Friday, November 03, 2006

P6, Conversation Data, and Other Detritus | by Jay

Poor Petey. I sort of felt sorry for him after the Trojans dumped a game to three-loss Oregon State last weekend. Of course I felt even more sorry for the fact that Southern Cal isn't going to be undefeated going into Thanksgiving weekend. But you had to figure that Southern Cal was living on borrowed time; all those near-misses to lesser teams over the last two years (Fresno State, Arizona State, us) was going to catch up to them, and at some point a last-second comeback was going to fall short. And you have to wonder how an ignominious loss like this will affect the team; in fact, it's probably the worst loss Southern Cal has suffered going back to 2001. With games left against Cal, Oregon and ND, could we see a 4-loss Trojan team by year's end?

The Trojans' fall in the AP Poll had a calamitous effect on the Pick Six, and a whole new crop of contenders are ascending the peak (with Tennessee as the surprisingly buoyant pick in Group E). Stuffed Peppers has the sole lead with 100 points (out of 107 possible). As for Group D, I've seen better lineups on the WB: Clemson (7 points) leads the pack, Va Tech climbs back in with 3 points, and the rest (Iowa, Penn State, and Nebraska) are all unranked.

Cheeseburger Cheeseburger

Last week Charlie spoke up about ND's ranking in the polls (and along the way, making an inadvisable crack about "eating cheeseburgers"), which sparked a rash of articles and segments on sports shows railing on Charlie for being a whiner non pareil. I couldn't blame them, really: he set himself up for it. No actual good can come from a coach squawking about his treatment by the pollsters; no one's going to change his mind based on your rant, and you invariably end up looking like a crybaby (see Tuberville, Tommy). Charlie, to his credit, took some self-deprecating swipes at himself in the following presser:

That’s enough of this. I’m not going there. We have a little fun with your question, and next thing you know I’m the nationwide whiner. We’ll stay away from that. Let’s see if we can stay away from it for one week.
Of course that doesn't change the fact that he was absolutely honest in his answer to a simple question from a reporter. Moreover, he was correct. But he shouldn't be the one to say so; he should let minions like BGS carry the water. To that end...

Some Obligatory Poll Bitching

What the hell was WVU doing ranked at #3? They had one measley, "quality" win, against Maryland, and filled out the rest of their resume with three games against BCS teams with losing records (Miss St, Syracuse, UConn), two CUSA teams (Marshall and East Carolina), and a Div-1AA team that is 2-6 in Division 1-AA (Eastern Washington). For this, they were roundly heralded as a legitimate title contender. Thankfully, Louisville smote them last night. Now someone just needs to smite Louisville.

After last night's game I re-ran the points for the Conversation (using our handy scoring system) and came up with this collection of teams. Once again it yielded a pretty sensible group:

the conversation

team BCS
Michigan 8 0 +23 0 31
Ohio State 7 0 +20 0 27
Auburn 6 1 +17 -1 21
California 6 1 +17 -1 21
Southern Cal 6 1 +18 -3 20
Florida 5 1 +16 -1 19
Louisville 6 0 +13 0 19
Notre Dame 6 1 +14 0 19
Tennessee 4 1 +16 -1 18
Texas 5 1 +12 0 16
Arkansas 4 1 +12 -1 14
Rutgers 5 0 +7 0 12
Clemson 4 2 +12 -3 11
Georgia Tech 4 2 +12 -3 11
Washington St 5 3 +12 -3 11
Texas A&M 4 1 +11 -4 10
Wisconsin 5 1 +6 0 10

Feel free to shift things around based on win chains and the like. I think the Southern Cal > Arkansas > Auburn > Florida > Tennessee > Cal chain is still easily enforceable, for example.

The biggest farce in the BCS standings (apart for the recently rectified Mountaineers) that I see is Texas at #7, ahead of other more worthy 1-loss teams like Cal, Tennessee, and ND. I just don't think the pollsters are looking at the actual games played by all these teams, and I think the Longhorns are benefitting from some national champs-style hangover.

Lastly, I think our game at the Coliseum at the end of the year is going to be quite important for our BCS chances. The way things are shaking out in the BCS, I just can't see a 2-loss Notre Dame making it as an automatic qualifier, and there may plenty of other teams ranked ahead of us at the end that would make our selection seem unsporting.

Then again, that's what they said at the end of the '91 season.