College football is fun! From rivalries to the upsets, every Saturday is full of great plays, monumental performances and agonizing defeats.
But at the end of the day, it’s a beauty pageant.
Style points, politics and media bias continues to hurt the sport where a national champion is determined by voters/people and not actual on-field performance.
In a day and age where analytics plays such an important role and is used by the College Football Selection Committee to determine who can play for a national title, then BYU deserves to be ranked in the top 10.
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
BYU is the only team in the country to play the first three games of the season against teams from the five “Power Conferences (P5).” You know, the “elite conferences” with all the best teams and talent. This is one of the main arguments P5 conferences and much of the media use every year to keep the little guys out.
Yet, despite BYU facing the most P5 teams so far this season, including back-to-back wins over ranked teams, (then-No. 21 Utah and then-No. 19 Arizona State), the Cougars are ranked No. 15 in the nation. What’s even more disturbing and laughable is that there are several teams that have lost who are ahead of the undefeated Cougars.
The “Eye Test”
The bias and politics in college football is ridiculous. If the analytics/stats doesn’t favor the blue-blood programs, we get the “eye test” or any other metric that will favor the big boys.
Yes, you know how that goes. The media, conferences and powers that be in college football will always find a way to tout the blue-blood programs. Programs like Texas, Michigan, Miami and Nebraska were great in the 1980s and 1990s, however, all of them have severely underperformed over the past two decades, including a number of losing seasons recently. Yet, every year, many of those teams start the season ranked.
Yes, BYU hasn’t been razor sharp through the three games, winning by an average of nine points per game, but the Cougars have played pretty good football with very few penalties and turnovers. In fact, the Cougars rank 7th nationally in turnover margin (+5) through the first three games.
The offense has been efficient in the red zone as the Cougars are just one of six FBS teams that are perfect with at least 10 red zone drives (8 TDs, 2 FGs).
While there are a bunch of metrics one case use, one of the best is Strength of Record (SOR), which captures a team’s “quality wins” and “bad losses” from an opponent-strength perspective. After with another ranked win, BYU moved up to No. 9 in SOR, ahead of Oklahoma, Ohio State, Clemson, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, etc.
The Cougars are also just one of four teams in the country that have two wins over ranked opponents. The other three teams are all in Top 6 — Alabama, Iowa and Penn State — 9+ spots higher than BYU. The double standard and bias is real.
No. 4 Oklahoma (3-0) — The Sooners held on for wins over Tulane (40-35) and Nebraska (23-16) at home. This is the same Tulane team that lost 61-21 to Ole Miss. Oklahoma’s three opponents are 3-7 so far this season.
No. 7 Texas A&M (3-0) — The Aggies haven’t really played anyone so far this season (Kent St., New Mexico). It’s best win is against Colorado — arguably the worst team in Pac-12 — and needed a miracle comeback in the 10-7 win against the Buffaloes. Texas A&M’s three opponents are a combined 4-5 so far this season.
No. 9 Clemson (2-1) — The Tigers offense has been nonexistent so far this season. Clemson lost to Georgia 10-3, and just barley beat Georgia Tech (14-8) at home. The offense is averaging just 8.5 points per game against FBS opponents. With a loss already on the season, the Tigers shouldn’t be anywhere close to Top 10.
No. 10 Ohio State (2-1) — The Buckeyes had to come from behind to beat Minnesota (45-31) and lost to Oregon (35-28), despite being 14 point favorites at home. Ohio State was also up by just 14 points in the fourth quarter against a Tulsa that hasn’t won a game all year.
No. 12 Notre Dame (3-0) — The fighting Irish barely beat Florida State 41-38, a team that is 0-3 and lost to FCS Jacksonville State. Notre Dame also had to squeak out wins against Toledo (32-29) and Purdue (27-13). The fighting Irish haven’t looked good at all against inferior competition.
No. 14 Iowa State (2-1) — The Cyclones have been one of the biggest beneficiaries when it comes to the preseason hype. Despite having to come-from-behind to beat FCS Northern Iowa 16-10 and getting blown out by Iowa at home, Iowa State has no business being in the Top 25 at this point of the season.