Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alabama Still No.1, Unanimously (Sort Of)

For the first time, at the urging of a few readers, the Guru is putting together a Simulated BCS Standings at the conclusion of the postseason. Besides addressing the faux outcry about how Notre Dame still finished first in one of the computer ratings, we also wanted to deal with ineligible teams and where they would've finished in the standings.

* Because the Harris Poll doesn't publish season-ending standings, we used the AP Poll as the stand-in. And also, since Ohio State and Penn State weren't eligible to be ranked in the Coaches Poll, we mirrored their vote shares in the AP poll in order to obtain their true rankings in the standings.

* The Colley Matrix is getting skewered for still having Notre Dame No. 1 after getting lambasted by Alabama by 28 points - in a game that wasn't really that close. But blame that anomaly on the BCS, which in 2002 decided to mandate that margin of victory can't be part of any BCS computers. So to the computers, all losses are treated as 1-point losses, and most computers don't automatically rank one team higher than another with identical records based purely on head-to-head results.

* Still, five of the six BCS computers have Alabama finishing at No. 1, coupled with unanimous votes from the AP and Coaches polls, the Crimson Tide still earned a perfect score in the final standings.

* Ohio State just nudged Notre Dame for No. 3, even though it was ineligible to play in postseason. Likewise for Penn State, which finished at No. 28.

* There is significant agreement between the computers and the polls as to which teams should be in the top 25. After Michigan - the only 5-loss team in the top 25, though it did lose to teams ranked Nos. 1, 3, 4, 8 and 22 - there is a steep drop to No. 26 Cincinnati.

* The ACC teams - Florida State and Clemson - ended up being the victims of their conference's subpar season. Even though both teams won their bowl games, they both finished outside of the top 10 because of weak computer rankings.

* A total of 42 teams appeared in the final standings, including back-to-back FCS champion North Dakota State, which received a lone vote in the AP Poll. This practice was allowed by the AP after Appalachian State upset Michigan in the 2007 season opener.

* One more note about the polls. The Coaches Poll had only 56 voters in the final poll, with the explanation that Mike MacIntyre, Sonny Dykes and Ruffin McNeill could not be reached in time to turn in their final ballots. Is this lame, or what? MacIntyre and Dykes switched jobs, but surely they have cell phones. And what's McNeill's excuse? Last we checked he's still at East Carolina.

* Is there any more questions about the SEC's dominance? Half of the conference (seven teams) is ranked in the top 23, including six in the top 13. Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten each placed six teams in the rankings, and the rest: Big East (3), WAC (3), MAC (3), ACC (2), CUSA (2), MWC (1), Sun Belt (1) and Notre Dame (independent).

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