EYE TO EYE TO EYE
The Associated Press and United Press International college football polls have arrived at different national champions seven times in the past quarter century, including last season, when they chose Alabama and Southern Cal, respectively. In view of their frequent differences, it is noteworthy that in 1964 the rival polls actually managed to see eye to eye on their final rankings through the first ten places. Last week, even more strikingly, the polls agreed on the first 13 places in the weekly rankings: Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, USC, Houston, Ohio State, Florida State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Michigan, Washington and Brigham Young. And mercifully, not a peep was heard from either Auburn, the AP's choice, or Pittsburgh, the UPI's pick, about which of them really was the nation's 14th-best team.
But just as the two existing major polls were enjoying a rare moment of accord, along came The New York Times to cloud the picture by introducing its own weekly rankings. The Times said its Top 20 list would be determined not by a poll of experts but by calculations of an IBM 370 computer involving won-lost records, margin of victory and quality of opposition. Because gauging quality of opposition presumably will require at least some subjective judgments, the computerized rankings can't be quite as scientific as the Times implies. Still, any serious effort to take into account the toughness of a team's schedule, something the AP and UPI polls often seem to treat lightly, is welcome.
The Times' inaugural rankings had Alabama, Texas and Nebraska as the top three teams, but thereafter abruptly parted company with the wire-service polls, listing Florida State as No. 4. The most startling difference, however, was that Houston, which occupied the fifth spot in both the AP and UPI polls, was 18th on the Times' list—because of a relatively weak schedule.