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Arizona St and Boston College showed, for the first time this season, that they’re not pushovers. Yes, they’re both undefeated, but between the two of them they had only played a smattering of worthwhile opponents. That changed somewhat Saturday, with ASU beating Cal and BC beating Virginia Tech–in the final minutes of the game, no less.

I admit, I was very skeptical of putting either of them even in the top ten, much less the top five, but I’m on board now that they’ve finally put down some decent competition. I’m still not ready to put them up there with LSU or Oregon, my top two, but I’ll grant them top 5 status now.

Curiously, the only other winless team I still have questions about is Ohio State, who, even though they did manhandle Penn St this weekend, just hasn’t played enough quality competition for me. Purdue and Penn State are the only two top 25 teams they’ve beaten, and those two are only barely in the top 25. For the record, my top 5 right now is:

  1. LSU
  2. Oregon
  3. Boston college
  4. Arizona St
  5. Oklahoma

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These are the top 25 teams of the NCAA (unaffiliated) Super Conference according to wins. Note: The teams in this poll do not adhere to the tenets of the Super Conference scheduling system which ranks teams based on schedule equality and wins alone so therefore these standings are purely speculative based on the inherent inadequacies of their current schedules. For instance, all teams in this poll would have played a few of the other teams on this poll using the SC system but in reality many of them have not.

  1. Ohio State (8-0)
  2. LSU (7-1)
  3. Oklahoma (7-1)
  4. Oregon (6-1)
  5. West Virginia (6-1)
  6. USC (6-1)
  7. Virginia Tech (6-1)
  8. South Carolina (6-2)
  9.  Michigan (6-2)
  10. Alabama (6-2)
  11. Penn St (6-2)
  12. Texas (6-2)
  13. Florida (5-2)
  14. Cal (5-2)
  15. Georgia (5-2)
  16. Clemson (5-2)
  17. UCLA (5-2)
  18. Miami (5-3)
  19. Georgia Tech (5-3)
  20. Auburn (5-3)
  21. Tennessee (4-3)
  22. Arkansas (4-3)
  23. Florida St (4-3)
  24. Nebraska (4-4)
  25. Notre Dame (1-7)

Teams poised to jump into the SC next year (the top 5 of these teams will replace the bottom 5 of the SC poll next year):

  1. Arizona State
  2. Boston College
  3. Kansas
  4. South Florida
  5. Missouri
  6. Kentucky
  7. Virginia
  8. Connecticut
  9. Rutgers
  10. Wake Forest

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Super Conference

Super Conference Primer
The idea is simple, really, and it would cure what ails college football today. No more would a Utah or a Boise State vie for an undeserved BCS game just because they went undefeated in the regular season. And, with the increased level of competition the title game would not be in question. Teams in tougher conferences would have just as much opportunity as those in weaker conferences, and vice-versa. The Super Conference concept would ensure all SC team schedules are comparably difficult and would reward superiority and dominance.

The Super Conference idea works like this:
The 25 teams which comprise the Super Conference (SC) wouldn’t abandon their own conferences, but they would be the only teams eligible for the BCS national championship. The teams must play a minimum number of SC teams annually. Some conferences have more SC teams than others, however, so: if a team’s in-conference schedule consists of mostly non-SC teams, their out-of-conference schedule must be represented by SC teams. And vice-versa: If a team’s in-conference schedule consists of mostly SC teams, their out-of-conference schedule may include non-SC teams. A team must play at least five SC teams per year. Therefore, if Alabama’s in-conference schedule includes four SC teams and four non-SC teams, then they must schedule one non-conference SC opponent to qualify for the BCS championship. If West Virginia’s in-conference schedule (seven games) includes zero SC teams then they must schedule five non-conference SC opponents to qualify.

This would only affect the BCS title. A possible positive side effect of the Super Conference System would be to discredit the AP, which is merely a popularity contest and is beyond anyone’s control other than the (sometimes incompetent) AP voters. The AP will still award its champion based on its voter’s opinions, and seeing as most (if not all) SC teams will have at least one or two losses their NC will likely be a lossless non-SC team. 

All SC teams are bowl eligible excluding only the bottom five ranked teams. All teams are ranked based on wins alone. Teams would be able to move up into the SC as well as drop out. Each year the top five rated teams of non-SC schools would move in, and the bottom five SC schools would drop out. If your team drops out this year, then their immediate goal for the following year (or years) should be to move back into the SC.

