Some highly intelligent human being years ago had a brilliant idea. Let’s not rank college football teams until we have watched a few games. Unfortunately, some idiots didn’t get the memo. In the old BCS, they waited to come out with the “official” rankings, but still used the polls that were ranking teams from the beginning of the season.
Obviously, the committee does the same. This house of cards builds up one or two teams by ranking them way to early, and then giving way too much credit to the teams that beat them. This is the disease that ruins college football. This season, patient X was Ole Miss. This 5-7 team was ranked for almost half the season. Their laughable ranking caused other teams to be highly overrated, thus keeping teams that are actually having good seasons from their proper place.
Now that bowl season is upon us, these phony rankings will invariably hurt the final rankings of some teams this year. These numbers may not seem important to the casual observer, but they are the measure that helps bring better bowls and recruits and rankings the following season. All are important in building teams and the cycle of college football. It’s a sick system that needs fixed. So while most of my venom is directed at the system, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t call out the most egregiously overrated teams. In fact, that’s exactly what I am going to do.
Florida State 9-3 and ranked number 11
It’s possible that the 11th best team in the country lost to three other teams. It’s even possible that they lost by 43. It’s mathematically impossible for the 11th best team in the country to lose by 43 to a team that lost to Kentucky. This is patient X at it’s finest. Florida State was ranked way too high to start the season, and that was exacerbated by FSU’s close win over a ranked Ole Miss. An Ole Miss squad that finished with 7 losses. When Louisville hammered FSU by 43 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score, certainly that meant Louisville should be competing for the national title and not that FSU really isn’t that good. Or at least that’s what the committee would still have you believe. We’ll get to Louisville in a minute.
Florida State has exactly one “quality” win this season, and that’s beating a Florida team that just lost by 38. The Gators also lost to Tennessee and Arkansas, which are unranked. Beating them after losing by 43 shouldn’t propel you to number 11. A normal person can understand this, the committee can’t.
Louisville 9-3 and ranked number 13
Right now, there are Louisville fans complaining they are too low, because they are ranked below Florida State. They are half right. They should be ranked above Florida State. They are still way too high at 13.
Let’s examine their season. They shot up the rankings based on whooping Florida State. They shouldn’t have. It should have been seen as a really good team that whooped on an inferior opponent. It was seen as, “Holy cow, Bama better watch out!”. After a close loss to Clemson, the opinion was the same. After a close win at home against Duke, they were still highly regarded, the result being written off as Louisville still recovering from the close Clemson loss. A close win against Virginia was also written off as a fluke. Then when they were in a game in the 4th quarter against Wake, they put up a bunch of points, and that game was written off as well.
Next up was a Houston squad with losses to Navy and 5-7 SMU. Certainly, after losing by 26 to a group of 5 team that didn’t win their own conference, people and the committee would see the light, right? Wrong. At that point, there was still discussion on what wonky things could happen to put Louisville in the playoff race. After losing to Kentucky, the committee reluctantly dropped them to 13. That’s what losing your last two games, to Houston and Kentucky, gets you in this crazy college football world, a 13 ranking. Oh, and for the record, Houston just lost to Memphis, too.
Oklahoma State 9-3 and ranked 12
It’s Hustlebelt, of course Oklahoma State was going to be on the list. We have talked to death about how OSU shouldn’t have had to defend a 51 yard Hail Mary on their home turf to a barely bowl eligible, 3-5 in the MAC school. Much to the chagrin of most people here, I am going to GIVE the win to OSU for the sake of argument.
But since we are calling things for what they are, the Big 12 is about the equal of the MAC this season. You have the two top dogs, Western Michigan and Oklahoma. I would pay good money to see that game. Then the second place team in the Big 12, Oklahoma State, sitting at 10-2*. Their resume, an ass whooping by the top dog, and another loss to a mediocre, at best, Baylor team. Their only “quality” win was against West Virginia. That tells me Oklahoma State would be about a 10-2 MAC school, with a win against Toledo but a loss against OU. And a close win against CMU. Does 10-2 in the MAC get you ranked 12? Well 10-2* shouldn’t get you ranked that high out of the Big 12. 9-3, their actual record, shouldn’t get you ranked, period, let alone 12.
I can’t honestly say that I would put WMU in the playoffs. I don’t know if they are one of the 4 best teams in the country, based on that criteria. They are certainly better than the 3 teams I just listed. Looking down the rest of the list, I know for certain Houston, Troy, Appalachian State, Boise State, Temple and some other group of 5 teams are better than the 9-3 and 8-4 teams on the list.
Again, using our favorite power 5 team, Oklahoma State, as the example, let’s say not only did they get the CMU win, but they also beat a beatable Baylor and then somehow lucked out a win against Oklahoma, would they be in the playoffs? Probably. Excluding them would most certainly be talked about for the next month. WMU mowed through most of their schedule, with very few close games. Shouldn’t they at least be in the discussion, and the top 10, at the very least?
Next year, when some other power 5 teams are ridiculously overrated, and some other G5 teams are getting the shaft in the rankings, I am going to point it out again. But I’ll wait till I actually watch some games to do so. Because that’s what smart people do.