Well, they should've asked all the pollsters to remove their eyeballs so they can only check the scores in Braille.
We're more than halfway done in the 2009 season, and the BCS Standings provides a clear picture: Style points matter. Why else would Iowa be ranked fourth despite being the near-unanimous choice as the top team by the computers?
The Hawkeyes may be 8-0, but they got to 8-0 in the ugliest fashion imaginable. They had to block two field goals against I-AA Northern Iowa (5-3, ranked 14th in the I-AA poll). They looked listless against Arkansas State (2-4, sixth in the Sun Belt). They escaped against Michigan, thanks to five Wolverines turnovers, including a game-killing interception in the final minute. And they needed the very last second to beat Michigan State last week.
The computers may love Iowa, but clearly the voters don't. The Hawkeyes are ranked eighth in both the Harris and Coaches polls, the lowest among the seven remaining unbeaten teams and also behind one-loss USC.
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The less-than-stylish victories may ultimately cost Iowa a shot at the BCS national championship. There is a pretty wide gulf between the Hawkeyes and No. 3 Texas, the team poised to face the SEC winner (between Florida and Alabama) in the BCS title game. Iowa's computer points have maxed out, meaning it could only lose ground in this department against all other contenders.
The question is: Will they gain on the competition in the two polls? (I've been admonished by a reader for using the redundant "human polls," so I'm honoring his wish.)
They have one chance, and one chance only, to do that. The Hawkeyes have four games remaining, three at home against mediocre Big Ten foes (Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota, combined 13-11) - they can only be hurt by not winning these games impressively. Their only road game, at Ohio State on Nov. 14, appears to be only road block to an undefeated season.
A resounding win over the Buckeyes will do wonders for Iowa. It will all but guarantee that the Hawkeyes will stay ahead of the Trojans, who eeked out an 18-15 win at Columbus earlier in the season. That also will pave the way for them to stay clear of all other unbeaten teams. It might even give them enough of a boost to jump Texas.
Toward the end of each season, the BCS becomes all about the polls, and therefore all about style. For the judges in this beauty pagaent, ugly victories count for about as much as moral victories.