Play In Game for the NCAA Basketball Tournament aka March Madness

I am not a fan of the four play in basketball games. I like order and these games seem very disorderly. But it is not because of that. It is mostly because I can’t understand how this increases the quality of the tournament.
Most teams have played 30 games already this year. Isn’t that enough of a sample size for the selection committee?
I saw a clickbait title that said this is the losingest group of teams in the tournament. I am not sure if this is because of the automatic bids or what. But I want to dig into that.
I also want to see a break down of the number of teams eligible teams vs. who has been a part of the tournament. Mostly because there are few calls to expand the number of Division I football teams, concentrating on FBS portion of Division I. And Division I Basketball is much bigger. Does that make it better? Is it watering it down? I am not sure which way basketball is going.
I am just trying to get some of my thoughts out there. Start thinking about this. Time to get going on my research to answer some of these questions.
I am not sure who is playing tonight or tomorrow. Not sure why they were picked. I am pretty sure the NIT won’t be bigger as a result of some snubs like St. Bonaventure and Saint Mary’s and San Diego State.

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What is the News Media thinking these days?

When I opened the browser on my cell today; you know what came up?

Daniel Craig has a cameo in the Force Awakens.

Not only does this give a spoiler that I would much rather have seen when I, like a ton of readers go in the next few weeks. The clickbait title tells me nothing. And I am not going to click on it. Because I am avoiding spoilers. So what is the point?

To trick me. Plain and simple.

But this illuminates a bigger point about the news these days.

The Ukraine has been at war for a solid two years. They have to be losing about an entire generation of soldiers. That was not the first story that AT&T / Yahoo feel rates.

Yemen is barely mentioned in the pantheon of struggles in the Middle East. Was it first? Or Syria? Or Iraq where we have soldiers deployed and are supporting operations; that is not as important to AT&T / Yahoo. Nope.

Not to mention the myriad of conflict, famine and medical epidemics on the continent of Africa. Africa’s land mass is bigger than the US, China and all of Europe combined.

But AT&T / Yahoo thinks I need to know about Daniel Craig’s cameo.

News Media, Please Wake UP!

P.S. There is a Democratic Debate tonight, maybe even if all that foreign news is not attractive; we might be interested in some domestic issues.

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Why I don’t like polls Week 13

I will continue to write about my favorite subject=college football. Primarily because I enjoy the game. It is the one sport that gets as much coverage during the season. Basketball being next. But the single game per week brings both the thrill of victory and agony of defeat every week.

If either of the sports I played in college were covered as thoroughly; I would be equally as interested. That is not the case. So more of my energy gets channeled into what is being covered. Making it easy to see the problems in the system. But I am not the only one and that is how books like Death To The BCS get researched, written and published.

As I have watched bad decision after bad decision; I have seen the inequity of this system. Human involvement leaving a stain on the competition when it is not necessary. Why would there be a high level competition that relies so heavily on intangibles? On the whims of now 13 people without knowing more about the workings of the committee.

Also because the committee’s less than accurate ranking selections continues. And on this long weekend where we gave thanks; I have a full serving of rancor drenched in derision and a side order of animosity to give the committee. As the problems started early this weekend with their new rankings.

We start in the American Athletic Conference. One of the bigger surprises in the rankings with darlings like Houston and Memphis. Their appearances based mostly on wins against the SEC; the AAC has been invading the rankings as one of the Striving 5. But intra-conference losses have forced both Memphis and Houston off the rankings as well. Probably the myth of “quality” wins or loses only relevant when playing against Power 5 teams.
Houston dropped out of the Top 20 last week with a loss to unranked UConn. In fact; the Cougars got knocked off the charts from their somewhat lofty perch at #19. Not sure what was so detrimental in a 3 point loss. Especially when the Houston was still in the race for not just winning the AAC West. They still were in the running to host the AAC Championship since the league has the top ranked team host the title game. Which allows that team to generate more revenue with an additional home game.

Standing in the Cougars way is a very tough Navy team that has moved up to #15. The Midshipmen defense is solid and would need to be against Houston’s potent offense. The Midshipman have the added benefit of leading rushing attack in football. And the leading scorer in football, QB Kennan Reynolds.

The leading rusher of the day was Brandon Wilson; a converted running back who has played cornerback the rest of the season. Houston was able to win soundly 52 – 31. The game was competitive into the fourth quarter with Middies never giving up. Along with a good game by the Cougar defense; Greg Ward JR and Demarcus Ayers both played a great game.

