Sunday, October 16, 2005

I don't get it, but neither do they

After #1 USC's victory over #9 Notre Dame on Saturday night, many people were calling it the greatest college football game in history. Two schools with amazing football backgrounds trading shots for three-and-a-half hours, with USC winning the game on a Matt Leinart sneak in the final seconds. Coming into the game, Notre Dame had lost only once this season and had regained some measure of respect under first year coach Charlie Weis. Few expected that the Irish, despite their position in the polls, would put forth much of a challenge against the two-time defending national champion Trojans. USC had faced tests against Oregon and Arizona State, and despite scares from both, had come into the game undefeated.
Notre Dame stood toe-to-toe with USC and, for much of the game, looked like the better team. In the end though, it was the Trojans that walked away with a victory and their number one ranking still intact. When I woke up this morning and got online to check the new college football rankings, I thought to myself that this is a chance for voters to get one right. The ranking system in college football makes little sense, and traditionally, if a team loses, it drops in the rankings. It seemed though, that Notre Dame, having almost pulled it out against USC, would and should retain their same #9 spot in the polls, if not rise a few spots. What we saw was that, in a game they weren't supposed to win, Notre Dame could hang with the best team in the country, something we probably couldn't say about six of the seven other teams ahead of the Irish in the rankings. I mean, even according to the pollsters, Notre Dame wasn't supposed to win this game. The AP poll kept the Irish as the #9 ranked team in the country, which one could argue is still to poor assessment of this team. At least the AP pollsters had the guts to go against conventional wisdom and vote with their brains. USA Today pollsters, on the other hand, took a giant crap all over their rankings, dropping the Irish to the #12 team in the country. These voters don't get it. The Irish weren't supposed to beat USC. The polls prior to the game told us this. So when the Irish played a great game and almost knocked off one of the greatest teams in college football history over the past three seasons, USA Today pollsters decided they hadn't lived up to their #9 ranking. It's insane. I love college football. I love watching legitimate passion in the stands from people who actually have a true interest in the welfare of a team. It's hard to watch a season being determined by voters who time after time demonstrate that they have no idea why they do what they do.