Poll Dancing: Week Nine

(This is a guest series by MotSaG reader Jason Nafziger. He’ll be taking a weekly look at the college football polls and pointing out the absurd, the laughable and the head scratchers. Please note that Jason is not talking about the BlogPoll. Or my ballot to the BlogPoll.)

Yeah, I’m a little late this week, but I spent the time since last week’s entry reading Death to the BCSby Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan. It’s a surprising – sometimes downright shocking – book that will leave you angry, disillusioned, and bewildered that this is the way it is. The authors’ proposal of a sixteen-team playoff featuring all 11 conference champions (three rounds played at home stadiums and a title game at the Rose Bowl) is enticing and exactly the way it should be. Anyway, go read it.

If you need more convincing, here is a look at what this year’s playoff could look like, assuming all conference championships go to the current leader (with seeding and at-large berths based on AP poll):

(1) Oregon vs. (16) Troy
(2) Boise St. vs. (15) Northern Illinois
(3) Auburn vs. (14) Pittsburgh
(4) TCU vs. (13) UCF
(5) Alabama vs. (12) Virginia Tech
(6) Utah vs. (11) Oklahoma
(7) Wisconsin vs. (10) Stanford
(8) Ohio State vs. (9) Nebraska

The first round has some pretty sweet games already, and the second round could feature a Rose Bowl rematch, and a chance for three mid-major programs to advance to the Football Final Four! No wonder the BCS powers-that-be are scared to death of this thing.

On to the standings:

1. Oregon
2. Auburn

Despite playing virtually the exact same game as Auburn, the Ducks vaulted the Tigers in this week’s edition. The argument could be made that USC is a better team than Ole Miss, and that’s probably true, but their records are 5-3 and 3-5 respectively—hardly a major difference.

Next: Home games vs. Washington (Ore.) and Chattanooga (Aub.)

3. TCU
4. Boise State

Another flip-flop, and this one is even more bewildering because while both teams abused cupcakes last week, TCU’s cupcake was the more, well, cupcakey.

Next: Both teams face off against their prime conference challengers as Boise hosts Hawai’i and TCU travels to take on…

5. Utah

While the Spartans were busy forgetting they had a game, the Utes became the third mid-major team in the top 5. If this isn’t the year the BCS gets busted, it’s never going to happen. The winner of TCU/Utah should have first dibs on the two-spot if Oregon or Auburn falters down the stretch.

The Breakdown (full Top 25): 24% SEC, 20% Big 12, 16% Big Ten, 16% mid-major, 12% Pac-10, 12% ACC, 0% Big East [no change from last week]


  1. I haven’t read the book and I hate to say it, but I’m pretty sure that a 16 team playoff would be pretty terrible- for fans that love to go and watch games in person anyways. I definitely admit it would be great to watch on TV from the comfort of your living room…and would be the most fair and clear up all the issues there are with the BCS and rankings. As a fan though there will be many years we’ll get screwed out of going away and seeing the buckeyes in the middle of winter. If we’re ever a 9-16 ranked team at the end of the season, we might get to go somewhere…but what if I go to that and we win? (say florida somewhere for example) Then the next week we play in Texas? Then Oregon…and finally the Rose bowl? Don’t think many people, even the well off, can afford 4 weekends of traveling. Or do I wait and hope we keep winning? Besides, its pretty irrelevant because the SEC would never agree to come north in December and January. They get regional home games for their bowl games for the most part now a days. Or you could go to no bowl games because we happen to lose at home in December sometime. I’m just saying theres a bunch of bad variables in there especially for fans that love traveling to the bowl games as they’re currently set up.

  2. You’re right, the visiting fans would be limited, but that’s kind of the point of home-field advantage isn’t it? I don’t think it would be a huge problem, specifically for Ohio State since there are Buckeye fans everywhere.

    A 16-team playoff does not need to eliminate any other bowl games that currently exist. Personally (and this is an idea not addressed in the book) I’d leave the current “BCS bowl” spots open for teams who lose early in the playoff, so those bowls can still have attractive matchups to sell and more teams can have the opportunity to end their seasons with a win. Everybody else can do what they’re doing now — the exact same people who are interested in the Little Caesar’s Bowl (i.e. Michigan fans) will still be interested in it, regardless of the playoff.

    The SEC will agree to anything that makes them more money, which everyone (even BCS leaders like our own Jim Delany) agrees that it would. In fact, it was the SEC that originally proposed an instantly shot down 4-team playoff.

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