Jobbing again. Not so much angry as homicidal while Hanson’s “Mmm-Bop” plays on repeat (Dear Reader, I know what you’re thinking: do people still listen to Hanson? At my taco shop they do, perhaps voluntarily. Or, you might just as well be thinking, who is Hanson? Bless you, dear Reader. Bless you).
And it is while I am jobbing that one of my favorite teachers arrives, family in tow, TCU’s Professor of History Emeritus, the Dr. Ken Stevens. Now, there are more satisfying experiences in life than greeting one of your favorite erstwhile professors while working at a taco shop. But it is good to see him anyway.
I direct my eyes to his granddaughters and say, “You have very cool grandparents.”
Dr. Stevens directs his own eyes at said granddaughters and says, “I hope you’re listening.”
Pleasantries are exchanged, orders directed into the computer.
But it’s time to get to business. The Frogs have just beaten OU. And they are still unranked. So I send a telephone communication to the Barry Lewis.
“I have a query in need of an expeditious response.”
“I might have an answer to your question.”
“How is it we are still unranked?”
“KenPom. That’s my answer.”
“His name is Stevens,” I say, wondering why the dear man would be so harsh on his own basketball team. Nepotism is bad, but self-sabotage is worse. “Ken Stevens. And as far as I’m aware he has no affiliation with the basketball team, or any other, for that matter. He is a Professor of History Emeritus specializing in Jacksonian Democracy. He has just edited a book called the Texas Legation Papers.”
“KenPom is a statistical ranking. It’s not subjective like the polls. It’s based on our performance and our opponents at other games. It is named after Ken Pomeroy.”
“Does that clarify things?”
“Not really. You think I could do a Rules?”
“I don’t see why not. Just don’t quote me.”
“Sure thing, Barry!”
So now I’m trying to find out who the hell Ken Pomeroy is. Ken Pomeroy is evidently a statistician, much appreciated by none other than Nate Silver, due to the accuracy of his analysis and his acumen for correctly predicting games’ outcomes. And if his predictions don’t exactly determine the rankings, they certainly inform them.
There’s one problem.
They’re all wrong.
It’s a few days later, and I’m looking at the stats now. TCU has just lost to OSU, 56-57, subjecting me in the course of that dead giveaway to a heart attack from which I’m not sure I’ll recover. But even with the loss, we currently stand at 12-3. According to the Barry Lewis, when we were only 12-2, predicted to win against OSU, we still weren't ranked. But at least we had some votes to allow us to be ranked. Will they remain, I wonder?
So who are in the Top 25, you may ask. Well, at No. 1 is Gonzaga. Have you heard of them? I ain’t either. It doesn’t sound like a university so much as a Sumerian god in Ghostbusters.
At No. 3? Villanova. You heard of them? I ain’t either. But they’re 13-4, meaning they’ve lost one more game than we have. And they’re at least twenty-two places ahead of us.
Then at 13, there’s Tennessee, of the SEC (naturally!). They’re 12-5. They’ve won just as many games as we have and lost two more. But they’re ranked at least 12 places ahead of us.
Lest you think that’s all, there’s Alabama, also of the SEC, with a whopping 11-6, having won one fewer and lost four more than TCU. But they’re ranked.
Somehow, we’ve been Pomoted. What does it mean to be Pomoted, you might ask. Pomoted is a neologism, coined by yours truly, designating an indeterminacy of rank, in which one has not been demoted, necessarily, but neither promoted. Rather, in Kafkaesque splendor, one is left to the caprices of higher powers to learn their fate, usually deferred indefinitely. TCU’s men’s basketball team has undoubtedly been Pomoted.
So, I would like to address the people who do these rankings, including the Ken Pomeroy, and politely request that they devise a ranking system that makes sense at least according to who actually wins and loses. Or to clarify their methodology.
In the meantime, TCU deserves a Top-25 spot. They're TCU!
And Sumerian gods should not qualify as NCAA teams.
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