These are the 25 teams of the inaugural Houndstooth-proposed Super Conference, listed Alphabetically. The first 20 have been selected based on their acknowledged status as “traditional” powerhouses. The remaining 5 are “play-ins” and are present due to recent performance.

  1. Alabama (SEC)
  2. Arkansas (SEC)
  3. Auburn (SEC)
  4. Florida (SEC)
  5. Florida State (ACC)
  6. Georgia (SEC)
  7. Georgia Tech (ACC)
  8. LSU (SEC)
  9. Miami (ACC)
  10. Michigan (Big Ten)
  11. Nebraska (Big 12)
  12. Notre Dame (Must join a conference)
  13. Ohio State (Big Ten)
  14. Oklahoma (Big 12)
  15. Penn State (Big Ten)
  16. Tennessee (SEC)
  17. Texas (Big 12)
  18. USC (PAC-10)
  19. Virginia Tech (ACC)
  20. Cal (Pac-10)
  21. Louisville (Big East)
  22. Clemson (ACC)
  23. Oregon (Pac-10)
  24. South Carolina (SEC)
  25. West Virginia (Big East)

Conference Breakdown:
SEC = 8
ACC = 5
Big Ten = 3
Big Twelve = 3
Pac-10 = 3
Big East = 2

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bcs.jpgI know I’m in the minority here, but I am not a proponent for a playoff. People argue that college football is the only major sport without a playoff, and they’re correct, unless you count the season itself, which winds out like one long playoff to reach the championship. No, a playoff isn’t needed in NCAA football, but I’ll concede that a better system for determining who the National Champion is. The plus-one system is the best I’ve heard so far and I’d wholeheartedly support it, but beyond that I don’t want it. I want the best team in the country to win the National Championship, not, as happens with other teams who win their sports’ respective championships, because a team got on a hot streak when it mattered most. No.

But the current method, the BCS, is too heavily influenced by opinion polls, as both the Harris Poll and the Coaches Poll count for a third of the calculation apiece. The remaining third is compiled via six computer polls, throwing out the highest and lowest score for each team and averaging the remaining four. The computer rankings do not account for opinion, they calculate based on record and strength of schedule, unless you consider the fact that the computer rankings are based upon opinion polls. Originally the BCS used the AP Poll, but the AP withdrew their permissions. So the NCAA created another poll to replace the AP in its calculation. 

So why not get rid of the polls?
Because the polls are fun. 90% of the questions from fans on College Football Gameday concern the polls (“Why isn’t (insert team name here) getting more respect from the polls?”). A lot of people argue that no polls should come out until later in the season, at least week four or six, and I’ve even heard some argue that the polls should be done away with entirely. But this isn’t realistic at all (–this is my nice way of saying get real, dumbass), and besides, as I said, the polls are fun. And, more importantly: the polls are popular. Extremely popular. People eagerly await the first preseason poll and the consult the polls regularly throughout the season. But that’s exactly my point: the polls are fun. Sometimes they work, sometimes not, but so long as they’re based on opinion they will be flawed when it comes to determining the National Champion or even for determining who should have the honor to play in the championship game. The first step in building a better system will be to remove opinion from the formula, and derive the results from performance, which is exactly what the computer ratings are designed to do. I’m not going to argue that the combcs-trophy.jpgputer polls are perfect–I’d personally like to see quality losses hurt a team a little less than it does, and I’d also like to see strength of schedule count for more–but at least they aren’t opinionated.

The AP can still award its popular choice for National Champion, as they have since time immemorial, but the official champion should be awarded based on performance alone. Which is why I would like to see the computer polls be the deciding factor to determine the unbiased NCAA Football National Champion. Let’s face it: they’re already separate awards anyway. LSU won the BCS title in ’03 while USC won the AP. So why incorporate their rankings at all if not for popularity’s sake? There is no other reason that I can think of. But the method is not popular, regardless, and may never be until a playoff (which will likely never be) is instituted. So get rid of the polls, determine the players in the National Championship game by the computer averages, add a plus one if needed, determined on a year-by-year basis (sometimes it’s unnecessary), and let it ride.

Now, if you really want to fix the system, look here.

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