The Jones Top Ten is on hiatus, however the name rightfully remains the same. Until further notice it will remain the Jones Top Four.
Computer rankings are skewed and polled rankings are objective. This is an issue. Perhaps, every so often, the skewedness and objectivity balances out to give the right credit to the right teams, but I have my doubts. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina highlight this phenomenon quite well. Florida’s best win is over South Carolina, South Carolina’s best win is over Georgia, and Georgia’s best win is over Florida. All three of these teams have managed to crack the top 10 of the BCS rankings, unfortunately because they all pass the eye-test, and the polls that reflect this once over tie into the computer rankings that return the love. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it? One that has plagued the BCS since its inception and one that has no doubt had shaky implications.
Flashback to 2008: The Texas Longhorns are ranked first in the country after having defeated Oklahoma, only to be upset by Texas Tech a few short weeks later. Oklahoma then, conveniently, beats the Red Raiders, creating a three-way tie for the Big 12 South. Here arises the issue: who is better? I beat you, you beat him, and he beats me, and now we are back to the drawing board as if no games have been played at all. We are left to guess; well, this team just looks better, you know? This team just has a better shot at winning, or cynically, this team will bring in the most T.V. revenue. The situation is worsened as OU, the poll favorite, loses in the National Title game in representing a spot that could have belonged to any 3 of the teams.
Flash-forward to 2011: The LSU Tigers have just completed a perfect season, including an SEC championship game win, thus cementing their spot in the BCS title game. However, a key issue remains, who gets to play them? The two contenders are no less deserving of making the trip than each other. Oklahoma State has capped off a Big 12 winning season, albeit including a loss to Iowa State on the road after a barely missed field goal, and Alabama has turned in an impressive resume as well, their only loss coming to the top-rated Tigers. Unfortunately, what determines the decision is the teams BCS ranking, and in this case, Alabama scores the #2 spot. But wait a second, LSU already beat Alabama, we already, theoretically at least, know that LSU is better than Alabama, so why not have the Tigers play a team that would validate their supremacy? Say, I don’t know, the winner of the 2nd best conference. That’s the beauty of college football, that’s why it works. Hell, that’s even why the BCS is half decent sometimes: you play each opponent once and the winner takes all. Obviously there are conference title rematches, but these anomalies still exist within a non-objective, pre determined system. When a rematch is conscientiously given there’s a chance that it won’t prove anything.
I’ve caught myself rambling. Sorry. Whatever the case, Horns fans and Pokes fans should accept that had they won the games that they were at fault for losing, everything would be fine. I understand that you know 2008 was annoying, and that 2011 was awful, but I would like to rekindle some emotions before saying that whatever you felt in either of those years, 2012 will be much, much worse. So bad, in fact, that it will effectively ruin the entire BCS era for better or for worse, and perhaps leave the 2006 Rose Bowl as a lone diamond in the rough. And the shame is that it almost worked out this year, almost. LSU really was close to beating Alabama, and Notre Dame really was a field goal away from losing. Is the season over yet? No, of course not. K-State could be upset by Texas, Alabama could lose to A&M (or Georgia. Psshhhhahaha. But really A&M is decent), USC could magically upset the Irish, and Oregon could very well lose to Stanford or OSU. But let’s be honest, if you can’t beat Notre Dame when the Irish give you a 40 yard field goal after fumbling in your end zone, and if you can’t beat Alabama when you have them pinned at their own 25 with 90 seconds left and no time outs, then can you really beat Oregon in a race to 70 points? Or hope that K-State might give up its first points-off-of-turnover of the season? Sure you can, because anything is possible and because we haven’t had nearly enough BCS drama yet. So listen up 14 teams, because that’s how many we’re down to, here’s your competition going into week 10, plan accordingly:
Oregon: This is the greatest college football offense anyone has ever seen. I type that statement with zero hyperbole and extreme confidence. The first time they actually played for a full 60 minutes they put up 730 yards against a pass defense ranked 23rd and a rush defense ranked 75th (as in, one was good and one was slightly worse than average). They broke USC’s total-yardage allowed record (like since 1888) before the 4th quarter had even gotten underway. On the road. They were on pace after the first half to score 68 points against a scoring defense ranked 23rd and that number was below their first half season average. If you punt against this team it saves everyone’s time if you put up 7 and let the Ducks kick off.
Alabama: Unfortunately, their schedule is a bit too soft to put any real pressure on the Tide this year. The Aggies actually field the best team that Bama will face, excluding postseason appearances. Yes, I would take A&M over whatever combination of overrated SEC East teams have a shot at making the SEC title game.
Kansas State: There might be two teams better, on paper, currently than the Cats. And any team that isn’t is not going to beat Snyder’s doomsday machine. K-State’s points off of TOs? >100. Opponent’s points off of TOs? <1.
Notre Dame: Sure, they look beatable. With an offense that is, to put it nicely, awful at times, and a lingering aurora that stinks of post 1988 Irish depression, Notre Dame doesn’t seem like they should be a title contender. Their 9-0 start has been paved with Leprechaun gold, four-leafed clovers, dehydrated breakfast-cereal marshmallows, and Hawaiian tribal war chants. And now, as evidenced on Saturday, we know that Jesus does, in fact, favor the Irish. For any God-fearing all-American team this is manageable, but USC could be in trouble. Still though, Notre Dame is terrifying on defense and very well coached, and it helps that Rudy premiered on NBC after Notre Dame’s triple overtime win.
Here is the upsetability ranking for the 14 remaining games/teams:
2. Oregon State
3. Texas A&M
4. Texas (Do Texas fans want the Horns to win this game? Help me out here)
5. SEC Title game
7. Wake Forest
8.-14. Literally no chance whatsoever, yes I’m including the Pac 12 championship game. If Chip Kelley beats you once he will embarrass you the second time around.