For anyone of you that actually waits anxiously to read what I have to say about the subject matter at hand, I must apologize for my brief hiatus. In skipping week 11, I realize that the continuity of these posts has suffered a bit, but let me assure you that it was for a worthy enough cause. I spent much of last week, including all of the weekend with some old friends, good friends at that, in which I had not seen in over ten years. The plan was simple: they fly in from their respective home cities and together we take a small road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska for what very well might be the last of a very long series between the two schools. The reunion meant more to me than any football game could compete with, and it came at a time in my life that I could use something like this, so please forgive me for my brief departure and let me just assure you that the occasion was a joyous one.
So with that, I now attempt to resume in what very well could end up being a fairly lengthy post. The game I attended on Saturday night, a rather pathetic one that was very much representative of the lack of splendor the series has taken on over the years, marked one important occasion for the purposes of this blog: Kansas' seventh loss. Not that anyone cares, nor should they, given the disaster that this season has been for the Jayhawk football program, but I make this statement with only the intention of maintaining that with seven losses, a team can no longer really receive much credit for defeating Kansas or any of the following schools that have suffered big loss number seven in the last two weeks:
Buffalo, Colorado State, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico State, North Texas, Rice, UAB, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.
Ordinarily, of course, I would write some statement of inadequacies regarding each of these epic losers, but I have bigger fish to fry this week, and I think it's enough to just inform you that all of these teams, Kansas included, are really, really bad. Now, I only start with this list for one reason, it's time to finally break down for you how I come up with the order in which I designate my top 25 teams, and to do so I need to present my sequence of win significance, so to speak. Let's put them into tiers:
Tier 1: Wins over 1 loss BCS programs-This is to say that the team being recognized for a victory such as this, is obviously the only team that has defeated this opponent. I should note here that I also include Notre Dame, as would the BCS, should they ever regain relevance. While I would love to see Notre Dame drop their selfish incentives and finally join a proper BCS conference, for now it's enough for me that they at least play over half their games against teams from BCS conferences, and usually good ones at that.
Tier 2: Wins over 1 loss non-BCS programs, as well as 2 loss BCS programs- I suppose it just seems about equal to me, but I'm fairly systematic in keeping to this kind of 2 for 1 program from here out, so I figure that I'm at the very least consistent in this format.
Tier 3: Wins over 3 loss BCS
Tier 4: Wins over 2 loss non-BCS and 4 loss BCS
Tier 5: Wins over 5 loss BCS
Tier 6: Wins over 3 loss non-BCS and 6 loss BCS
Tier 7: Wins over 4 loss non-BCS
Tier 8: Wins over 5 loss non-BCS
Tier 9: Wins over 6 loss non-BCS
It seldom ever becomes necessary to even consider Tiers 7-9, but they can, if necessary, be used as tie-breakers for teams with remarkably similar schedules to date. And as I've already stated, there is no credit whatsoever for beating teams with 7 losses or more, or teams that are below division 1 FBS. So with this format in place, instead of just listing this week's top 25, let's present each team with their credentials to date.
1) Auburn (11-0)
Undefeated is the first thing to recognize, but also beat Tier 1 LSU, Tier 2 Arkansas as well as Tier 3 South Carolina and Mississippi State. Nobody even comes close to this list of accomplishments.
2) Oregon (10-0)
Also undefeated with wins over Tier 1 Stanford and Tier 3 USC.
3) LSU (9-1)
Only loss is to Auburn, which means that they are undefeated against the field of which they are being compared. And their wins, Tier 2 Alabama, Tier 3 West Virginia and Mississippi State are significant enough to trump that field.
4) Boise State (9-0)
Oregon State hit the tank but lucky for them, Virginia Tech has stuck around to allow Boise a Tier 2 victory. Their whole status depends on this, but so far, they are very fortunate.
5) Stanford (9-1)
Only loss to Oregon, so undefeated against the rest of this field, and Tier 3 wins over USC and Arizona are good enough for now.
6) TCU (11-0)
About to fade fast. Tier 4 wins against Baylor and Utah will barely do for now, but should those start slipping to Tier 5, 6 or worse, Nebraska and friends are going to move on ahead of them.
