Monday, September 22, 2008

Is Ohio State Still Elite?

I ask the question not so much as a jab at the Buckeyes (though it is not devoid of that either), but as a pertinent part of my poll voting procedure.

I rank teams in three tiers – Top, Middle and Lower. Very few teams are top tier, and a victory over one of these teams merits high rankings.

The vast bulk of teams are mid-tier, including most of the BCS conference teams. Certain non-BCS teams, like Utah and BYU, I also place in this category.

The lower tier teams include all of the FCS teams (formerly Division I-AA), most of the non-BCS teams, and a few of the BCS teams, like Syracuse.

In regard to Ohio State, they have not won a consequential game this year. They were thoroughly routed in the game they lost. They were outgained in their win over Troy, and fought Ohio to the wire.

Is this an elite team?

In my early Power Rankings (early, because we don’t have accurate strength of schedule info yet) Ohio State ranks 39th of 119 team. Certainly they are not elite there.

It is my inclination to move them down to “mid-tier”. This will have a direct effect on my poll, as it will no longer make USC number 1.

As of now, my Top Tier teams are (rough order they are coming up in my Power Poll)–

Penn State

I am also moving the following from Lower to Mid Tier –


Lastly, non-BCS teams that are Mid-Tier rather than Lower –

Boise State
Ball State

Any reader thoughts before I mark my ballot are appreciated.

UPDATE: The more I look at the current evidence, the more I really hate ranking teams right now. First of all, there simply isn't much evidence at all. Several teams postponed games because of Hurricane Ike, so many have 1 less game than they otherwise would.

Second, with the exception of LSU-Auburn, none of the highly ranked teams has played a serious opponent yet. With Ohio State slipping all the time, the best matchups so far this year (besides the aforementioned LSU-AU) appear to be South Florida - Kansas and Wake Forest - Florida State. Penn State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Texas Tech have played a bunch of absolute nobodies. How the hell can we be four weeks into the season with such a bunch of meaningless contests?

Finally several readers made excellent comments so far, with my responses below -

- I agree I'm not sold on Penn State yet. Or anyone for that matter.

- Missouri is an offensive powerhouse, but does look vulnerable on D. Kind of like Florida last year.

- Fresno, ECU and Tulsa are definitely Mid-Tier. I'm on the road, but if I have a chance I will put together a list of where I see all 119 teams.

-Wisonsin may rate a Top Tier designation, but seeing as the best team they have played is Fresno, let's wait and see.


Anonymous said...

I am not quite sold on PSU being stellar hust yet. They have yet to play a decent team. If they throttle Zook and the gang I will be slightly more impressed.

UFGatorDMD said...

I don't see anything tOSU has accomplished this year to indicate they are an elite team.

Penn State will have a chance to prove themselves against the Fighting Zookers.

Missouri? I'm not sold on them. They are an elite offensive team, but their defense is getting exposed. They're good, but maybe not elite. Time will tell with that one, though, and I think they've done enough to be considered as a top tier team at the moment.

Arguments could be made for Auburn being another top tier team out of the SEC (especially when their offense gets clicking), but I guess that would be piling on.

Clark said...

No, OSU is not a Top Tier team.

I suggest that more non-BCS teams ought to be Mid-Tier. C'mon, if Duke is getting consideration of being moved out of the Lower Tier then so should teams like Fresno State, ECU and Tulsa. I would also be curious to see your full list of Lower Tier BCS teams. (Washington, Rutgers, Syracuse, etc.?)

Mhoram said...

I agree that dropping Ohio State makes sense, and I tend to think that Penn State will be the class of the Big Ten this year.

Doesn't Wisconsin merit some consideration as a top tier team? Or should that still be wait and see?

dethwing said...

The irony of course, is if Ohio State had won, we'd be asking the same question about USC. "They beat Virginia, but don't show up against Ohio State? How is that elite?"

You really need everyone to have played about half their schedule and 2 or 3 conference games before you can do anything more than hand waving about.

Mergz said...

Actually dethwing in OSU's case it is a little more than that - they really haven't played well against teams they should dominate.

Of course, had they beat USC, all of that would seem moot.

LeakBrewerGator said...

In regards to Ohio St., I would look at it this way: Where would the Buckeyes rank in other conferences?

If Ohio St. were an SEC East team, they would lose to Florida, Georgia and possibly Kentucky this season. If they had Florida's schedule they would also lose to LSU. If they had Georgia's schedule they would probably lose to Alabama. Hell, if they had Tennessee's schedule they would lose to Auburn. They would probably rank third of fourth in the East, are Kentucky or Tennessee a top tier team?

Put them in the SEC west and it would be the same situation. They would be a third or fourth place team. Are Ole Miss and Akansas top tier teams?

Put them in the Big XII South. They would lose to Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and quite possibly Oklahoma St. They would probably be a fourth or fifth place team. Are Texas A&M or Oklahoma St. top tier teams?

Put them in the Big XII North. They would lose to Missouri and possibly Kansas and Colorado. They could be a second or third place team. Are Colorado or Kansas top tier teams?

Put them in the PAC-10. They already lost to USC, and would probably fall to Oregon and possibly Cal. They would be a second or third place team.

Mountain West? BYU would beat them and Utah and TCU would give them a run for their money.

dethwing said...

That's interesting, but pure speculation. Those "What would team X do in conference Y?" questions are rather pointless.

James said...

Glad someone made the Fresno/ECU/Tulsa comment already.

I wouldn't be opposed to UNLV moving into mid-tier sometime, too. They've beaten two BCS-conference teams in a row (admittedly both in overtime, and they've already got a blowout loss to Utah...) in Iowa State and Arizona State, who would each presumably be "Mid-Tier."

Well, maybe Iowa State is lower tier, but the point is that it's hard to judge which non-BCS conference teams are in which tier.

Anonymous said...

As a USC fan (to the bias straight), I don't think that OSU is a Top Tier at this point. With Beanie and an improving Pryor, maybe by year's end. Of course, this is almost the same team as last year with more experience. How bad were they last year?? Or were they just lucky.

For USC, they dominated the two games that they played. Who knows how good they really are at this point. They will struggle in a game or two this year - almost every team does and not always against the best team on the schedule. They should not be #1 even though I think they have the potential to be great this year.

Anonymous said...

"If Ohio St. were an SEC East team..." would decimate our strength of schedule.