Friday, October 2, 2009

Coaches Poll Irregularities

It's been a big story this week - the Coaches and Harris polls have a bunch of teams ranked ahead of teams that beat them. Penn State ahead of Iowa, Oklahoma State ahead of Houston, etc. I think most everyone agrees that these polls have major, serious flaws that cut right to the heart of the credibility of the BCS. But there's more to this story and these numbers, as usual. Let's add some context cake to the rage-flavored frosting, shall we? (The statistics that follow all track the Coaches rankings of Week 4 in each of the BCS seasons. So basically through September.)

98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
# of undefeated Top 25 teams 16 17 17 20 17 20 19 15 14 20 18 12
# of one-loss Top 25 teams 9 8 8 5 8 5 6 10 11 6 7 13

No team with two losses has ever been ranked in the Top 25 in week 4 in the BCS era. And this year, there are more one-loss teams in the poll at this time than ever. What's important about this is that it means that there's more opportunities for teams to be ranked ahead of teams that beat them. But just because something is available doesn't mean it has to be taken, right? Right. The Coaches aren't forced to rank teams that lost higher. But the next important thing to realize is that this isn't the first time they've done so: this has happened every single year of the BCS (except 2007).

(Continue to The National Championship Issue)

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