Little Furman University (enrollment 2,300) of Greenville, S.C., has been having fun with comparative scores. You know how that's played. Sure, Michigan beat Ohio State last Saturday on national TV in one of the big games of the year (page 82) but wait—Michigan lost to Purdue, which lost to Notre Dame, which lost to Georgia Tech, which lost to Navy, which lost to William & Mary, which lost to Furman. Is it fair that Michigan, and not Furman, is going to the Rose Bowl?
You say that's a mighty slender string on which to hang an invitation to Pasadena on New Year's Day? Furman fans neatly reverse their field and point out that while USC walloped UCLA (page 24) to gain the other Rose Bowl berth, USC lost to Missouri, which lost to Illinois, which lost to Baylor, which lost to Houston, which lost to Florida, which lost to North Carolina, which lost to North Carolina State, which lost to—who else?—Furman.
If you're not convinced by now, there's nothing more we can do. Go, Furman! Go, Paladins! Beat Wofford! Which they did last Saturday, 56-14.
Although the AP and UPI weekly rankings of college football teams are read eagerly by everybody who follows the sport, including us, they really don't make a whole lot of sense. Jerry Claiborne, coach of undefeated Maryland, noted earlier in the season that his team, which has been accused of playing a generally soft schedule, climbed in the rankings as it beat the easy marks and then dropped a notch on two straight occasions when it decisively defeated teams that were considered reasonably tough.
Pittsburgh, too, has had an undemanding schedule; in fact, it played three teams that also played Maryland. Maryland defeated all three (Duke, West Virginia and Syracuse) by substantially wider margins than Pitt did. Yet Pitt has been ranked No. 1, while Maryland has been hovering around sixth.
Or take the Missouri- Tulsa situation. Missouri, that strange team, lost five games this season, but it played seven of the teams ranked in the Top 20 in the UPI coaches poll; Tulsa played one. Missouri defeated four of those teams and lost to the others by one, four and seven points; Tulsa was soundly beaten by the Top 20 team it played. In the UPI poll released a week ago, Missouri was unranked; Tulsa was 15th. Ridiculous.
The Dunkel Ratings, a complicated system in which a team's won-lost record is weighed against the strength of its schedule, ranked Pitt 13th last week and Maryland, before it defeated soft-touch Virginia to complete its undefeated season, 11th. Battered old Missouri was ninth. Tulsa wasn't in the Top 30.