polls and computers

With the holidays approaching, it means it's time for some final pre-BCS bowl rankings.

I suppose the place to start the discussion is at the top. In my rankings, my number 1 team didn't play. My number two team lost. My number 3 team won. Voila, a straightforward 1 vs 2 matchup for the national championship. Conveniently, the BCS computers agree with me here. Texas and Oklahoma are the two best teams in the country. The BCS system is set up to play the top two teams against each other.

Except, oh wait, we have to make room for the SEC. The Harris and USA Today polls decided Florida has had a better season than Texas. Makes you wonder what criteria they use (other than, an SEC team has to make it). Let's take a gander:

Texas has a win against a top team. Florida has a win against a top team. The team Texas beat is better than the team Florida beat.
Texas' loss was on the road. Florida lost at home. The team Texas lost to is better than the team Florida lost to.
Texas played four games against teams that won at least nine games. Florida played two.
Texas won its bowl game last season. Florida lost.

This is the problem with not having criteria for how to determine success in college football. The answer doesn't have to be a playoff; a playoff is merely one option in the larger approach of having predictable and clearly defined criteria. But I'm not going to spend too much time on this, because unlike last year, when things were debatable, this year, the Big 12 is clearly superior to the SEC. The FL/AL matchup in the SEC championship was notable largely because the teams didn't play each other in the regular season. In fact, Texas played more 10 win teams than Alabama and Florida combined. For that matter, USC, Penn State, and Texas Tech also played more 10 win teams during the regular season, but of course none of them received any serious discussion about displacing Florida.

Farther down, I run into the problem of what to do with the teams that finished 12-0. I'm putting them between the one loss and two loss teams. The problem is they're really not top teams; neither of them played anything approaching a challenging schedule. There are lots of teams from the major conferences that could have gone undefeated with the schedules of Utah and Boise State. But at the same time, they did win all their games. It's also worth noting that there were four 12-0 teams before conference championships. Both teams that played a 13th game lost (Alabama and Ball State). Makes you wonder what Utah and Boise State will do in their 13th game.

So here's how I'd match up the BCS if it were up to me.

Oklahoma/Texas - national championship
Virginia Tech/Florida
USC/Penn State
Utah/Boise State (or Texas Tech, if three Big 12 teams were allowed)

However, if OU/FL is going to be the title, it would be nice for TX and AL to play each other, and it would be good to give the two undefeated teams a chance to play each other. Instead, TX and AL are faced with games they're expected to win, only making news if they lose. Really, if Alabama beats Utah, what does that signify? And if Ohio State gets in as a second Big Ten team over an undefeated team, why not a second ACC team like Georgia Tech or Boston College instead of Utah? Texas, after all, beat several Big 12 teams that themselves beat a Mountain West opponent, yet that's not quality enough to get Texas into the title game.

1 B-12 Texas 11 - 1
2 B-12 Oklahoma 12 - 1
3 SEC Florida 12 - 1
4 B-12 Texas Tech 11 - 1
5 B-Ten Penn State 11 - 1
6 P-10 USC 11 - 1
7 SEC Alabama 12 - 1
8 MW Utah 12 - 0
9 WAC Boise State 12 - 0
10 B-Ten Ohio State 10 - 2
11 B-E Cincinnati 10 - 2
12 B-12 Oklahoma State 9 - 3
13 B-12 Missouri 9 - 4
14 SEC Georgia 9 - 3
15 B-Ten Michigan State 9 - 3
16 B-E Pittsburgh 9 - 3
17 B-Ten Northwestern 9 - 3
18 ACC Virginia Tech 9 - 4
19 ACC Boston College 9 - 4
20 ACC Georgia Tech 9 - 3
21 P-10 Oregon 9 - 3
22 ACC Florida State 8 - 4
23 B-Ten Iowa 8 - 4
24 MW TCU 10 - 2
25 MAC Ball State 12 - 1

As for bowl predictions, here's what I think.

Big 12: 5-2
Big East: 4-2
SEC: 5-3
MWC: 3-1
Pac 10: 3-2
ACC: 5-5
Big Ten: 3-4

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first snow of 2008

We didn't exactly get a whole lot of snow this week. But we did get enough to be annoying.

And with I-64 closed now in our neck of the woods, it makes for some great pictures!

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