Monday, December 03, 2007

When is a loss better than a win?

I was very surprised to see LSU jump into Second place in the BCS poll. Of course a lot of it had to do with all of the losses by the teams previously ahead of them. The list of the top 7 teams in the BCS from week 14 (November 25) and their result in week 15.

  1. Missouri - Lost
  2. West Virginia - Lost
  3. Ohio State - Did Not Play
  4. Georgia - Did Not Play
  5. Kansas - Did Not Play
  6. Virginia Tech - Won
  7. LSU- Won
Normally the rankings are mostly affected by loses of the teams above them. Teams who lose fall and teams who don't lose stay the same or move up to replace the teams above them that lose.

The Rankings for LSU were a little odd. It seems that they fell inordinately after a very narrow loss in week 14. LSU was, for example ranked below a team in their own conference that wasn't in the Conference title game. Another team LSU soundly defeated was ranked above them.

Under the normal operation of the rankings I would have expected the Week 15 rankings to be,
  1. Ohio State
  2. Georgia
  3. Kansas
  4. Virginia Tech
  5. LSU
However the "subjective" polls all ranked LSU above Virginia Tech in week 14, although they ranked Georgia above both LSU and Tennesse, the two teams playing for the SEC Championship, something that made little sense to me.

It was obviously the effect of the computer portion of the BCS at work. Those rankings don't seem to take strength of schedule sufficiently into account. The Computers have Ohio State third and Virginia Tech first, with LSU a close second this week.

I think Les Miles had something to do with the change. His mantra was "LSU was undefeated in regulation". I heard him say it several times. It actually seems to have had an effect.

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