Even with this loss; this does not bode well for my alma mater. The Army vs. Navy game is the last regular season game on 12 December. It takes place after all the conference championships on 5 December. It takes place after the selection for the playoff on 6 December. That seems like a signal for two teams that are outside the Power 5 conferences.

But even though Houston won their way into the AAC championship; there is little hope they will get into the playoff. They will most likely be ranked this coming week. I assume the ranking will be symbolic. The Cougars may even simply do a direct switch with the Midshipmen. Who knows? The committee does not seem to take the Striving 5 seriously. That is how you have the yo-yo behavior of their teams.

Toledo also had some tryptophan hangover. The #24 Rockets had to beat the unranked Western Michigan to get into the MAC Championship. The Broncos had other ideas and beat the Rockets 35 – 30.

The Rockets loss gives Northern Illinois a berth into the MAC Championship game. The Huskies can defend their championship against Bowling Green. This will be the third straight year that the Falcons will try to defeat the Huskies at Ford Field. Each team has one win in this game so this will be for bragging rights too.

The committee should just be honest about the ability for any team outside the Power 5 getting in. Last year demonstrated that even one of the Power 5 conferences is getting left out every year with this system. If Notre Dame gets selected without being a champion, then two conferences will be left out. I am getting ahead of myself.

Washington State Cougars have moved their way into the rankings at # 20. I am still not sure what convinced the committee to move them up. The Cougars have not been very competitive in the majority of their games against ranked opponents. Their only win against a ranked opponent coming against UCLA. The Cougars moving up with a “quality” win against the very unimpressive Colorado. Still, the committee does what they do and the Cougars were on the board.

Washington was able to provide an upset in this rivalry game. The Huskies won big to take the Apple Cup; 45 – 10. Not sure what the long term impact will be for this loss. Not sure if the Cougars will suffer much for it. Or if the impact will instead be to the PAC 12. Shall have to wait and see.

It took 2 overtimes to knock Baylor out of contention this season. TCU needed both overtimes on a rainy and slick night to sink the Bears. The Horned Frogs extra touchdown got them the win 28 – 21.

The weather played a part in this atypical low scoring and low yardage game. These two teams are used high scoring affairs that gain over 300 yards a piece. In the cold and in the rain; the high octane offensive schemes ran up against solid defenses that each of these teams is alleged not to have.

Unlike last year; Baylor’s two losses will keep them out of contention. TCU is in the same boat. All that is left is to see who the Big 12 “One True Champion” will be. Then will the committee deem that team worthy of being included this year.

The last instance of committee ranking misfeasance came with USC vs. UCLA. The battle of cross town rivals is always a hard fought contest. This game was no different. Although neither team is in the playoff discussion. But I think that there are plenty of players on both rosters who merit consideration by NFL teams come draft time.

For now; the Trojans will have to settle for a few things. One bragging rights in LA by winning 40 – 22 over the Bruins. Two they will have to settle for being another unranked team to beat the #21 team in the country. Last they will have to settle for representing the PAC 12 in the championship game.

The other participant in the PAC 12 title game had a big game on Saturday as well. In an upset win; Stanford solidified their ranking as one of the best in the nation. Beating the over-ranked Notre Dame team 38 – 36 with a last play field goal.

The #9 Cardinal had to play very hard against the #6 Irish. This was a hard fought game. Both teams played with heart, desire and passion. In the end, Stanford showed why they are going to be representing the PAC 12 North this coming weekend. They play hard every down in every phase of the game.

Notre Dame is likely knocked out of the playoff discussion. But I renew my discussion as to why they were so highly ranked to begin with. I think it is the intangible and irrelevant statistic of “travelling well”. The Irish alumni and fans do support their team. That is not a question. But that should not be the determining factor in getting teams into the playoff.

Play on the field has to be the determining factor. That can only happen with a better system. The ascension has been made from the BCS. But there is still more to do to make the system better.

Speaking of play on the field, the University of Florida did little to impress against Florida State. The last leg of the Florida Cup is another serious contest during this rivalry week. This serves as the Florida State championship series. The Seminoles showed that they are the class of Florida winning big 27 – 2. Coupled with an earlier win against Miami, the Seminoles will keep the Cup.

But with loses against LSU and Florida State imagine the turmoil if the Gators, the SEC East champs, could beat Alabama in the SEC Championship. The Tide did not look impressive vs. Auburn. The Tide’s 29 – 13 victory does not reflect how close the game was. It took two late scores; a field goal and touchdown in the fourth quarter, to pull away from the Tigers. Within the last 5 minutes; the Tigers were still putting up a good fight. They were a few dropped balls away from making it more uncomfortable. The Iron Bowl really should not have been this close when it is a matchup of two teams at either side of the table in the SEC West. That is not very impressive. No team should be frightened of this Tide team. Especially in light of their loss to Ole Miss earlier this season.

