Brian Fremeau on early returns
High quality read. Here is a portion:
"Voters can’t help themselves sometimes. Two teams perceived to be ranked among the top five teams in the country square off in a game that was fiercely competitive throughout. Both defenses are especially stout in defending the red zone and both teams appear capable of running the table for the rest of the regular season. But one team won and one team lost, and that means something has to change on the writers and coaches ballots. But does it?
Regular readers won’t be surprised to see how the FEI ratings handled this weekend’s Florida State vs. Oklahoma clash. The two teams were top five foes heading into the contest and there was little evidence in the game itself to suggest that the rankings were off the mark. The top four teams in this week’s ratings are the same as last week: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Florida State.
What need is there to drop a team that performs as expected? If Florida State struggles against its ACC schedule going forward, sure, that would be a strong indication that the Seminoles' ranking needs to be adjusted. However, if a team plays a competitive game against one of the strongest teams in the country, win or lose, that ought to be a validation of its lofty rating. Poll anchoring and the loss column dictate too many decisions for poll voters though, and so Florida State drops. While most other top ranked teams haven’t tested themselves, the loss to Oklahoma means that the Seminoles will need others to lose in order to regain their preseason position.
It’s not terribly punitive at this point in the year and there will be plenty of opportunity for Florida State to ascend back to the top. But the timing of a similar decision later in the year happens all too often. Teams should be rewarded for playing tough schedules, not punished. And when top teams play one another competitively, it should be viewed as evidence that they are still both top teams."