Friday, September 07, 2007

AP Further Adds to “National Championship” Myth

You still want to claim that 2003 AP title Southern Cal?

Because this is just plain stupid.

Because of a single win, and with evidently little time to think about the ramifications, the AP Poll has changed 71 years of history and will now allow Division I-AA teams (or Football Championship Subdivision, or whatever) to participate in their rankings poll.

And just like that, the “National Championship” became ever more mythical.

As you might recall, Division I-AA teams have their own playoff system to determine a national championship. A real national championship, for which Appalachian State is the 2 time defending champion.

Now, the AP is saying the lower division teams are also eligible for the Division I-A national championship. Following this thinking to its logical conclusion, should Appalachian State convincingly run the table (playing only its remaining Division I-AA opponents), and every Division I-A team have at least one loss, Appalachian State should be your mythical Division I-A national champions. Certainly, AP voters would be entitled to make them so.

Could then Appalachian State be Division I-A and I-AA champions, at the same time?

If, however, it is the feeling that in this case they “couldn’t win it all” because of their schedule, then why include them at all? Is the AP really saying it will include them in the votes, but they really can’t win? Is it just an open sham?

It’s as if the MLB major leagues suddenly made minor league teams eligible for the world series, if sports writers are willing to vote them in.

With this move, the AP poll essentially forfeits it’s credibility as a “national championship” selector. Moreover, they further expose the sham that is the entire polling process by the inclusion of teams that surely aren’t ever meant to “win it all”.

UPDATE: Addressing the first two comments;

Anon - Au Contraire my friend, The AP DOES think it crowns a national champion with its poll – they even have a trophy for it.

Clay Haswell, AP Bureau Chief, awards AP National Championship trophy to Pete Carroll January 6 2004.

Jason – Regarding Appalachian State – “Not even the Apps will ever pick up enough bandwagon supporters to ever be ranked high enough to affect things.”

If so, why even include them? If no lower division team (or, for that matter many upper division teams) can ever “win” it, isn’t it really a sham to include them at all?

Imagine if certain NFL teams were ineligible for the Super Bowl. Such is the state of Division I-A football.


Anonymous said...

1. Numerous selectors (computer polls exclusively, but that doesn't really matter) include not only I-AA teams but every single college football team: all NCAA divisions and NAIA. Why the AP allowing I-AA teams to be in their poll would cause them to have less credibility as a selector is, apparently, beyond me.

2. I don't think the AP sees its poll as having the end of choosing a national champion, I think they see it as simply a ranking of the top 25 college football teams in the country. If schools and other news organizations want to attach specific meaning to being ranked #1 in their final poll, then that's the business of those schools and organizations. (Now another argument could be made as to whether the AP should be making their own news by releasing a poll in the first place, but that's another discussion.)

Jason said...

I can't believe I'm defending the AP poll, especially in light of their awarding USC a MNC that doesn't really exist (while the BCS may suck, it is the agreed upon system, and the only real awarder of said MNC title), but this isn't going to change anything. Not even the Apps will ever pick up enough bandwagon supporters to ever be ranked high enough to affect things.

Also, since the poll predates the 1-a/1-aa setup, all one can say is that the AP is as creditable now as it was then... for whatever little that is worth.

Jason said...

Because it's a great PR move on the part of a poll that has lost any real meaning since it's no longer a factor in the official MNC title awarding.

The point is only that it doesn't make them any more or less creditable... it doesn't make them anything. My feeling at least is that it has zero impact on anything of any importance. Which, now I think of it, is fitting.

Mergz said...

Jason -

Agreed, zero impact is fitting for the AP.

Gator Boys said...

It has some impact. Announcers are always talking about USCs back to back championships. USC did not win the 2003 championship, I wish people would realize it.