Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Drinks are Ready and the Dogs are Going to War

The title, in case you are keeping score at home.

  • In the department of fun with Sagarin, Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona team now has two wins over teams in the top 30, which is as many such wins as can be claimed by the entirety of the ACC.  Notre Dame has four top 30 wins, which equals the Big Ten’s tally for the year.  Suffice it to say that I haven’t seen much this year to shake my belief that the ACC and the Big Ten are a tier below the Pac Twelve and Bix XII and two tiers below the SEC.
  • According to the Sagarin Predictor, Harvard would be favored over one-third of the ACC: Maryland, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Virginia.  Now I could walk back from that stat by pointing out that a computer ranking will always struggle to put a value on FCS teams and especially Ivy League teams because of the lack of connections between the Ivy League and FBS programs, but that stat is too much fun for such caveats.  If FSU would not have lost to NC State, then we would have had a very interesting debate as to whether a team can contend for the national title on the back of a schedule that started with two FCS opponents and then wound its way through a truly dreadful conference.
  • And speaking of the Noles, I have had a good time watching Danny Kanell go to war on Twitter to argue that the SEC is overrated.  If ever there were someone who could speak from experience about a weak conference producing national title contenders, it would be someone who played for Florida State in the 90s when the ACC looked like, well, like it does right now.  Kanell infers some sort of bias that has the SEC on top of the conference ratings again, while Sagarin has the league second behind the Big XII and SRS has the SEC first.  Oh those computers and their pesky objectivity.  (To Kanell’s credit, he does engage Twitter followers, so at least he’s willing to defend his hard-to-defend statements.)
  • Speaking of the SEC, there’s really no good way to separate the LSU-Florida-South Carolina-Georgia quartet without putting a team behind a team that it beat.  There’s an argument to be made that Georgia is the best of the four when its defense comes to play, but it is also one of the two in the group that was on the losing end of a blowout.  LSU and Florida have the most limited offenses of the four, but they are also the ones who have been in every game.  My confidence in Alabama as the best team in the country remains unshaken, but it’s worth noting that the Tide have not played any of the foursome who are chasing them in the conference.  It’s hard to imagine LSU moving the ball on Bama this weekend, but the Tigers do come in with the advantage that they are more battle-tested.