College football wouldn’t be the same without polls telling us which teams are the best. Subjective, imbalanced, plus some supposition and conjecture along with the ever present bias: these are all implicated into any poll about sports where not everyone can play each other. Still, with a combination of computers and human intelligence (careful), the college football gods have come up with the BCS, whose acronym may stand for more than the Bowl Championship Series.
Nevertheless, the first release of the 2013 BCS rankings offers more than a glimpse at who might be the top two teams to play next January in the national championship game. However, how does the BCS standings compare to the Examiner’s Top 25 poll? The Examiner college football poll is a collection of college sports writers from around the country.
Nothing too unusual jumps out other than the fact that the BCS standings have Florida State ranked second ahead of third ranked Oregon. It’s a slim difference but in part is affected by Seminoles' big win this past weekend at Clemson. The Ducks come from a tougher conference and have more big games ahead that should push them far ahead of Florida State and possibly even to number one over top ranked Alabama. As far as the rest of the Top 10, there’s little variation except that Examiner pollsters like Stanford at sixth with Baylor eighth, but the BCS has them inverse.
Busters & big differences
When it comes to BCS busters, the Examiner has Fresno State at 13th, yet the BCS has them down in 17th. The Bulldogs don’t have many games left on their schedule to help them move up strength-wise but the human polls will likely rank them high enough to bust the BCS. Another potential BCS-buster is last year’s buster Northern Illinois. Helped by the computers (one of them has them fifth in the rankings), the Huskies are ranked 18th by the BCS, nevertheless the Examiner places them 23rd while the Harris and USA Today polls have them 21st and 22nd, respectively. Also of note, the Examiners pollsters like Louisville much more than the BCS does. The Examiner has them 15th, but the BCS knocks them all the way to 20th overall – weakened by the computers disdain for the Cardinals.
Going through the rest of the rankings, a team that the computers love but is not getting much love from the human polls is Auburn. The Tigers rank 11th in the BCS but the Examiner has them 17th. And they’re not alone. The two human polls calculated into the BCS, Harris and USA Today, have them 15th and 17th respectively. Another school the computers appear to like is Virginia Tech. The BCS has the Hokies 14th overall bolstered by several computers having Virginia Tech in the Top 10. The Examiner ranks them 18th with the two BCS human polls ranking the Hokies at 19th.
Other discrepancies include Wisconsin who is ranked 22nd in the Examiner poll but is unranked by the BCS. Obviously, the Badgers two narrow losses to very good teams on the road didn’t impress the BCS.
From a personal standpoint, the BCS has it right with Baylor. Yes, the Bears put up more points than most college basketball teams score, but until they get into the tough part of their schedule over the last five weeks of the season, they shouldn’t be rated anywhere near the Top 10.
As far as the current two potential BCS-busters, Fresno State has beaten two good clubs in Rutgers and Boise State and deserves the Examiners ranking. Again, the Examiner got it right with Northern Illinois. Until the Huskies play some higher caliber teams – which may not happen, unless Ball State is considered high caliber – they shouldn’t be ranked any higher than they are right now.
As far as Auburn is concerned, I agree with the writers as the Tigers have really just one signature win this year – that being the victory this past weekend over Texas A&M. The computers also are way off base with Virginia Tech. How can they rank them in the Top 10 when they haven’t played anyone other than Alabama who handled them easily? The computers need a reboot.