The overwhelming majority of Brigham Young Cougars fans feel the 2011 football team with its 10-3 record should be ranked in the final Top 25 rankings that should come out tomorrow (January 10). The exact percentage was 85% of voters. The other 15% voted "No."
If I had a ballot for the top 25, then BYU would be on it.
I took into account several criteria. The win-loss record is the first consideration by the top 25 panel of voters. BYU is one of 23 teams (24 if you count USA Today Top 25 ineligible USC) with a 10-3 record or better. Before bowl season, teams with a 9-3 record ranked as high as 16 and as low as 24. Clearly, BYU deserves serious consideration for the top 25 based on record alone.
The variation between 9-3 teams is a product of how impressed poll voters were with a team's wins and how "quality" the losses were. Two of BYU's three losses came to teams ranked in the final BCS standings--no. 18 TCU and no. 24 Texas. BYU had a chance to win both games, and if played again it wouldn't be surprising to see BYU win both. Even if BYU won one and was 11-2, then there isn't any question that BYU would/should be ranked. What hurts BYU the most, at 10-3, is that its most impressive win was over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Tulsa presents an interesting case study. The Golden Hurricane lost four games in the regular season. All four teams were ranked in the top 10 when they played, and currently ranked in the top 20. With that pretense comes the line of thought that BYU showed it belonged in the top 25. Of course, those other four teams didn't earn their ranking based on beating Tulsa. The value in beating Tulsa shows that BYU was able to do what four top 20 teams could do. In fact, the BYU defense held Tulsa to fewer total yards than anyone.
BYU should be in the top 25, but just barely.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Which senior will be missed most in 2012?"
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