This really should be a Board post. Also, you could look at a bunch of teams this early on in the conference slate and see a similar breakdown of easy wins. I don't think Mizzou is the #5 team in the country, but they've beaten some decent teams pretty handily, and that has to count for something. Maybe they are the #8 team in the country, but this feels like nit-picking for the sake of it.
Thoughts on SEC and poll rankings (quantified)
So I'm sure you can do this with a ton of schedules once you actualy start cross-referencing, but the facts are still laughable. The genesis behind this was when I looked at the rankings at 7pm tonight on my phone and had the reaction ... 'Missouri is #5 and Auburn is #14!?!?!?'
Let's start with Auburn. That's the lesser offense here.
Auburn beat Texas A&M. I'm surprised they jumped that much, but it's not unheard of.
For what it's worth, outside of A&M, Auburn has beaten the following teams this year: Ole Miss, Western Carolina, Miss St, Arkansas State, Washington State.
Now, Missouri. Oooooh Missouri, you bastards.
Two points to set up my argument:
- LSU's opponent win% is .500 (24-24). Their best wins are Auburn (previously unranked), TCU, and Florida
- South Carolina's opponent win% is sub-.500. Their best wins are North Carolina and Vanderbilt
OK, so Missouri went from "receiving votes" to #5 by beating Florida and Georgia.
- Florida & Georgia are unraked, both 4-3.
- Florida & Georgia's best wins collectively are South Carolina (see above), and LSU (see above). The other 6 wins between Florida & Georgia are against North Texas, Tennessee (2x), Toledo, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
- Missouri's other wins? Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, Vandy and Arkansas State.
It ..... gets ......... better:
The teams #5 Missouri has beaten this year ... below IS THE FULL LIST OF TEAMS THOSE SCHOOLS HAVE WINS AGAINST:
Campbellsville, Missouri State, Central Michigan, Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay (2x), Eastern Washington, Western Michigan, Navy (2OT), Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Troy, Idaho, Georgia, UMass, UAB, South Carolina, North Texas, Tennessee (2x), Toledo, Kentucky, Arkansas.
Ladies & Gentlemen, your #5 team in the nation, SOLEY because they play in the SEC.
Or, at least, the SEC bias of voters hasn't trickled down to Missouri yet. Missouri's ranking is being floated up right now by computer rankings more than voters. MU is 1st in the Colley Matrix, which does not take conference affiliation into account.
Although most of the computer models will show the SEC as the top-ranked conference this year, few will show them overwhelmingly so.
Are you joking? The colley matrix is in fact inherently biased to the SEC. Any computer method that bases ranking on SOS and number of wins over top 25/top 50 is biased to the SEC.
In an alternate universe where Michigan,
Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan State,
Penn State, and Nebraska all started high in the rankings due to Big 10 bias, it's imaginable that we would be lauded as the strongest conference given our depth and the UCF, UCLA, and ASU losses would be dismissed as aberrations and they would all jump in rankings while the Big 10 teams would fall only slightly.
I think one factor that plays into this all is the rise of the MAC, which is by far better than the other regional conferences. The perception is that the MAC is still lowly but they have been fielding good teams for a while now.
Maybe I missed sarcasm there.
As far as I am aware, Colley does not take performance against top 25 or 50 into consideration, or include any preseason ranking, unless the model has changed in past few years. There's a detailed mathematical explanation on the Colley website, which is worth a read. (Can't link from phone). I don't particularly like the model, but at least it's transparent.
I'd bet with so many Big 10/MAC games, there's an information problem with some of the rankings. So many MAC non-conference games are against the Big 10 that the few that are against other conferences disproportionately affect Big 10 teams' ratings.
There's a pro-SEC bias infecting the polls right now, but S. Carolina is the biggest beneficiary, not Missouri or Auburn.
I apologize - I looked at the current rankings and saw the SOS and top 25/ top 50 highlighted. In the detailed explanation, though, it's clear that the algorithm really isn't a good descriptor of a team's success until the end of the season because at this point, roughly 50% of the information used to calculate ranking is hit or miss due to easy non-conference games.
Take Indiana, for example... They've played a pretty tough schedule in general but since they are clearly worse, talent-wise, than MSU, Michigan, Mizzou, and Penn State it's tough to count a win against them very highly in the Colley matrix, thus depressing Michigan's ranking. On the other hand, Mizzou's ranking would also be depressed.
Meanwhile, Florida has played craptastic teams like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas, which inflates Mizzou's ranking.
You think the writers and coaches are using the Colley Matrix to cast their votes?
Campbellsville is a tough game. You ever see their cheerleaders?
I think it is funny that after all the SEC hype for two consecutive years A&M and Mizzou "stun" the conference and win games they're not supposed to. Maybe the Big 12 was really the best conference 3 years ago...
I know, it is tough to argue with the championships. I still feel like the SEC gets too much hype. I can't wait for the playoffs to come next year. It'll be great to give more teams the chance to play.
