November Madness

Noah Sacco, Staff Writer

College football provides a gateway to entertainment for sports fans everywhere. Tailgating, face painting, man caves, and other traditions are brought out during the fall in order to savor this Saturday fixation. However, the thrill of your college football team winning the game can quickly turn to agony due to what comes the next day: the rankings.
No matter how impressive they are, every college football team has their advantages and disadvantages. However, the difference is that some teams have far more disadvantages than others. In this case, a team doesn’t get enough credit for who they beat because of their reputation of success, and the team that was defeated is not frowned upon as much as they should be. This difference in evaluation can become a problem. The Clemson Tigers and the Pittsburgh Panthers are a prime example of this reality.
On Nov. 12, 2016, Pittsburgh stunned Clemson with a late 4th-quarter field goal. Although the college football world was reeling from this unexpected victory, the rankings remained intact for the most part, bumping the number two Clemson Tigers down only one measly spot, while excluding Pittsburgh an entry into the top 25 AP rankings.
This isn’t the first time the selection committee hasn’t looked the other way when top-five team upsets occur. On the same day, the number 3 Michigan Wolverines were shocked by Iowa when the Hawkeyes kicked a last second field goal to seal their victory. Despite the upset, Michigan didn’t even drop in the AP rankings while Iowa failed to get into the top 25.
When teams are not recognized for defeating highly-ranked opponents, it limits their opportunity to rise to prominence. This can cause a lot of discouragement for football programs through the course of their season. If a team will not be given any appreciation or reward for the success they have achieved, then they will never be able to attain the greatness that they strive for due to the lack of attention.
The same can be said when teams are characterized by the conference they play in. Western Michigan football is part of the Mid-American Conference (MAC), where mediocre teams struggle to maintain a winning season. Nonetheless, besides Alabama, the Western Michigan Broncos remain the only unbeaten Division I college football team in 2016 thus far. Though their record looks promising, the selection committee for the College Football Playoff doesn’t think so, as they remain at the 14 spot in the AP polls.
It’s unfortunate for Western Michigan because of the weak competition they have to face in their conference. Regardless, the Broncos have won all their games and are first place in their conference, yet they still don’t get any recognition. This is a result of conference bias in the AP committee. Sadly, it is a recurring theme for other less-rigorous conferences as well.
College football serves to be a sanctuary for people to escape the hassle of work and daily life but for some teams, Saturdays in the fall may seem hopeless. Their feeling of accomplishment in defeating their opponent can diminish in the blink of an eye. Although rankings are a crucial part in determining who is the best of the best, it doesn’t accurately recognize who is truly “the best.”