It Begins Again! And the Polls continue to let the college football fan down. It is just the first weekend of college football. The polls are already a disaster.
I have a personal metric about the polls with respect to the college football rankings. No team in the Top 10 should lose to someone outside the top 11. No team in the Top 25 should lose to an unranked team. That seems fair to me. I feel those types of games should be predictable.
Some one could argue I have an unfair metric. But what are rankings for? To tell who is anticipated to be better. But if there is no predictability associated with the rank, why have them?
We don’t have ranking in the NFL. I think most people are confident that their scheduling system that the winner of the Super Bowl has played a sufficiently enough to be claimed champion. I do not think a majority of people would say the same about college football. Even with the change from a Bowl based post-season to the two game playoff. The system is still rife with problems.
I think the genesis of those problems are rankings. There is little reason to have them. They do not offer any help to the fans. They also actively hurt the playoff.
I am opposed to the notion of a committee in closed sessions ranking then choosing who will play in the playoff. One of the power 5 conference champs misses out. Actually at least one because I think soon the committee will pick two teams from the same conference.
Based on the bias in recent polls; I would predict the two teams will come from the SEC. For instance; 6 in the Associated Press (AP) top 25 in week 1 are in the SEC. I will get to why that is erroneous later.
A few games went how you would expect. Big blowouts. Alabama slammed USC who looked wholly unprepared for this first game. The Tide made some big plays that befuddled the Trojans. Alabama was the much better team and overmatched USC in every facet of the game. It was a lopsided mess. Not sure who USC is ranked 20th because they did not look good.
Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville, Baylor, Oklahoma State & Washington destroyed their competition. Won by more than 30 points. Those wins were impressive. Not sure if they are indicative of their potential for future success. Still they are off to a good start.
Same can not be said of some other teams.
I am going to start with one team that is does not fall within failure side my metric. I still believe it shows both the weakness of polls and the bias toward the SEC. Tennessee was able to beat Appalachian State. They had to come back in the second half after a dismissal performance in the first half. They were able to squeak by in overtime. Appalachian State did not keep up their enthusiasm in the second half or overtime. Plus they missed two field goals that would have won the game. Even in a winning effort by Tennessee; this is not the performance of the ninth ranked team against an unranked opponent. There was little evidence to justify their high ranking. So let’s see what happens to them this week in the polls.
This bias was confirmed by LSU who was ranked fifth losing to unranked Wisconsin. The score was close; 16 for the Badgers to the Tigers 14 points. But in watching the game; LSU was not doing well the entire first half. That was reflected in the score which was 13 to 0 at halftime. This was changed quickly by a pick 6 interception and a solid offensive drive by the Tigers. After those the Badgers were able to score a field goal and played solid defense that led multiple sacks and an interception of their own. That interception was followed by a cheap shot by Josh Boutte which Les Miles defended for some reason :http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/les-miles-defends-lsu-player-after-vicious-clothesline-hit/ar-AAiudQk?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=ASUDHP . I can understand that he might not have seen him go down. I believe the whistle had already blown. And that hit was far from appropriate even if the play was still live. But I digress.
LSU has a bunch of talented players. Primary among the bunch is Leonard Fournette on offense and Tre’Davious White on defense. Same can be said for Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs who the leader amongst a talented bunch. That does not produce wins though. Tennessee squeaked by. LSU didn’t. I predict both these teams will be out of the hunt for the championship before November. So why are they ranked so high? I think it is SEC bias.
While I think the SEC is the main conference that is overvalued; they are not the only team gets a bump. I already mentioned USC getting thrashed. The Trojans are ranked 20th but did not play like it.
Another team that has been overvalued is Oklahoma. They were ranked number 3 coming to this season. They are going to make a solid run at the Big 12 Championship I believe. But they started off on the wrong foot. Losing to Houston. Houston is a ranked team at number 15. But I think they should be higher ranked after watching their performance.
The Sooners played a good game but The Cougars were better. Houston played a great game. Solid offense and defense play for four quarters. They made less mistakes. Solid opening weekend.
The Cougars are one of the best teams in a non Power 5 conference. They are building off a solid season last year. They won the American Athletic Conference championship. Beat Florida State in the Peach Bowl. But will they get consideration even if they do have a good season. All signs point to no. They were undervalued in opening polls. They likely will stay that way.
The most satisfying to me personally was tenth rank Notre Dame losing to Texas. I am sure plenty of people will try to excuse this lose. They will say that Texas is back. But if they were; why weren’t they ranked like they were?
Because so many people assumed that the Longhorns would lose to the tenth ranked Irish. Didn’t happen. Notre Dame got lucky on a few plays. And Texas was losey with stupid penalties. Yet they maximized the two quarterback switching. I think they should slow down on the hurry up constant offense. Their freshman center is making too many mental errors that almost cost them the game. In contrast, the freshman QB needs to be the starter with limited snaps for Swoopes.
In contrast; Notre Dame proved the adage that if you have 2 QBs, you don’t have 1. And 1 is all you can put on the field.The Irish were e ill-prepared for the season without a starting QB. They likely had one person in each of the other positions. Why college coaches think having 2 QBs is an an asset is beyond me. Having a start-ready and credible back up is fine. Having a short yardage direct snap [not WildCat which infers the threat of passing which most of these guys do not do AT ALL] is good.
Unfortunately they will likely get more “leeway” by the polls and ultimately the committee than any other team in the bowl series Division. If the committee gives bias to one conference; it is the SEC. If it gives bias to one school; that school is Notre Dame. That does not extend to the ACC which Notre Dame is pretty much a part of in football and totally a part of in every other sport they are involved in. For only the bad reason that Notre Dame “travels well”; first the BCS and now the committee gives The Irish deference. When realistically; one bowl or maybe a commission of bowls that are outside the playoff should pay the committee to keep Notre Dame out of the playoff. That might seem outlandish but possibly still the case. Is there anything that precludes this? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.
I bet you don’t either.
The bigger bet; you “the college football fan” don’t care!
This is only week 1. The trials and fortunes of these 18-23 year olds [primarily but not exclusively] are unpredictable. So these things happen often. I think they happen every week of the regular season last year. Probably more often in the years prior because of the unreliable predicative analysis and less reliance on science.
If we had a system based on matching the best teams against each other; it would ensure fairness to all teams. Not be swayed by pollsters who could not possibly watch the entirety of the college football slate. This is demonstrated by the polls inaccuracy with the initial polls.
I am your College Football Commissioner. I have a plan to make this work.
[P.S. I apologize for my bad editing. I had to rush this to beat week 2 and I still missed out because Louisville stomped Syracuse last night.]