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Discussing The Week 3 AP Poll – Talking WVU, Leap-Frogging & Houston

We discuss why the Mountaineers aren’t even receiving votes, whether or not teams should worry about being jumped late, and if a team like Houston has a realistic chance at the CFB Playoff.

Photo Credit - CFB Playoff

The AP Poll has released their latest rankings, but then again, you already know that because everywhere you turn, someone has them posted. We decided to do something different this year. Instead of being yet another site to regurgitate the Top 25 list, we’re going to discuss what the AP got right, what they got wrong, and how we would change it.

Before we get into the discussion, there was some fallout for the Big 12 following a disastrous weekend for the conference.

TCU and Oklahoma State dropped from the poll. That was expected following their losses. Although, both did receive votes. That leaves just three Big 12 schools in the standings. Texas (11) and Oklahoma (14) stayed put, but Baylor (21) moved up two spots after their blowout against SMU.

Both TCU and OK State lost, yet both received votes. However, WVU is 2-0 and did not receive any votes this week. Are the Mountaineer’s being slighted?

RYAN EVANS – Maybe nobody’s talking about the Mountaineers, but it’s too early on in the season for me to be too indignant about it. Right now, West Virginia’s best win is an underwhelming victory over a bad, bottom-tier SEC team. This week’s 17 point victory over Youngstown State was not exactly a statement-making win.

If Holgorsen’s crew impresses next Saturday against BYU, then people should start talking.  However, there are 10 games left. It’s a long season, and West Virginia will have ample opportunity to prove it belongs in the national conversation.

Now, if the Mountaineers are sitting at 6-0 a few weeks from now and still nobody’s giving them credit, then I’ll be a little irritated for them.

ROBERT SPRADLEY – Agreed. Fairly, or unfairly, Mizzou just isn’t a sexy name brand. Regardless of how talented Mizzou might be, beating them seldom provides the impact a program might have been hoping for. Following that up with a 17-point win against Youngstown State, after being down 14-7 and tied at the half,  isn’t going to get very many people pumped up either. So no, they’re not being slighted.

DYLAN STEEN – West Virginia, like all Power Five teams, doesn’t have to worry about their ranking at this point the in season. There’s very little chance a major conference team goes undefeated and doesn’t crack the top four.

Although, if that was going to happen to anyone, West Virginia does seem like a prime candidate, but I think the Mountain Mommas are safe.

Interesting that Oklahoma State received votes this week. I’m guessing under normal circumstances, a home loss to Central Michigan drops you from 22 to the middle of nowhere. That’s a good sign for the Cowboys that suggests they should get the benefit of the doubt if they bounce back and handle their business.

CHRIS ROSS – I agree that West Virginia’s resume so far isn’t overly impressive, but we aren’t talking the top four, or even the top 25. They didn’t even receive a single vote, and like everyone said, they’ve beaten an SEC team. Which, is more than most teams can say. All Oklahoma State has done is beat a FCS school. And while they might not have really lost to a MAC school, it’s an “L” in the record book. Lost in the official’s gaffe is that the Pokes just didn’t look very good on Saturday. Yet, they’re getting votes.

Clemson won, but is wasn’t pretty and they were penalized for it. The Tigers dropped from 2nd — a proverbial playoff spot and where they finished the season last year — to 5th. Should teams with front-loaded schedules be worried about being jumped at the end of the year because someone won a big game late? And what about Houston at 6th? Do the Cougars have any chance at making the CFB Playoff with only one more marquee game left on their schedule?

RYAN EVANS – Before commenting, I’ll point out we only have a 2 year sample size to base our expectations on what the committee will do, so it’s difficult to predict. What if someone like Houston, Boise State, South Florida, or San Diego State goes unbeaten? I’m not sure.

For Houston, I would advise Cougar fans to become part-time Sooner fans. If Oklahoma stumbles into less than stellar season, I don’t see a 13-0 Houston getting in. However, if OU wins the Big 12, then I would expect an undefeated Houston to get in.

But I do think teams with a front-loaded schedule have additional pressure to go undefeated.  Losses later without rebound opportunities against big time foes cause extra damage on playoff resumes than a week 2 disappointment.

ROBERT SPRADLEY – I don’t believe teams that have front-loaded schedules need to worry too much. Just keep winning and everything will take care of itself. I think Clemson being dropped has more to do with the fact that they haven’t looked good at all this season. They’re playing very sloppy ball and haven’t looked at all like the Tigers of a season ago. If they can turn that around you’ll see them climb back up the poll with each passing week.

Houston just needs to take care of business on their end. Teams ahead of them will undoubtedly win and lose and knock each other off. The Cougars are in a prime spot to move up and pounce on the opportunity of a playoff spot when the time comes.

DYLAN STEEN – As for Houston, the Big 12’s version of Puerto Rico at this point, they should be the biggest fans of Louisville. I could see them getting jumped late in the season when conference play heats up in the Power 5, and conference championship games give the top teams one more chance at a quality win. But, if Louisville takes down Florida State, and continues with a strong showing in the ACC, a late season win over the Cardinals would keep Houston in the top four.

CHRIS ROSS – I agree Robert, it probably is about them not looking near the team they were a year ago. Still they have won, and in the BCS era, it was conventional wisdom that you had to lose to get knocked from the top. There is certainly more volatility in the polls since the start of the CFB Playoff.

I do think there is some danger in a front-loaded schedule. Look at the playoff race two seasons ago. Ohio State whips Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game and all of a sudden they leap-frog right into a playoff spot. They ended up winning the whole thing, so most would argue that is proof that they earned the spot. However, using hindsight to justify a decision made without that information is a dangerous game.

As for Houston, they have no shot at the playoff. Coog Nation just needs to accept that and enjoy their season. It’s nothing against Houston, I like them. They just never had a chance to begin with. As long as there are five power conferences and just four playoff spots, a Group of Five member will never have the resume to get in. You can’t demand that every power five program play another P5 school in the non-conference, in addition to the eight or 9 they play in conference play, and then allow a school into the playoff because they won two games against P5 schools.

This is the system everybody wanted, because the BCS, and voter’s use of the “eye-ball” test was broken. Schools like Oklahoma State, who lead in the computers, were shunned by voters in favor of blue blood programs. The logo on the helmet carried too much weight. Instead, we needed a playoff. Let them decide it on the field. Which sounds great, until you realize that the computers have been unplugged and those four teams that get to duke it out are now entirely decided on by the “eye-ball” test. And, now we’re back to Ohio State leaping into the playoff, and teams like Houston being left out in the cold.

To make matters worse, the Boise States, UCFs, and Houstons of the world are dying a slow, slow death. Power Five conferences scheduling each other in the non-conference is only widening the gap between the Power Five and the Group of Five. Sure, the Sooners are playing both Ohio State and Houston this year, but who wants to face that level of competition every year? Especially, if Oklahoma ends up a two loss team, and one loss away from the playoff. Ohio State, they get credit for playing, but Houston, that was an unnecessary test and eventually most schools will stop taking the risk.

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