Sunday, September 7, 2008

By the numbers: rank(ing)

Someone please tell me how a team that doesn't even play increases their number of #1 votes, and a team that comes out and dominates drops a couple of #1 votes in one of the polls? Does it have to do with the fact that NONE of the networks showed more than about 15 seconds worth of highlights in our game? Is it a continuation of the ESPN conspiracy against teams that aren't USC or OSU?
Here's what happened:

Week 1
AP Top 25
1. USC (21) 1-0 1,539
2. Georgia (20) 1-0 1,506
3. Ohio State (15) 1-0 1,497
4. Oklahoma (2) 1-0 1,432

USA Today Poll
1. USC (23) 1-0 1,462
2. Georgia (20) 1-0 1,442
3. Ohio State (10) 1-0 1,385
4. Oklahoma (2) 1-0 1,344
Week 2
AP Top 25
1. USC (33) 1-0 1,577
2. Georgia (23) 2-0 1,525
3. Oklahoma (2) 2-0 1,458
4. Florida (4) 2-0 1,438

USA Today' Poll
1. USC (34) 1-0 1,481
2. Georgia (18) 2-0 1,454
3. Oklahoma (3) 2-0 1,370
4. Florida (3) 2-0 1,306

There's nothing objective about this, and it's an indictment of the voting system. For the AP, 12 of Ohio State's 15 first place votes went to USC, we got the rest. The USA Today poll saw all 10 of OSU's first place votes go to USC and we dropped two votes. Net: gained one vote. Does that make any sense to anyone? And if you say that once you're #1 and don't lose you stay #1, then I would refer you back to last week where we were #1, didn't lose, and fell a spot.
The saving grace here is that voters actually did watch the OSU game and saw that they got a bullshit touchdown on a flag that should have been thrown during a punt return. Meanwhile, they struggled and were down for most of the game, scoring 14 in the final quarter. So, there went the 1 vs 2 matchup that everyone (read: talking heads)was hoping for, which I think is good.
The reason this drives me up the wall isn't about 1 and 2. It's about 2 and 3 and what could happen at the end of the year. It really doesn't matter if you're #1 at all during the season, and I do think it takes some pressure off of us to not be in that spot. I don't understand how or why we lost it, but it happened. The rules seem to change from week to week to justify the results. But, if we win the SEC with two losses (think UF/UT and a team from the west, neither of which are wild estimates), USC remains undefeated, and OSU finishes with 1 loss, where will we be?
If your team never has a chance from the start to do anything, will you keep hoping? Maybe we should ask a Gamecock fan for advice.

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