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Monday, October 23, 2006

BCS revisited

Well, the latest BCS rankings are out and Texas has slid into the #7 spot with their victory over NU. For those keeping score at home, that's 2 spots better than last week. Slowly the computers are being convinced that an overated ND team is not worthy and only ONE Big East team should be in front of Texas...regardless of record.

As a fun fact, and to get under JD's skin a bit, there is something else very interesting about the latest BCS poll.

7. Texas (7-1; 4-0)
19. Oklahoma (5-2; 2-1)
20. Mizzou (7-1; 3-1)
21. Texas A&M (7-1; 3-1)
22. Nebraska (6-2; 3-1)

5. Auburn (7-1; 2-1)
6. Florida (7-1; 4-1)
11. Tenn. (6-1; 2-1)
13. Arkansas (7-1; 4-0)
16. LSU (6-2; 2-2)

The Big 12 has just as many teams in the Top 25 as the SEC does. The Big 12 is (32-7; 15-4) to the SEC's (33-6; 14-5) with an almost identical out of conference competition. (Tell me again how the SEC doesn't get misguided media love.) Now, I admit that I'm no math major...but that seems pretty dead even to me. Yes, there is a HUGE gap in team rankings but how much do preseason polls play into that? In the first poll, Texas and Oklahoma were the only appearances by the Big 12. The SEC had 3 in the Top 10, 1 in the teens and another in the lower 20's. Georgia, a team who's stock has plummented to negative numbers, was ranked #15 until they topped out at #9. As shown by these numbers, the Big 12 is holding its own. Both conferences have three 7-1 teams.

The truth of the matter is that the Big 12 has 3 teams that are in the nation's elite: Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. If 1 or 2 of the aformentioned teams is not undefeated, it's perceived that the Big 12 is "down this year". But, when the same thing happens to an SEC team it's because "the SEC is sooooo tough." Perhaps the usual players from the SEC have earned more respect for past accomplishments. (Please, point these out to me...) But, the Big 12 has been pretty stellar in their bowl appearances and contention for the NC title too. I think that too many people have bought in to the notion that a bad Tech team being replaced by a good Mizzou team means that the Big 12 is weak.

Imagine what the ranking would look like if the Big 12 had the same preseason head start as their SEC counterparts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am admittedly an SEC fan, but I think the easy way to look at who is better is to compare each team side by side. I think Texas is the only school from the Big 12 that would win more than they would lose when playing the 5 schools listed in the top 25 from the SEC. By comparison, I think all 5 of the SEC schools would have a winning record against the Big 12 schools in the top 25.

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Other Andrew said...

Look at the teams the Big 12 played out of conference. I realize the SEC doesn't play a bunch of powerhouses either, but Texas has played Ohio State, but then Sam Houston State, North Texas, and Rice. Texas A&M played Citadel, Louisiana-Lafayett, Army, and Louisiana Tech. OSU: Missouri State, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, and Houston. Kansas: Northwestern State, Louisiana-Monroe, Toledo, and South Florida. Colorado lost to a I-AA team - and not even a good I-AA team.

So I guess I'm saying that the Big 12 hasn't exactly given themselves the chance to prove they're better than the SEC (save Nebraska getting beaten badly at USC and Oklahoma playing a so-so Oregon team evenly (and got jobbed, yes)). Texas has been given every benefit of the doubt by the pollsters. They were beaten badly, at home, by yes, a great team, but until the Oklahoma game, they hadn't beaten a remotely decent team. Yet they stayed in the top ten the entire time. So I guess I'm saying that a Texas fan doesn't really have the right to complain when your best win is the result of a horrible fumble by the other team in your only game played outside of your home state.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

Thanks for the comment anon. The problem is that there is no way to really tell who would win because the schools don't play each other. I think that most Big 12 fans could pick apart the SEC's elite and deduce a good amount of victories too. It's all perception.

But, I just don't see how the SEC has the major edge on this year's Big 12 elite.

Texas' only loss was to Ohio State...who is whipping everybody.

