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Polls highlight the inexact science in college football formula

Oct 5, 2009, 2:30 PM EDT

Maybe I’m one of the only people who isn’t that worked up about Notre Dame’s exclusion from the Top 25 polls. Do I think the Irish deserve to be ranked? Absolutely. Do I think people should be worked up about it? Absolutely not.

While it’s not in my agenda to question pollsters, it should be in the head coach of Notre Dame’s, which is why I’m happy that Charlie Weis talked candidly about the subject in his Sunday press conference.

“I think if you look at some of the other teams that are playing and look at how their games have gone, tell me where the difference is,” Weis said about his teams exclusion from the rankings.

“I can go right up the top 10 and work right on down,” Weis continued. “You tell me what teams that are in there that haven’t had some trouble in their schedule. I mean almost everybody has. If you compare apples to apples, I think that we deserve to be there right with everybody else.”

The problem with Weis’ assertion is that he thinks people compare apples to apples. Silly rabbit. If they did, there’d be no way that a team like Oklahoma, who has beaten only Idaho State and Tulsa, would still be in the rankings. There’d be no way that Oklahoma State, embarrassed by Houston in the second game of the season, could still  be hovering in the teens. Not to only pick on teams in the state of Oklahoma, but in college football, not all wins and losses are created equal. What have we really learned about #12 Penn State? That they can wax Akron, Syracuse, and Temple, but lose by 11 points in a night home game at Happy Valley? To a team that’s ranked 14th, but escaped by a field goal or less to both Northern Iowa and Arkansas State?

Again, I’m not worried about Notre Dame’s place in the rankings. As the weeks go by and as the cards hit the table, things — like they always do — start to sort themselves out. Next Saturday’s day off could be enough to propel the Irish into the rankings. And two Saturdays from now will give everyone the insight into what type of team Notre Dame truly is. If the Irish win a close one against USC and still sit in the 20s, then you’ll hear me screaming bloody murder.

Until then, let’s just all relax and learn how to deal with the inexactness of college football’s formula.

  1. oak - Oct 5, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    It doesn’t bother me. Win in two weeks and take care of business the rest of the season and we’re good to go. In fact…win in two weeks, and you’ll see Notre Dame make one of the most ridiculous leaps in the history of college polling.
    Lose and it’s all a moot point. So again…I’m not worried at all.

  2. jim - Oct 5, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    I get your point. However, it may not bother you or me, but we don’t count. It’s the players and coaches that count. Perhaps we take this too seriously and forget that it is the players who need to be rewarded for their hard work. If they are demoralized because they feel they are not worthy of recognition, then we as fans have not done our part in supporting them well. We forget, we are fans and if this slight bothers those players we cheer on, it should bother us, not vise versa.

  3. sharkey - Oct 5, 2009 at 8:03 PM

    True that. As long as we win enough games, we are automaticaly BCS eligible. With Notre Dame such a huge draw, it is almost certain they will be invited regardless of what anybody votes or says. If they win out, all the pollsters and ESPN can kiss our ****. ND will go anyway. But, they must win.

  4. Corey - Oct 5, 2009 at 11:33 PM

    Maybe you don’t all want to say it but I will….we are being hosed. USC loss to Washington and they are 7th ranked and we beat Washington and we can’t crack the top 25???????? And I don’t think we will make a huge jump if we beat USC. They will probably just say USC is no good and give us no credit. And it does matter where we are ranked because we only have so many weeks to climb up. And while a national title shot is a stretch it wouldn’t be as far a stretch if we were around 18 right now. And more importantly we need to get up there so we get a big bowl which of course helps with recruiting and pre-season placement in next year’s poll. Which leads us to avoiding this whole cycle of having to start so far in the hole.

  5. Jan - Oct 7, 2009 at 12:43 AM

    Corey, I share your reaction….but upon relection realize our destiny is in our own hands. If we win out (and maybe even with 1 additional loss), the “big bowl” is a done deal. In the end, $$$ talks and ND is a great draw. Probably in large part because people have such strong sentiments about us – pro or con. We’re a God sent for the entertainment and business side of big time college sports. Even our detractors help ensure that “…golden is thy name…”

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