Congratulations Boise State, you basically beat Hoover High School 59-0 (actually, I’m not so sure Hoover wouldn’t beat New Mexico State). That’s the key here. The “marquee” team that they beat at the beginning of the season is a Virginia Tech team that lost the following week, at home, to James Madison. Scratch that one off your strength of schedule list Boise. Marquee win number 2? Oregon State.
Thanks to the magical wonderland, where double rainbows soar like a flock of seagulls, known as the interwebs, unimportant and nerdy people like me have access to a font of statistical analysis that allow us to sound far smarter than we really are. Let’s give a little head-to-head, anonymous comparison.
Overall FBS Rankings
Team 1: Passing – 29th (255.6 ypg); Rushing – 23rd (214.0 ypg); Scoring– 4th (44.6 ppg); Scoring Defense – 45th (21.4 ppg)
Team 2: Passing – 95th (173.8 ypg); Rushing – 27th (207.6 ypg); Scoring – 48th (31.0 ppg); Scoring defense – 54th (22.2 ppg)
Team 3: Passing – 87th (185.8 ypg); Rushing – 92nd (121.0 ypg); Scoring– 60th (27.8 ppg); Scoring Defense – 95th (30.8 ppg)
Team 4: Passing – 9th (301.2 ypg); Rushing – 56th (167.6 ypg); Scoring– 31st (34.6 ppg); Scoring Defense – 68th (24.4 ppg)
Both Oregon and Boise State have played, and beaten 2 of these teams. They are arguably each team’s best – in terms of impressing the pollsters – wins. One of these teams played Team 1 and Team 4, while the other played Team 2 and Team 3. Now remember, both teams won. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. As you can tell, statistically speaking, the team that beat teams 1 and 4 has the far more impressive ‘impressive’ wins. Now let’s look head-to-head.
Team 5: Passing – 12th (297.8 ypg); Rushing – 18th (229.3 ypg); Scoring– 3rd (45.0 ppg); Scoring Defense – 15th (15.0 ppg)
Team 6: Passing – 42nd (238.2 ypg); Rushing – 2nd (331.0 ypg); Scoring– 1st (56.6 ppg); Scoring Defense – 15th (15.0 ppg)
Pretty close. Team 5 is definitely more balanced. But Team 6 is extremely far ahead of Team 1 in rushing as far as actual yards per game. Plus there are ahead in the two most important categories – points scored and points allowed.
Okay, enough for anonymity. It’s just confusing.
Team 1: Stanford
Team 2: Virginia Tech
Team 3: Oregon State
Team 4: Arizona State
Team 5: Boise State
Team 6: Oregon
Based on this raw data that I arbitrarily pulled out of mid-air (or ESPN.com), I can’t see how you would argue in favor of Boise State. Oregon has put up more impressive numbers against much better competition. I understand that Boise State can’t control Virginia Tech being overrated; when they scheduled them, it looked impressive. And they are stuck, for now, with their soft WAC schedule. But the fact still remains that Oregon has played and beaten teams week-in-and-week-out that are much stronger than anything on Boise’s schedule. And Oregon has basically scored a point for every minute that they’ve played this season. That’s pretty freaking cool.
Jumping Oregon over Boise isn’t so much a punishment for Boise State as it is a reward for Oregon. Does this mean the Boise State couldn’t beat Oregon? Of course not. If you remember, Boise actually beat Oregon in the first game of last season. But that’s just it. That was last season. And the only reason that Boise was ahead of Oregon anyway is due to an arbitrary preseason poll that was based upon what people thought would happen. The new polls are based upon what has happened.
Which leads me to my real point. Get rid of preseason polls. They don’t do anything good. They build up hype, creating artificial scenarios where one team will get screwed and another will reap undo rewards.
So far it seems like the only teams that are living up to their ranking are Alabama and Ohio State. Alabama is definitely the number 1 team in the nation, and Ohio State looks like a very solid, impressive number 2.