Why was UT #11 going into this week's game?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm a UT fan, and I am terribly embarrassed about the crippling loss to Oklahoma yesterday, but in the lead-up to the game, my jaw dropped when I saw that sports journalists had apparently voted my team (ie: us) to #11 somehow in the past week.
As much as fans can hold their team and coaches responsible, how do journalists and those voting on polls (which actually DO have an effect on the fates of teams) get a pass when they're so clearly wrong?
Look, I am a fan of the Longhorns, and so there are absolutely some raw feelings there as the Horns return to Austin shamed and with quite a hole to climb out from, but I like to think I can also be pretty honest about how we're doing as my interest in the team is mostly just typical alumni school spirit, not that of someone who prides themselves on their sports acumen.
I didn't understand how UT entered at, what was it, 5 or 6? last year. We were a green team with an unproven quarterback and shouldn't have been ranked anywhere above, oh, 20, going into last year. Of course the Longhorns weren't going to have a great year, which is what a 5 ranking suggests, but somehow people who do this for a living couldn't do that math.
And, likewise, I totally don't understand how anyone who watches any college football looked at UT the past few weeks and thought "oh, yeah, these guys can clearly beat dozens and dozens of other college teams, let alone in their own conference. Let's, as a group, vote them to 11.".
Do Sports Journalists just suck at their job? This isn't the fault of the players or coaches, that's a totally different issue (and there's a place to talk about win/loss records and performance, absolutely). But someone out there is casting votes with a demonstrable lack of insight into the competitive ability of teams going head to head, all playing the same game. And I find that remarkable.
Sports journalists are almost as bad at their jobs as comics journalists, and sometimes I think they're as unlikely to have watched the teams they're talking about as comics journalists are to have actually read the material they're spilling bits over.
What I think I'd like to see may not be a play-off system, which I think lacks pragmatism for all the usual reasons. Instead, I think the votes should be public at the AP and the BCS polls.
Wouldn't it be worth seeing if we don't have some of these "qualified" journalists and coaches determining the fate of teams had to put a bit of skin in the game and folks could see their voting records versus reality?
The thing is, I don't want to dislike college football. Its, by far, my favorite sport. But much like comics journalism, there's frequently a seeming inability to see the real picture versus just riffing on a theme of the week or relying on "common wisdom" versus what's really going on out there.
The "gotcha" journalism of "why didn't you perform like a #11 team?" is absolutely ludcirous if that ranking was based upon illogical and badly informed decisions. It may be fun for the guys writing news and give them a story, but its kind of dumb and takes away from a pretty simple way of looking at the game with wins and losses. Frankly, I think it hurts the game for the casual fan.