Auburn: “Worst Team Ever in a Major Conference”

Yet to be fitted for my college basketball-watching shoes this season, but after listening to College Basketball RPI guru Jerry Palm today on Finebaum (mp3), I’m fixin’ to pull out the shoehorn.

Auburn Basketball

(war DAYUM eagle)

When asked by Finebaum to analyze the SEC West, Palm, who has tracked back to antiquity the NCAA hoops RPI ranking system so critical to the Big Dance, struck as significant - and historic! - chord as I’ve heard this season.

Palm to Finebaum:

“When you look at the (SEC) West, that’s an unmitigated disaster. There isn’t one good team in the West … Mississippi is remotely competent, but if that division was a league unto itself it would rank below the Ivy League in the College RPI rankings.”

Ranked below the Ivy League? Hard to imagine it can get any worse than that.

Unless you’re Auburn, that is.


“Auburn might be the worst team ever in a major conference. Or at least in the last generation in a major conference, not just the SEC.”

When discussing Alabama’s remote chances of snagging an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Finbaum asked Palm, “so when you beat a team like Auburn, even on the road, does it do you any good or are you better off not even playing?


“You can’t help it because they’re in your league. As good as Auburn is in football, the team is that bad in basketball. They’re the worst major conference team in a generation. This is my 19th year that I’ve been tracking the RPI and when you look at the big six conferences, Auburn has a chance to be the worst team in the RPI probably by 40 or 50 spots over the last 20 years from a major conference. That’s how bad they are. They are dreadful. The numbers don’t lie.” 

Palm went on to say that if the NCAA tournament began today, five SEC East teams would make March Madness while exactly zero SEC West teams would be so privileged.

South Carolina is the only team in the SEC East according to Palm that might not be invited to the Big Dance. Though Palm said of the Gamecocks, “they might be good enough to win the SEC West but the problem is they’re the sixth best team in the (SEC) East.

So when Palm talks about Auburn vying for the title of worst college basketball team in major conference history, who are the Tigers up against?

Read more…

Could BCS Data Be Wrong Yet Go Unchecked? Yes

With the accuracy of BCS rankings data so critical to so many millions of people, it goes without saying that the complex computations should be part of an open, accountable and verifiable system that can be checked by virtually anyone.

BCS rankings error

(How would we know the rankings are wrong? Left to BCS, we wouldn’t)

So, if there was ever a mistake made, a mistake that could actually cost an entire conference its BCS automatic qualifier status, it would be acknowledged and corrected instantly.

If only that system existed.

BCS and RPI guru Jerry Palm reports today that the latest BCS rankings were, in fact, inaccurate. And no one at the BCS - or ESPN- or the NCAA knew about it. Turns out that no one ever checks to see if the BCS data is wrong, except for informal inspections by Palm himself.

Mistakes happen. But this mistake, and how it has been subsequently handled by the offending parties, is unforgiveable.

Palm: Read more…