Monday, November 16, 2009

Reaction to the Rankings: BYU Stuck at 22 in the BCS

The new polls are out, and BYU has made some ground in the human polls, but the computer polls prevented any advancement in the BCS standings, notwithstanding numbers 14 through 17 all losing this weekend. Oregon State and Stanford leapfrogged BYU in the rankings.

In the USA Today poll BYU is up four spots and is a clear cut 18 (over 100 points separates the Cougars from number 17 and number 19). BYU is up three spots in the AP poll edging out Oregon State for number 19. The Harris Poll has the Cougars at 18, which is another four spot improvement.

I was surprised to see the voters got it right this time. They normally penalize teams for ugly wins, but reward them for pretty losses. Even though BYU survived on the road at winless New Mexico, the voters still moved BYU up. When are the computer polls going to stop underestimating the value of an ugly win? How many times does a Tennessee have to lose to an Alabama 12-10, or a West Virginia to a Cincinnati 24-21, or a lowly Pac-10 team to beat a top-5 USC team for the computers to realize that all bets are off in conference play, especially conference play in November? A win is a win and a loss is a loss, period.

What bothers me the most about the rankings and the BCS standings this week is how LSU was treated. The Tigers struggled to beat a bottom of the pack Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team. Yet, the BCS average for LSU improved from 0.6138 to 0.6648, while the BCS average for Boise State, who is criticized for its weak WAC schedule, dropped from 0.8126 to 0.7950 and from 6 to 7 in the computer poll averages. Boise State beat Idaho this week, who is 7-4 on the season and one of the top WAC teams, 63-25.

The BCS is an unfair, biased system, so while I am glad to see the human polls reward BYU, I am frustrated to see BYU and others struggle to move up in the BCS standings.

What is your reaction to the rankings?

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