Oklahoma State Blog - College

November 23, 2011

Stanford ahead of OSU?

Stanford head coach David Shaw had some strong words about Oklahoma State being ahead of his Cardinal squad in the BCS standings.

"Oklahoma State is outstanding, a very good football team," Shaw said. "Once again, we lost to a team that was in the Top 10, they lost to a team that's not ranked. I don't get it. Not saying that where we should be opposed to where other people are, I'm just saying the explanations I get don't make any sense. Now, there is a lot of football to be played a lot of stuff that's going to shake itself out."

Here's what you're missing, coach:

First off, we'll stipulate that he is right: Stanford's one loss is a "better" loss than OSU's. Oregon is an outstanding football team. Iowa State is average. Maybe even above average, but not on plane with the Ducks.

Shaw's flaw? OSU's schedule to get to 10-1 was much tougher overall than Stanford's. Eight of the Cowboys' opponents are currently above .500. Stanford has five such opponents. OSU has seen four teams that are at least 7-3 through week 12. Stanford? Two.

Those same opponents are 66-52 overall (OSU) versus 55-67 (Stanford). Include Oklahoma and Notre Dame and it moves to 74-54 and 63-70 for the two teams.

The Big 12 is a better football conference in 2011. The computers say so, and so does the so-called "eye test." Beyond playing in a tougher conference, OSU played a tougher non-con schedule. It wasn't a murder's row, but did include 8-3 Louisiana and 8-3 Tulsa...not to mention PAC-12 member Arizona, who isn't even the worst team in that conference.

Shaw has a higher ranking in the human polls, but what put Stanford behind Oklahoma State in the BCS standings is OSU's strength in the computers...which factors strength of schedule.

Props to Shaw for speaking out for his team in the court of public opinion. Don't agree with his message, but it's what a coach should do.

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