Time to argue over which team is the best for the next three months until the playoff starts.
Many times per year you will hear a pundit say conference X is stronger from top to bottom than conference Y, as if that has anything to do with the prowess of team X. A win over a SEC team is more important than a win over a CUSA team, despite the SEC team’s 4-8 record from last year. Plus, team X doesn’t play every team in conference X, so the top-to-bottom analysis is worthless.
The problem comes in when team Y is playing great football, winning handily over its opponents, but starts out at number 25 in the rankings. Some poll voters will recognize that accomplishment over the course of the season and move them up accordingly, but it is very difficult for most voters to replace an undefeated team ranked higher than team Y, unless they lose. Even if team X is playing what turns out to be a set of weaker opponents and continues to win, if only by a small margin.
The same thing happens when team X loses its second game of the year, while team Y loses its 10th. Team X will rise back through the rankings over the course of the season if it continues to win, while team Y’s hopes are likely dashed, even if they lose to the same team.
This type of thinking leads to good teams being left out of the National Championship picture, but is somewhat better now that four teams are included in the quest. Many argue that eight teams would better, but so would 16, 32 and 64. The cut-off has to be somewhere and four is as good a number as any other. The same type of conversation is being held in March of each year as the 68 teams are announced for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Someone is always excluded that someone believes should have been included.
But that’s what we have. I would prefer no rankings at all were released until the first of November, after we’ve had a chance to see what all teams have.
But then, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, would I?