Monday, September 10, 2007

Poll Problems

The college football polls are already in shambles this season. Several teams started the season over-rated, which is going to make it hard some more deserving teams to catch up to the poll leaders. We have to wait for these over-rated teams to work their way to the bottom of the list and hope that the others make it to the top before it is too late.

My list of over-rated teams continues to grow. We have watched Michigan go from a season opening 5th place rank to all of the way out of the rankings. One kind of got the impression on opening weekend that Virginia Tech was over-ranked and now going into the third week, it has been confirmed.

Georgia manhandled Oklahoma State on opening day, but was manhandled by South Carolina this weekend. Opening the season at #11, they almost dropped out of the top 25 after this loss. In my opinion, Texas, Nebraska, and West Virginia should be included in this list of over-rated teams, and we will find out soon if I am correct on this hunch. Nebraska plays USC this upcoming weekend and we will get a chance to how these two perform and evaluate their rankings simultaneously.

We will have to wait until the first weekend in October to see what Texas really has to offer. They face Oklahoma on October 6, and both teams should be undefeated going into this game. West Virginia may benefit from these other games. In my opinion, the Mountaineers are another over-rated team, but may come out of it smelling like roses: they started the season with a high ranking, play a weak schedule, and should only go up in ranking. Unless, of course, South Florida has their game face on at the end of this month as they did against Auburn this past weekend.

My list of under-rated teams includes Penn St., Georgia Tech, and Oregon. Georgia Tech squares off against Boston College this upcoming weekend. Both teams enter the game undefeated. Georgia Tech has put some points on the board the first two games, while Boston College has shown resiliency. This should be a good game and an opportunity to measure both teams. I look for Penn St. severely under-rated and Oregon should begin to creep up in the polls.

If I were in control of the polls, my top 5 would look like this:

1. LSU
2. USC*
3. Oklahoma
4. Florida
5. Penn State

* I am leaving them in the top 5 for now only because they won their first game and have not played since. But, I am going to go out on a limb and say that USC is an over-ranked team. If they get past Nebraska next weekend, we may have to wait a few more weeks to see. In the end, I think they lose three games.



I have mixed emotions about the polls.

On the one hand, they make for great football fodder to argue with around the country. It’s fun. On the other hand, all too often teams like Virginia with an unbelievable cream puff schedule can always win 10 games and therefore always live atop the rankings. It’s really criminal. The LSU’s of the world with 3 cream puff home non conference games every single year (look up the last 3 years and the next 3 years) get to run up the score and look better than they are as well. They also do it to avoid injuries that other teams (even in the SEC) don’t have the same advantage. Also, the east coast bias plays a major role.

I would like to have the newspapers publish a few different polls. And one of them would be a weighted poll taking into account strength of schedule, home or away as a factor (some teams average 8 home games per year- that’s a huge advantage) as well as other things. It’d be nice to see an LSU travel to Michigan or Oklahoma or Oregon… rather than playing St Mary’s Girls School for the Blind three times before the SEC schedule.

Then the polls will take shape after 4 or 5 weeks and we can see who the better teams are. I’d like to see teams with easy schedule ranked #24 or 21 even though 10-0 as their schedule deserves it. Too much emphasis is placed on wins.

I also would like to see the BCS scrapped and a completely open bolw schedule where teams get to play wherever they want.


OK, now that I’ve vented, here’s my top 5.

1) USC- hey, #1 until they lose.

2) Florida- QB seems to be shaking out OK.

3) Oklahoma- Big, fast, strong.

4) LSU- We won’t know if this is a good team until their 6th game.

5) California- Be very careful about this team.

431cruiser said...

Look at the games this weekend. There are some good matchups, but most of the higher ranked teams are playing weak opponents. The good matchups, for the most part, are unranked or very low ranked teams. The top teams are playing cream puffs.

There are alot of teams that fit the Virginia reference that you made and it is unfair to the teams that will finish the season close to the top, but not close enough to be considered for anything important.

I forgot about California. I believe you are right on that one. They may be a little under ranked.