The final AP poll is out, and as usual, it’s wrong. The writers that vote in it are always going to be biased. They factor in their fandom, and give weight to the teams they watch the most, I.E. the ones they cover. Much more insidious and destructive, they give far too much weight to what they think, and what they predicted.
College football is a highly competitive sport, involving 22 starters on each side of the ball. There are a variety of outside factors that influence the game, like home field advantage, the weather, and the way the ball bounces. Take last night’s title game. You will never convince me Clemson is a better team than Alabama. Yes they won the game, but a call here or there, or someone doesn’t get injured, and Bama is holding the trophy. On the flip side, if that pick play is called and Bama won, you wouldn’t have been able to convince me Bama is the better team. Two evenly matched teams played, and someone had to win. Since Clemson had more points at the end, they get to hoist the trophy. It doesn’t mean they are better, they are just the champions. That’s why we play the game.
Winning in college football means nothing, and it means everything. Just because one team wins a particular game, it doesn’t make it the better team. That being said, there is no other way to quantify it. When ranking teams, it should be relatively simple, and consistent. You take a teams record, you combine it with head to head results and you rank them. Sure there is a little wiggle room, as you grade the teams, but there should be some consistency. However, the voters are consistently inconsistent.
Let’s use Ohio State as the example. They played a similar schedule to Penn State. Penn State won a close game head to head. So even though Ohio State only lost 2 games to PSU’s 3, Penn State gets the nod. I can understand that. It makes sense. So then how can I explain why these same voters voted Oklahoma ahead of Ohio State, who had the same record, played a tougher schedule(per their own rankings) and beat the Sooners on their own turf by 18? Bias, plain and simple. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
So that proves to me, at least, that the voters have an agenda. We always knew this, I just wanted to reiterate here.
Now on to Western Michigan’s number 15 ranking. That’s fantastic. This is the first season Western has ever been ranked in the AP poll, and it’s a special treat when a MAC school finishes the season ranked. Since they wont let a MAC team play in the playoffs, a final AP poll ranking IS the MAC national championship. Especially since it’s the highest ranked G5 team this season. Although I wouldn’t give this much weight if you are the fan of another G5 team. Most voters only know WMU as the team that lost to Wisconsin in a NY6. They were voted the highest by default.
So why am I upset? Because the only knock on Western Michigan is their schedule. I can understand this. However, if you watched the Cotton Bowl, you would know that schedule HURT Western Michigan in the end. Wisconsin smacked them around early, and that led to the Wisconsin win. WMU was shell shocked, playing a team that was their equal for the first time this season. Western Michigan showed heart, battled back, but came up short.
This should leave Western Michigan, with a far superior record and a close loss, right around Wisconsin. 15 is close to 10, so why the venom? Let’s look at some of the teams in between to see why.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-3)
Oh look at that! Hustle Belt’s favorite whipping boy, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. They finished the season 10-3, but had a huge win over Colorado in the bowl game. I guess the 12 other games don’t matter, where the Cowboys were curb stomped by that same Oklahoma team that is highly overrated, and humiliated at home by Central Michigan. Not only did they lose that game, they are still whining about it. I have watched Oklahoma State 5 times this season, they probably are a legit top 25 team, but have no business sniffing the top 10. If they played the entire top ten, they would be lucky to win a game, and would lose 7 or 8 by 30 or more.
Stanford Cardinal (10-3)
Apparently squeaking out a 2 point win against unranked North Carolina in the Hyundai Sun Bowl clouds the memory of voters. They completely forgot a team lost back to back games by a combined 67 points earlier in the season. One of those teams lost their last game to a team that suspended TEN players and lost to Eastern Washington. Think about that for a second. Beating North Carolina absolves one of the sins of being blown out by a team that lost to Eastern Washington and gets you ranked number 12 in the final AP poll. Pathetic.
Florida Gators (9-4)
I have got a joke. What happens when a two 8-4 teams play in a bowl game? The winner gets ranked ahead of a 13-1 football team that barely lost to a top 10 team in a NY6 bowl game. Except this joke isn’t funny. It’s sad, and pathetic and a shame on any AP voter that could do such a thing.
3-3 in their final 6 games. Those three losses were a combined 77 points. Two of those teams that smacked the Gators around combined for 9 losses. Are the voters even paying attention at this point in the season?
There are a lot of things that are good and decent in this world. The AP poll isn’t one of them.
Congratulations to WMU on a great season. If you are a fan of theirs, you shouldn’t let this slight by the AP poll affect how you feel about this season. It was magical. Enjoy it. As the G5 is being marginalized more and more, 15 is about all you can hope for out of the MAC. It’s only going to get worse from here on out.