Undefeated Does Not Mean #1
Alert: The Florida Gators are the #1 team in the country. Well, that is not breaking news, come to think of it, it is not even news. With a 23-20 win yesterday in the final seconds over Arkansas, Tim Tebow & Co. pushed their record to 6-0 on the year. With the win yesterday, Tebow has continued to fulfill his promise he made after the Ole Miss loss last season.
My question is: since when does being undefeated mean that you're the #1 team in the country?
I understand that being undefeated means that you beat everyone who you faced meaning that you have no blemishes on your record. That makes sense. However, does being the best quarterback mean only having the best statistics (i.e. Graham Harrell)? Or does it mean that you need to have the statistics, the arm strength and accuracy, and intangibles? I'll choose the second one.
Why is there a double standards between how we rank players and how we rank teams? We rank the best players by stats, skill level, and the natural ability to play (intangibles).
As I sit here and try to think of a possible way to rank the top 25 teams, I can't. I got nothing. However, I do feel that the AP, ESPN, and BCS (not even going to start on the BCS) are mistaken in how they are evaluating these teams.
Yes, Florida has not lost. Yes, Alabama has not lost. Yes, Texas has not lost.
But Florida has not played like the #1 team in the country. Having a team like Arkansas (3-3, 1-3) take you down to the final minute of the game in which the supposed #1 team in the country needs a field goal to squeak out a victory. Quick side note, Arkansas' closest game prior to the Gators was an 11 point loss to Georgia in which they allowed 52 points. Not exactly a strong opponent but managed to take the Gators to the wire. The Gators looked uncomfortable and confused as Ryan Mallett, a bust at Michigan, picked apart the holes on the Gators defense.
Alabama is also undefeated. Their closest game came in a 34-24 win over #7 Virginia Tech in the first week of the season. Now, a team who has won all seven of their games by 10 or more points must be deserving of the #1 rank right? Well, the AP thinks so because as I write this, the AP just announced Alabama is now the #1 team in the country. Again, I disagree that they are the #1 team. Yes, they've won all their games. I can see that the score says they have won them in convincing fashion. But they haven't been impressive on the field, the Arkansas game was close for longer than it should have been. The win at Kentucky, though by 18 points, was close for a while too and Alabama did not look like the overwhelming better team.
After a huge victory in the Red River Rivalry game yesterday vs. Oklahoma, Texas is undefeated as well and currently sitting in 3rd in the polls. Playing, to put it nicely, "less than top notch" teams. Up until the Oklahoma game, played one top 25 team. Overlooked in the Red River Shootout, is that Texas won by a mere three points over a team that lost the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, early in the game. If Texas is deserving of the #1 spot, they should have rolled over the Bradford-less Sooners yesterday.
Basically what this comes down to is that- neither Florida, nor Alabama, nor Texas are the #1 team in the country. They are not infallible, they are not fundamentally sound, they have not played top talent and won big.
When it comes down to it, there is no #1 team. Yes the polls have to put a team in at #1 and Alabama by the numbers is the number one team. However, on field play does not back up the numbers. Being undefeated does not mean that you are the #1 team (Right Utah? Right Boise State?). It just means your record has no blemishes.
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