7) Nebraska (9-1)
The one loss to Texas is a rough one to justify, but there are no longer any teams that are undefeated against the rest of the field, so their wins against Tier 1 Oklahoma State, Tier 2 Missouri and Tier 4 Kansas State are plenty good enough to be the best of the rest.
8) Oklahoma State (9-1)
Only loss is to Nebraska, so now they are undefeated against the rest of the field and wins over Tier 3 Texas A&M as well as Tier 4 Kansas State and Baylor will suffice for now.
9) Michigan State (9-1)
The loss was to Iowa, which is not exactly looking golden right now, but the wins over Tier 1 Wisconsin, as well as Tier 3 Michigan and Northwestern are.
10) Wisconsin (9-1)
Now undefeated against the rest of the field, plus wins over Tier 1 Ohio State and Tier 3 Iowa.
11) Ohio State (9-1)
See a trend here? Now Ohio State is undefeated against the rest of the field and the wins over Tier 3 Miami (FL) plus Tier 4 Penn State get it done just enough.
12) Alabama (8-2)
The first 2 loss team, with 1 of the losses being against LSU, so only has 1 loss against this field. The wins over Tier 2 Arkansas, Tier 3 Mississippi State, plus Tier 4 Penn State and Florida easily top teams of this variety of losses.
13) Arkansas (8-2)
Losses against Auburn and Alabama make them, say it with me, undefeated against the rest of the field. The wins are fine against Tier 3 Texas A&M and South Carolina.
14) Mississippi State (7-3)
This is the first time that it's become necessary for this week's rankings, but I will allow a team to jump one Tier from their own if their wins and losses dictate it feasible. Mississippi State, with their only losses being against Auburn, LSU and Alabama, are undefeated against the remaining field, but it should be noted that their one win against Tier 4 Florida makes their standing here tedious at best without further improvement.
15) Missouri (8-2)
One bad loss against Texas Tech, but then every team from here out in the qualifying Tiers has a game lost that cannot be overlooked. And the wins over Tier 2 Oklahoma, Tier 3 Texas A&M and Tier 4 Kansas State makes Missouri the best of these teams.
16) Texas A&M (7-3)
Add Missouri to their losses against Oklahoma State plus Arkansas, and yup, undefeated from here out. Wins over Tier 2 Oklahoma and Tier 4 Baylor are plenty good to qualify here.
17) Oklahoma (8-2)
#15 and # 16 went well for Oklahoma because those are their 2 losses. Consider that plus their Tier 3 victory over Florida State, and they are sitting comfortably enough for now right here.
18) South Carolina (7-3)
The only bad loss is to Kentucky, but wins over Tier 2 Alabama and Tier 4 Florida beats out a field that is starting to look weaker and weaker.
19) Virginia Tech (8-2)
Remember that loss to James Madison? Well the Hokies haven't lost since. Good thing for Boise State that they haven't. Part of the steady Virginia Tech recovery includes wins over Tier 3 NC State and Tier 4 North Carolina...good enough for this spot.
20) USC (7-3)
The bad loss is Washington, the one win is Tier 3 Arizona, good enough for right here.
21) Arizona (7-3)
USC getting in means their only bad loss from here out is Oregon State. Beating Tier 3 Iowa makes for a very similar scenario as the team that just made this possible, right ahead of them.
22) Iowa (7-3)
Very similarly, Arizona's clearance leaves the only remaining Iowa defeat against this field as being Northwestern. This time their selection is even more clear with nice wins over Tier 1 Michigan State, Tier 3 Michigan and Tier 4 Penn State.
23) Michigan (7-3)
Once again, Iowa clears the way with Michigan's only bad loss remaining being Penn State, and that doesn't seem so bad, but neither does their one decent win seem that good, against Tier 4 Connecticut. This might be short lived.
24) Nevada (9-1)
Might have come up earlier had they presented us with anything better than Tier 5 California in the win column. But they didn't.
25) Florida (6-4)
Really running out of better options. Florida only has a Tier 3 victory against South Florida, but at least their 4 losses are against Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina, making them undefeated against the rest of the field.
Hopefully, you can now at least see some method to my madness. Thank you for taking the time to sort through it, as from here out, I can answer any questions and at least feel like I've attempted to give it proper representation at least one time.
Also, please vote in my poll if you haven't yet; I've got something coming about all that!