Oklahoma's only losses were to Texas and a joke to Oregon. (Can't say that I didn't enjoy that though) In theory, ou should only have 1 loss right now.

Texas a&m's only loss was to Tech in the final minute of play. While Tech isn't great this year, I don't see how that is much different than Penn St. losing to 7-5 Michigan last year yet retaining the #3 spot. (Hell no, I am no saying that a&m and last year's Penn St. are equal...just a comparison of manner of defeat to the quality of opponent)

Mizzou lost to a&m, who is 7-1.

Nebraska lost to Texas and USC, 2 Top 10 teams.

When you compare the SEC's losses, it is about the same. Nebraska hasn't beaten anyone and lost their only true tests. LSU has done the same thing...yet they are 6 spots higher. Arkansas lost big time to USC, beat Auburn, and is ranked #13 while Auburn is #5.

It takes too much work to raise up in the rankings when you don't start the year there. The point is if the Big 12 had the same headstart as the SEC, we would have a very similar showing in the polls. Obviously, there is no way to know that Tech is going to be bad while Mizzou is going to be good in the preseason. However, I don't think that it automatically disqualifies the Big 12 from being a true force.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

other andrew,

I respect what you are saying and I do not mean to imply that Texas has played a stellar ooc schedule.

But, let me flip it on you.

Florida played S. Miss and UCF and will play Western Carolina. Then they have their usual showdown with FSU who is bad this year. (Not Florida's fault...but true)

Auburn played Wash St. (Turning out to not be that bad), Miss. State, Buffalo, and will play Arkansas St.

Both of these teams are ranked higher than Texas right now. The only difference is that Texas LOST it's ooc game...which happened to be Ohio St. We had a close call against a good Nebraska team, much like Florida did against Tenn. and Auburn did against LSU. I don't think that there is this HUGE gap between the three teams.

You can go down the list and you will see other similarities with other Big 12 schools. Arkansas had a quality win over Auburn but has squeaked out victories over Vandy and Bama. (Two unranked teams) a&m had a quality win over Mizzou but squeaked out victories against Army and Oklahoma St. (Two unranked teams)

You get the point...

The SEC rankings and the Big 12 rankings are interchangable. The SEC just had the luxary of starting the preseason with the notion that they are better. Don't get me wrong, the SEC is a damn fine conference. But, I just don't get the idea that the Big 12 is "down this year" as seems to be the battle cry...pretty much every year.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Scott Boswell said...

A poster on the MZone board asked my thoughts on the 2004 undefeated Oklahoma/Auburn debacle.

Personally, I thought that Auburn should have gotten the nod. I am a well-known hater of ou, but the fact that they had gone to the game the previous year and got dominated furthered the cause the Auburn should have played USC.

Secondly, the Big 12 was admittingly very top heavy that year. You had Oklahoma undefeated and Texas right behind them with 1 loss. Everyone else, including the north champ CU, had 5 or more losses with the exception of Tech who had 4.

The fact of the matter is that the Big 12 can't win in the court of public opinion. If Oklahoma, Texas or Nebraska is dominating the conference, the Big 12 is top heavy...or called (insert team) and the 11 dwarves. If the records are more spread out, like they are right now, the Big 12 is apparently down. Perhaps a few more years of even records will lay the ground work for the Big 12 to find an identity. Who knows?

If you inserted Vandy and South Carolina for Auburn and Florida as this year's confernce elite...would the SEC's credability take a hit? No, as long as Tenn and LSU are strong the perception will be that the SEC is just a tough conference.

I'd just like to get to the bottom of why that is.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEC dominance is a fraud.

Due to weak OOC games everyone starts with 4 wins. Beat two conference cellar dwellers and you are bowl eligable, then the rest of the conference brags about beating all these bowl teams. They take credit for every team in the conference even though they don't play them all. The SEC is hyped, they have some great teams, but by refusing to play challenging OOC games and hardly ever playing road OOC games they don't get my respect.

12:58 PM  

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