Giglio top 25: Even with a loss, Auburn deserves to be No. 1

jgiglio@newsobserver.comDecember 1, 2013 

  • Giglio top 25

    Rk. TeamLast Week
    1. Auburn4
    2. Florida State 2
    3. Alabama 1
    4. Ohio State 3
    5. Oklahoma State 5
    6. Missouri 8
    7. Baylor 7
    8. South Carolina 9
    9. Central Florida 10
    10. Stanford 12
    11. Michigan State 11
    12. Northern Illinois 13
    13. Clemson 6
    14. Louisville 15
    15. Oregon 17
    16. Arizona State 16
    17. LSU 18
    18. Oklahoma 20
    19. Duke 23
    20. UCLA 25
    21. Wisconsin 19
    22. Fresno State 14
    23. Georgia NR
    24. Texas NR
    25. Miami NR

    Out: Notre Dame (21), Texas A&M (22), USC (24)

Note: Joe Giglio is one of 60 AP voters.

Let me take you to the world where only losses matter.

Ohio State (12-0), Florida State (12-0) and Northern Illinois (12-0), the only three unbeaten teams in college football, are therefore the three best teams in the country.

Pick an order for those three teams: go alphabetical, go by mascot, I really don’t care. You’re feeling good, right? I mean, unbeaten means best, no matter what.

The team with fewer losses, in this particular case no losses, is always better than the team with more losses. Always.

Just for a second, I’m going to visit this world and bring two teams with me: Old Dominion (8-4) and North Carolina (6-6)

In this world, Old Dominion is better than UNC, no matter what, because the Monarchs have fewer losses. As you already know, back in my world, UNC beat Old Dominion by 60 points.

I’m going back to my world, the real world. Losses don’t show the whole picture. Who you play matters. Who you beat and how you beat them matters. It just does.

When you look at the whole picture, no team has done more this season than Auburn (11-1), and that’s why I have the Tigers ranked No. 1. The Tigers have the best win, 34-28 over previous No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, and the best combination of wins (they also beat Texas A&M and Georgia).

Auburn did lose to LSU 35-21 on Sept. 21. Let’s be honest about LSU – you’re talking about one of the three most talented teams in college football and one of the three toughest places to play in college football.

Losing at LSU (9-3), is not the same as losing at West Virginia (4-8), which one-loss Oklahoma State did early this season.

I’m not one of those SEC zealots who think Ohio State or FSU would go 8-4 in the SEC. Nor am I suggesting Ohio State or FSU would have lost at LSU this season – I try my best to avoid all “What if?” scenarios – what I am arguing is that Auburn has done more, even with one loss, than Ohio State or FSU.

Ohio State’s best wins are over Wisconsin (9-3) and Iowa (8-4). The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin by seven points and the Hawkeyes by 10.

Even if you want to put Wisconsin and Iowa in the same category as Texas A&M (8-4) and Georgia (8-4), Auburn still has the Alabama win to trump anything on Ohio State’s resume.

Then there’s Ohio State escape at Michigan on Saturday. The Buckeyes beat an average Michigan (7-5) team by a point.

Florida State’s closest call was by 14 points at Boston College, another average 7-5 team. FSU also beat Clemson (10-2) and Miami (9-3). I think both wins, by themselves, are more impressive than Ohio State’s wins, then you factor FSU beat Clemson by 37 points, on the road, and Miami by 27 and I don’t see how you can rank OSU ahead of Florida State.

The BCS computers don’t measure margin of victory, which is ludicrous. FSU has been the most dominant team this season, and that should recognized, hence I have them ahead of Alabama and OSU.

And, yes, Alabama should be in front of Ohio State, too. The Crimson Tide has wins over LSU, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech (8-4).

Put it this way: Before Saturday, 211 of 226 voters — in the AP, USA Today coaches and Harris Interactive polls — believed Alabama was the best team in the country. The Tide lost on a 100-yard return of a missed field goal, on the road, to an 11-win team, and now suddenly Ohio State is better? Why?

The answer has to be better than “because,” and it can’t be because Ohio State has fewer losses. That makes as much sense as arguing Old Dominion is better than UNC.

Giglio: jgiglio@newsobserver.com or twitter.com/jwgiglio

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