Voters for the AP and Coaches polls reacted to Nevada's victory over Boise State on Friday night much differently than I anticipated. It is very surprising to see a non-AQ team remain in the top ten following a loss. I was expecting more voters to react like Desmond Carter who moved the Broncos from #3 to #20 on this week's ballot. It is refreshing to see voters did not overreact to a three point overtime loss to a ranked team on the road. What is disappointing is the treatment of Nevada who remains several slots lower than the Broncos.
For the first time, the absurdity of voters using a team's legacy and overemphasizing a team's strength of schedule worked in favor of Boise State. With identical records, the only reasons Boise State is ranked higher than Nevada is due to factors that have frustrated Bronco fans for years. Boise State has a longer history of performing at an elite level and may have received the benefit of the doubt from some voters. The rest of Nevada's schedule is deemed by many to be too soft to warrant them a spot deep into the top fifteen or voters may find it difficult to move any team up eight to ten spots this late in the season.
Voters overlooked what should be the most important factor when ranking teams - the actual results on the field. Head-to-head should trump all other weighing factors when teams have identical or similar records, especially this late in the season. In this case voters will either have to severely punish Boise State for an overtime road loss or artificially increase Nevada's ranking to reward the Wolfpack for what they earned on the field of play.
Craig James Update:
As if this weekend was not bizarre enough, this week's ballot from Craig James can actually be used as an example on how to properly rank teams based on head to head results. This still does not excuse his treatment of TCU, however.
As always, the prior week's poll is not considered when creating the draft ballot, and a formula that weighs a team's wins and losses is used as a starting point. With the one-loss and two-loss teams bunched so tightly there is some interesting movement from week to week.
- Nevada - Watershed moment for the Wolfpack program that could make an impact similar to BSU's 2001 victory over Fresno State.
- Oklahoma - The Bedlam win vaults the Sooners into the Big XII Championship
- Texas A&M - The Aggies should receive bonus points for ensuring Texas stays at home during the bowl season.
- Arkansas - Likely secured a BCS bid with the win over LSU.
- Boise State - After 704 days of taking everybody's best shot the Broncos finally fall a few feet short (or wide).
- Florida, Texas, USC, Penn State, Miami - As the season nears its end, there is a little bit of joy seeing these teams unranked. Even more joy that NotreDame, Michigan and BYU are relegated to irrelevant status.
- Connecticut - The potential Big East champ currently sits at #57 in my formula and has the following rankings in the BCS computers: 42,52,55,58,63,64 Viva la BCS!
Post your comments on how the final poll submission should look. What teams would you move and why? When do other factors trump head-to-head results and how do you deal with the head-to-head in mess atop the Big 10 and the Big XII?