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5 Thoughts - The Demise of the Noles
Posted Oct 22, 2006

Why are there so many computers being used in the BCS formula? Has everyone forgotten what's been happening on the field? How appropriate was Florida State's choice of black on Saturday in a dying season? These and more in the latest 5 Thoughts.

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In case you forgot

By Pete Fiutak   
1.  For those of you who want a playoff, you've got it and aren't really realizing it. All the time, fans need to be reminded of the old cliché that every week's a playoff in college football, but you have to accept the results.

California lost to Tennessee. Auburn lost to Arkansas. Arkansas lost to USC. I know, I know, I’ve given the dead-horse, this-team-lost-to-this-team ranking argument an extra few whacks over the last few weeks, but there’s a point I do feel I need to keep harping on: don’t forget about what actually happened on the field.

It’s convenient and easy to say Clemson is the nation’s best one-loss team after a dominant home performance against Georgia Tech, but this is the same team that came this close to losing to Wake Forest and lost to Boston College, another one-loss team. Would I take Arkansas over Auburn in a rematch? No, but I don’t have to; the two teams already played. Do I think Cal is better than Tennessee right now? Well, yeah, but the Vols already won that matchup.

The point is that you can’t let your perceptions get in the way of the results. If you’re not going to go by what happened, and rank the teams accordingly by rewarding the teams that won and punish the ones that lost, then why even play the games? Why not just hand the national title to Ohio State right now because you think it’s the best team, just like you handed it to USC in late October of last year, Oklahoma in 2003, and Miami in 2002.

One computer, one standard

By Pete Fiutak   
.  Quick, explain the difference between the Colley Matrix computer ranking and the Anderson & Hester ranking. You obviously can’t do it, and neither can any other rational human being. The computers are a necessary, cold, unfeeling watchdog to reel in the two human BCS polls in the made up of voters who don’t watch nearly enough college football to have an informed opinion. However, there’s no need to have six different formulas and six different ways to determine how teams should be ranked. That a team like Arkansas can be rated fourth by one formula (Sagarin) and 17th by another (Billingsley) is nuts.

There should be one basic formula that everyone can understand, and it should be the standard. It should include the strength of schedule as a major component, punish teams for beating D-IAA teams, bury teams for losing to D-IAA teams, and give some rewards for wins over elite and punishments for losses against the dregs.

And one final thing; the computer formula should count for more that just 1/3 of the ranking. The humans still feel burned by not having USC in the 2003 national title game, but humans are fallible. The BCS should be about what teams deserve to be in, and not what teams you think should be in. If you’re going to do this BCS thing, give the computers more of a say and come up with an objective way to do this.

Florida State's appropriate color

By Richard Cirminiello
. It was appropriate that Florida State wore black on Saturday.  The way the once-mighty Noles have been playing over the last five weeks, they ought to be in mourning.  It used to be that no one wanted to play games at Doak-Campbell Stadium, where the home team held a sizable advantage in the areas of intimidation and talent.  Not anymore.  Troy nearly knocked off Florida State in September before tightening up in the final minutes.  Clemson and Boston College weren’t as generous, helping usher the Seminoles to the ACC Atlantic basement with a hard-to-imagine 2-3 conference mark.  Against the Eagles Saturday, the nation’s 95th-ranked running attack didn’t even bother to run the ball, knowing it would have no success versus the BC front.  By its lofty standards, the Florida State program is broke, and unlike last year, there’ll be no rally for a season-saving conference crown. It’s time to move around the furniture in Tallahassee because the current configuration isn’t working like it did in the past.  Maybe that means a total overhaul or just a tweak, but something has to change.  The ACC has never been deeper and with Sunshine State studs bolting out of state to places like Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Louisville and NC State at an increasing rate, landing the area’s best recruits has gotten a whole lot more challenging.     

Part one of Texas - Nebraska was good

By Matthew Zemek
The Texas-Nebraska was not an easy game to analyze. It could be legitimately argued that Nebraska put up a good fight against the Longhorns, but it could just as easily be said that Texas gave the Huskers virtually all the points they scored.

How can the right perspective be found on a game as complex and weird as Horns-Huskers proved to be?

Here's the key: had Texas' defense been slow to react or shaky with its tackling for most of the game's snaps, one could say that Nebraska outclassed the Longhorns. But since Texas' defense was so consistent--particularly against the run--the weight of evidence suggests that a "Texas made mistakes" analysis has more heft than a "Nebraska played well" line of thought. Similarly, the fact that Bill Callahan plainly didn't trust Zac Taylor to throw a money pass on the Huskers' go-ahead scoring drive in the fourth quarter also indicates that Nebraska struggled for the balance of the day.

Reasonable minds can and will disagree, and I'm sure there are plenty of smart football people who think Nebraska played well. There is a case those folks can make for their position, but with that having been said, the verdict here is that Texas very nearly gave Nebraska a gift-wrapped, ready-made victory.

Take heart, Husker fans: the bad weather, in my mind, renders this game a very incomplete measurement of the Callahan restoration project. The fact that Nebraska lost today could actually help the Huskers if they draw the Longhorns in a rematch on Dec. 2. Here's hoping that the weather will be dry and relatively free of wind. Then both offenses--and their playbooks--could truly test the opposition, and we'll walk away with a true feel for how the Huskers and Horns stack up against each other.

Clemson is the real deal

By John Harris
5. Throughout this year, we’ve heard over and over again about how strong the SEC is and that a one loss team from that conference is better than an undefeated team in, say, the Big East.  One other thing that we’ve heard all season long is how poor the ACC is this season.  Well, before you go denigrating the ACC one more time this season, take a long, hard look at Clemson.  The Tigers put on a show against Georgia Tech and with the running game that they have, they’re not going to be taken down easily.  There aren’t many BCS teams who could handle Clemson right now.  Think Auburn is the best one loss team in the country?  Wonder if they could handle James Davis and CJ Spiller right now – they didn’t stop Arkansas.  Texas?  If they couldn’t stop Nebraska RB Brandon Jackson, how are they going to stop Lightning and Thunder?  Florida?  Is Florida’s defense stout enough in the middle to stop the Tigers or could Chris Leak and Tim Tebow handle defensive end Gaines Adams and a fast, physical defense?  Notre Dame?  Please.  It’s fun to project how these teams will fare against one another, but conference strength opinions often cloud our judgment as to what teams ‘deserve’ to be in position to play in a BCS game.  Unfortunately, the reputation of the ACC is that it’s having a down year, just like last year was for the Big East.  And, tell me what happened when the Big East champ took the field against the big, bad SEC in the Sugar Bowl last year?  I’m just saying, be careful not to let conference pride cloud the reality of the situation – the reality is that Clemson is for real this year, just as West Virginia was last year.