What a year! Why does it have to end? I think a lot of the debate about polls and rankings is fun. But it does little to help the legitimacy of where teams end up. If something is going to be done about a switch from the BCS to a playoff. Then certainly a change is in order for polling as well. I'll continue that thought at the end of the post. For now, I want to try something a little different with this final poll.
No questions here, I presume. LSU may have dropped off the map for one night. But it's still just one night after a season of playing and beating just about everyone of note. Orange Bowl champ, Rose Bowl champ, National champ. If Oklahoma St. had received the same preseason love as their in-state rival, they may have had a better shot at getting in.
Boise State got screwed on so many levels. Yes, they played a weak schedule and couldn't afford to lose one game. They knew it as well as anyone. Even though they got their fair share of respect from the pollsters, they had one loss and ended up in a pre-Christmas bowl. It makes ranking them harder than most. You may not agree with where I have them. But I wouldn't bet against them if they faced any team below them. I dropped USC a couple notches just because we didn't get to see them in a bowl. I look at Wisconsin and think about the year that could have been for them. But I think they might have been a step too slow on defense if they would have made the title game.
Michigan State coming back against Georgia was huge. This was two teams that should have been in a BCS bowl and they both came to play until Georgia went into a box late. Imagine how good South Carolina could have been if they would have had a stable quarterback. As for West Virginia...
That's all I got to say about that.
I think that's a pretty fair ranking for Michigan and TCU. Both had good, not great seasons and took care of business in their bowl. Oklahoma should have been better than this. That's not a jab, it's the truth. They would have benefitted from playing a team with a better record in a bowl game. It certainly would have helped their final slot. Clemson is better than this. But it's just too hard to put them higher given the results of the bowl game and where I write. Oh yeah, Bill freaking Snyder.
Cincinnati was the best and probably most consistent team in the Big East this year. Losing their quarterback was devastating. But they still made a good show of it. As for the last four, I really didn't feel like I had a choice but these four.
As promised, my thoughts on changing the way we determine who's who. I have to start off by saying that I'm not picking on Oklahoma to be mean. In another year it will be someone else that rides the undefeated wave until they fall or win the title. With someone crowning them before the season starts. However, there was a time this year that the Sooners were the undisputed number one team in the country. The week three win over Florida State (#5 at the time) made it unanimous. Because everyone had already decided this was the year the Noles came back to the big boys table. With their reputations on the line, the pollsters had to solidify Oklahoma even more as the number one team. A flawed ranking made another flawed ranking even more flawed. To a lesser extent Virginia Tech received this treatment. All year long they beat one ranked team and were never out of the AP top 25. In fact, they moved from #19 to #13 in one week by beating Wake Forest.
My opinion on how to fix this would be to not release any poll until the week before the BCS rankings come out. We don't trust computers, so we get an extra week to help the egg heads compile some data. Encouraging the pollsters to not do that for the first month or so would allow them to distance themselves from what they said in March or the day after the title game. Having five or six weeks to look at, (if you count those crazy games that keep getting pushed farther into August) you would be able to give a much better opinion about how the teams stack up. You get a more realistic starting point if you are an Oklahoma State. If you were having a playoff, imagine how important it would be to start high in the polls. In my eyes, if you don't change how teams are selected you're just going to get the same results in a different package.
How we crown a champ is crazy. But how we decide who plays for the title is even crazier. There should be a period to soak it all in before any kind of pecking order is established. Two-thirds of the BCS is human polls. How they vote should be more heavily scrutinized, yes. But that's a whole other issue. Just giving the polls a chance to see that Florida State wasn't quite there yet would have created a better starting spot for someone. Plus, if we're so worried about the meaning of the regular season being lost in a playoff, wouldn't this encourage a little stiffer competition during the cupcake portion? If you haven't played anyone by week six, you're not going to be where you want to be when the initial polls come out.