JMU Football Is Rated Above Notre Dame

duke-dog-and-me.jpgJames Madison is not only No. 1 in the FCS but also No. 41 in all of college football, according to the Sagarin ratings, ahead of:

  • 42. Connecticut — 6-3 (2-2 in the Big East)
  • 44. Vanderbilt — 5-4 (3-3 in the SEC)
  • 47. Tulsa — 8-1 (5-0 in Conference USA)
  • 50. Minnesota — 7-3 (3-3 in the Big Ten)
  • 53. Notre Dame — 5-4
  • 55. Maryland — 6-3 (3-2 in the ACC)

Those are some big-time schools with quality football programs, and most, if not all, are bowl-bound this season. And remember, Sagarin’s not just some crackpot. His rankings are one of six that make up the computer third of the BCS. Actually, that doesn’t do anything to discount one’s crackpot status.

Plus, JMU has faced only one I-A/FBS opponent, losing big at Duke (No. 44 in Sagarin) in the season opener. Also, Peter Wolfe, seemingly the only other BCS ranking to include I-AA/FCS teams, rates Madison No. 104, which still makes them the highest-ranked I-AA team.

Since college football and its multiple divisions and computer formulas clearly confuse and anger me, I turned to a guy who knows more than just about anyone on the subject, Dr. Saturday’s Matt Hinton, for answers:

How much weight, if any, should we put into my alma mater (JMU) being 41st in Sagarin?

Hinton: I’ve noticed that and tried to figure it out. They haven’t beaten a I-A team and had to win that one game on a Hail Mary, so if they’re No. 1 in the 1-AA polls, that’s as high as I’m willing to give them.

Is it strange to see a 1-AA team that high?

Hinton: I don’t know the history of Sagarin, but I suspect so. App. State may have been up there last year (ed. note: They finished at No. 44), but that’s with a win over Michigan. They did lose twice to I-AA teams though. JMU’s only loss is to I-A team, right? I can’t remember who.

Duke slaughtered them.

Hinton: Yeah, that’s pretty high for a I-AA team that got slaughtered by Duke.

Still, higher than Notre Dame, motherfuckers! And the dream season, which includes the aforementioned Hail Mary, a game-winning punt return and huge comeback over then-No. 1 App. State, continues tomorrow with William & Mary. Purple out, people.

14 thoughts on “JMU Football Is Rated Above Notre Dame”

  1. 3 of our 4 losses are to BCS-ranked teams, two of which went down to the wire, including one triple OT game. Maryland lost to Middle Tennessee State and got slaughtered by UVA. I don’t think it’s too crazy to think we could be ranked higher. If the Terps beat UNC or BC in the next few weeks, I’m sure they’ll move ahead of the Irish.

  2. Your argument for ND being better than MD is based on who they’ve lost to? Interesting. Perhaps we should look at who they’ve both beaten.

    ND: Not one ranked team. Actually, they haven’t beaten a team even close to being ranked.

    MD: Beat three ranked opponents, and an NC State team that’s as good as any team ND has defeated.

    Also, UVA is superior to any team the Irish have won against. Was that a bad loss for MD? Sure. But I think the outcome would be similar if Notre Dame went to Charlottesville.

  3. If you look, Chris, I didn’t say that Notre Dame is necessarily better than MD, just that it’s not clear-cut and could go either way. Only one of the teams Maryland beat is currently ranked in the BCS poll (Wake Forest, #24), and none are ranked in any of the other polls. Notre Dame took Pitt to triple OT (BCS #21) and the game against UNC (BCS #16) was decided in the final seconds of regulation. I think that shows a ND-MD match-up would be pretty competitive.

  4. First of all Go Dukes! Second of all, ND has beaten a bunch of schools with big names, that actually aren’t very good (Stanford, Michigan, etc). Maryland might have lost some games it should have won this year, but you can always count on Terps football teams (and hoops teams for that matter) to take down a couple big guns each year. Maryland is heads and shoulders above ND at this point.

  5. As I mentioned in my first comment, Notre Dame and MD have two common opponents, so we can just wait until MD plays UNC and BC. I’ll happily cede the vaunted #53 ranking if they beat either of those teams.

  6. Smurph: It doesn’t matter if the teams are currently ranked, it matters where they were ranked at the time they played MD. That’s an accurate reflection of how good the opposition was at the time, not to mention the fact that if a team lost to MD while it was ranked, that would attribute to said team being un-ranked currently.

  7. I completely disagree about the rankings thing – early in the season, rankings aren’t an accurate reflection of anything (which is why the BCS standings don’t come out until October). ND has been overrated in this way numerous times – and bashed incessantly for it – so you’ll forgive me if I can’t help seeing a “ranked-at-the-time” measurement as a complete double standard.

  8. Example: MD is playing #16 UNC tomorrow. If MD wins, UNC will no doubt drop in the rankings, but that doesn’t mean UNC wasn’t the 16th best team in the country at the time MD played them.

    Either way, point is that MD’s wins are head and shoulders above Notre Dame’s.

  9. I understood your point, Chris, I just disagree with it. If UNC loses to MD, they obviously are not the 16th best team in the country. If they were, they would win the game.

  10. So, at what point does beating a ranked team mean something? Or does it ever, outside of a bowl game?

    I’m just saying, that while rankings may prove to be off, at the time it’s the best gauge of how good a team is. Between then and now other factors can make a team better or worse, but they were at one point ranked for a reason and I think it’s more than just “oh, they must’ve just been overrated.”

    It some cases, that’s true. Clemson, for example, is not so good as it turns out. Cal, however, is pretty damn good. Same for Wake.

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