If SMQ wasn't a person rooting for the chaotic destruction of the Bowl Championship Series, or its gradual evolution under intense environmental pressures into a being closely related to the species playofficus bracketus, he'd say the results of Sunday's polling, number-crunching and elite bowl-filling couldn't have fallen more in line with his own thinking if here were orchestrating it alone. The computers, echoing SMQ's own assessment Sunday, threw up their collective, micro-chipped hands and declared the addition of Arkansas to Florida's pelts the facilitator of a hopeless, indeterminate tie. The hu-manns, also echoing SMQ's own assessment, had no choice but to distinguish among the indistinguishable, and determined Florida was number two by the tiniest fragment of a sliver of the world's thinnest hair - the margins between the unanimous decisions for Florida at two and Michigan at three were three points in the AP (0.00014 percent of the 21,125 points distributed to all teams), 26 points in the Coaches (0.00123 percent of 20,150 points) and 28 points in the Harris (0.00076 percent of 35,725). In handy chart form:
|Avg. Margin Between Successive Teams||64.4||61.9||110.4|
|Margin Between Florida and Michigan||3||26||28|
|UF-UM Margin as % of Total Points||0.00014||0.00123||0.00076|
|Number of Closer Margins This Week||1||2||5|
That's pretty close, appropriately close to account for a wide array of opinion and method (dangerously assuming any voters operate according to any definable method). The other outraeously close vote this week (two points in all three polls), was Arkansas and West Virginia. Auburn and Notre Dame wound up tied in the Harries for tenth.
Not to quell the growing catcalls from the disillusioned masses, a chorus he's always supported - and that's fronted at the moment by Urban Meyer, it should be noted - but SMQ thinks the Florida jump is perfectly reasonable, at least as reasonable as a resume-based argument on Michigan's behalf, with the addition of Arkansas to Florida's schedule. Compare the resumes at the top: entering Saturday, the schedules were pretty even, with Michigan coming out ahead in terms of margin of victory (or vague "style points"). After Saturday, Florida's win over Arkansas tipped the scales very slightly in favor of its tougher schedule, overcoming Michigan's "style" advantage. Michigan fans are having a field day with the notion of their team as "second best" (based largely on a loss to a team they are very certain is "the best" under any and all circumstances every day of the week), and if you prefer to form an opinion of a team based only on selective performances, or on your platonic ideal of "how good" a team is or "what would happen if...," this is probably the line of argument you'd follow: if Michigan was "better" than Florida last week, why not this week?
But since any notions of inherent strength detached from schedule are meaninglessly abstract (hence our insolvable problem figuring out what to do with Boise State), we have to go the record; the single game against Ohio State is not all-defining, any more than the single game against Ball State two weeks earlier, or the single game against Notre Dame, or any one of Florida's victories. Comparing complete bodies of work, it's very reasonable to compare Florida's results with Michigan's and put the Gators slightly in front with no thought whatsoever of the mythical championship game, potential results of the game or which team you would or wouldn't like to see playing in it.
So, sure, Michigan was screwed. SMQ agrees. But it's either that or Florida is screwed. The system, see, is an equal opportunity offender. And inside its twisted confines, you don't have to be an orange-eyed homer to recognize the Gators' promotion is perfectly fair. At least as fair as a Michigan hold at two, that is.
For the record:
Final BCS Standings, 12-3-06
1. Ohio State 1.000
2. Florida 0.945
3. Michigan 0.934
4. LSU 0.833
5. Southern Cal 0.795
6. Louisville 0.794
7. Wisconsin 0.748
8. Boise State 0.710
9. Auburn 0.649
10. Oklahoma 0.630
More to come this week on the "championship game" as such.
A weird poll point: all three hu-mann polls ranked Wisconsin ahead of Southern Cal, by two spots in the case of the AP and the Coaches. So landslide wins over each challenger in the greatest non-conference schedule in history suddenly pales in comparison to a 13-3 defeat of OMG Penn State!? The computers continue to massively hate on Wisconsin, though (the Badgers' computer percentage was .6400, more than two full percentage points behind USC's .8600, still good for fourth by the machines, and placing Wiscon four to five spots lower in the computer polls than in those peopled by people), and so USC remains two spots ahead of the Badgers in the BCS mix. SMQ agrees with this non-kneejerk reaction to the Trojans' humiliating, wonderfully controversy-inducing loss Saturday. UCLA - like the other Trojan-feller, Oregon State - jumps considerably higher in the computer estimation, where the Bruins' average of .1900 is good for 21st (OSU's .3400 is 17th). The hu-manns barely consider either.