CGB Top 25 - Final Regular Season Ballot

Not a lot of teams played last weekend, and thus not a lot of movement. Houston got beat by Southern Miss in its BCS audition (and boy do I know what it's like to watch Southern Miss ruin your team's BCS chances), and Virginia Tech got blown out by Clemson in the ACC title game. Further thoughts and justifications after the jump.

ragnarok: Question for the voters: if your vote counted, is Alabama #2? Do you vote for someone else to avoid a rematch, even if they're not as deserving?

Berkelium97: I cannot justify ranking Oklahoma State over Alabama. Their in-conference resumes are about equal, but Alabama has a better nonconference resume. Of course, if I were voting in the actual polls, I would put Oklahoma State over Alabama because there’s no point in staging a rematch of teams that played in November. We already have an answer as to whether LSU is better than Alabama.

There is always a risk when staging a national championship rematch. If LSU wins, it confirms what we knew all along; we have learned nothing new from an LSU-Alabama rematch. If Alabama wins, we may have some doubts about which team is better. LSU won once and 'Bama won once. You could make the argument that LSU's win was more impressive, since it was on the road. But Alabama's win took place in our mythical national championship game. So who is better? We still do not know.

To summarize, we either learn nothing new or we give us evidence that there is no clear #1.

Alabama had its chance to prove it was #1. They lost, so we might as well give the next guy (Oklahoma State) a shot. Right now there is a clear answer to the question "Is LSU better than Alabama?" If we stage a rematch, we may lose the clarity of that answer. If we see LSU-Oklahoma State, we can still have a defensible answer to "Who is #1?". If LSU wins, LSU is obviously the best team in the nation. If Oklahoma State wins, it will be much easier to say "Oklahoma > LSU > Alabama" than if Alabama wins and we have to decide whether Alabama or LSU is better. While the transitive property is a crappy way to determine who is better in college football, it's a better method than deciding between two teams who split the season series against one another.

Norcalnick: Regarding the National Championship - I voted for Oklahoma St. at #2. If my vote had any power in real life I might have considered dropping Alabama lower than #3, though I likely would have decided against such a path.

Because if you have a clear preference for Alabama or Oklahoma State based on anything they've done on the field over the last three months, it is wrong. I'm not trying to be mean. It's not your fault. You're not wrong for seeking out the warm embrace of certainty. You're just looking for an answer where there is no answer.

But I side with the Cowboys for pure entertainment reasons. When it's impossible to correctly answer a question, I'll just pick the answer that I find most aesthetically appealling, and Oklahoma St. is clearly the winner in that contest, for many reasons.

ragnarok: If I'm being honest, I put Alabama ahead of Oklahoma State. I don't know which team is actually better, but a late November loss to Iowa State is a black mark that doesn't have an equivalent on the Tide's résumé. However, being honest again, if my vote counted, Oklahoma State would get the #2 nod, because I have no desire to see an LSU/Alabama rematch, and I probably won't even watch the National Championship Game.

TwistNHook: Heres another interesting question, guys. How do you rank Oregon, USC, and Stanford?

Most polls have Stanford at top, even though Oregon beat them. They do it bc the #1 rule of college football is DONT LOSE. And Oregon has an extra loss to LSU (aka #1 team in all the land). However, it's not so easy to plop Oregon above Stanford and USC and go HELLO! Because USC defeated Oregon and also only has 1 loss (TO STANFORD!). It's an insane round robin here.

But having 3 Pac-10 (12) teams in the top 6 or 10 is quite amazing.

ragnarok: My ranking goes Oregon - USC - Stanford. For me, the 'Furd is a clear third, despite having only one loss. Their schedule is clearly weaker than the other two; San Jose State, Duke and Notre Dame isn't a great non-conference schedule, and not only did they not play someone like LSU, they missed both Utah and Arizona State (USC's second loss) in the Pac-12 South. Moreover, in their round-robin with 'SC and Oregon, they needed 3OTs to beat the Trojans, whereas USC decisively defeated the Ducks, and Oregon decisively beat Stanford. Between Oregon and USC, I take Oregon, despite the head-to-head loss to the Trojans, mostly because I think their record against Stanford balances that out, and Oregon lost to LSU while the Trojan's second loss was to Arizona State. Thin hairs to split, I know, but there it is.

Berkelium97: This one is tough, as you can make a valid argument for any order. Here's my admittedly questionable reasoning: Stanford sits at the top because they are the only team with one loss. Sure they didn't play LSU, but as Twist says, the #1 rule is DO NOT LOSE. By this logic, Oregon and USC are tied so we have to move onto another metric for breaking the tie. To solve this, I look at head-to-head matchups. How do I sort out Oregon-USC? Easily, USC beat Oregon on the road a few weeks ago. We therefore have Stanford > USC > Oregon. I am the first to admit there are all sorts of logical flaws here and we all could argue about the order until the cows come home, but what fun would college football be if everything had an easy answer?

ragnarok: What about the three way tie atop the big east? Since BCS standings will determine who gets the BCS bid, who is most deserving? Do any of these three deserve your top 25 vote?

Berkelium97: I'll admit I watched very little Big East action this year. I watched a couple Syracuse OT games in September, a little bit of Pitt, and some WVU. Off the top of my head, I can't even name all three who tied atop the Big East (though I do know it was WVU, Cincy, and someone else...UConn? [nope, Louisville]). In terms of ranking them, Louisville is out after losing to Marshall and Florida International (which says something about how bad the Big East must be if Louisville shared the conference title). They both went 4-1 OOC with a blowout loss to an SEC team, though WVU's loss was to LSU. WVU beat Cincy on the road, so that's enough to give them the nod. After taking a closer look at them, I'm glad I didn't rank WVU any higher than 24th.

Norcalnick: I chose West Virginia marginally over Cincinnati. As others mentioned, Louisville's horrible non-conference losses eliminated them from consideration, so I went with WVU's marginally better non-conference resume and their road win over Cincinnati. It's a pretty clear choice, though a completely uninspiring one. I hope this is the last time I have to seriously worry about the Big East's auto-bid.
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