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An explanation for Weis on why ND got passed in polls

Posted: Thursday October 26, 2006 1:06PM; Updated: Thursday October 26, 2006 1:11PM
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Charlie Weis can't understand why the Fighting Irish aren't making a bigger impression with pollsters despite dramatic come-from-behind wins over UCLA and Michigan State.
Charlie Weis can't understand why the Fighting Irish aren't making a bigger impression with pollsters despite dramatic come-from-behind wins over UCLA and Michigan State.
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Charlie Weis is mystified. Following a dramatic 20-17 win over UCLA last weekend, the Notre Dame coach saw his team fall at least one spot in the AP, coaches and BCS rankings. How, he wonders, did the Irish get passed by both a Tennessee team that needed a last-minute rally itself to survive Alabama and a Florida team that didn't even play?

It's a valid question.

Then again, one could also ask another legitimate question in regards to the situation: How on earth were the Vols and Gators ranked behind Notre Dame in the first place?

Weis' comments about the poll situation at his weekly news conference on Tuesday -- which were plastered all over the Internet within hours -- exemplify one side of the latest Notre Dame-related debate amongst the college football public, one that's been building for several weeks now.

As the 6-1 Irish keep on winning, their fans (and, apparently, their coach) are miffed as to why the team is not making a bigger dent in the polls. In the AP poll, for instance, Brady Quinn & Co. stand just one spot higher (11th) than they did the week after their blowout loss to Michigan.

Fans of the nation's other football powers, however -- nearly all of them born with an inherent resentment of Notre Dame -- aren't as bothered by the Irish's lack of poll traction. In fact, what they can't understand is why Weis' team is ranked as high as it is.

The words "Notre Dame is overrated" and "the media is in love with Notre Dame" have been a fixture of the college football lexicon since about the time Grantland Rice penned his famous ode to the Four Horsemen more than 80 years ago. They've become particularly prevalent, however, over the past two years as Weis returned the Irish to national prominence.

Nine times out of 10 you can chalk up such complaints to the inevitable backlash toward a school that has its own television contract and refuses to join a conference. The Irish could go out and beat Ohio State tomorrow and there would still be a legion of critics who found fault with them.

In this case, however, the people appear to be smarter than both the pollsters and Weis.

You know how in the weeks leading up to the NCAA basketball tournament, ESPN shows those graphics comparing two bubble teams' credentials without showing the teams' names? If you did that for Notre Dame, this is what the Irish's resume would look like using opponents' current BCS rankings:

Result Opponent Score
Win @No. 24 14-10
Win No. 29 41-17
Loss No. 2 21-47
Win @No. 46 40-37
Win No. 49 35-21
Win No. 105 31-10
Win No. 40 20-17

For comparison's sake, here's the anonymous resume of "Team B," also currently 6-1:

Result Opponent Score
Win @No. 48 31-24
Win No. 12 34-33
Win No. 34 30-23
Loss @No. 54 17-15
Win I-AA 22-0
Win No. 31 22-3
Win @No. 52 24-19

As you can see, Team B's marquee win came against the No. 12 team, compared with No. 24 (Georgia Tech) for the Irish. Both then have four wins apiece over a similar range of foes (Nos. 29, 40, 46 and 49 for the Irish, Nos. 31, 34, 48 and 52 for Team B), and their sixth wins (No. 105 for ND, a I-AA foe for Team B) are basically irrelevant. Finally, Notre Dame lost by 26 at home to the No. 2 team in the country; Team B lost by two points on the road, but to the No. 52 team.

Basically, it's a toss-up as to which resume is more impressive. Even the teams' strength-of-schedule ratings are nearly identical (seventh for Team B, eighth for ND).

So, who exactly is Team B? Boston College -- currently ranked seven spots lower than the Irish in both major polls.

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