And then Jack turned to Rose and asked, "Do you trust me?"
Trust is an issue in college football. It's hard to know which teams to trust from week to week, to know whether to trust the experts' opinions of teams, to trust the polls or to trust your own gut when it comes to predicting who will win each conference, make it to the BCS and win the national title.
But stats are easier to trust. And that's where the Eliminator comes in. To refresh your memory, here's what our model does: We've taken statistical categories that have historically equated to success in college football, and then applied these categories to each individual conference race (as well as the national title). We've set benchmarks in six categories that are unique to each race, based on past champions of each individual league.
Over the next several weeks, we'll update you each Sunday to give you the scoop on which teams aren't as good as their records say they are, which sleepers could be lurking in each conference, and which teams most closely resemble past champions. For example, this time last year the Eliminator model could have told us that Ohio State was much more solid statistically than Iowa, even though it looked like the Hawkeyes were clearly in control of the Big Ten at the time. In other words, you'll be encouraged to make like Rose on the decks of the Titanic and trust the Eliminator just like she trusted Jack.
A couple of things to keep in mind before we get down to business: (1) Not all teams' stats are created equal at this point. Some teams really loaded up on cupcakes in the nonconference schedules, while others took some tough lumps against big-time competition early. That can skew things one way or another just seven weeks into the season. (2) Each conference is independent of the others. A Big East team with four benchmarks isn't necessarily more statistically sound than an SEC team with two benchmarks met. Apples and oranges.
Without further ado, let's get started … and see why we could be heading for a rather unusual BCS champion this season: