#106 or #108. Who cares? Good question.
Posted by disappointmentzone on 27 September 2006
From Stewart Mandel’s college football mailbag this afternoon:
Stewart, I am ashamed of you! Once again you fail to move Colorado ahead of North Texas in your 26-119 rankings! I understand that CU is 0-4; however, name a school besides Notre Dame that has played a more intense nonconference schedule. Perhaps after CU swats Mizzou and Georgia dominates Ole Miss, you will give the Buffs a break and move them far up your charts.
— Randy Garcia, San Antonio
OK. First of all, Randy, you need to calm down for a second and maybe consider whether you need to make some serious lifestyle changes if you’re allowing yourself to get stressed out about whether your team is ranked 90th or 101st. Secondly, to anyone else who has sent similar e-mails, I’d just like to state for the record that I do not compile those 26-119 rankings. The only way they relate to my Top 25 is that the teams don’t overlap. We actually have a specially trained team of monkeys in the basement, each of which is responsible for watching a specific conference’s games each Saturday and reporting back to the group, which then compiles the ratings. If there’s a error in regard to North Texas, it may be because the monkey assigned to watch the Sun Belt keeps mysteriously escaping from his cage.
First of all: No. Randy from San Antonio has every right to be upset about the relative ranking of Colorado versus North Texas. Why? Because SI.com is publishing these idiotic rankings. If the rankings matter–which is the implicit conceit SI.com makes ever time it publishes them–then people will treat them as though they matter, which means being upset when they don’t make sense. Second, saying that a group of monkeys churns out the weekly 26-119 rankings undermines the entire operation of producing and publishing the rankings. The first point is important (the second point is tengential). The issue is not whether Randy from San Antonio is overreacting by actively questioning the ranking of Colorado; it’s whether SI.com thinks the ranking of Colorado (and the other 93 teams) matters.
Sports Illustrated, whether it likes it or not, carries a lot of weight. When SI.com publishes things SI.com is signaling that they matter. Such is the burden of being an important journalistic publication. The contradiction of publishing items that (admittedly) don’t matter is a serious crack in the substructure upon which SI is based. Either the 26-119 power rankings matter–and if they matter then people will be bothered when their team is unfairly ranked—or the 26-119 power rankings don’t matter–in which case, why publish them at all?
Most egregious, of course, is SI.com writers belittling their readers for taking its published content seriously.
Shame on you, SI.com. I’m sure Stephen Colbert won’t be wagging his finger at you, but he ought to.