We've revisited our methodology for selecting the BON Top 25. Rather than simply going with our strict subjective evaluations, which can be misleading, we've decided to move to a different format. The process is a simple one.
Step 1: AW sends me his Top 25 ballot, based mostly on his own analysis of which teams look good, deserved to be ranked where, and so forth.
Step 2: I dig through the records of each team being considered for ranking and assign prime/quality wins, compare schedules, margin of victory, and so forth.
Step 3: We reconcile the two lists, placing heavy emphasis on performance to date, breaking close calls with more subjective analysis and margin of victory.
Prime/quality wins are roughly defined as wins over no doubter top 30-35 teams. Wins over teams like South Carolina, Georgia, Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona State are not considered prime, for example. Those are solid wins, and taken into account, but they aren't prime/quality for the purposes of this ballot.
1. Ohio State [Losses: None / Quality wins: @ Texas, @ Iowa, Penn State]
2. Michigan [Losses: None / Quality wins: @ Notre Dame, Wisconsin, @ Penn State, Iowa]
3. Southern California [Losses: None / Quality wins: @ Arkansas, vs Nebraska, @ Washington State, Washington]
4. Florida [Losses: @ Auburn / Quality wins: @ Tennessee, vs Alabama, vs LSU]
5. Texas [Losses: Ohio State / Quality wins: Oklahoma, @ Nebraska]
Homer alert: Some bias here? Arguably, sure. Still, we've watched this team enough to think it would beat any of the below. We give the nod to Florida, because of their defense, which has been every bit as good as Texas', if not better.
6. Tennessee [Losses: @ Florida / Quality wins: California, Alabama]
7. California [Losses: @ Tennessee / Quality wins: Oregon, @ Washington State, Washington]
8. Auburn [Losses: Arkansas / Quality wins: Washington State, LSU, Florida]
9. Boston College [Losses: @ NC State / Quality wins: Clemson, BYU, Virginia Tech]
10. Arkansas [Losses: USC / Quality wins: Alabama, @ Auburn]
11. Notre Dame [Losses: @ Michigan / Quality wins: Penn State, Georgia Tech]
12. Clemson [Losses: @ Boston College / Quality wins: @ Wake Forest, Georgia Tech]
13. West Virginia [Losses: None / Quality wins: None]
14. Louisville [Losses: None / Quality wins: None]
15. Rutgers [Losses: None / Quality wins: @ Pittsburgh]
16. LSU [Losses: @ Auburn, @ Florida / Quality wins: None]
17. Texas A&M [Losses: Texas Tech / Quality wins: Missouri]
18. Boise State [Losses: None / Quality wins: None]
19. Oklahoma [Losses: @ Oregon, Texas / Quality wins: Washington]
20. Wisconsin [Losses: @ Michigan / Quality wins: None]
21. Missouri [Losses: @ Texas A&M / Quality wins: None]
22. BYU [Losses: @ Boston College, @ Arizona / Quality wins: Tulsa]
23. Nebraska [Losses: @ USC, Texas / Quality wins: None]
24. Georgia Tech [Losses: Notre Dame, @ Clemson / Quality wins: @ Virgina Tech]
25. Washington State [Losses: @ Auburn, USC, California / Quality wins: Oregon]
Waiting: TCU, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Tulsa
So, the new methodology produces some different results. Let's discuss some of the more interesting ones.
Louisville and West Virginia are the biggest losers, obviously. Frankly, when you look at who they've played, the most impressive win between them is Louisville's victory against Miami, and that looks worse by the week. Neither team has beat a team of consequence. Finally, next week, the teams will play one another. One of the two will be undefeated with a quality win. If it's a decisive, convincing win, all the better for the victor.
Boston College finally gets its fair due. With three quality wins, the Eagles rocket up the ballot. Hard to believe that the team we praised so much in the preseason had fallen so far down our ballot, but in this more objective analysis, they get a better look.
We were, admittedly, perhaps generous with Texas, and a critic could give us a hard time about it. But not much. Even ranking -strictly- on resume, the Horns are not going to fall any further than 7-8. The ceiling for this team is still so high, and the squad is so much better than it was in September. One important note for Horns fans: there are consequences to crappy scheduling. Have a gander at the most recent BCS standings and note how hard Texas is getting hammered by the computers. That's because of Sam Houston State, North Texas, and Rice. Just keep that in mind as we await our 2007 schedule.
Other than that, things are pretty self-explanatory. Your comments are welcome, as always.