I nearly shed a tear Tuesday night as the Yankees were banished from the 2005 Major League Baseball playoffs.

Derek Jeter, the Yankees poster-boy shortstop who is the master of making playoff opponents grimace with his clutch performances, will be doing some off season soul searching to figure what went wrong.

Randy Johnson, a player who was traded to the Yankees on the premise that he would win a World Series, will be watching the pinnacle of the MLB season from a couch or barstool.

And what about Alex Rodriguez, who grounded into a double play with no outs in the top of the ninth and a runner on first on Tuesday? He must feel awful, especially being that he’s supposed to be one of the top hitters in the game-he’s supposed to be a perennial MVP candidate, always there when his team needs him.

Yes, what about A-Rod and his crew of disheartened teammates?

A $200-plus million-team cast asunder in the opening round of the Major League Baseball playoffs. I could hardly hold back the tears of joy.

But that’s just a footnote to my emotional index Tuesday. I am still reeling over the latest Division I-AA football polls.

First, who does these rankings? I understand Div. I-AA lacks the glitz and glamour of its counterpart, but that’s no excuse for poor rankings.

The angst to the issue is this: There’s no way North Dakota State is the 12th best team in Division I-AA, let alone the 18th best, the team’s new ranking. That game goes to show you how lousy the Div. I-AA rankings are (Oh, and by the way, last week’s No. 1 team, new Hampshire, lost to now No. 11 William & Mary 42-10 on Saturday). East Coast bias anyone?

The rankings make no sense.

Montana State, beaten by the Mustangs 38-10 earlier in the season, is ranked No. 8. Cal Poly dominated the game, just as they did the game against North Dakota State, and yet the Bobcats are just two spots behind Cal Poly.

Cal Poly should be in the top three teams in the nation right now.

The No. 1 team, Southern Illiinois, has impressive wins over a winless team and an NAIA team. NAIA is an organization similar to the NCAA, but at a significantly less competitive level of play.

A loss against Western Michigan, a Div. I-A school, and close wins against Missouri State and Western Illinois wrap up the Salukis season. No wins against top 25 teams. But they’re the No. 1 team.

No. 2 Montana, next up on the Mustangs’ schedule, has one quality win. They beat Idaho State 32-10 on the road, a team on the fringe of being ranked in the top 25.

Yet they’re four spots ahead of the Mustangs.

James Madison and Furman, the No. 3 and No. 4 ranked teams, sing similar tunes. Cal Poly has the most impressive schedule of the teams ahead of them. Cal Poly should, at the least, be in the top three.

In a week and a half Cal Poly travels to Missoula, Mont. for the most important game of the season. A win should all but wrap up a playoff berth and would propel the Mustangs past the team’s best ever ranking, No. 5 in the nation.

Of course a loss in Missoula coupled with a loss to one of the Mustangs’ remaining opponents could leave the team sitting at home, watching the post-season unveil itself before them-just like the Yankees.

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