Q&A submission 10/26/09 -- Are ranking all politics?

Written by Colin Dunlap on .

By Colin Dunlap | 12:41 p.m. Monday  


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QUESTION: I suppose it's nice to see WVU move up a whopping two spots but why does anyone really care?  The rankings, it seems, are almost entirely about politics.  There's very little football involved in the rankings.  There's no reason USC deserves to be ahead of Cincinnati and, even worse, two-loss Ohio St, Va Tech, and Miami are ranked ahead of WVU. The system just seems completely corrupt.

Robert Fisher, Pittsburgh

DUNLAP: I wouldn't call it corruption, but "off-kilter" seems to fit much, much better. It is like I said a few weeks ago, these polls serve as a microcosm for the uphill battle the Big East, as a football conference, is fighting in terms of respect. Here's how I see it:

There are so many dinosaurs, traditionalists kind of guys involved with the process who still are unable to squeeze into that space between their ears that maybe, just maybe, some of the traditional powers have fallen a tad or even fallen immensely.

I use this example: If you were to tell someone 19 years ago, a team that plays on blue turf in Boise, Idaho and the University of Cincinnati would both - in less than two decades - have better programs than Florida State and Syracuse, they'd try to commit you on the spot.

Well, people, that is the case. Some humans, particularly some AP voters who live in the southern portion of the United States and in Big Ten country are having an impossible time coming to grips with such a reality.

QUESTION: i just got done reading your article "devine could be a heisman candidate" and it really makes me wonder why devine has NOT been put on the short or long heisman list according to espn (updated oct 24). this got me thinking, so i looked up stats from this year for all the running backs on epsn's heisman list ( and noel devine has more yds per game, avg per carry, all purpose running, and scoring than all of the major conference half backs on espn's heisman list. So, why is devine not on their list? dion lewis from pitt, mark ingram from alabama, and ryan williams from va tech are, but not noel, even though his numbers are better. It is not like he plays on a team that isn't winning or not getting national coverage. can you please help me out in understanding why devine is not on espn's heisman list? what will it take for him to make the list?

mark mccahill, fairchance pa

DUNLAP: It will take a few things. First, the Mountaineers need to keep on winning. Don't fool yourself, the Heisman is not an individual award. It is about 70 percent an individual and 30 percent a team award - and maybe that is giving it too much credit. The Heisman, in reality, goes to the best player who plays for a GOOD-TO-GREAT team, not "college football's best player." Believe me, if you were college football's best player, and you played on a 1-9 team, you aren't getting the Heisman.

Secondly, because Devine plays in the Big East, the conference everyone loves to hate, -- just like Pitt's Dion Lewis -- he can't have an off-week from a production standpoint from here on out. For either one of those guys to get invited to the Downtown Athletic Club, they are going to have to tear it up, each and every game they play the remainder of the year.  

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