Saturday, October 14, 2006

Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs

It’s waaaaaaaaaaaay too early to start talking about the playoffs (cue up your favorite Jim Mora soundbite here).
Ah heck, let’s go ahead and do it any way.
The Cal Poly volleyball team just beat Big West Conference nemesis UC Santa Barbara in three games Saturday to finish off the season sweep and could move up another spot or two in the Top 25 from last week’s ranking of 20.
The Cal Poly football team was ranked fourth heading into Saturday’s bye and could move up another spot after top-ranked New Hampshire’s 42-23 loss to James Madison.
If the fall playoffs were to begin today, both teams could argue they deserve a home date in the opening round.
The football playoffs open Nov. 25. The volleyball postseason kicks off Nov. 30.

Cal Poly’s volleyball team would obviously have a tougher sell with only 16 regional sites (64 teams advance) being named and so many teams playing well in the West Region.
A quick look at last week’s poll shows No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 USC, No. 5 Washington, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Cal, No. 11 Hawaii, No. 12 Utah, No. 17 Santa Clara and No. 19 BYU ahead of Cal Poly in the race for a regional bid. (The Mustangs split with Hawaii but did not play any of the other teams ... although the five-game loss at then-ranked No. 19 Pepperdine could come back to haunt their standing in the region.)
Then again, the NCAA says it doesn’t base its decisions on opinion polls and relies heavily on its own RPI formula, so stay tuned on that one.

As things stand right now, the Cal Poly football team would have a better chance at a home site in the first round since eight of the 16 teams get a home game and the Mustangs have been a top-five team for much of the season.
Then again, the Mustangs (5-1, 2-0) don’t exactly know what to expect from the second half of the season.
While the volleyball team has cruised past five of its seven Big West opponents, the Cal Poly football team still has remaining games with a pair of much-improved Great West Football Conference teams (South Dakota State and unbeaten North Dakota State), Division I-A San Diego State and No. 4 Montana. And the latter of those three contests are on the road.
So again, it’s way too early to be talking about the playoffs.

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