Monday, September 21, 2009

In defense of "resume rankings"

New readers may not be aware of our controversial status in the Blogpoll. Controversial because many see our philosophy as unorthodox. First let me declare that Mergz and I believe that the current way college football is structured is FUBAR. The most important of college sports is also the one that relies on popularity and speculation to crown its champion. Let me also declare that it is impossible to accurately rank the top 25 teams out of 120, especially a couple of weeks into the season.

So Mergz has decided to try to remove as much subjectivity as possible out of our rankings for the Blogpoll (understanding that there will always be some). To that end the preseason Blogpoll is based on rankings of recruiting classes from the previous four years. Certainly there is subjectivity there, it's based on talent evaluations by third parties but for us it's a mechanical exercise.

Then, when the season begins, we start with a resume method. The teams with the most impressive resumes are ranked higher than those with less impressive resumes. And there is subjectivity here too. But there's one thing that isn't subjective: head-to-head results.

So with that in mind I urge you to look at the current Associated Press Rankings.

#12 - U.S.C. (2-1, with a loss to Washington)
#24 - Washington (2-1, with a win over U.S.C.)

In any other sport, the standings would have Washington ahead of U.S.C. After all, they have identical records and Washington beat U.S.C head-to-head.

Washington's loss was to non-conference LSU. U.S.C.'s loss was against a conference opponent. In other sports (or the NFL), in-conference losses are worse than out-of-conference losses.

So here we have a perfect example of the underlying bias in the polls. USC has a reputation, expectations and excuses (injured and young QBs) so the voters place USC where they think they should be NOT where they deserve to be, which is somewhere lower than Washington.

So next time you are thinking that you love college football because it's "quirky" and "unique" remember that it's also fraudulent and ludicrous.

You can quibble with a lot of what we write but Washington deserves to be ranked ahead of U.S.C., period!


Crazy Joe said...

A bit harsh - since UW was at home, an argument could easily be made that they are slightly worse than USC. Home field advantage means much more in college than the pros, and given how close the game was, it is likely USC would win at home. So the teams should be closer in the polls, but UW should not necessarily be higher, "period."

Henry Louis Gomez said...

You can make that argument but in what sport are given credit for losing close on the road when it comes to the standings?

Just another example of how we have been desensitized to the ridiculous nature of college football.

Why do we even play the games if you are sure that USC would win at home?

Henry Louis Gomez said...

And guess what? Whether USC would beat Washington at home or not really doesn't matter does it? After all the game was scheduled in Washington. Next year USC will get a crack at the Huskies at home. But for this year Washington was the better team when they played. And Washington will probably have a worse record than USC when all is said and done and because of that they should be ranked below USC. But this week, they belong ranked higher than USC for the reasons I stated.

Beer Pong Rules said...

You make an excellent point in this pretty cut and dry example but of course more variables come into play as the season goes on.

It'd be a great story to see Washington turn their program around this season. Stranger things have happened.