theknightswhosay

Week 10 Top 25 and Comments

In Rankings, Rankings Commentary on November 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Full ratings

rank team prev.
1 Auburn 1
2 TCU 2
3 LSU 6
4 Oregon 7
5 Mich. St. 4
6 Okie St. 12
7 Boise St. 11
8 Nebraska 10
9 Ohio St. 9
10 Stanford 18
11 Missouri 3
12 Alabama 13
13 Wisconsin 16
14 Utah 8
15 Iowa 15
16 Oklahoma 5
17 Arkansas 20
18 Miss St. 17
19 Nevada 22
20 Arizona 14
21 Kansas St. —
22 Florida —
23 Texas A&M —
24 Cent. Fla. —
25 N.Carolina —

Out of top 25: (19) N.C. State, (21) Baylor, (23) S.Carolina, (24) Florida St., (25) Hawaii

Just to comment briefly on the turnover, the #21+ teams, led by the ACC, keep beating each other up. The second-tier SEC and Big XII teams are keeping the cycle going as well.

As for the top 10, I didn’t get a chance to re-post the Alabama-LSU rivalry post (my personally favorite LSU rivalry), but this way the recent games will end on a positive. I don’t plan to have much to say about the ULM game, so there is no reason not to post about the rivalry in the next week. I’ll also get more into specifics on the last game. I did write a pre-game blog, and I just added some comments (in the “responses” section) as well.

I’ve had LSU higher than Alabama almost all season, and a lot of people thought this was an injection of bias in some way (even when I went to the computers, I was accused of rigging my formula to put LSU higher). But the fact is Nick Saban is not a miracle worker, and once again, inexperience was evident on his defense, particularly in the secondary. One might have been deluded, as ESPN’s Jesse Palmer (an Alabama alumnus) was, into thinking Stephen Garcia went 17-20 because he was just that impossibly good that day and that therefore this was not a reflection on any weakness by Alabama. (Sort of like when a basketball team can’t miss a three-pointer, you can’t always blame the defense.) But maybe that should be re-thought now that Garcia went 14-29 against Arkansas on the same day that Jordan Jefferson went 10-13 for 141 yards (1 TD, no INT) against Alabama, the same Jordan Jefferson who had averaged 51 passing yards and one interception per game over his previous four starts and who had not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 1. This wasn’t one of those one-yard, backfield touchdown passes either: if was for 75 yards.

Not that projections are at all the point of my ratings, but admittedly I’m not confident that LSU would beat Oregon (mostly because there are similar offensive capabilities to Auburn’s). I do know that Oregon hasn’t faced an SEC-quality defense though. Right now, LSU is 4-1 against the top 25 and Oregon is 1-0. I’m not going to apologize for the 4-1 team being higher. Again, if I can draw a basketball analogy, few would doubt having the 4-1 team higher in a debate over seeding in the NCAA tournament (the 4-1 team would be in the ACC or Big East and the 1-0 team would be in a “mid-major,” or in a major conference in a bad year, but there are 30-something games in basketball). But in football, of course, people have this absurd idea of a regular-season playoff. So if Utah had beaten TCU, Auburn had lost one of their 3-point contests, Boise St. had lost to Virginia Tech, Stanford had held on against Oregon, and USC had held on against Stanford, Utah would be the deserving #1 team right now? I don’t think many people outside of Utah would be saying that. To be fair, Oregon’s schedule is slightly better than Utah’s (91 rather than 106), but that doesn’t factor in Oregon’s FCS/I-AA game; Utah had no such game. On the other hand, LSU’s FBS/I-A schedule is 3rd.

Of course, that’s part of my formula, but just looking at opponents’ cumulative record makes my case as well. LSU’s FBS/I-A opponents have won over 61% of their games (this includes their games against LSU), good for 12th, while Oregon’s have won 40.5%, “good” for 103rd.

Oregon does have an opportunity to gain some ground with LSU about to play ULM and Ole Miss, but it may not be enough if both teams go undefeated the rest of the way. Oregon and Boise St. have both made good jumps simply by playing decent teams lately, even though Washington and Hawaii, respectively, are hardly great. Boise St. has only one opponent left (Nevada) that might be of much help though, at least relative to other teams near them.

TCU has San Diego St. next week, but they will gain almost no points afterward. The Horned Frogs have a bye week after that, and then they play New Mexico, one of the 10 worst teams (also a prior opponent of Oregon) to close out their regular season. The Mountain West, of course, does not have a championship game. Last week was probably it.

Michigan St. has only Penn St. and Purdue left. Penn St. has been playing better as of late, but I don’t see the Spartans moving up without some losses by other teams.

I think Oklahoma St., Nebraska, Ohio St., and Stanford are ranked appropriately. I still don’t understand how Nebraska lost to Texas, but they have the wins to make up for it relative to Ohio St. and Stanford, who each have a very respectable loss but lack in quality wins. I know Nebraska beat Oklahoma St., but is a loss to Nebraska more understandable than a loss to Texas? I think so.

If you think Wisconsin, the only other team that seems to still be in the running for a BCS title, should be higher, just consider their out-of-conference schedule: UNLV, San Jose St., Arizona St., Austin Peay. Let’s just say I’m a tad annoyed that the BCS-related polls have the Badgers higher than LSU, although I think the computers will come through for the Tigers.

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