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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Monday, December 05, 2005

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Recently SMQ has become aware of a certain segment of the college football world with an odd affinity for Oregon. The Ducks are ranked fifth in all three of the latest polls, ahead of BCS-bound Notre Dame, and have received strong on-air BCS endorsements from WWL pundits Mark May and Lee Corso. The San Jose Mercury News bemoans Oregon's poor fate here; Oregon Commentator joins it here.

But the one-beaten Ducks are headed to the Holiday Bowl while two-loss Ohio State and Notre Dame, thanks to the rigged formulas and trickery of the heartless BCS, rack up the big bucks and TV exposure in the Fiesta Bowl.

Injustice? SMQ ranks Oregon 11th, behind Miami, Auburn, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and LSU, so he obviously he doesn't enter the debate a Duck believer. But the pollsters and pundits are not in offical type commenting positions because they are fools, and SMQ decided to take more objective measures to answer the question: why the push for Oregon to slip into the BCS - and the moaning when it didn't - and not similar efforts and dismay on behalf of Miami, Auburn, Virginia Tech or LSU?

To do this, SMQ compiled the resumes of Oregon and these four teams - along with similarly poll-positioned Notre Dame and Georgia, for good measure - in the form of seven key components: record of defeated opponents, number of ranked opponents (both strength of schedule measures), average margin of victory, average margin of defeat, big wins, worst loss and "suspect" wins, or close (one score) victories over unranked opponents.

Here are the results, the tale of the tape, if you will, for the seven second-tier BCS hopefuls, ranked in each category below from best to worst (warning: rankings in "Best Wins" and "Worst Loss" categories are arbitrary):

Combined Record of Defeated Opponents (Div. I-A only)
1. GEORGIA: 58-53
3. LSU: 49-51
4. OREGON: 46-53
5. MIAMI: 46-55 (dramatically skewed by Duke and Temple, combined 1-21)
6. AUBURN: 43-45
7. NOTRE DAME: 42-56

Ranked Opponents (as determined by this week's final regular season polls)
1. VIRGINIA TECH: Five - 51-7 win over #24 Georgia Tech; 34-17 win over #11 West Virginia; 30-10 win over #19 Boston College; 27-7 loss to #9 Miami; 27-22 loss to #22 Florida State
2. LSU: Four - 21-17 win over #16/18 Florida; 20-17 win over #7 Auburn; 16-13 win (in overtime) over #13 Alabama; 34-14 loss to #8 Georgia
- MIAMI: Four - 10-7 loss to #22 Florida State; 36-30 (in triple overtime) win over #23 Clemson; 27-7 win over #12 Virginia Tech; 14-10 loss to #24 Georgia Tech
- AUBURN: Four - 23-14 loss to #24 Georgia Tech; 20-17 loss (in overtime) to #10 LSU; 31-30 win over #8 Georgia; 28-28 win over #13 Alabama
- GEORGIA: Four - 14-10 loss to #16/18 Florida; 31-30 loss to #7 Auburn; 14-7 win over #24 Georgia Tech; 34-14 win over #10 LSU
6. NOTRE DAME: Two - 17-10 win over #20/21 Michigan; 34-31 loss to #1 Southern Cal
7. OREGON: One - 45-13 loss to #1 Southern Cal

Average Margin of Victory (Again, Div. I-A opponents only)
2. AUBURN: 25.4
3. MIAMI: 19.8
4. NOTRE DAME: 18.4
5. GEORGIA: 17.9
6. LSU: 17.8
7. OREGON: 15.3

Average Margin of Defeat
1. GEORGIA: 2.5
2. NOTRE DAME: 3.0
3. MIAMI: 3.5
4. AUBURN: 6.0
5. LSU: 11.5
7. OREGON: 32.0

Best Wins
1. GEORGIA: 48-13 over unranked Boise State (9-3 record); 27-14 over unranked Tennessee (5-6 record); 14-7 over #24 Georgia Tech (7-4 record); 34-14 over #10 LSU (10-2 record)
2. VIRGINIA TECH: 51-7 over #24 Georgia Tech (7-4 record); 34-17 over #11 West Virginia (10-1 reord); 30-10 over #19 Boston College (8-3 record)
3. AUBURN: 48-7 over unranked South Carolina (7-4 record); 31-30 over #8 Georgia (10-2 record, SEC Champion); 28-18 over #13 Alabama (9-2 record)
4. LSU: 21-17 over #16/18 Florida (8-3 reord); 20-17 over #7 Auburn (9-2 reord); 16-13 (in overtime) over #13 Alabama (9-2 record)
5. MIAMI: 27-7 over #12 Virginia Tech (10-2 record), 23-3 over unranked Colorado (7-5 record)
6. NOTRE DAME: 17-10 over #20/21 Michigan (7-4 record); 49-28 over unranked Purdue (5-6 record); 41-21 over unranked Tennessee (5-6 record)
7. OREGON: 56-14 over unranked Oregon State (5-6 record); 34-31 over unranked Fresno State (8-4 record)

Worst Loss
1. GEORGIA: 14-10 to #16 Florida
2. MIAMI: 14-10 to #24 Georgia Tech
3. AUBURN: 23-14 to #24 Georgia Tech
4. NOTRE DAME: 44-41 (in overtime) to unranked Michigan State
5. OREGON: 45-13 to #1 Southern Cal
6. VIRGINIA TECH: 27-7 to #9 Miami
7. LSU: 34-14 to #8 Georgia

"Suspect" Wins (wins by one score or less to unranked teams)
1. AUBURN: Zero
2. MIAMI: One - 25-17 over Virginia
3. NOTRE DAME: One - 38-31 over Stanford
4. VIRGINIA TECH: One - 20-16 over NC State
5. GEORGIA: Two - 17-15 over South Carolina; 23-20 over Arkansas
- LSU: Two - 35-31 over Arizona State; 19-17 over Arkansas
7. OREGON: Three - 28-21 over Arizona; 27-20 (in overtime) over California; 34-31 over Washington State

By SMQ's estimation, the Ducks finish last of the group in five out of seven categories and no better than the middle of the pack in the other two. Compared to its rivals for the final BCS slot, this is a team beating weaker competition less impressively and without a single win over a demonstrably good team to hang its hat on. One game against a ranked team doesn't cut it in this group, especially when it's a 45-13 home loss.

If it had played and beaten UCLA, this might be a different story. Maybe. But these resumes as they stand show that, if anybody has a BCS beef, it's Virginia Tech or Miami (SMQ favors the latter), and definitely not poor Oregon.
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10:53 AM

I disagree. It should've been the Ducks. I mean c'mon. Favoritism shouldn't be included, and thats exactly what the Coaches poll is. I say, just go off of win-loss rcord, and if need be, expand the "BCS" bowls to 5-6, or whatever is needed....
Or perhaps, include the Conference champs of every conference, B12,B10,etc... and perhaps drop the Independents....
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