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The Trickle - College Football

November 1, 2011 - Brian Ferry
I know it's not one of my more popular subjects, but college football is on my mind. I don't like LSU. I don't like Alabama. They are ranked #1 and #2 respectively in the rankings. (Gratuitous Terminator quote: How many? All of 'em I think.) Congratulations. One of them will lose this week. (I don't even know if ties are possible in FBS games.) So, what's the problem? It's not a matter of LSU-Alabama. My guess is that, if LSU wins, Alabama drops four spots (not more than six). If Alabama wins, LSU drops two, maybe three. For computer rankings, I have no problem with this. The computer (to my knowledge) has not been asked to look at the teams and say, Well, gee, Alabama could beat every team in the nation except LSU. But, for those humans out there, why should Alabama be anything but the second best team if all they do is lose to the best team? Do I hope both teams drop out of the top 25? Sure. Should they? Absolutely not. Rats. I was going to use a tennis analogy here, but I don't know the standings. Is it fair to Oklahoma State that they're undefeated but ranked lower than a team with a loss? That sounds like a hard question. But yes. It's fair. It stinks, but it's fair. 10 voters in the AP poll think Alabama is the best team in the country. None voted for OSU. Next week, if Alabama loses a good game to LSU, will those voters automatically think that the Cowboys should beat the Tide? That's what they'll say. But that's ridiculous. The computer rankings can be about stinking and not being fair. That system is designed to put the two teams people want to see playing each other in the championship game. Scenario: #1 LSU narrowly beats #2 Alabama near the end of the season. Then, new #2 Oklahoma State narrowly beats Alabama even later in the season. With two losses, should Alabama automatically drop behind a Nebraska team that only lost one game (not to one of the top three teams) all season? Automatically? No. If everyone who watches both teams play agrees that Alabama would beat Nebraska, Alabama is almost certainly the better team. Another scenario: if Boise State marches through its schedule with no losses (and no games against teams that are ranked any time after the preseason poll) should they be ranked above every team with one loss? No. That's ridiculous. Southeastern Wauwatosa A&T could finish the Great Lakes Tech Conference season with an unblemished record. That doesn't mean they could beat Wisconsin. Until there is a playoff, the people who watch the games and have some knowledge in the area of football should be in charge. As long as those people are in charge, and bowl games are played in happy weather, Penn State will never be national champion. Who could look at Penn State toughing it out in the mud with Wisconsin (or even Connecticut) and think they are as good as, say, Miami? But, put Miami in Happy Valley in January... now who looks good? The sloggers. I rant about this. There should be a playoff. Even if there is, Penn State is on the outside. PSU can't recruit the top speed guys, the best cut guys. Why would they go somewhere where their main advantage is taken away for more than half the season? Linemen at Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, are very different from linemen at Florida State, Oklahoma, Texas, and Southern Cal. Linebackers at Linebacker U. are different from linebackers at Florida. Are some of those Penn State linebackers suited to the NFL? Certainly. Are they suited to winning bowl games? Not as much as those Florida linebackers are. Why does #1 Ohio State lose to the SEC? Aside from travel time and home field advantage... Because the SEC is much better suited to play in the conditions that are likely at bowl games. Why did Penn State beat LSU in a bowl game? Because that game was played in sloppy weather. Play it in better conditions and LSU wins that game. Maybe by a lot. Give me a playoff system with teams playing in a meteorologically neutral location. "But that won't draw as many people as nice weather locations would." Bull. Are you seriously trying to tell me that Penn State's allotment of tickets wouldn't sell out far in advance? It would be hard on those fancy parades. But, you know, some of us find those a little annoying.


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