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Aggies, Buckeyes Victims of Double Standard

There may be a double standard at work in college football. The Texas A&M Aggies and Ohio State Buckeyes now both sit at 6-1 after a strong first half of the season. The Aggies slipped from sixth to ninth in the nation. Their Big 10 counterparts sank four spots from second to sixth.

Now, at first glance, it doesn’t seem like that much of a deal. Both teams lost, both teams dropped. Ohio State dropped a spot further than Texas A&M since they lost to an unranked foe. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Hold up. Alabama is widely considered to be the best in college football at the moment. They’ve appeared practically flawless all season so far. Texas A&M, though undefeated before their evening date in Tuscaloosa, were clearly no match for the Tide. Though A&M managed to lead by a point early in the second half, the game was never truly in question.

About a thousand miles away in Happy Valley, PA, an upset virtually no one saw coming brewed. The Buckeyes had clawed their way past the Wisconsin Badgers in a top ten showdown the week before. Surely the Penn State Nittany Lions wouldn’t compete. Four straight years Ohio State had tamed the Nittany Lions, and Buckeye Nation was certain that this would be no exception.

How wrong they would be. The number two Buckeyes were in for the shock of their season last Saturday night. After a defensive slug fest in the first half, the Nittany Lions came roaring back in the fourth quarter. Costly mistakes by Ohio State’s special teams doomed the Buckeyes from answering. An unranked Penn State team upset their second-ranked neighbors from the west in a 24-21 thriller. This comes especially painful for Buckeye nation. After clawing their way past Wisconsin last week, they thought they were home free until “The Game” against Michigan.

The difference in these two matchups and the outcomes that follows is very startling. The Aggies lost a quality game to a quality team. The Buckeyes were upset by an unranked opponent because of blunders top three teams don’t make.

This leads us to wonder if there’s bias at work in the AP Poll. Texas A&M dropping three spots after a sound loss may be fair. Ohio State losing to an unranked team and only dropping four spots is absurd. They shouldn’t even be ranked in the top ten right now, let alone sixth in the nation. Of course, with the College Football Playoff in existence for the third season, polls have little meaning these days. It’s not about the polls these days, but rather up to the committee.

Even so, it will definitely be worth looking further into if something like this happens again. Perhaps standards are just a bit higher for the SEC, widely thought of as college football’s premier conference. With the Big 10 only home to two or three nationally competitive teams, in any given year, possibly a loss isn’t judged as such a big deal.

Both Texas A&M and Ohio State are left on the outside looking in at their division championships.

 

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