If the Tigers had pulled off the win, Ole Miss would have represented the SEC West in the Championship. Seeing how Ole Miss was able to win the Egg Bowl. The Rebels would have won their way into the championship if they had beat Arkansas a few weeks back. That one point loss sunk their chances since the Rebels hold the tiebreaker against the Tide. Oh well that is not to come to pass.

This season, the Civil War matchup of Oregon vs. Oregon State did not have the luster of past seasons. The high scoring affair had the Ducks scoring a whopping 52 over the Beavers 42. The high scoring game won’t have the affect of past seasons.

Unlike Bedlam matchup of Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State. After Baylor’s loss on Friday; this game was serving as a de facto championship game. The Sooners got the upper hand early and kept it throughout. The Sooners put 58 on the Cowboys who only managed 23. Sooners taking the title as “One True Champion” for real this time.
I think there are only two regular season games left. One is this weekend Texas vs. Baylor. And like next week’s Army vs. Navy; the games are inconsequently to the playoff.

Games that will count toward the playoff are the conference championship games. The Big 12 champion is Oklahoma who have played the rest of the league once already and beat all but Texas. Remaining in the Power 5 needing to determine champions are :

ACC : Clemson vs. North Carolina
SEC : Alabama vs. Florida
Big 10 : Iowa vs. Michigan State
PAC 12 : Stanford vs. USC

The Sun Belt Champion is determined in the regular season. Appalachian State leads the standings with Georgia Southern and Arkansas State nipping at their heels. The rest of Striving 5 conferences will play for their championships this weekend. Their championships will be contested this weekend as well. The following competitive affairs are :

AAC : Temple vs. Houston
MAC (Friday Night) : Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois
Conference USA : Southern Miss vs. Western Kentucky
Mountain West : Air Force vs. San Diego State

This rivalry week cleared up a lot. Week 14 will determine the rest. Then the committee will do whatever they do. Four teams will be in the playoff. Odds on favorites right now are Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama and the Big 10 champ. Hawkeyes vs. Spartans is too close to call for me which is the way it should be. I think the other two games will be predictable wins for Clemson and Alabama. Still, anything is possible.

With the current system; who knows who will be there. We should have a system where like all the others; the winners get into the championship.

#NCAAFootballCommissioner.

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Why I don’t like polls Week 12

I will continue with the weekly wrap-up. Primarily because the playoff committee continues to make bad choices in their ranking system as we enter Week 12. Next week is the last week for completely regular competition. Week 14 will have a mix of regular games and championship games depending on what conference [ or independent ] a team is in. The last regular season game will be the artificial Week 15 with Army vs. Navy.

But also I want to comment on the results of the weekend that might affect the playoff. There were big doings this past weekend. Doing it as a whole is much simpler for me. Plus there is a lot of crossover that is more appropriate in a singular post forum.

The highest ranked egregious error was from the PAC12. Utah has been considered the darling of the season. Getting up to #3 on Week 8. But since the loss to USC; their chances have become slimmer as time goes by. A loss to an unranked Arizona last week and now an unranked UCLA; that is making it harder and harder for the Utes. This 17 – 9 loss to the Bruins is going to hurt the Utes chances.

As of now; the Utes are tied for 1st in the PAC12 South. The problem with that is; UCLA is also tied for first. Assuming the tiebreaker is head-to-head; Utah will find itself on the outside. Right now the Utes are 23rd to the Bruins 22.

Assuming Stanford maintains no matter what its result with the upcoming game against Notre Dame; it looks like the Bruins vs. the Cardinal in Santa Clara. But things can still change. UCLA has its own battle against USC this weekend. I believe a Trojan win could make a three-way tie for the South and USC I believe comes out on top of that one. Shall see.

The other two appalling losses happen in the very competitive American Athletic Conference. The highest ranked was Houston losing to UConn. The Huskies eeked out this win like mouse squeezing through a small hole. Huskies only put 20 against the Cougars 17. Slim win.

The Cougars first loss this season makes their chances of getting into the AAC Championship Game much more difficult. They were the frontrunners to host the game. But Navy is undefeated in the conference going to their game with Cougars Friday. I believe that makes the Midshipmen the frontrunner to host the championship game if they win.

