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The Polls are Bad, Vol. 4: Broken records don’t play new tunes

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Yes, it keeps getting worse.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff-Selection Sunday Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Well I've been living in this month of Sundays,
for so long I don't remember Saturday night.
Broken records don't play new tunes,
except for once in a blue moon,
and I have looked, and the moon is still white.
-Michael David Rosenberg, “Month of Sundays”

  1. Alabama
  2. Miami
  3. Clemson
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Auburn
  7. Georgia
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Ohio State
  10. Penn State
  11. USC
  12. TCU
  13. Washington State
  14. Mississippi State
  15. UCF
  16. Michigan State
  17. Washington
  18. LSU
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. Memphis
  21. Stanford
  22. Northwestern
  23. Boise State
  24. South Carolina (wut)
  25. Virginia Tech

Yes, those are still the rankings. A rational motivation for continued subjection of my emotions and time to these damnable rankings eludes me. Time and time again, we cry, “Justice!”, and Kirby and the Boys reply, “You shall have no justice, and you’ll like it.” And Tuesday after Tuesday, we sit here, expecting something different; Tuesday after Tuesday, we are rewarded for our naivety with disregard and disrespect. Joey Galloway asks, “Why isn’t USC being considered in the same breath with two loss Ohio State?” His lament highlights the underlying question - why is our next man up so low? And do not overlook the creeping of Washington State, up 12 spots in three weeks thanks to whimsy and attrition, poised and looming to either provide a quality win for USC or to overtake the Frogs themselves by virtue of being in the Pac 12. TCU left the Mountain West, but the Mountain West has not left TCU. Again and again, we are labelled “Placeholder.”

Memphis and UCF are underrated (Mississippi State jumped UCF after a last second win over Arkansas), and South Carolina has new, shiny appeal now that they are playing Clemson who needs another reason to stay so highly ranked. Virginia Tech, also a boon to that ACC strength of schedule argument, is ranked because of their wins over... Well, they play in the ACC, so they deserve to be ranked. Iowa State, though, with wins over number four (on the road!) and twelve, is not worthy of consideration. Again, the Boise State inclusion reeks of the hilarity of “shoot we need another G5 team in here, who do we know?” USF is 9-1, and nowhere to be found. Florida Atlantic has been murdering the competition, undefeated in conference play, and is nowhere to be found. But yes, Boise should be ranked.

I could rant, I could rave, I could scream. But time and time again, the Committee allows subjective bias to drive and justify their decisions. They fail to account for a dynamic equilibrium in ranking teams in favor of a static, irrational ordering. I mean irrational in two senses. First, informally, the committee is not basing their decisions on objective reason. Second, formally, the committee has a set of preferences that are not transitive and complete. They are partially transitive, in that they have the decency to rank Ohio State behind Penn State, for example. But their transitive consideration extends no further; they only this week corrected their glaring Miami/Clemson problem after a week of ridicule. Additionally, these rankings are not complete; the committee cannot articulate pairwise comparison of teams in different conferences. The whole system they use lends itself to popular bias, and they offer no indication of substantive consideration of the implications of their rankings. These rankings are just a tale told by [a committee of] idiot[s], full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. TCU lost any shot at a playoff with the loss to Iowa State, and TCU lost a shot at a NY6 bowl thanks to a small living alumni base.

As for rooting interests to benefit TCU, basically, we want every favorite to lose this weekend, with the exception of ourselves. That’s our best bet to secure the NY6, and even then, isn’t secured.

On this short week, instead of anger at things we cannot change, let us go and enjoy the holiday, reveling in doling our small piece of justice to that football team from down south.

I have looked, and my friends, the moon is still white.