Usually these sorts of sports-politics analogies are applied in the opposite direction, but writer/pundit Alex Massie, guesting today on Time's Daily Dish for the vacationing Andrew Sullivan, uses SMQ's October analysis of ranking methods for college football as a standard for questioning conventional navel-gazing on the hardly distant 2008 presidential race. Specifically, he wonders why Rudy Giuliani's resume as mayor of New York City doesn't make him a more viable Republican candidate in punditry "power polls":
This is true even if you factor out 9/11. Being President of the United States of America is quite a tough assignment. Executive experience would be an advantage. But it also needs you to set a tone, construct a framework for public affairs and debate etc etc. You have to boss the public square. That also takes vision and leadership.
Is there a better training ground for the Presidency than being Mayor of New York City? It's hard to think of one.
The Mayor of New York must grapple - nay, fight! - a bewilderingly complex and byzantine bureaucracy plagued by turf wars, vested interests and a bloody-minded determination to thwart change or reform. Hmmm, isn't there a similar, but even larger and more powerful Hydra in Washington?
And it's not as though this training takes place in a media backwater either. The scrutiny the NYC Mayor receives might - just might - be useful training for the Oval Office.
So perhaps Giuliani's biggest challenge is to confound the "power ranking" expectations by dismantling the preconceptions that condemn his candidacy to also-ran status before it has even started.
A little like, say, Boise State's challenge in the BCS? Hey, analogies are made to stretch.
Looks a little like Jim Tressel, only without the early poll advantage.