You can do this with practically every top team. It is pointless.
FWIW, Sagarin Rating, which I respect, has them at #5 (pure) and #9 (predictor). Even better, he has LSU at #6.
The season still has ways to go. I wouldn't take current rankings that seriously.
This is not new. 2 years ago Floida started out in the top 5 and went 4-0 before playing bama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia. They lost all 4 of those games and didn't drop out of the top 10 till they where 4-3 and didn't drop out of the top 25 till they where 5-5 a few weeks later... or maybe it was the last game of the regular season when they lost to florida state. The thing is SeC teams start out in the top 10 and when they lose they rarely drop more than a few spots ( See Georgia loss to Clemson and South Carolina's loss to Georgia). Michigan dropped more spots after a close win against a terrible team than an SeC team would drop in a loss to a mediocre team.
Mizzou has a decent resume so far, better than Ohio. I would have a hard time putting someone else ahead of them.
Missouri is undefeated, beat highly-ranked (at the time) teams, and beat them pretty easily. Who else has done that: Florida State, and they are #2. Win all of your games and you are bound to be highly ranked. Win all of your games in a power conference and of course you are going to be highly ranked. Who else deserves to be up there? Everyone else has a loss already.
Besides, they didn't go from unranked to #5; they are #5 in the first BCS rankings of the season. They went from 25 to 14 to 5 in the AP by beating the #7 team at the time, and then beating the #22 team in the country when a bunch of teams ahead of the lost.
6 of the top 11 teams in the AP poll lost on Saturday. Why wouldn't Missouri move up?
SEC bias is a real thing, but Mizzou is undefeated with a few wins over power programs. There only other undefeated teams are Miami, Baylor, Texas Tech, Northern Illinois, and Fresno State.
I have no problem with Mizzou's ranking. I don't think the polls are trying to decide the best team. They are trying to decide who is having the best season. Mizzou will drop, other teams will move up. That doesn't mean they aren't deserving of their ranking at this point.
Was simply that Missouri plays in the SEC, beats SEC schools, and shoots up in the polls.
This does happen every year it seems (conference major, unranked, starts out 6-0 or 7-0, shoots up in the polls).
However, I think too much is being made (as is usually the case) about "quality wins" over SEC competition. You could easily frame an argument the SEC this year is not deep, is not cannibalizing itself, and is simply top-heavy with mediorcre teams. A stigma that has plagued the Big Ten for many of the recent seasons (present season not included).
I am not commenting on the strength (or lack thereof) of the Big Ten this year at all. I am only trying to present facts / results that point to the teams that play in the SEC this year, in a vacuum, away from the "SEC" label, are no different than other conferences.
MISSOURI has gone from 40ish to #5 in a few short weeks with consecutive wins over SEC schools.
Northern Illinois, Texas Tech, and Fresno St have not moved up in the polls more than marginally with consecutive wins over non-SEC schools.
I am just glad to see Georgia drop out of the rankings after their 3rd loss. After two losses they were still ranked 15th.
What's a joke is that there are 3 2-loss SEC teams in the top AP Top 20 (BCS Top 21) in LSU, South Carolina, and Texas A&M. LSU still has to play Alabama, A&M, and Arkansas -- they could easily have two more losses. But, losses to SEC teams don't seem to matter as much as losing to non-SEC team -- especially Bama.
Clemson gets blown the fuck out and they're still in the top 10. Stanford loses to an unranked Utah team, and they're STILL in the top 10. The whole thing is a load of crap, and I'll be glad when it's all over.
Not that it really matters, but it irks me when there are 3 2-loss teams ranked AHEAD of a 1 loss Michigan team.
This complaint is the exact opposite of what the OP is complaining about. The original post complains undefeated Missouri is ranked highly without taking into account their lack of quality victories. Your last sentence complains Michigan should be ranked higher than other teams based on record alone, not taking into account our close games against weak competition. At the same time you say LSU has 2 losses coming (Arkansas is a disaster), but the same argument could be made about Michigan so why should we be ranked ahead of those teams?
I said that LSU has two potential losses in A&M and Alabama, not so much Arkansas. I wasn't using their potential losses as an indictment of them, only their current two losses, as opposed to Michigan's one. I don't think SOS should be a consideration. If you use SOS, as we're seeing with the SEC bias, you get the crap that we have now. A team can lose, but if they lose to the right teams, the don't get hurt too much. Conversely, they can win, but if (like Michigan) they get those wins in close games against perceived weak competition, they can move DOWN in the rankings. If there were no conference bias SOS would be ok, but with it, it's bullshit.
Bama is the only real contender in the SEC. Every team in the league will drop in the rankings as the season continues.
Things will all shake out by the end of the season. If these teams are legit, they'll keep winning.
Don't get so worked up over mid-season polls. The only poll that counts is the year end poll. All other polls are designed to sell newspapers and generate clicks on websites.