The BCS is the most hated of all arbiters because it uses a formula for ranking college football teams that is guaranteed to offend everyone.
One of the key variables in that formula is “quality wins.” (Here’s a longer read on “quality wins.”)
Another is strength of schedule.
The most important factor, though, is number of wins.
Thus does the BCS weigh quality, quantity and overall effort in deciding who plays for the national championship.
So too do GOP voters looking for the strongest nominee to take on the president in the fall have to weigh a lot of variables, and especially the candidates’ record in winning elections in this season with these issues and against this field.
Primary victories are more meaningful than caucus wins. Primaries are more like general elections in the states in the fall.
Blue state wins are more meaningful than red state wins. The GOP is going to hold on to all the red states John McCain won in 2008, but it needs to flip some blue states to red in order for its nominee to win.
Big blue state primaries mean more than little blue state primaries. Florida and Michigan are big blue primary states. New Hampshire and Nevada are little blue primary states.
Blue caucus states like Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota are more important than red caucus states by far, and I think more important than deep red primary states like South Carolina.
Rick Santorum’s very good night last night shook up the GOP ratings by placing him in a very clear second-place position to Mitt Romney.
Romney has three-and-a-half wins to date, and one of them –Florida– was a big blue state.
Rick Santorum has three-and-a-half wins to date, but three of them are in caucus states, and one of them doesn’t mean much more than a Cleveland Browns preseason win. (I refer to the Missouri whatever it was.)
Newt has one primary win in the state most likely to go Republican in the fall, so it tells us almost nothing about his electability going forward.
Which brings us to Michigan and Arizona on February 28, Washington on March 3, and the 10 states voting on Super Tuesday, especially Ohio, which like Michigan is a “big blue primary state,” and Virginia, which is another “big blue primary state.”
If, as expected, Romney adds Michigan and Virginia to his Florida wins, then he will have won three of the four “big blue primary states” voting on or before Super Tuesday, the equivalent of beating three top 10 rivals in the regular season.
The only place to really make a meaningful challenge to Romney is, as has been argued here for weeks, in Ohio on March 6. If Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich can beat Romney in the Buckeye State, it will be a long campaign. If Romney wins in Ohio after previous wins in Florida, Michigan, Virginia and the two “little blue states” of New Hampshire and Nevada, the nomination campaign should be over for the benefit of everyone and especially the party’s chances of winning in the fall.
Rick Santorum’s very good night last night got him in a position to make the ask in Arizona and Ohio. He will now get hammered there by Mitt and Newt and the super Pacs for both men, and he will hammer back in response. Santorum’s tenacity doesn’t surprise anyone who has watched his career in big blue state PA, and because of it he is the improbable finalist in the GOP nominating process.