. Leading football fans out of the morass that is NCAA Division 1 Football.