With the loss, Houston went from 19 to nothing. The Cougars are now out of the top 25. The Midshipmen moved up from 16 to 15. Because the committee seems to move erratically, the Cougars would probably be back and the Midshipmen out depending on this weekend. But for now; the committee seems to be saying the Cougars have little chance at that. Shall see.

The last significant loss was by Memphis. The Tigers 21st ranking was much better than Temple who have slipped from the charts the last few weeks. But the Owls came up big with a 31 – 12 win. That was a solid win for the Owls, one of many this season.

That got the Owls back into the top 25 this week but only barely at 25. They are on top in the AAC North. Solid path to the championship with only one game against UConn left. But the Owls lost to South Florida; the second ranked team in the North. The Bulls have a decided easier game against the winless Central Florida.

I do applaud the AAC for having a championship game that generate revenues for the top ranked team. Moves like this could move the needle. The book Death To The BCS advocated that the first round of a 16 team playoff be hosted by the higher ranked team. AAC, Conference USA, Mountain West hold the playoff game at the higher ranked team based on either the committee’s ranking or best conference results.

Conferences with neutral site games : MAC, SEC, Big 10, PAC 12, ACC. The local area is basically giving away money to a big city. The service industry (hotels, restaurants, t-shirt vendors and others) in those potential host campuses are losing out. So if the conferences talk about what they don’t have; the first reply should be; “change the conference to a hosted championship to make revenue and then we can talk” is a relevant retort.

Big 12, Sun Belt hold no championship game. Why? I don’t know. I assume they don’t like this thing we call American dollars. I am sure that there is a better rational. I just do not know what it is. They have said it is “One True Champion”. Ironically last year the Big 12 had co-champs that the committee felt free to leave both teams out of the playoff. This is something that a better system could ensure would not happen.

I am not assaulting the committee’s rankings when I mention these next games. But this Week 12 had a big affect on the potential playoff competitors. There were a bunch of tricky games that don’t meet my criteria of inexcusable. These games still warrant mention though. The first is the most obvious game, Michigan State beating Ohio State 17 – 14. But for the loss against Nebraska; the Spartans would be much higher ranked probably top 5. This is probably still two of the top 5 teams in the country. They are the cream of the crop.

The Spartans are a very good team. Their backup QB got this win; that shows that they are a next man up type quality team. They are matched against an unimpressive Nittany Lion team this weekend.
I think that makes the Spartans path to playing Iowa in the championship pretty clear. Sparty is at home as the Nittany Lions travel in. The Hawkeyes are traveling to Lincoln where the Cornhuskers beat the Spartans two weeks ago. So things are not written in stone just yet.

The Buckeyes played poorly and out of character. They face a very good Michigan team that is still hungry. The Wolverines are looking to make a statement. Their coach Jim Harbaugh played in this game as the starter for the Wolverines. There is plenty of emotion as the Buckeyes travel to “the Big House”.

The Big Ten Championship will likely feature 2 top 10 teams. I think that the winner will go on to the playoff. Though you can never truly know what the committee will do. The loser will go to some bowl that someone will say makes a difference. But only the alumni will actually be watching. The loser of even the playoff games last year will probably let you know how little being outside the playoff means.

Another loss in Week 12 that can be chalked up to competition was Baylor beating Oklahoma State 45 – 35. The Bears are also not just functioning but thriving with a back up QB. The Bears are doing more than making do. They are showing that competitive spirit they thought would get them into the playoff last year.

There is a possibility that they have played the Cowboys and the Big 12 out of the championship. But there is still a lot at stake with their remaining games. The Bears have TCU this weekend and the Longhorns the weekend after that. Without a championship game; the Bears have to hope they emerge as the “One True Champion”. But this is the finale for a very banged up TCU. The 2 loss Horned Frogs have lost not just a QB but over 10 other starters. But the Bears can count on the Horned Frogs best on Friday.

Oklahoma just barely beat TCU 30 – 29. That shows there is plenty left in the tank for the Horned Frogs. They will not go away quietly. So the Bears have to be wary. Same with the Cowboys since the Sooners have been rolling since their Red River loss.

Bedlam will make another possible “One True Champion”. The Cowboys and Sooners are both one loss teams. This is a finale for both. So the winner may emerge as the frontrunner for the Big 12 title. Will the Sooners lose both their “named games”?

