Monday, September 08, 2008

the rewards of putting tough teams on your schedule

New college football polls released today. At number 14: East Carolina.

That's what happens when you down VA Tech and West Virginia in consecutive weeks.

Congrats to Tech for landing at #12.


TioChuy said...

I heard a good argument against this the other day. If your team is in say the Big 12, PAC 10 or SEC and you schedule the top teams from these other conferences you might be hurting yourself. For one it's early in the season so your kids are "getting back in the groove." Your apt to get your tail kicked, ahem Michigan, even bad a mediocre team. Then if you happen to be in one of the big conferences well you aren't going to get any help down the stretch. As it sits BCS weighs wins more than strength of schedule. So you don't really get rewarded for it.

TioChuy said...

... that said if you aren't in a BCS conference, why the hell not. Here's to Skip Holtz taking over his dad's old job.

el ranchero said...

It's true that you can lose those games, which can hurt you in the polls. Kansas is the best example of this: almost undefeated and got an at-large bid to (I believe) the Orange Bowl despite only having 1 ranked team on their schedule... and losing to them. Then again, it hurts you a lot less than losing against shitty teams, and as ND has found out a time or two, if you lose but outperform expectations, you may not be penalized at all. And how likely is it that Kansas would've been picked in a year where the BCS didn't have to dig into the 2- and 3-loss teams to find their national championship contenders?

Also, when you think about it, everyone's kids are getting back into the groove, so if you're a quick starter you can potentially get the jump on one of the big dogs.

People may say that the BCS weighs wins more than schedule, but that's only true to a point. Wins against big teams make up for losses against small teams. It helps teams like Tech that tend to drop one on the way to the November gauntlet, wading through a sea of crap only to face one likely loss and one certain loss at the end of the season when it hurts your rankings the most. Even if, say, East Carolina loses in a week or two to some C-USA opponent, a couple more easy wins puts them right back in the rankings, whereas even an undefeated season might not have produced that before. Putting a big team on the early schedule and winning also legitimizes your unexpected big wins down the stretch, making them less likely to be attributed solely to luck and more to skill. I wonder how many times Tech has to beat Oklahoma before people stop calling it a "fluke." Ya think maybe notching one against VA Tech or Penn State or Cal Berkeley might advance that argument a bit? I remember in the '90's when we went something like 4-4 against A&M over the course of 8 years, and yet still it was treated as a slip-up by A&M every time we won after that rather than evidence of Tech's ascent to the top tier of the Big 12 South.

Big games also help teams like Ohio State and Virginia Tech, the big guys with, shall we say, less than stellar bowl records sitting atop struggling conferences. If OSU weren't playing Southern Cal and didn't have Wisconsin on their schedule (two things that often don't happen), even if they were to go undefeated this year the pollsters would be apprehensive about putting them in the national championship again, no matter good they are.

Most importantly, though, this is a fan-centric argument. Watching Tech play an extended series again Louisiana-Lafayette sucks. Watching good Tech teams only get one good out-of-conference game every season (that being the bowl game) really sucks. As an extension to this argument, when you get more TV and news coverage because you're playing big games, and you win those games, or even if you lose "with heart," you gain more fans and sell more swag.

TioChuy said...

That last point was my biggest contention to the argument. Not that a lot of these athletics departments are hurting for money but, Oklahoma, LSU and USC put butts in seats. FIU, Eastern Washington and Temple are boring as whale shit. These first couple of Tech games have been intersting because they sport differnt kinds of offenses. The last few seasons though I could just have easily given away my tickets to the first few games and mowed the lawn.