Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Boy Football

We're four weeks into the 2009 season, and for the first time this year some clarity seems to be emerging. Every team in the country has played at least one meaningful game (thank you Ole Miss and Penn State for joining the rest of us. None of this of course has stopped pundits from crapping on the ACC.

"Why can't the ACC find a team to compete with the USC's and Florida's of the world?

We have news for you. Looking at the three to four games already played, the ACC does have a team that can hang with big boy football, and that team is Virginia Poly. Below is a chart showing the Top 15 Teams according to Sagarin Rating. We know a lot of you don't understand and don't like the computer polls, but they have two advantages over human polls. One, they are based only on what has happened on the field, not what we think will happen or worse yet, what was suppose to happen. Two they are transparent. If a team is over rated you can look at the record and figure out why it's overrated. The polls? Who knows why they do what they do.

The data is still pretty incomplete, but some sense seems to be emerging. Florida's ranked number one, so that fits. At first glance, Boise State seems to be a little high,but they have the most impressive victory among the top 15, a face shellacking of #7 Oregon. Alabama beat Virginia Tech, who is higher rated than Oregon, but not by nearly as many points. Alabama also played North Texas and Florida International, two Sunbelt teams, and that doesn't help the strength of schedule. Perhaps you could nit pick the order, but there is plenty of time left in the season to figure that out.

Virginia Poly has racked up three quality victories. A poll friendly 52-10 beat down of middle of C-USA Marshal. An ugly win, but a win none the less against #25 Nebraska, and an uber-kill of #15 Miami. Combine that with a 10 point loss to #4 Alabama without their top offensive player and it's fair to say that VPI has the inside track on the other one loss teams on the list. Oregon is probably their closest competition.

The Hokies could easily push ahead of some currently unbeaten teams if they were to stumble. Virginia Tech plays Duke and Boston College next. Two bottom dwellers that should provide an opportunity to move up the poles into the national attention if LSU, Texas, or Alabama should stumble. Alabama has been tested...by Virginia Poly. LSU and Texas have not. LSU faces Georgia and Florida in the next two weeks and could easily loose both games. Texas plays the laughable Colorado next weekend, but then has to man up against Oklahoma the following week.

Conclusive? No way, but next time someone dismisses the ACC as having a bunch of good teams, but no great teams, don't despair. Be patient and know the facts.

P.S. #15 Miami is lurking on the edge. They could easily fall of the pace in the tough ACC Coastal, but wins over #17 Georgia Tech and #24 Florida State may serve them well in the polls.

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