The Big 12 commissioner has had a lot to say about all this. Talking about not making a conference championship game here : http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/big12/2015/05/05/for-big-12-football-championship-the-right-move-is-no-move/26940997/ and here : http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/headlines/20151123-big-12-commissioner-on-sportsday-podcast-big-12-s-balance-from-top-to-bottom-is-better-than-sec-anybody-else.ece . But this gem about Notre Dame : http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/121120/bob-bowlsby-big-12-champion-can-still-surpass-notre-dame is my favorite. I am not sure if it is true or not. Particularly because it goes against logic. Why would the committee rank a team that can’t get in? But I will do my research. But the Big 12 has to have done its own research. I am sure they have lawyers and MBAs looking into this. It makes the Irish’s position tenuous at best. Of course, Notre Dame probably has lawyers and MBAs doing the counter-work as well. I am not sure who wins that battle though. Hopefully the players do to the greater benefit of the fans that get to see the best games.

Speaking of which, Notre Dame squeaked a 3 point win out against unranked Boston College. The Irish barely beat quite a few of their ACC opponents. And of course; they lost to Clemson.

So what does that say about the ACC? Notre Dame is ACC in every other sport. They play Virginia, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and now Boston College all had opportunities to win in the fourth quarter vs. the Irish. Since Clemson plays a full ACC schedule and had 9 of 12 ACC opponent. Norte Dame played a half ACC schedule and 6 of their 12 opponents are ACC. Both teams are in the top 5 currently. Doesn’t that mean the ACC is actually a good conference?

Personally I disagree with the committee. I have more respect for the ACC though. I don’t think they are a bunch of “cupcakes”. This is a good league with good teams. Those teams I mentioned above that played tough, the Cavaliers, Yellow Jackets, Panthers and Eagles are all good teams. There record does not reflect how hard they play week in and week out.

Clemson are the Atlantic champs. Even if the Tigers lose to a chaotic South Carolina team; Clemson will still play in the championship game. I think the Tigers are in a good position to make it into the playoff as well. There play has been solid all season. Dabo Sweeney is a focused and passionate coach. He has his team playing great this season. There record reflects both talent and passion on the field.

The North Carolina Tarheels are the Coastal champs this year. They close out the regular season against in state rivals North Carolina State. No matter the result, the Tarheels will move on against the Tigers for the title. I think the Tarheels would have a tougher time moving from number 14 into the playoff. But the Tarheels have moved up steadily in the polls from unranked Week 9, to 23rd on Week 10, to 17th on Week 11, to 14th now. Let’s see what happens.

Like the Tarheels; there are few teams with a shot to get into the playoff. The field is dwindling. But why? Because it should be. By this point in the season; only a few teams should be left. My main contention is; does the committee get the best teams? Why should they get to say so?

I have mentioned the PAC 12 South. The PAC 12 North champ is Stanford. They have a tough game with Notre Dame on Saturday. The fates of both teams are on the line. In fact, the fate of the PAC 12 might be on the line as well. This is a unique situation for the committee to be in. It is going to test the fabric of football as we know it.

The conferences had to know that one conference champ was going to be on the outside looking in. That fact [and the potential for additional revenue] I believe are why there are still all the additional extraneous bowls hanging around. But Notre Dame’s half in – mostly out status might knock two conferences out this season. What then?

I haven’t mentioned the SEC yet. Their conference championship game is set as well. Alabama vs. Florida. Let’s look at both teams and where they stand.

Alabama beat a complete cupcake in Charleston Southern. I don’t know their mascot, record or any of it. The Tide would have done better to play a scrimmage. But if they take Auburn as light, they may get surprised. Ole Miss, a terrible team, surprised the Tide earlier this season. The Tigers have beaten the Tide in a surprise before. I reference this, one of my favorite endings of any game ever :

I will never get sick of the ending of the 2013 Iron Bowl. This game is a “named game” for a reason. The Tigers have little to loss. The Tide can lose their spot in the SEC championship if they loss. They would have the same record as the abysmal Ole Miss and would lose in the head to head. So the Tide have to mind their P’s & Q’s.

The Gators are left with Florida State this weekend. The Seminoles are not just going to lay down for the Gators. Having beat Miami and South Florida and with Central Florida a very down year; the Seminoles are playing for preeminence in Florida.

The Gators have not been very impressive on their way to the SEC East championship. With gems like 14 – 9 against Kentucky. Or worse; 9 -7 against Vanderbilt. Even the too too close 20 -14 win vs. Florida Atlantic this weekend; the Gators have not had quality wins. Their single loss was against LSU.

