I continue to find it fascinating when various commentators care more about what they wish had happened during this particular football season than actually analyzing the actual season that was actually played.
1. The Pac-10 has had a rough season. Only two teams have fewer than five losses. The third team in the conference is 6-6. Only four teams have winning records. Fully half the conference isn't bowl eligible - counting sanctioned USC among the bowl-eligible. Even in the Big East, three quarters of the conference is bowl-eligible. The WAC and MWC both have half their teams bowl-eligible (9 of the 18 total teams in the two leagues). And obviously, the Pac-10 thinks enough of Utah (and Colorado, for that matter) to beg them to join.
2. The Big Ten, similarly, is Aces and spaces. Only three teams have fewer than five losses. Heck, only three teams have winning records in conference play. Unlike the Pac-10, at least there are three quality programs instead of two and the bulk of the league is headed to a bowl game. But similarly to the Pac-10, those top teams played very few games against quality opponents.
3. Name the best team Stanford has beaten all year. Five loss Notre Dame? Or perhaps you prefer the five loss USC team that lost to Notre Dame? Or five loss Arizona? Similarly,
4. Name the best team Ohio State has beaten all year? The five loss Iowa team that lost to the above-mentioned five loss Arizona team? The five loss Miami team that, in addition to losing to Big East South Florida, lost to fellow ACC teams Florida State and Virginia Tech, teams which were themselves beaten by Oklahoma and Boise State? In contrast,
5. Michigan State, Nevada, and Boise State are one-loss teams that have much better wins than Stanford and Ohio State. Is it even relevant that Michigan State beat Wisconsin, who beat Ohio State?
6. And then there are the two-loss teams. Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and LSU are all teams with more impressive wins than Stanford and Ohio State. Arkansas gets into the BCS because the Sugar Bowl won't pick a slate without an SEC team, and Oklahoma gets to the Fiesta Bowl as Big 12 champs. LSU can't get in because the BCS only allows two teams per conference. This leaves two other slots. No way should Stanford and Ohio State be ranked above all three of the other one loss teams plus the two available two-loss teams. So,
7. Voila. We'll be subjected to another month of hearing about 'big name programs' and 'talent' and 'matchups' and basically anything to distract from those inconvenient 2010 Ws and Ls.
8. Bowl records don't prove anything. The point is who deserves to get there; most any team has a shot at beating most any other team in one game. However, this could be a particularly clear year about the over-ratedness of Ohio State and Stanford and the supremacy of the Big 12. The Big 12 in its finale as a twelve team league stands a very good chance of only losing one or two bowl games.
9. Nebraska hasn't been helping the Big 12. I'll organize some thoughts at some point about the transition of the Big 12. But the short story is that losing to Nebraska hurts those other Big 12 teams a lot, while Nebraska's wins hasn't helped them get ranked highly or helped those teams that beat Nebraska jump up the standings. It's no coincidence that both the Pac-10 and Big Ten are sending at-large teams, while the Big 12, with four ten win teams, gets none. Oregon is getting into the national championship over TCU.
4. Michigan State
10. Oklahoma State
12. Boise State
13. Ohio State
15. Virginia Tech
16. Texas A&M
20. Florida State
21. South Carolina
22. West Virginia
23. Mississippi State
25. San Diego State
Labels: football, ncaa, sports