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About that #1 ranking...

As usual, Pete Carroll really couldn't care less...

Coach Pete Carroll said he addressed the No. 1 issue with his players before practice, telling them, "It doesn't mean anything until we do something, and it takes a long time to do something in college football."


I love SC but one win does not a season make.

I have noted numerous times here on CC that pre-season and early season polls really don't carry a lot of weight with me. There are just too many questions that need to be answered. Most teams play an easy slate of opening games that usually guarantee some easy wins. I am not interested in getting into the conference wars, as I frankly couldn't care less how other teams schedule their games. Their reasoning is their problem, but if it leads to their team being left out of a major post season bowl game then they only have themselves to blame.

The recent jump in the polls by USC over Georgia and Ohio State brings up all sorts interesting comments or opinions. Some are rational well thought out while others simply whine or complain about it not being fair.

Here is the latter:

I submitted this to Stewart Mandel's College Football Mailbag this week.


Last year after week two of the season, LSU had just pounded top 10 VA Tech at home and Miss St on the road. The following week all I heard was how impressive LSU was, yet the pollsters refused to move LSU ahead of #1 USC because "We needed to give USC a chance to prove themselves".

This year, USC pounds an unranked Virginia team and all of a sudden we know enough about USC to move them into the #1 spot, ahead of UGA who, according to last year's rules, hasn't had a chance to prove themselves yet. I understand injuries could be playing a factor into this, but why not wait to see how UGA's injuries will affect them? And, why the double standard for USC?

We'll see if he answers it.

I'm not defending UGA, nor do I care about the polls at this point in the season. I just want to point out the blatent USC bias in the polls. Heck even Kyle himself dropped UGA two spots. I just can't understand what you could have possibly learned after one or two games this year, that you didn't learn last year.

A couple of things stand out here. LSU went on the road and beat a conference rival that has always been known as a bit of a bottom feeder in the SEC. The surprise is that MSU actually had a pretty good season last season so the win looks "better" at the end of the season than it did going into the season. LSU's win over VA Tech was at home against a team that had the weight of college football world on their shoulders after that devastating shooting in Blacksburg. Yes, VA Tech beat ECU at home under some very emotional circumstances but it would not have surprised me if they had a letdown after that very emotional game. The Hokies sure didn't look like a team that should have given LSU a better game than it did.

For some old habits die hard.

Never mind that SC went on the road to play a team from another BCS conference not some patsy from the FCS.

The former came in the form of a comment in response to my BlogPoll Ballot for this past weekends games.

I beg to differ
I will say that it is very telling that the SEC has a very tough time winning on the road outside of the SEC.

I believe that is an overly broad statement based upon a single game, or even upon back-to-back season-opening losses by the Volunteers.

In the five years from 2003 to 2007 (not counting bowl games), Arizona lost road games to Purdue in 2003, Utah in 2005, L.S.U. in 2006, and B.Y.U. in 2007; Arizona State lost a road game to Iowa in 2003; Cal lost road or neutral site games to Kansas State and Utah in 2003 and Tennessee in 2006; Oregon lost road games to Utah in 2003 and Oklahoma in 2004; Oregon State lost road games to Fresno State in 2003, L.S.U. and Boise State in 2004, Louisville in 2005, Boise State in 2006, and Cincinnati in 2007; Stanford lost road games to Notre Dame in 2004 and San Jose State and Notre Dame in 2006; U.C.L.A. lost road games to Colorado and Oklahoma in 2003, Notre Dame in 2006, and Utah in 2007; Washington lost road or neutral site games to Ohio State in 2003, Notre Dame in 2004, Air Force in 2005, Oklahoma in 2006, and Hawaii in 2007; and Washington State lost road or neutral site games to Notre Dame in 2003, Colorado in 2004, Auburn in 2006, and Wisconsin in 2007.

Do those results mean the Pac-10 has a tough time winning on the road outside the Pac-10? Of course not; the Trojans’ recent results on the road against Arkansas, Auburn, and Nebraska are proof enough of that.

Winning on the road is tough, period. It’s tough in-conference, out-of-conference, in your home region, outside your home region, everywhere, all the time, whether it’s U.S.C. playing at Fresno State or at Virginia, or whether it’s Georgia playing at Arizona State or at Clemson. Monday night’s loss by the Volunteers (who won at U.C.L.A. in 1989 and 1997, by the way, much as L.S.U. won at Arizona in 2003 and at Arizona State in 2005) confirms that much, but it signifies little, if anything, more than that.

Go 'Dawgs!

by T Kyle King on Sep 3, 2008 10:20 PM EDT reply reply actions actions 0 recs

While I may not always agree and because I just can't keep up with his writing, Kyle's thoughtful measured response is always welcome. I clarified my remarks in a subsequent comment but you can see where I am coming from.

As little as it means to me that #1 ranking wasn't just handed to USC. SC has always gone on the road and played a consistently challenging OOC schedule. Those who constantly whine about a double standard need look in their own house before looking at others. SC jumping in the polls happened for a very simple reason.

It seems USC benefited from going on the road and blowing out an ACC team while No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Ohio State dominated Division I-AA teams at home.

But let’s not forget, USC has also been on the wrong end of the polls. In 2003 the Trojans were left out of the BCS title game depsite being ranked No. 1 in the final regular season ballot of both major polls.

A year ago, USC began the season No. 1 in both polls but dropped to No. 2 in the AP poll after narrowly beating Washington. That was the fourth game of the season for USC, which was jumped by a then-5-0 LSU team.

UVA may not be the class of the CFB world let alone their own conference but they are part of the BCS and NOT an FCS team as UGA, LSU,OU, and tOSU all faced. Competition is king and SC delivers year in and year out. HP as some interesting thoughts on this as well.

The opposite is usually the case when an SEC team beats a Pac-10 team (or any other conference’s team, for that matter). When that happens, it is never because of the merits of that particular team on that particular day. It is almost always due to the ’superiority’ of the SEC or the inferiority of the conference it is playing. And we are constantly reminded of things like ‘SEC speed’ and ‘year-in, year-out the best conference’ and so on.

When an SEC team is beaten, however, the game is usually properly analyzed for what it is–one team beating another. The conference as a whole never takes the hit.

The poor Big Ten has had to answer for Ohio State’s twin postseason drubbings the last two seasons, but has never gotten any credit for Michigan beating Florida or Wisconsin beating Tennessee.

That's pretty dead on.

As I noted in the comments of my blog poll post, I commend those SEC teams that get out on the road outside their region to play tough OOC opponents. My complaint is that there aren't enough of them that do that on consistent basis.

We earned this one...even if it really doesn't mean much.