This ballot is totally getting spiked.
There is a purity of thought to self-professed "resume rankers," those who allegedly throw out their preconceived notions of how the season should play out and base their rankings on how it actually has played out. Given the effect preseason rankings have on the other polls, the idea of tossing those rankings by the wayside as soon as the ball is snapped and ranking teams solely on how impressive they are on the field holds a certain undeniable quality of intellectual superiority.
|Last week's ballot|
Watched: Indiana-EKU, Boise St.-Oregon, Iowa-UNI (second half), nuptials, Cal-Maryland
There is an inherent problem in the old-school resume ranking espoused by such scholars and gentlemen as The Former Sunday Morning Quarterback: When you determine the "most impressive" wins of the week (especially in the first few weeks) based on points and yards in combination with "strength of opponent," you are simply trading a team's preconceived strength for that of its opponents. While it may appear likely that both Alabama and Virginia Tech will end the season with a higher poll ranking than Air Force or Arkansas State, all we know right now is that Alabama was 10 points and 350 yards better than Virginia Tech, and that Air Force put up 72 points on Nichols State. It is a problem I threatened to address last season, and the threat comes true this year.
With that in mind, we get what looks like complete insanity. Essentially, it's margin of victory with a peripheral view of yardage and slight adjustment for I-AA opponents. I know the new rules, and I am not afraid. If Galileo was willing to endure trial before the Pope and house arrest for purity of thought, who am I to protest some minor ballot spiking?
Sometimes, being a fan of a Big Ten team makes you feel like Beatrix Kiddo surrounded by the Crazy 88. There are so many limbs to remove that you don't know where to start.
The ACC went 5-7 in the first week, with 2 home losses to I-AA opponents. The Big XII took two losses from mid-majors; one of those losses was by a would-be conference title/MNC contender. The Pac-10 was 7-3, with a loss by one of its premiere programs. In fact, the only conference with a better won-loss record in week one than the 10-1 Big Ten was the vaunted SEC (11-1), and the Confederacy's week included LSU squeaking by a team that went 0-11 last season, four wins over I-AA opponents (the BXI had the same total, for the record), and a no-show by Georgia.
You would think, given the difficulties of the other BCS conferences, we would get a reprieve from the Big Ten hatred. You would be wrong:
"Atlantic Coast Conference teams went 4-6 Saturday -- two of the losses to Division I-AA teams -- and somehow still came away having not any less luster than the Big Ten, which went 9-1 in openers.
The reason: two nationally ranked Big Ten teams needed special plays from their special teams to avoid what would have been huge upsets."
Let's forget for a moment that it was the Ohio State defense, not the OSU special teams, that came through at the end of that game; it was a two-point conversion attempt, not a fake extra point. No, the title of the article should tell you all you need to know about the idiotic ideology of the author: Winning isn't enough for the Big Ten.
Actually, winning is enough. In fact, winning is all there is to do. If a Big Ten team goes 11-0 with 11 one-point wins, it will play for a national championship (the last Big Ten national champion did little more than that). Margin of victory is not included in the BCS formula anymore. The human polls are diluted by computers void of the preconceived biases of morons like Mike Hiserman. Style points only mean something to people who want to make a point that has no basis in reality. For anyone willing to look rationally at the world (and this is coming from someone who gave Air Force a #1 vote this week), this was about as good an opening week as can be expected for the Big Ten. Michigan looked competent in ways it never did last season. Purdue showed signs of life. Penn State picked up where it left off last November. A potential contender lost in embarassing fashion, to be sure, but did anyone really think a team relying on the mental capacity of Ron Zook and the quarterbacking of Juice Williams would really be a conference championship contender?
Of course, it could be that Missouri really is that good. They're #22, after all. Football nihlism wins again.