Sunday, October 7, 2007

National Championship Hunt Rankings

So far the poll voters have done a very nice job, leaving out teams like UConn that have undefeated records, but no marquee wins. But as the number of undefeated teams dwindles, it may be becoming harder and harder to find 25 worthy teams. Let's look at each undefeated team and one loss team and see what they've done so far. I start with the undefeated teams:

The One Good Team

1. LSU - Don't tell me they struggled to beat Florida, needing five 4th down conversions. This team is amazing, and Florida is nearly as good. LSU has beaten 5-1 S. Carolina, 5-1 Virginia Tech, 4-2 Florida, and 4-2 Mississippi St. No other undefeated teams are even close right now.

Early Contenders

2. California - Beat 4-1 Oregon, 3-2 Tennessee

3. South Florida - Beat 5-1 West Virginia, 4-2 Auburn

4. Missouri - Beat 5-1 Illinois, 4-2 Nebraska

5. Ohio St. - Beat 5-1 Purdue. The rest of the schedule is very weak, and I just get the feeling that this team might be over-rated. The one good thing is that they have been blowing people out.

Need More Information

6. Arizona St beat 4-2 Colorado and is 3-0 in the Pac 10, but all the tought Pac 10 games are still upcoming.

7. Boston College is 3-0 in the ACC, but the Wake Forest and Georgia Tech wins are looking less impressive now that those teams are 3-2 and 3-3 respectively.

Rank Them if You Must

8. Cincinnati beat Rutgers 3-2 and Oregon St. 3-3 so you can't say they haven't played anybody. But when did wins over Rutgers and Oregon St. ever convince you a team was for real?

9. Kansas beat a 3-2 Kansas St. team. If you think that's better than starting 4-2 in the SEC, then I guess you can rank them, but I'm still not impressed.

Zero Losses, Zero Meaningful Wins

10. Hawaii - How long until the Boise St. game?

11. Connecticut - Beat 2-3 Pittsburgh. Yep, that's as good as it gets.

One Loss Teams

OK, looking at the above teams, I'm convinced a 1 loss team will sneak into the national title game. But which team?

No Bad Loss Here

1. S. Carolina beat 5-1 Kentucky, 4-2 Georgia, and 4-2 Mississipi St., with the only loss to undefeated LSU.

2. Illinois beat 5-1 Wisconsin, 5-1 Indiana, and 4-2 Penn St., with the only loss to undefeated Missouri.

3. Oregon beat 4-2 Michigan, with a very close loss to undefeated California.

Deserve to be Ranked and in the Hunt

4. Florida St. beat 4-2 Alabama and 4-2 Colorado, with an opening day loss to Clemson.

5. Oklahoma beat 4-2 Texas, crushed 4-2 Miami, and lost close to Colorado.

Big Names, Small Profiles

These teams can probably get back in the hunt, but they only have one nice win so far.

6. USC beat 4-2 Nebraska

7. West Virginia beat 4-2 Maryland

8. Virginia Tech beat 4-2 Clemson

9. Wisconsin beat 4-2 Michigan St.

Deserved to Be Ranked, But Barely

10. Kentucky beat 3-2 Arkansas. Everyone is beating Louisville now.

11. Virginia is 3-0 in the ACC, but the best win is 3-3 Georgia Tech. The loss to Wyoming doesn't look that bad right now.

12. Texas A&M's best win is 3-3 Oklahoma St., and they barely beat Fresno St., but I'd probably still give them one of the very last slots in my Top 25.

Might Be Worth a Poll Vote, but won't play in the National Championship

13. Wyoming beat 5-1 Virginia and lost to 3-1 Boise St.

14. Boise St. beat Wyoming.

Shouldn't Be in Polls Yet

15. Indiana's best win is at 2-4 Iowa. Actually, it might be 3-3 Akron.

16. Purdue's best win is 1-5 Notre Dame. Actually, it might be 3-3 Central Michigan.

17. Texas Tech's best win is 1-5 Iowa St. OK, its probably 4-2 UTEP.

So from these 28 teams, at least 7 do not deserve to be ranked yet: Hawaii, UConn, Wyoming, Boise St, Indiana, Purdue, and Texas Tech. I might give a vote to Hawaii and Wyoming out of respect to the mid-major programs, but that leaves plenty of room in my Top 25 for Florida and other mid-level SEC schools. But 2 losses is too many for the national title picture.