There is a lot of talk around strength of schedule when referring to Alabama, Oregon, FSU and Ohio State. Basically, a bunch of people vote on teams and we use what those people say to influence computers and who plays in the BCS championship game as a result of said computers.
Right now, the popular thing to do is to blast Ohio State’s SOS, exult Bama’s and say FSU’s is good since they beat some teams that were highly ranked, but slight them by saying “but those teams that were ranked aren’t as good as people say.” Currently, the Noles sit at #2 in the BCS, but it’s likely they will continue the flip flop game with Oregon, who probably actually has the truly strongest schedule of the four assuming they are to win out.
Enough about that, though. If we were to rank the top 4 based solely on the winning percentages of the FBS teams they have played, it would look like this:
Ohio St: 48%
Now, let’s take a look at computer BCS Guru dude Jeff Sagarin and his ratings:
2 Florida State
5 Ohio State
Here, Sagarin actually has Baylor ahead of OSU in the rankings, but not in the PURE-CHESS, which is used by the BCS, where Baylor is 7 and OSU is 5. Who is ranked 4th in the PURE-CHESS? Well, it’s Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois Shares a couple of opponents with OSU, so let’s take a look at that:
Northern Illinois defeated Iowa 30-27, Ohio State defeated Iowa 34-24. Northern Illinois defeated Purdue 55-24, Ohio State defeated Purdue 56-0. So, the PURE-CHESS is giving Northern Illinois the nod for some reason in spite of a lower calculated overall SOS. Oh, and interestingly enough, 4 loss Iowa is ranked ahead of Northern Illinois in the overall Sagarin rankings.
Ohio State is the only team in the top 4 to beat a current top 10 Sagarin ranked team (that being Wisky) for 2-0 overall against the top 30.
I realize that Sagarin can be tricky and hard to understand, so let’s look at it another way:
The number of top 25 BCS ranked teams beaten by each school:
Alabama – 1
Florida State – 2
Oregon – 1
Ohio State – 1
It doesn’t look like as much of a disparity when put that way, right? Each team still has (contrary to popular belief) likely top 25 match-ups left as FSU and OSU will likely face someone at the top of these rankings in their respective championship games.
My point? If we continue to look at polls like the Coaches poll where there is definite bias to decide who plays for championships instead of actual stats, we’re toast. Even with the 4 team playoff we are toast because it still comes down to biased humans. No one looks at facts. When facts are stated, people blow them off. The AP poll has no bearing on BCS standings.
Ah, yes, the AP. Let’s think about them for a second. Let’s say that Bama and Oregon each get a loss and OSU and FSU win out. The Buckeyes and The Noles would likely face off in the NCG. Let’s say that game is close and let’s say Bama has a close game and Oregon blows out a team. The AP could very well put the Ducks ahead of the winner of the NCG based solely on schedule perceptions based on voters and not much else. So much for winning on the field, if that were to occur.
Michigan State, who people keep saying the Buckeyes are “ducking,” will be the likely opponent for the Buckeyes in the B1G championship game, assuming all things carry on as expected. Michigan State is ranked at 17 in the current BCS rankings and has one heck of a D. If Ohio State is to win out and if two teams above them falter, OSU is a lock. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Baylor could be a dark horse, but they are just now in the meat of their schedule so let’s not toss them into the mix just yet.
I’ve long been a purist in terms of the bowls, but honestly, something like what is set-up in the FCS just makes more sense. I can admit this. My desire for the “way things were” is losing to the desire for teams winning championships on the field. A four team playoff isn’t going to solve that, either.
It’s too bad money and personal interest keep the FBS down.