Speaking of the Bayou Bengals; LSU has almost completely collapsed since losing to Alabama. Three straight losses including Arkansas and Ole Miss have sunk the Tigers. Les Miles job is in jeopardy. Salvaging one last win against Texas A&M this weekend will be one good thing. Leonard Fournette’s Heisman campaign next season might also help. What the Tigers really need is a good QB and serviceable offense.

I don’t believe Ole Miss is worthy of their current ranking. The committee has ranked them 18 – unranked – 22 – back to 18. Why? I don’t see it. They are a mess.

But my logic conclusion is; if Ole Miss makes it into the SEC Championship; the committee wants a rational reason for having them a ranked team. It would be difficult to take them from unranked to the playoff. But moving them steadily up makes it more plausible.

In fact, Mississippi State is still holding on to the 21st spot. Once again; I am sure their play on the field warrants that rank. I think that being in the SEC and moreover in the SEC West have catapulted them.
I vehemently disagree. Of course; I don’t get a vote. Neither do you though and I don’t think anyone should vote for a champion. I am in favor of making changes that will remove the committee’s indiscriminate [from any other flawed poll] votes based on capricious metrics. I am an advocate of letting the play on the field be the only “vote”.

All my talk is so much bluster. The system I would emplace would not take into account such murky metrics as “quality wins”. Or metrics that I consider arbitrary as margin of victory. The best teams would make it into the postseason. There would be alternatives for different courses that football could take. But it would eliminate the random whims of 13 people telling us who is good and who is not. The play on the field would do that. Teams like Florida would play their way in because of win-loss.

The committee admits their own shortcomings. It is why they have a rotation schedule in place that has gotten rid of a third of the committee from year one to year two. But do they also have a strict number of games they have to watch as well? I personally think this is too important to leave up to part-timers. It is also too important to leave to chance. Play on the field should be the ultimate determining factor.

I would like to establish a system that eradicates the human frailties. A system more durable than the BCS and its unpublished algorithms. A system that is just as good now as it will be 20 years from now.

We are getting closer to having “One True Champion”. But we have to acknowledge the flaws in the system. We have to be dedicated to change. We have to ensure the trophy is won by the best team to take the field over the course of the season.

There is a way.

#NCAAFootballCommissioner.

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Why I don’t like polls Week 11

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.

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Not sure what the committee is thinking

Week 10 of the 2015 season; #4 Alabama beat #2 LSU. The Tide derailed the Bayou Tigers hopes of a playoff. I doubt we will see the same silliness that allowed Alabama into the 2012 BCS Championship Game to beat LSU. Worse it has derailed the chances of Leonard Fournette winning the Heisman. I think Derrick Henry ran into first place for the Heisman after his solid performance verifies a solid season. Along with Fournette taking a step back so did Trevone Boykin’s candidacy for the trophy which took it on the chin with a loss to Oklahoma State.

Still a tussle between top 5 teams is going to be rough for both teams. But the Tigers looked outmatched. I personally think this is because the SEC West is overvalued. Way too many of their teams are ranked this season. I suspect Texas A&M will be falling out this week since their record is worse than unranked Arkansas’. Ole Miss should fall out as well since they lost to the unranked Razorbacks but the Rebels may hang on.

The other game that was confusing to me was Florida just squeak past Vanderbilt 9-7. Another SEC mess only this time in the East instead of the West. But the Commodores are 3-6 and not even considered for any ranking in the top 100.

The Gators are the East champ. They will likely face the Tide in the SEC championship. The Gators only loss was the LSU. So with LSU losing; does this have a negative affect on Florida? More than the stain of barely beating a dismal Vanderbilt.

I guess we will have to see what happens with the committee’s next ranking.

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Why I don’t like polls 29

Texas A&M has had a tough season. I don’t think the committee has taken notice of their defeats at the hands of Alabama and Ole Miss. They can add another loss to the team in the cellar of the SEC West. How the Aggies were ranked #19 going into Week 10; I am unsure unless the committee has other motives.

The Auburn Tigers scored 26 against the Aggies paltry 10. This is just another loss for the Aggies. This team is not top 25 material. Plain and simple.

Is it a coincidence that 5 of the 7 SEC West members were ranked in the first committee poll? Is this merit based? Especially when Arkansas was not and they have a higher standing then A&M. This is the type of bias that makes the committee capable to be accused of brand name bias.

Does anyone know how the committee tanks the teams? Is it any better or worse then AP or Coaches polls that have been exposed by books like Death To The BCS? This system is still in its infancy. Something can be done to help make it better. Something should be done to make the changes to system to ensure a true champion can be crowned by the NCAA.

War Eagle

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