(The eighth episode of the "Quiet Guy in the Sports Bar" deals with the Southeastern Conference and the Big 10 Conference dominating the 2011 Preseason "Human Poll Composite" developed interestingly by Gus and Wally, the party buddies of GQ and Dr. Bricker.)
I'm sitting in the recliner while GQ has his leg draped over the arm of the love seat. It's as if the patrons of the Two Dozen Plus One sports tavern have conceded this space of the floor to us and...well, here they are!
Gus and Wally bounce through the open door and move toward our corner with purpose. They plop their respective substantial butts on the sofa. Blond, hazel-eyed, same height, with polo shirts, plaid shorts and sandals - should they call each other at the beginning of the day to plan the wardrobe or will this Fric and Frac act continue?
"Dudes," says Wally. "We got it. Yeah, we've been working on this for so long. I pieced together the data and Gus manned the spread sheets."
"Played to our strengths," says Gus.
There's a pause between the two excitable men. That's enough time for me to ask, "What!"
"Read it," says Wally.
Gus fetches a stack of paper out of Wally's satchel. He clears his throat, discovers he's holding the stack upside-down, adjusts, then lifts his head.
"The Southeastern Conference and the Big 10 Conference rule!" Gus says excitedly. "Top Five: Oklahoma, Alabama, Oregon, then Florida State and Louisiana State tied for fourth."
Wally grabs the papers, "Next Five," he says, "Boise State, Stanford, Nebraska, Notre Dame! How about that? And, Wisconsin rounds out the Top Ten. Gus, my man?" Wally hands the important documents to Gus
"Thank you," says Gus, "Number eleven, Oklahoma State, then the evil Virginia Tech, soon-to-be-the SEC's brand new member Texas A & M, then Ohio State and tied for fifteenth are Arkansas and Texas Christian. Wally?"
"Why, certainly," says Wally, "South Carolina at seventeen, Florida at eighteen, then West Virginia, the Mountaineers, cracking the Top Twenty at nineteen, and Texas will try to best the 2010 losing record at twenty. Gus, bring it home," says Wally to Gus as he passes the papers to him.
"Twenty-one, Georgia, then Michigan State, Penn State, and Mississippi State and Miami F-L-A."
"So, what do you think?" asks Wally.
"We worked really hard for this one," says Gus.
There is a pause as GQ and I look at each other and look around.
"It's as good and as valid as any other poll out there so far," I say. GQ nods as if he would have said the same thing.
"Better, Mason!" says Gus sharply. "It's The Human College Football Poll Composite, coming out mere days before the Associated Press releases its poll."
"Human Poll Composite," says Wally. "We used six ranking services, three from the media and three put together by experts and a fan. The fan. That's you, GQ."
"Gus, Wally, I'm honored to be part of your Human Composite poll," says GQ.
"Thank you," says Gus. Wally reaches out for a fist bump from The Qster. "The media contributors are Athlon, Sporting News, and ESPN," Gus says. "You're the fan, GQ, and the experts are the coaches and Phil Steele."
"Phil Steele! I'm impressed!" I say.
"It gets better," says Wally. "We hit the Internet, looking for a way to get the oddsmakers involved."
"Go ahead and call them bookies, Wally," I say.
"Okay, smart patootie," says Gus, continuing his streak of using no foul language, from Advent through Lent and beyond. He says he feels cleansed. "Anyway, we found a way. The oddsmakers...Mason...publish the odds of selected FBS college football teams winning the BCS championship game. For instance, one service has given Oklahoma 9/2 odds for winning the BCS title. Alabama has 11/2 odds. West Virginia has odds anywhere between 30 to 1 and 20 to 1. You get the drift."
"So," says Wally, "we ranked the teams according to the national championship odds for three Internet sites. They're lasvegassportsbetting, betvega, and bodog. I know very little about betting anything," he continues." "I just took the odds as those web sites gave them to me."
"We did it because I've read that...okay! Bookies!" says Gus, "I've read that they really know their stuff because millions of dollars as well as reputations are at risk every week."
"You're right," I say. "To both!"
"So," says GQ, wanting to know more, "You've given us the rankings for the composite of nine separate rankings."
"We actually lined up the nine for each team and threw out the high and the low, making seven rankings," says Gus.
"Nice touch," I say.
"This is not my first rodeo," says Wally.
"Any surprises? Any disparities?" asks GQ.
"Well, yeah!" says Gus. "The oddsmakers liked Florida and West Virginia."
"Interestingly, those are two teams with new coaches and fairly recent challenges on the field as well as off the field," I say.
"The experts pumped up the possibilities for Georgia," Wally says. "The media like Oklahoma State and Texas A & M. So did the coaches. And, you, GQ, contributed to the TCU's seventh rank in the Fans/Experts section."
"If the Frogs get through their first two games, at Baylor and at Air Force..." GQ says.
"We've heard that before," I say, with a complimentary slap on the back. GQ laughs.
"Yeah," says Gus. "Another thing. The top six for all segments, that's media. experts, and Vegas, were consistently Sooners, 'Bama, the Ducks, Florida State, LSU, and Boise State. The middle eleven drew from the same schools, but the ranks were a mix of various teams at various slots."
"Also, with exception to GQ," Wally says, "Boise State sat at sixth and TCU stayed around fifteenth and eighteenth."
"Pretty consistent," I say. "Interesting how the pollsters and voters are in lock-step with the non-AQ powerhouses."
"I'm counting the teams and scoring their respective conferences," says GQ. "The SEC has seven in your Top Twenty-Five composite poll. The Big Ten has five and the Big Twelve has four."
"The Atlantic Coast has three. The Pac Twelve has two, the Mountain West also has two, and the Big East has but one," I say.
"Then, there's Notre Dame," Wally says.
"Wake up the echoes, dude," I say.
"What if this were bowl season," posed Wally. "And the Bowl Championship Series coaches from USA Today, Harris experts, and the geeks --"
"Wally, you're a geek," says Gus.
"Okay, computer services," Wally says, "lined up exactly like our Human Poll Composite!"
"That would be so cool!" Gus says.
"What you're saying," GQ says, "is Oklahoma wins the round robin in the Big Twelve and probably beat Florida State. Alabama pounded South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game and got to number two maybe with one loss, maybe to spoiler Auburn. That rounds out the BCS title game."
I prepare to take the baton. "Florida State got by Virginia Tech for the ACC title. Its loss to the Sooners didn't hurt much as evident by their number four ranking, even though the game was at Tallahassee."
"After gaining the North berth by taking Stanford to the mat, Oregon won the first Pac Twelve championship game," says Wally, "and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl to play the Big Ten Legends champion Nebraska, which beat Big Ten Leaders Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten championship game."
"When will the Big Ten catch on that Leaders/Legends is ridiculous?" I ask.
"Never," says GQ.
"Anyway, LSU and Stanford as well as Wisconsin got their tickets punched for a BCS bowl," I say. "And, it's as delicious as it sounds. Notre Dame finished ninth in the final poll and can't go BCS bowling because the Irish need a top eight rank to get in. I'm Catholic, but considering the school's heavy-handedness with regard to the Bowl Championship Series and their complete disdain for the spirit of the rules by which each university plays, well, there is a -- "
"Worse," says GQ, "West Virginia got in a Big Bowl, even though they probably lost to LSU, by winning the anemic Big East, mostly because the other seven schools refused to take the title. They finished 11-1, a putrid record with such a pathetic schedule."
"However, the best is Boise State's automatic bid," I say. "Maybe the BCS gods will give the Broncos a crack at Florida State in its prime. That's what this game needs. Another marriage proposal."