It’s time to get back to our favorite late November hobby: trying to make sense of the College Football Polls, Vol. 400,555.
Topic of the day: Does BYU make it into the college football playoff standings?
BYU is 9-0 and ranked No.8 in the Associated Press and Coaches polls, but the PSC selection committee ranked the Cougars – the nation’s most successful team – no better than No.14 This means that they are probably missing two places. to qualify for any of the six New Year’s Bowls, and the Cougars are unlikely to be able to overcome that deficit.
Time is running out unless athletic director Tom Holmoe can work a little more magic. The Cougars have one game left on their schedule – against San Diego State, which is 3-2 and ranked 83rd in the Sagarin computer standings. It won’t help matters.
“Certainly the schedule (BYU), compared to the teams around them, came into play,” said Gary Barta, chairman of the PSC’s selection committee.
In other words, BYU’s schedule is seen as too weak to merit a higher ranking, repeating a criticism that has held the Cougars back this season and every season they’ve encroached on the top 10 (think 1984).
No one can argue on this point. BYU ranks 108th in terms of roster on the calendar – the lowest of any team in the top 20 and 24 spots short of all of the top 19 teams.
But in this weird COVID-19 season, there are some considerations that should be made by the selection committee, which is exactly what the committee has done for many other teams, but not BYU.
The Big Ten have played significantly fewer games than the Cougars – four Ohio State games in fourth, five Northwestern games in eighth, five Indiana games in 12th. The Pac-12 teams have played even fewer games – Oregon and USC, 15th and 18th respectively – have only played three games, which is barely enough to judge their merits. Still, the committee, obviously taking into account the odd circumstances of this season, had no qualms about placing them where they did in the standings.
While BYU was on the field playing nine games, these teams were watching on TV. It should count for something.
Cincinnati, 8-0, is ranked seventh in PSC ratings – and the Bearcats’ schedule strength is 84th.
Georgia have played enough games (seven), but the Bulldogs have lost two games and only earned one win against a team with a record winning team. For this, the Bulldogs are ranked ninth.
Continuing beyond the coveted top 12 rankings, Coastal Carolina and Marshall place 20th and 21st in the PSC rankings despite calendar strength rankings of 107th and 126th, respectively.
It’s a mess. There is little consistency in the assessments. This was to be expected given the challenges of COVID and the range of start dates for each conference, which ranged from early September to early November. The unusual nature of the season should be taken into account, but that was not BYU’s question.
The Cougars originally had a very busy schedule, with two Big Ten teams, three Pac-12 teams and one Southeastern Conference team, but all of those teams, along with Utah State, canceled their games in due to COVID issues.
Holmoe rebuilt the schedule with the best teams he could convince to play the Cougars. He did well to rebuild a 10-game schedule so quickly, especially given the number of teams that had said they would only play conference games. As an independent, BYU couldn’t fall back on conference games, so under the circumstances, Holmoe’s schedule was remarkable.
The Cougars did everything to prove themselves against the teams who agreed to face them. Their average margin of victory is 45-14. Zach Wilson threw 26 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The offense is fifth nationally in points (45.2 points per game) and third in yards per game (7.87). Defense ranks eighth in defense points (13.9).
The Cougars have won every game except one by a landslide – scores: 55-3, 48-7, 45-14, 43-26, 52-14, 41-10, 51-17, 66-14 – the only exception being 27-20.
The Cougars had no chance of winning a place in the college football playoffs – fans and some media have entertained that notion – but the committee should have recognized the extraordinary nature of the season and the extraordinary efforts the Cougars are putting into rebuilding. the season and perform on the pitch. field. All this considered, the committee should have put them in the top 12. They owed them a lot.