The Florida State Seminoles ran a perfect slate in 2013 with an ACC championship preceding a BCS national championship and a Heisman Trophy quarterback capturing the college football world by storm. But Division 2 Shippensburg was better, and the Internet can prove it.
While cleaning up my bookmarks collected over the course of the season I rediscovered My Team Is Better Than Your Team, a website that makes use of the transitive property to determine why one school's football team is better than the other. The data available allows you to prove once and for all why the middle-of-the-road Division 3 football team can claim they are better than the SEC champion or why one NAIA school in the middle of nowhere can say they are better than the Pac 12 champion and so on. So for fun I decided to see what it could come up with to settle the argument that my beloved Shippensburg Red Raiders were in fact a better team than the BCS champions despite Shippensburg going 7-4 and missing out on the Division 2 playoffs and the Seminoles, as mentioned above, were 14-0.
Because Florida State did not lose a game the website was unable to use the transitive property the way it was intended, but it did come up with one argument to make me feel at least a little bit better. Here goes…
Shippensburg beat James Franklin's East Stroudsburg in PSAC East play, 41-31.
East Stroudsburg defeated American International, 21-14.
American International won a high-scoring Northeast 10 opener against Merrimack, 62-50.
Merrimack helps us get closer to our end result by taking out FCS opponent Wagner, 42-41.
Wagner takes out Sacred Heart, 23-20, for one of their few wins of the year.
Sacred Heart edges Lafayette, 26-24.
Lafayette surprises Cinderella story Fordham, 27-14.
Fordham beats Villanova, 27-24.
Villanova stuns Towson in a wild game, 45-35.
Towson takes out Eastern Washington in the FCS semifinal, 35-31.
Eastern Washington opened the season by upsetting Oregon State, 49-46, to move us in to the FBS ranks.
Oregon State beat Washington State, 52-24.
Washington State beat USC 10-7.
According to this process, USC is better than Florida State because the Trojans defeated Boston College by a wider margin of victory (35-7, 28 points) than Florida State did (48-34, 14 points). Therefore, Shippensburg must be better than Florida State! What is interesting is if you tried using this website to argue Auburn is better than Florida State, you would travel down a much shorter road but get off at the same exit, considering Auburn defeated Washington State.
Of course the data here means nothing when you already know the real answer. Shippensburg, even with Zach Zulli, would not stand a prayer against the Seminoles, but it is a great way to waste some time. The website can be pretty fun to play around with, so feel free to play around with it and tell us how your favorite team is better than Florida State.