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The People's Champion
Agree with Bax, the most important criteria should be body of work...i.e. strength of schedule/ quality of wins/ quality of losses. Computers are pretty good at measuring this part.
I do think there should be some element for lack of a better phrase of 'who do you think would win'. Comparing Stanford and Oregon is another good way of looking at this (and yet another example of why I don't think conference champion is a good criteria).
Argument for Stanford over Oregon:
* beat Oregon
* playing better now that Hogan is starting QB
* 2nd loss was a controversial call in OT on the road against the #1 team
* played slightly tougher conference slate than Oregon - having played UCLA
Argument for Oregon:
* only 1 loss, Stanford has 2, including a loss to now unranked Washington
* slaughtered common opponents that Stanford squeaked by (ex Arizona, Wash St, Oregon St.)
* no close wins, in fact the only win which wasn't a blowout was on the road against against USC by 11 points
All in all I could argue a pretty equivalent body of work (computers have Oregon 1 slot better than Stanford), but if they were to play again on a neutral field I think Oregon would win this time by a narrow margin.
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