Hawkeyes, Hurricanes snubbed in Coaches Poll
by, 09-26-2010 at 05:25 PM (1696 Views)
After an “embarrassing” loss to unranked, two-loss UCLA, Texas is still ranked ahead of Iowa and Miami.
In college football the importance of the polls is paramount and well documented. After all, they decide who plays in the most coveted game of the season, the BCS National Championship.
Coaches like Urban Meyer, Bo Pelini, Paul Rhoads, and Ron Zook make up the 2010 USA Today Board of Coaches. Along with 55 other FBS head coaches, they rank the top 25 teams each week in the USA Today Coaches poll.
This week they demonstrated some flawed logic – something all too common in the polls, whether coaches or AP, each season.
Yesterday Texas lost to unranked, two-loss UCLA 38-12 in Austin. UCLA had not beaten a ranked opponent on the road in nearly 10 years. It was a blowout. Texas head coach Mac Brown called it a “rear-end kicking” and “embarrassing.” He even went on to say that the final score should have been “a lot worse” than it was. Texas was ranked No. 4 going into the loss.
The result in the subsequent USA Today coach’s poll: Texas fell to No. 16
The week before, Iowa lost to 18th ranked, undefeated Arizona 34-27 in Tucson. The Hawkeye’s battled back after falling behind by 20 points in the first half to tie the game with 8 minutes left only to have Arizona QB Nick Foles lead a game-winning drive on the next possession. Iowa was ranked No. 10 going into the loss.
The result in the subsequent USA Today coach’s poll: Iowa fell to No. 18
How does getting pummeled at home by a team with a losing record warrant a higher ranking than a road loss to an undefeated team ranked in the Top 20?
Come on. Really? Where’s the logic?
Unfortunately, that logic currently has the ability to be far too influential in college football today, as the polls make up two-thirds of the BCS formula. Although a team’s ranking in the fourth week doesn’t determine their post season placement, it undoubtedly has an effect.
Until there is a change in the formula, the flawed logic will continue to rear its ugly head, whether in the coaches or the AP poll, each and every season. Parts of the flaws have their roots in perception.
Look no further than Texas. ESPN’s Pat Forde recently chronicled six days in the life of Texas football coach Mack Brown. Although the piece was a unique inside look at a premier college football program, Forde mentioned on more than one occasion that the Texas Longhorns were arguably the most powerful brand in college football.
Should that matter when it comes to ranking teams each week? Does it have anything to do with how the team actually played on any given Saturday?
Regardless of whether or not it should, it clearly does. There is no other reasonable explanation for Texas to be ranked ahead of Iowa aside from perception. This week’s poll is yet another example that coaches and writers are affected by perception and a programs “brand” at the expense of the teams who are actually putting on superior performances on the field.
This is yet another reason that there should be a playoff in college football – so everyone and everything except the teams are only allowed to determine so much. The fairest way to determine a champion, or a championship game for that matter, is on the field.
If your favorite team hasn’t been slighted yet, it’s only a matter of time.
Just ask Auburn fans.