It’s Time to End the Polls and Make A Playoff
By Andrew Harner aka aharner55
Like many others, I am a big believer that teams such as Boise State deserve just as much of a chance of earning the title of college football’s national champion as schools from the power conference do, but under the current system, everyone knows it’s pretty unlikely to happen.
That, however, hasn’t stopped one writer from continuing to vote the Broncos as the No. 1 team in the weekly Associated Press poll, which does count when the Bowl Championship Series rankings are tabulated.
And it’s not a Broncos beat writer, either.
Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News was the only writer (out of 60) to not vote LSU as the nation’s top team following its narrow victory at No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 5, and frankly, that’s inexcusable.
And what’s even worse, is the defense Wolf gave on ESPN’s weekly BCS standings show, where he said that he based his vote on the fact that Boise State has shown its worth against opponents such as Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia in the past.
Boise State has done that, but it was in 2006 against Oklahoma, 2009 against Oregon and 2010 against Virginia Tech. The only one of the wins Wolf mentioned that is relevant to the 2011 rankings should be the 2011 win against then-No. 19 Georgia, and that win came against a team that lost its next game, then won seven straight against an FCS team and six teams that are a combined 23-31. That brings about two questions.
1) How has Georgia since moved back to being ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the BCS standings?
2) How does that win justify voting Boise State No. 1, while several other teams have beaten more than one ranked team?
To answer No. 2, let’s look deeper and take a gander at Boise State’s other opponents this season to possibly find some justification.
But what we find is nothing special, either. Those teams are a measly, 29-31 (including a 0-14 mark against ranked teams), and none of them are in power conferences.
Meanwhile, Wolf gives no consideration to performances from LSU since 2006, which just so happen to include back-to-back wins against Alabama in 2010 and 2011, a national championship in 2007 and a BCS Sugar Bowl win in 2006.
It just doesn’t sound the same when you put it this way, does it? Where is Wolf when it comes to factoring in past performances for Stanford and Oklahoma State? The Cardinal and Cowboys are undefeated this season, too. Doesn’t that also sound silly?
The most notable flaw, however, is that Wolf is simply ignoring what has happened on the field this season at LSU.
Never mind, Wolf implies with his vote, that LSU has won six of its nine games thus far this season against opponents ranked in the top 25. Never mind that those same six teams all still have winning records and will all likely play in a bowl game. Never mind that LSU has defeated two of the teams ranked in the top six of the current AP Poll.
Apparently, it just doesn’t matter.
And that’s why, to me, polls don’t matter.
The AP Poll is so arbitrary that writers can literally vote for any Division 1-A school at any rank in any given week.
A few years ago, the poll made headlines when a writer from Cleveland selected Houston as the No. 1 team after four week, because it had defeated some formidable teams, while the consensus No. 1 selection, Florida, had just beaten up on four scrubs.
That writer made a legitimate argument. Wolf doesn’t.
Don’t get me wrong in that I think Boise has a bad team, because that isn’t what this about. Boise has a great team and a great quarterback, who I consider a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. But as many people have said, if you put Boise State in the Southeastern Conference (or, I think, even in the Big 12, Pac 12 or Big Ten), exactly how many times do you figure the Broncos would be ranked in the top 10?
And that’s why a champion shouldn’t be based on a ranking, or an opinion, or even statistics. Maybe Boise State’s 2011 team could whoop LSU’s 2011 team. Rankings say no. Stats say no. Conventional wisdom says no. But a playoff could say yes.
So please, NCAA – make this stop. Drop the polls, and start a playoff.
*all stats in this article were taken after Week 10 of the NCAA football season.
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