Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has expressed some confusion over the Irish’s placement in recent polls. And since i have a little time to kill, and figure that most Irish fans on this site allready hate me anyway i figured i’d try and help him out by explaining it to him.
“One of the teams [Tennessee] that jumped us had the same game that we had. They’re down, they’re playing at home and they win by a field goal,” Weis said Tuesday. “Another team [Florida] that jumped us wasn’t even playing. They were home eating cheeseburgers and they end up jumping us. That befuddles me.”
First, I can assume that Weis is refering to the Coaches poll here, since the AP Poll and BCS standings both have the Irish ahead of Tennessee last week and this week, and the Harris poll had Tennessee ahead in both weeks.
So lets take a look, here is last weeks situation for 8, 9 and 10 (points recieved in parentheses)
8: Notre Dame (1068)
9: Tennessee (1060)
10: Florida (1045)
And now for the current week
8: Florida (1051)
9: Tennessee (1046)
10: Notre Dame (1019)
The first thing that jumps out at me is that Tennessee didn’t leap-frog Notre Dame. Tennessee stayed in the same spot. Notre Dame dropped. And when you look at the points seperating them, its not like the voters saw much difference between the two teams in the previous week.
The second thing to notice is that Tennessee lost votes too, the Irish just happend to lose more. Why did they lose more? Well i’m going to guess its because they struggled against UCLA, while Tennessee struggled against Alabama. There is a bit of a difference in the quality there. Second, its because Tennessee didn’t have to rely on a miracle comback at the end, the scored the game winning touchdown with 3:28 remaining. It could also be the fact that Tennessee’s only loss is by one point to Florida, and they have beaten Georgia and Cal, both solid teams. Meanwhile the Irish’s biggest win is over an ok Penn State and they have had to rely on a last minute miracle against UCLA and a fourth quarter collapse by Michigan State to hold themselves at one loss. Then there is the trouncing they recieved at Michigan. Sorry Charlie, but Tennessee deserves to be ranked above you, its a team that is 2 points away from being undefeated.
And what about Florida? They didn’t even play! And here we have to remember, as some have tried to point out that the polls are not done by one person, but by a aggregate of votes by many many people. Yes Florida moved up, but i imagine its because the voters, one weak removed from Florida’s loss to (at the time #11 ranked) Auburn, looked at Florida’s resume and decided (and i feel rightly so) that the Gator’s were the better team. The question isn’t why did they jump ahead of you Charlie, its why they got ranked behind you in the first place, and the answer is simple, the Pollsters tend to punish teams more for recent losses than for previous ones. Florida has quality wins over Tennessee, LSU, and Alabama, and have trounced their other opponents as they were expected to. The same just can’t be said about Notre Dame.
Look, if the Irish had thoroughly trounced the Bruins they might have a case. If they had held Michigan to a close game they might have a case. If they hadn’t had to come from behind against a mediocre Michigan State team, they might have a case.
Weis’ argues that the Irish won “a thrilling game, ok, and because we won a thrilling game lets move us down, because one teams not playing and another team had the exact same game”.
The whole point, and all you Irish fans need to understand this before you inundate the comment section below with your flames, is this: IT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A THRILLING GAME. As Brendan has pointed out and others as well, if Notre Dame is as good as they claim to be, UCLA should have been a gimmee. Seriously, UCLA is a 4-3 team whose wins are against four teams: Utah, Rice, Arizona, and Stanford. That set of teams has a combined record of 10 - 22. And one of those wins is because Arizona beat Stanford. You really want to tell me thats a team that the Irish should be in a thrilling game against? Ok maybe if it were USC or Michigan and it was a rivalry, but it wasn’t. And as i pointed out above, the only thing that is “the same” about the ND-UCLA game and the Tenneesee-Alabama game is that both were behind and came back to win by 3. Of course Tennessee, again, did it against a much more competative team and did so well before the last 30 seconds like the Irish did.
Perhaps instead of worrying about whether he is 8th or 10th in the polls this week, he should focus on getting the Irish back on track. I mean heck, look what happened to the last guy who was complaining about the polls.