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Double check those rankings

November 14, 2016

Matt Valcho

Sports Editor | mvv002@latech.edu

VALCHO

VALCHO

In the latest Associated Press rankings released this week, five undefeated schools remain, four of which make up the top four: Alabama at one, Michigan at two, Clemson coming in at three, and rounding out the top is Washington at four.

 

The final undefeated school is the Western Michigan Broncos. WMU plays in the Mid-American Conference, which barely registers on anyone’s radar as one of the premier conferences in the country. That makes it all the more ridiculous that WMU is sitting at 14 in the AP poll.

 

Of those five left without a loss, the obvious one out of place would have to be the Broncos. They’re one of only two group of five schools to be ranked in the AP poll, the other being Boise State at number 24.

 

WMU’s schedule was in the middle of the pack in difficulty in the preseason, including non-conference matchups with Illinois, Northwestern, Georgia Southern and FCS foe North Carolina Central. The FBS schools in that list are a combined 11-16 so far on the season.

 

That being said, I find it insane that Western Michigan is sitting as high as they are in the AP poll. The College Football Playoff poll has them at 21, which is a bit more realistic of a team of their caliber. Boise is sitting right behind them in the CFP poll at 22.

 

There is no easy way to rank Group of Five schools like Boise or WMU. Their schedules are usually weaker and their conferences lack competition. The games they play against Power Five schools are usually one sided except for the occasional upset.

 

I personally find it hard to believe that an undefeated WMU is better than a three loss LSU or Arkansas. Bring the Broncos into Fayetteville or Death Valley on a Saturday night and the number next to their name will disappear the next week.

 

WMU or Boise could probably come to Ruston and either have a close game with the Bulldogs, or blow them out. There’s no true answer. But I think it would be a close game. So why doesn’t Tech get any recognition nationally despite some big blowout wins? Sure, Tech lost to the Power Five schools, but their opponents are arguably tougher than WMU’s.

 

I could easily be wrong, but until I see evidence of that, I think the ranking system needs some tweaks and some new factors added to the equation. Even then, there’s no way everyone will be happy with outcome. Myself included.

 

Matt Valcho is a senior journalism major from Benton who serves as sports editor for The Tech Talk. 

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