A few questions on the BCS rankings–November 30, 2010

Written by: Craig, antibcs.com

Poster graphic from playoffPAC.com

Can someone tell me why Wisconsin is ranked higher than Michigan State?

Both teams are 11-1. Do the voters really think the Wisconsin Badgers are better than the Spartans? If ranking teams is supposed to be an indication of which teams are the best, then Wisconsin must be the better team, right?

Well they aren’t. Not according to frequent arguments used by the BCS apologists. The frequent arguments of “The regular season is a play-off”, and “A play-off would cheapen the regular season”. According to those arguments, during the regular season, when Michigan State and Wisconsin face off to determine who would go forward in the single-elimination tournament of the BCS, Michigan State WON. So if they won, aren’t they the better team?

So why then, isn’t Wisconsin ranked BELOW Michigan State? Because of the voters. And this is my argument against the BCS. It IS NOT DECIDED ON THE FIELD. The Spartans and Badgers faced off on the field, and the Spartans WON. By virtue of beating the Badgers, they proved they were the better team. But are they higher in the polls? Nope. They are 8th. The fightin’ Badgers of the Cheese State are #5.

It’s because of one of the worst, darkest, ugliest facts about the BCS.

Voters reward teams that run up the score. They have a more politically correct term: Style Points.

You see, Wisconsin rolled up 70 points on Austin Peay. Was it an offensive shoot-out on both sides? Well, the final score was 70-3…you be the judge. Then on November 3rd, theyhumiliated Indiana with an 83-20 beat-down. To finish up their season, they hung 70 points against Northwestern, with a final score of 70-23.
Style Points, baby. The biggest hypocracy in College Football. In a sport where doing a front flip into the endzone or too many chest bumps with your teammates results in a 15 yard penalty for “excessive celebration” in the name of good sportsmanship, teams are encouraged, REWARDED to run up the score. Gone are the days of mutual respect. Gone are the days of taking it easy, putting in 2nd string, 3rd string, etc. I’ve already belabored that point in a previous post, so I won’t get into that too much now. But in contrast, Michigan state’s maximum score in its 11-1 season is when they put up 45 points against Northern Colorado. So why is Wisconsin ranked higher? Because they run up the score. If Michigan State would have put the pedal to the metal against Northern Colorado, Western Michigan, or Florida Atlantic, they’d probably be ranked above Wisconsin.

How SHOULD it be? Well, it SHOULD be decided on the field. But it’s not. It’s decided with computers and human voters who take into consideration how much a player gets to the endzone, rather than W’s and L’s, and who those W’s and L’s are with.

Can somebody tell me why Missouri is ranked higher than Nebraska? Missouri is ranked #12, and Nebraska is ranked  right behind them, at #13. Why? Is Missouri the better team? Not according to “the regular season is a play-off” logic. Because Nebraska BEAT Missouri 31-17. So shouldn’t Nebraska be ranked above them? Not according to the jacked up, convoluted, nonsensical system we currently have in place. Sometimes, I don’t know what voters are thinking when they vote what they do. And these are just two examples that make absolutely zero sense to me.

Earlier this season, right after South Carolina beat Alabama 35-21 on October 29th, I was remarking to some a friend of mine (an Alabama fan) of how crazy it was, that in the polls South Carolina was still ranked lower than Alabama–even after they had just gone head to head, and they were at that point both 1-loss teams. “Well,” my friend began, “I don’t think anyone can argue that Alabama is the better team.” Well, I argued. They had just played, and Alabama LOST–which in the world of competition, is a pretty good indication that they ARE the better team. Isn’t that the point of playing?  To see who is better? Isn’t that the litmus test of all competition? To square off, and see who is best?

As long as the BCS still claims that the regular season is the play-off, then all I ask, is treat it like one. In any play-off that I’ve ever seen, the one that wins is the one that advances, and the one that loses is the one who stays behind. So make it that way. Voters, use some logic when you consider who should be higher than whom. And Michigan St. beat Wisconsin, they are both 11-1, so Michigan St is the better team. What is so hard about that logic? 

So all I ask of voters is this: If you believe that “the regular season is a play-off”, then treat it as such. And when teams go head to head and you have a winner, and all other things are equal, then vote them higher. Use some common sense. Then again, common sense isn’t what the BCS was founded upon, so maybe my request is an exercise in futility, but I’ll ask it anyway.


Posted on December 2, 2010, in BCS. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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