First official BCS standings came out yesterday. Here's how the standings work.
Long story short, we're #16.
|Harris ||USA Today ||Computers ||BCS Avg |
Questions? Yeah, we got 'em too. Let's start with, oh, I don't know...SIXTEEN? What the hell?
Pat Forde of ESPN asks the same thing:
The Fighting Irish are three spots behind Oregon, which is a morsel of microchip madness that defies belief.Yep, the computers are killing us. A computer (apart from the Robot Genius, that is), can't look at the game on Saturday and see the relative excellence of Notre Dame, because it doesn't look at margin of victory and just how well a team played in a loss (or a win, for that matter). Any computer ranking that doesn't take into account margin of victory (perhaps with a cap to prevent Spurrieresque run-ups) is fatally flawed.
Please, somebody ask USC which team it would rather play.
You think the Trojans would choose the Ducks, who lost 45-13 to USC in Eugene? Or would it choose the Irish, who took the Trojans into the final seconds and had them all but beaten until a providential fumble and a solid push from Reggie Bush allowed the two-time defending champs to escape?
The Colley Matrix, Anderson & Hester and the other computer wizards can't factor in how close Notre Dame came to winning that game. The pollsters could and should.
The AP voters did, keeping the Irish in the top 10. But the two polls that count from a BCS perspective -- the Harris poll and the USA Today coaches' poll -- dropped Notre Dame three spots each. The Irish went from ninth to 12th with the coaches and from eighth to 11th in the Old Folks Poll.
Seriously: If Notre Dame was a top 10 team before playing USC, what happened Saturday that convinced voters it was no longer a top 10 team afterward? To justify dropping the Irish, you'd have to reason that USC isn't very good either and drop the Trojans two or three spots. You'd have to say that the game really wasn't that great after all.
Which, of course, no one is saying.
But as dumb as the polls are, it's the computer rankings that kill Notre Dame. The microchips rank it 25th.
That's because the Irish's three victories over ranked teams -- Pittsburgh, Michigan and Purdue -- have all lost their luster as those teams have fallen apart. But maybe, just maybe, Notre Dame had something to do with those collapses. All three looked legit until Charlie Weis' team skewered them on their own home fields.
And that's the other part of the equation that doesn't add up. Unlike so many teams in front of Notre Dame in the BCS Standings, the Irish have done their work on the road. Of the 15 teams in front of them in the standings, only USC has played four of its first six games away from home.
Texas Tech has played one road game, and needed a fumbled interception in the final minute to get a victory. Ohio State has played one road game, and lost. Penn State has played two of seven games on the road, losing one and barely escaping Northwestern in the other. Alabama is 2-0 on the road, but needed a field goal on the final play Saturday to beat 2-4 Mississippi.
Bottom line: In August, none of the 15 teams in front of Notre Dame would have accepted playing the Irish's opening schedule without pitching a screaming hissy fit (or, more likely, dropping at least one of those opponents in favor of a home date with Louisiana-Lafayette). Put that in your computer rankings, boys.
The good news is that if we win the rest of our games, we should be right there in a BCS bowl.