If you're looking for a good argument against head-to-head as a tie-breaker, take a gander at the ACC Coastal. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech finished tied at 5-3. Georgia Tech has:
- A better overall record;
- A higher ranking using all three of Sagarin's measures (the Jackets would be a two-point favorite on a neutral field, per the Sagarin Predictor);
- A better yards per play on offense (6.12 to 4.6) and defense (4.78 to 4.89). In fact, Virginia Tech is that rarest of "champions" to be outgained on a per-play basis; and
- A better per-game scoring differential (7.3 to 3.7).
I can't see any measure that would lead one to conclude that Virginia Tech is better than Georgia Tech this year. Nevertheless, the Hokies are going to the ACC Title Game on the strength of a three-point win in Blacksburg in which the Hokies were outgained by 140 yards. The love affair with head-to-head tiebreakers reminds me a little of NFL fans' blithe acceptance of the notion of a six-loss team being declared "champion" over a one-loss team: it requires submission to an arbitrary rule that elevates the small sample size over the larger one.
Boo Dabo Swinney!So Clemson has hired Dabo Swinney on the basis of a sterling 4-2 finish for the Tigers, despite the fact that he's never been a coordinator. Am I pointing out the obvious when I mention the following three names: Ray Goff, Bobby Williams, and Bill Stewart? I suppose it's possible that all of Clemson's ills were caused by Tommy Bowden and Rob Spence and that Swinney will assemble a good staff, recruit well, and turn out just fine. That said, that's an awfully thin resume for a head coach at one of the ACC's premier programs.
Boo Lane Kiffin!
I also hate the Lane Kiffin hire. (And no, I'm not intentionally trying to be Statler & Waldorf here.) Kiffin's resume is certainly fuller than Swinney's, but I still don't like what's on it. I'm willing to overlook Kiffin's time with the Raiders because that toxic waste dump of a franchise can destroy anyone's ability to look good. I'm more focused on Kiffin's time at USC. He was co-coordinator in 2005 when USC had ludicrous offensive talent and was only one year removed from Norm Chow. The USC offense took a serious step back in 2006 when those two conditions no longer existed. Kiffin is touted as a great recruiter at USC, but it's not as if the Trojans' recruiting has suffered since he left. Something tells me that Pete Carroll's personality and the fact that USC is the NFL franchise for the nation's second-largest market have more to do with the annual parade of five-star players who sign with the Trojans. As with Swinney, the only compelling case to be made for Kiffin is the fact that he'll bring in his dad to coach the defense and the Orgeron to coach the defensive line. What does it say about a head coach when the best thing that can be said about him is that he'll bring in assistants who are better than he is? I'm frustrated that Tennessee didn't hire Brian Kelly, mainly because I wanted them to keep him away from Notre Dame.Boo Tony Barnhart!
And while we're on the subject of the Vols' coaching search, how about Tony Barnhart letting out his inner neanderthal:
Tennessee fans might want to rethink Mike Leach: Don’t get me wrong. I like to watch Leach’s Texas Tech teams play. And the Red Raiders have had a wonderful season. But Saturday night at Oklahoma it was time to play big boy football on the road and the Sooners destroyed Texas Tech 65-21. Understand that in the SEC you have to play three or four of these types of games every season. These are physical football games where finesse tends to get overwhelmed by brute strength. Alabama will be that kind of team as long as Nick Saban is there. Leach is a good coach but not a fit for Tennessee or the SEC.I don't know where to begin with this. Maybe with the fact that Oklahoma apparently plays big boy football this year, but not last year when the Red Raiders beat them. And Oklahoma plays big boy football, but Texas does not. And there's no acknowledgment that maybe Leach has accomplished something by getting good, but not great talent to 11-1, or that Leach might be able to accomplish really big things if he had Tennessee talent instead of Texas Tech talent. And wasn't brute strength supposed to overwhelm finesse and prevent Urban Meyer's offense from succeeding in the SEC? If Mike Leach isn't a fit for the SEC, then that's an indictment of the SEC. Barnhart is one of the best college football writers out there, but he occasionally lets loose a bad General Neyland impression. He ends up sounding like the Japanese generals in World War II who swore that Japan did not need to develop radar because their eyes could see just fine.