Commentary: This year is the only time from 1998-2006 where the Rewards systems did not have the top two teams in the polls ranked in its own top two as well before the bowl season began. Southern California was #1 in both polls at that time, but besides defeating 8-3 Washington State, their next best wins were over Auburn and Oregon State, who were both only 7-5 at the time. After its win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl, Southern Cal did move up to #2 in the post bowl game Rewards ranking, but they were still a significant amount behind LSU. The average disagreement between the polls and the Rewards ranking is amongst the largest seen from 1990 (though being only off by three on average isn't all that bad). There were four teams whose position in the Rewards ranking differed by seven or more from their average position in the polls, and that is part of the explanation as to why the averages in the table above are a little larger than normal. Teams like Miami of Ohio and Boise State were ranked higher by Rewards, and Miami did defeat Bowling Green twice, who had beaten 9-3 Purdue by one point on the road in the first few weeks of the season. (The Miami QB - Ben Rothslisberger - might have been able to lead his team to a bowl victory over a quality opponent, but they were relegated to a lesser bowl, unfortunately, so that was not a possibility). Washington State and Kansas State were ranked lower by Rewards, and for Kansas State, that is probably due to a some early losses (to Marshall and Oklahoma State) when their QB was injured, so perhaps the polls were ranking them more for their end of season prowess rather than how they performed over the entire year.
(This page last modified October 01, 2007 .)