Last year Indiana shocked Penn State who was ranked No. 9 before even playing a game. The headlines were centered around Indiana taking down a top ten team when in reality that is not what they did at all.
That win shot the Hoosiers from 45th to 17th in one week. After all, they had just beaten the ninth best team in the country right? Wrong. Penn State ended up the season 4-5. In retrospect, the win against Penn State ended up just being an average win, but the damage was already done. Nobody in week 11 of the season looked at Indiana and said, “We need to actually drop Indiana from 10 to 15 because their win against Penn State actually wasn’t that impressive.”
Well guess what, Indiana had no business being ranked in the top ten at that point. The Hoosiers had beaten Penn State (0-3), Rutgers (0-4), and Michigan (1-3). But at the moment, due to preseason rankings, Indiana had two “excellent” wins on their schedule. They ended their season losing to a 4-5 Ole Miss team. Does that sound like a top ten team to you?
Let’s not pretend that this hasn’t also helped BYU Football as well. In 1984, the Cougars beat No. 3 Pittsburg to start off the season. Pitt ended up finishing the year 3-7-1. The win for BYU vaulted them into a position that they were able to play for a national championship.