Monday, November 20, 2006

Poll Madness (The final part of the three part series)

The polls are out! The polls are out!

So what does this mean for America's top football programs?

I'll take the easy part first; Ohio State, pack your bags, you're headed to Glendale!

Now things get a little stickier. Michigan retained their second place ranking in both the AP Poll (which I realize is irrelevant, just wanted to point it out) and more importantly in the BCS standings even though they slipped to third in the Coaches' and Harris' polls. Now before you get all up in arms about this, USC fans, I have some good news. It looks as though The Trojans, do in fact, control their own destiny. Michigan's hold on second place is tenuous at best. They are a Casino Royale-esque .007 points ahead of USC (.926 and .919 respecitively).

Considering the fact that Michigan is done playing for the year, they have no where to go but down in the standings unless USC, Arkansas, or Florida lose. If USC wins against Notre Dame, especially in an impressive fashion, they should be able to make up the .007 points, no problem.

Things will get interesting though, if USC loses. If they lose, then all hell will break loose. I don't think it's possible to predict how the BCS will play out in the event of a USC loss. It'll be dependent on who the computers love and how against a rematch some voters would be.

Some Observations Concerning the Polls

-One thing I noticed that could indirectly help the Gators cause would be a Louisville loss. You may be wondering on earth that could affect the Gators, but there is a correlation. Arkansas currently has a .770 ranking from the computers, while Louisville clocks in at .780. Assuming Arkansas beats LSU (which will give the Razorbacks a boost in the human polls), they would be in position to pick up the computer points that Lousiville would lose with a loss. Now stay with me; so, if Arkansas picks up those extra points, and proceed to lose to Florida, Florida's win will look even more impressive.

-Upon closer examination, if USC truly wants to control their destiny, they will need to put on decent performances against ND and UCLA. I think at this point most people expect the Golden Domers to go down (correct me if I'm wrong), so if USC struggles, their win may not count for as much in the eyes of the voters and the circuits of the computers. Their lead in the human polls is razor thin (21 votes in the Harris and 16 in the Coaches'); if they struggle against both UCLA and the ND team that Michigan destroyed, they may lose some valuable points.

-If Boise State wins at Nevada they will lock up a BCS bid. Don't assume that they will win though, they have struggled at times recently, and Nevada won't be a cake walk. The Wolfpack are 8-3 and undefeated at home. I could easily imagine Boise going down a la Rutgers.

-Sorry Badgers' fans, the Citru- er Capitol One Bowl it is. Even if Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and USC were all somehow to lose, you would not be in a BCS bowl even though you would conceivably be 3rd in the BCS rankings. Only two teams per conference are allowed in BCS bowls.
It is pretty impressive that the Big Ten has three teams in the top 8 of the BCS rankings, granted in Wisconsin's only big game, they lost.

-It's interesting that the computers love Cal so much. I can't figure out why. They're ranked (rightfully so) 23/22 in the human polls, but 14th by the computers. Cal has lost its two biggest games of the year as well as a stinker against suddenly hot Arizona. How come Tennessee fans aren't irate about being ranked a spot lower than the Golden Bears in the BCS Rankings and 3 spots lower by the computers? Afterall, they beat Cal and their losses came against Florida (by 1), LSU (by 4) and at Arkansas, the 4, 10, and 6th place team in the rankings.

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