College Football Rankings Can Be Problematic

College Football Rankings Can Be Problematic
Patterson April 2010026

Image by srpatterson via Flickr

NCAA College football rankings can sometimes vary with the day of the week or so it seems. Consider number 19 in the 2011 football poll – The Ohio State Buckeyes. Magazines with deadlines back in April selected OSU to finish much higher, as high as #9 in one case. They were also chosen to triumph in the Big Ten Conference at that time. Now, it seems, Ohio State’s fate will be up in the air until sometime in October, when four crucial players are reinstated after a five-game suspension for NCAA violations.

Ohio State could have survived this challenge since their first couple of games should be easy romps over mid-level competition. Coach Jim Tressel who, along with other key players, was suspended in the scandal dubbed “Tattoogate” was given a vote of confidence by University president Gordon Gee at the time. Since they would have the services of Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor as quarterback for their October 8th meeting with Nebraska, it seemed the #9 ranking was still realistic.

But Memorial Day changed all that when Tressel was forced to announce his resignation. Athletic Director Gene Smith, once supportive of the coach, apparently caved to pressure. Then Pryor decided to forgo his senior year and try to enter the NFL supplemental draft. Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell became interim head coach and Ohio State’s fate suddenly became very cloudy.

Coach Fickell may not be up to the job, but everything happened so quickly that he has not had much time to consider any such doubts. He is a native Columbus guy, and has played for John Cooper, so he has faced the responsibility squarely. The Buckeyes have gone from being a contender for the national title to an unknown quantity. They still have quite a bit of talent, and if they can hold on for their first five games, they might have a chance. They had all their 2010 wins vacated due to the scandal, but all the blame was assigned to Coach Tressel, so they have suffered no punitive sanctions for the University failing to monitor their programs. Time will tell the story and hopefully the original rankings will be more accurate than the new adjusted rankings.

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