College Football Rankings after Week 12

Because of my busy schedule and my emphasis on the SuperPower Rankings, I haven’t really said much about the College Football Rankings. The last two weeks have been dominated by the laptop situation, and the two weeks before by my antsiness about the Arizona State-Oregon game getting on TV. Before that, I often had overly short remarks; “The college football rankings from Week 6 are finally up here” was the entire text of my Week 6 update. I did have that long rant about a playoff system, and the simulated playoff is fast approaching, but that’s been the exception, not the rule.

Here, though, are some remarks:

  • People keep talking about how there’s so much parity in college football we desperately need a playoff. But this year could turn out to be a situation in which a plus-one system, or pseudo-four-team playoff, would work just fine. In my view, any plus-one system has to protect the traditional Big Ten-Pac-10 Rose Bowl matchup, but can ruin any other bowls for maximum clarity. Because I want to protect the sanctity of the Rose Bowl, it wouldn’t have helped a lot in 2000-01, where the most obvious solution was to have Florida State and Miami play again, in the not-impartial-at-all Orange Bowl, and Washington would not be able to play Oklahoma in the other plus-one play-in. A similar problem would have occured the following year, with Oregon relegated to the Rose Bowl. However, it would have solved the 2003-04 (same Rose Bowl and – possibly moved to another bowl – Sugar Bowl we got, as was proposed at the time), 2004-05 (USC v. Penn State in Rose Bowl, Oklahoma v. Auburn in another bowl), and 2006-07 (Ohio State-USC in Rose Bowl, Florida-Michigan in another bowl) controversies. As you can see, however, what it would not do is mollify the concerns of non-BCS conferences.
  • In what I think is a first since starting keeping track of the Top 25 in my system in 2005, I have no “watchlist” of teams with positive B Ratings but outside my Top 25. I have Tulsa way down there at #35, depressed by a bad conference.
  • LSU I think we can agree on at #1.
  • #2 Ohio State: Pollsters always overreact to losses, especially at the top. The most flukey loss imaginable will still send a team plummeting down the polls. Illinois is still a good team and you can’t dismiss a season of excellence with one loss.
  • #3 Kansas: Need to prove their worth. Ohio State will take a couple weeks of idle hands so Kansas can easily move up to #2, but it might take two wins.
  • #4 West Virginia: Let’s see, the Big East has four teams – or half of the entire conference – taken up with world-class teams (West Virginia, Cincinnati, UConn, and South Florida), plus two dangerous teams (Louisville and Rutgers) that aren’t bad either – that’s three fourths of the entire conference – and a team (Pittsburgh) that isn’t as bad as their record because of the strength of all the others, and you still want to denigrate the Big East? To dare to say the f’in Big 12 is better in a year where that conference is “three teams and everyone else? To brush off South Florida’s losing streak without considering the quality of team they did it against? To say that West Virginia, a team that has so far escaped that schedule with only one loss, should be left out of the national title conversation – at least if Kansas loses – “because it’s the Big East”? And West Virginia is probably going to face a random sacrificial lamb from the ACC in the Orange Bowl. Shameful.
  • #5 Florida: Overreacting to losses, redux. Some people think the polls are basically a way to reflect winning percentage in college sports where that’s meaningless. It’s hard to disagree. (Yes, I know they lost to Georgia, another two-loss team. Florida also lost to LSU. Meanwhile, Georgia lost to South Carolina and Tennessee, while eking out a ten-point victory over Troy – a team from the effing Sun Belt Conference. Good team, though.)
  • #6 Missouri: Yeah, they beat Texas Tech, something Oklahoma couldn’t do. And their one loss is to Oklahoma. But they also never played Oklahoma State, their best nonconference game was a six-point nailbiter over Illinois, and they and Kansas have been it all year in the Big 12 North.
  • #7 Oklahoma: Simultaneously overreacting to a loss and not looking at the schedule redux. Your best nonconference opponent is either Miami (FL) or Tulsa… you win a nailbiter over Texas and another one over freaking Iowa State… very concerning.
  • #8 Oregon: Overreacting to a loss, once again. Actually Oregon is only one spot lower than here in the polls, but below Arizona State.
  • #9 South Florida: Reappears in the BCS this week. Beat WV, which #10 Cincinnatti didn’t do.
  • Where is the love for Penn State? Loss puts Michigan negative.

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