We here at Dawg Sports firmly believe that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. When a guy is a jerk and he continues to be a jerk despite my best efforts to teach him some manners, he gets banned. If, on the other hand, an opposing fan behaves a bit boorishly in these parts, the best response to a smart-aleck retort from me is for a fellow fan to show a sense of humor on behalf of the other school. (Kansas fans, take note.)
This brings us to an earlier reply to these recent observations of mine:
Frequent commenter SkiDawg1985 took issue with this perspective, noting that Ohio State plays in a major conference and finished the regular season with only one loss. SkiDawg1985 had the courage of his convictions, going on record with his belief that the Buckeyes will win.
As I indicated when criticizing Kansas, I respect the perspective SkiDawg1985 has offered. When the Jayhawks were the only unbeaten B.C.S. conference team, I acknowledged that a reasonable fan could claim that this characteristic qualified K.U. for the No. 1 ranking.
Likewise, now that Ohio State is the lone once-beaten conference champion among the B.C.S. leagues, there is a credible case to be made for the proposition that the Buckeyes are the top team in the land. I respect that perspective while respectfully disagreeing with it.
As a proponent of resume ranking, I believe records alone are not enough to tell us how good a team is or how much it has achieved. Here is how the respective resumes of the Buckeyes, the Bayou Bengals, and the Sooners break down:
- Ohio State has one loss. Louisiana State and Oklahoma each have two losses. Advantage: Buckeyes.
- Each of the three teams under consideration won eleven games. L.S.U.'s and O.U.'s victories all came against Division I-A competition. O.S.U. won ten games over Division I-A opponents and won one game against Division I-AA Youngstown State. Advantage: Sooners and Tigers.
- Louisiana State's non-conference slate consisted of Louisiana Tech (5-7), Middle Tennessee State (5-7), Tulane (4-8), and Orange Bowl-bound A.C.C. champion Virginia Tech (11-2). Oklahoma's non-conference slate consisted of Miami (5-7), North Texas (2-10), GMAC Bowl-bound Tulsa (9-4), and Utah State (2-10). Ohio State's non-conference slate consisted of Akron (4-8), Kent State (3-9), Washington (4-9), and the aforementioned Division I-AA squad, Youngstown State. Advantage: Tigers, with the Sooners in second place and the Buckeyes rather clearly bringing up the rear.
- In Southeastern Conference play, L.S.U. beat Independence Bowl-bound Alabama (6-6), Chick-fil-A Bowl-bound Auburn (8-4), Capital One Bowl-bound Florida (9-3), Mississippi (3-9), Liberty Bowl-bound Mississippi State (7-5), South Carolina (6-6), and Outback Bowl-bound Tennessee (9-4).
- In Big 12 play, Oklahoma beat Baylor (3-9), Iowa State (3-9), Cotton Bowl-bound Missouri (11-2) twice, Insight Bowl-bound Oklahoma State (6-6), Holiday Bowl-bound Texas (9-3), and Alamo Bowl-bound Texas A&M (7-5).
- In Big Ten play, Ohio State beat Capital One Bowl-bound Michigan (8-4), Champs Sports Bowl-bound Michigan State (7-5), Minnesota (1-11), Northwestern (6-6), Alamo Bowl-bound Penn State (8-4), Motor City Bowl-bound Purdue (7-5), and Outback Bowl-bound Wisconsin (9-3).
- L.S.U. beat one S.E.C. team with a losing record. That team won three games. Oklahoma beat two Big 12 teams with losing records. Those teams won three games apiece. Ohio State beat one Big Ten team with a losing record. That team won one game. Advantage: Tigers.
- L.S.U. beat five S.E.C. bowl teams, three of which will be playing on New Year's Eve or later . . . and that's not even counting the Hokies, who will be taking the field on January 3. Oklahoma won five games over Big 12 bowl teams, three of which were against opponents who will be playing on New Year's Eve or later. (No, I'm not giving the Sooners extra credit for beating a Golden Hurricane squad that will be taking the field on January 6. It's the GMAC Bowl, for crying out loud!) Ohio State beat five Big Ten bowl teams, two of whom will be playing on New Year's Eve or later. Advantage: Sooners and Tigers, with Louisiana State taking the clear lead when the non-conference wins over bowl-bound opponents are taken into consideration.
- L.S.U.'s four best wins were over Virginia Tech, Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn, in that order. Oklahoma's four best wins were over Missouri twice, Texas, and Tulsa, in that order. Ohio State's four best wins were over Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, and Purdue, in that order. The Buckeyes clearly have the weakest best win and they arguably have the weakest fourth-best win. Reasonable fans may differ over whether beating Missouri twice is marginally better or marginally worse than beating Virginia Tech and Florida, but Ohio State undeniably is at a disadvantage here in comparison to the other two contenders.
- These three teams' five losses all were by margins of a touchdown or less. Louisiana State lost on the road at Music City Bowl-bound Kentucky (7-5) and at home to Cotton Bowl-bound Arkansas (8-4). Oklahoma lost road games at Independence Bowl-bound Colorado (6-6) and Gator Bowl-bound Texas Tech (8-4). Ohio State lost at home to Rose Bowl-bound Illinois (9-3). Advantage: Buckeyes, because they only lost once.
We are, of course, working from incomplete information, and, when it comes to gauging the Bayou Bengals, the Buckeyes, and the Sooners, it will be interesting to see how these five bowls play out:
- Alamo Bowl: Ohio State victim Penn State v. Oklahoma victim Texas A&M
- Capital One Bowl: L.S.U. victim Florida v. Ohio State victim Michigan
- Cotton Bowl: Arkansas, which beat L.S.U., v. two-time Oklahoma victim Missouri
- Independence Bowl: L.S.U. victim Alabama v. Colorado, which beat Oklahoma
- Outback Bowl: L.S.U. victim Tennessee v. Ohio State victim Wisconsin
I thank SkiDawg1985 for his cogent and reasonable observation and I welcome further discussion of this subject in the comments below and in the diaries to the right.