Saturday, December 30, 2017

#ArmyTop25 Revisted

Let's start by updating yesterday's #ArmyTop25 post.  The list is updated to include:
 -- Yesterday's bowl results
 -- 11-win Troy, left off by accident
 -- 9-win Stanford, who started the week at #13.  At 9-5, I'm not sure they have a legit argument, but their pre-Bowl Week ranking puts them above the line in terms of the screening criteria laid out below.

As it stands, there are 32 teams that we need to consider.  Of these, at most 28 were either ranked in the Top 15 before Bowl Week or will earn at least 9 wins total including a bowl win.

My theory is that late wins count more.  Teams in the Top 15 will most likely stay in the Top 25 regardless, but teams ranked below the Top 15 needed to win their bowl games in order to be considered for the Top 25 at the end of the year.  That may not play out across the board, but at some point, you should have to win to get in.  I drew the line at the Top 15.

Reminder: this list is ranked by total wins and loss, not by strength of schedule.  UCF is first because they won all their games.

RecordFPITEAMW-LBowl Notes
1N/AUCF, AAC12-0Peach
23Clemson, ACC12-1Sugar
36Oklahoma, Big 1212-1Rose
4N/AGeorgia, SEC12-1Rose
58Wisconsin, Big Ten12-1Orange
61Alabama, SEC11-1Sugar
72OSU, Big Ten12-2Cotton: Def. USC
968Troy, Sun Belt11-2New Orleans: Def. N. Texas
814USC, Pac-1211-3Cotton: Lost to OSU
1011TCU, Big 1211-3Alamo: Def. Stanford
1138Boise State, MW11-3Las Vegas: Def. Oregon
1250FAU, C-USA11-3Boca Raton: Def. Akron
1356Toledo, MAC11-3Dollar Gen.: Def. App. State
144Penn State, Big Ten10-2Fiesta
157Washington, Pac-1210-2Fiesta
1613Miami, ACC10-2Orange
1728Memphis, American10-2Liberty
1843USF, American10-2Birmingham: Def. Texas Tech
195Auburn, SEC10-3Peach
2010Oklahoma State, Big 1210-3Camping World: Def. VT
2130Michigan State, Big Ten10-3Holiday: Def. Wash. St.
2224Northwestern, Big Ten10-3Music City: Def. Kentucky
2363Army, FBS Indep.10-3Armed Forces: Def. SDSU
2457Fresno State, MW10-4Hawaii: Def. Houston
259Notre Dame, FBS Indep.9-3Citrus
2615LSU, SEC9-3Citrus
2720NC State, ACC9-4Sun: Def. AZ State
2813Stanford, PAC 129-5Alamo: Lost to TCU
2918Louisville, ACC8-4Tax Slayer
3019Miss St, SEC8-4Tax Slayer
3121Michigan, Big Ten8-4Outback
3235South Carolina, SEC8-4Outback

Northwestern and NC State both won yesterday, and that really hurts because both were ranked in the lower 20s.  A bowl loss would certainly have knocked them out of the Top 25, making room for Army.  The same is true for #20 Memphis (10-2, 7-1 in the AAC-West).  They play Iowa State (7-5, 5-4 in the Big 12) at 12:30 today.

Army fans ought to pull hard for the Cyclones.

Beyond this, we're left trying to match strengths-of-schedule and intangibles.  For example, ESPN gives Army a better strength-of-record than either Florida Atlantic or Toledo, and the Black Knights are virtually tied with Troy.  

Is it possible that the Commander-in-Chief's trophy is worth more than the Sun Belt championship?  Maybe, but I don't think that's the way I would bet.

I think it's also vaguely possible that voters will punish Lane Kiffin because, well, he's Lane Kiffin.  Dude is a good football coach, but honestly, what's the over/under on the number of months we'll have to wait before FAU gets investigated for major NCAA recruiting violations?  I'm gonna go ahead and write "16" on my wall for that one.  I'd be curious to know if Vegas actually has a line on it.

Finally, I think Army has a good argument against a few Power 5 opponents and against Stanford in particular.  The Black Knights have the better overall record (1 more win, 2 less losses) and a win against their sole common opponent.  Stanford beat more bowl opponents (7 vs. Army's 5), but Army beat more teams that actually won their bowl games.  Alas, ESPN gives them a good-sized edge in strength-of-record, and the Power 5 bias has been unaccountably strong this year.

Which brings us to my last point: ESPN/ABC/Disney/major sports media are not in the business of doing Army Sports any favors.  West Point has ~50K living graduates, which does not make for a particularly large native fan base, and more to the point, Army Football has a contract with CBS/CBS Sports.  The Black Knights just aren't bringing in much revenue for the big dogs.  It gets so egregious that ESPN barely talks Army Football on its TV and radio shows, even during Army-Navy Week when Army is playing in the only game on TV.

That goal gave Army a head-to-head win over Notre Dame Lacrosse.  The Black Knights also had a win against Syracuse, then the #2 team in the country, and a better overall record than the Fighting Irish.  They were still left out of the NCAA tournament while the Irish were seeded fourth overall!  Needless to say, Notre Dame got smoked in the first round.

Unfortunately, the size of the fan base matters in this stuff.  I mean, Jacksonville has one of the best teams in the NFL this year, but they're not exactly headlining NFL Live.  Meanwhile, we can't talk enough about the Giants and/or the Cowboys, and they both suck.

What can you do?

Go Army!  Beat Navy!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment