Why is Florida Ranked Number One?

I want to closely examine the science, or lack thereof, behind the ranking process. Voters submit their polls each week, points are tallied, team with most points is number one. Florida has sat atop the standings nearly every single week. But why? Is it because they are the best team out there? Is it because they have crushed good competition? The truth is Florida’s number one ranking is the biggest scam this decade. Let me tell you why.

Here are the teams, in order of how good they are, that Florida has beaten:

1. LSU (road) by 10
2. South Carolina (road) by 10
3. Arkansas (home) by 3
4. Tennessee (home) by 10
5. Mississippi State (road) by 10
6. Georgia (neutral) by 24
7. Kentucky (road) by 34
8. Troy (home) by 50
9. Vanderbilt (home) by 24
10. Charleston Southern [FCS] (home) by 59

10 wins, average margin of victory against the top 5 they have played is 8.6 points. They have 7 home games, 4 road games and 1 neutral site game on the schedule. Remaining opponents are Florida International (3-7 Sun Belt team) at home and Florida State (5-5 ACC team) at home. Then of course is the showdown for the SEC championship against Alabama. Looking at the schedule alone though, what has Florida proven? An inability to win big against good teams. They blowout the bad teams at home, and only win by an average of 8.6 against the good teams. It even took the refs to beat Arkansas and Mississippi State.

So maybe it is the impressive play of the offense or defense that gets them to number one? Tebow is 128 of 198 for 1,730 yards this season. He has thrown only 12 touchdowns and has 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 23 times, 8 more than all of last year. His rating of 154.00 is the lowest it has ever been in his career. The team has rushed for 16 touchdowns. They have rushed for 1,181 yards on 250 carries, with Tebow accounting for over half the carries and yards. Seems like a one dimensional offense if you ask me. They average 33.9 points a game, but if you take out the FCS team they played, it drops off a bit. They average 428.7 yards per game in total offense.

The team has had 58 penalties and a third down conversion of 44%. They have had 14 fumbles and lost 9 of them. Their defense allows 10.5 points per game. They give up 233.9 yards per game to their opponents. And keep in mind, all these statistics are padded by that “impressive” home win against an FCS team.

So they haven’t played the hardest schedule. They don’t win by the most points. They don’t score the most points. They don’t allow the least points. What on earth makes Florida better in any regard than any other team?

Alabama has beaten South Carolina, and by more than 10. They have also beaten LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessse, Kentucky and Arkansas. So who have they beaten that Florida hasn’t? Try, Virginia Tech. That makes their non-conference schedule infinitely more impressive than Florida’s, even though they have an FCS team in there too. Alabama has thrown for more yards and rushed for more yards than Florida. They score almost identical amounts of points and give up almost identical amounts of points as Florida. And they have done it without even playing the FCS team yet!

Now if Clemson goes to the ACC title game and wins it, then TCU’s stock will spike significantly. Also, if BYU beats Utah and goes to the Las Vegas bowl and beats up either Cal, Oregon State, Arizona or USC then TCU’s road win will give them more stock. Cincinnati still gets a crack at Pitt, and that includes road wins already against South Florida, Rutgers and Oregon State as well as the home wins against Uconn and West Virginia. Texas took down Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. No one will play Boise State because they murder whoever signs up to come play on the blue turf. Who is really able to say Florida is the best team in the country? Right now I would put Texas as the team that is playing the best football and Alabama as the team who as a whole has been the best. TCU and Cincinnati have been more impressive than Florida.

Which all begs the question- why is Florida number one? Let’s look at where the coaches who are voting this year all come from:

SEC- 6 of 12 coaches
Big 12- 6 of 12 coaches
CUSA- 6 of 12 coaches
ACC- 6 of 12 coaches
MAC- 6 of 13 coaches
Big Ten- 6 of 11 coaches
Pac 10- 5 of 10 coaches
Sun Belt- 4 of 8 coaches
Independents- 2 of 3 coaches
MWC- 4 of 9 coaches
WAC- 4 of 9 coaches
Big East- 4 of 8 coaches

That can’t be it, all the conferences get pretty equal representation in the coaches poll. What about the AP Poll? That’s 60 sportswriters from across the country. Here’s a thought- look at who they are and find out where they went to college. I’m not sure what can be found there, but I’m sure some kind of bias is bound to come forth.

But set that aside, what is influencing these people if it’s not actual performance on the field? Enter ESPN. The most watched television channel when it comes to sports is ESPN. They have sway. They have influence. And they have Tebow fever. Its so obvious to anyone watching. They always drop in their little lines for Tebow or Ingram to make sure one of them wins the Heisman and national championship. You don’t hear any of them talk about how Cincinnati, TCU or Boise State looks like the best in the country. Far from. You rarely hear Heisman talk about Moore, Gilyard or Hughes. Pay attention the next time you are watching college football live or any broadcast for that matter. You’ll see why Florida is number one. Because the folks at ESPN cannot comprehend a world in which an SEC team is not atop the rankings.

What do you think? Tell me why Florida is number one in the comments!