I just disagree. If you know anything about the quad system and how it affects an at-large, you simply have to care about what the schools you play do in their own seasons. 25 wins doesn’t matter as much if they’re all against lower-ranked teams. I think you’re probably right that 25 wins usually gets you an at-large bid, but lots of P5 schools never crack 25 and still get a bid. If our schedules were better and the A10 wins were more impressive based on the quality of our opponents year to year, we wouldn’t feel the need to hit 25 to have a chance.
Beating a Dayton team that’s top 25 helps us get to the dance more than beating a sub 50 Dayton team, for just one example. Three years ago (as you mentioned), Dayton was literally having a dream season, and playing them (whether we won or lost), would move us up in rankings and be a quad 1 win/loss for us. It didn’t matter because we sucked that year, but if we had been on the bubble, just playing them would have helped us. That’s not true for any of our conference opponents this year. We’re all just messing it up for each other.
For instance, some people are applauding SLU losing to Fordham last night because it helps our conference standing and we’ve given up a shot at an at-large. If we hadn’t dropped to Jacksonville and won one of the others we lost, we’d be hurt by SLU’s loss. Pitt remaining highly-ranked helps us more than if they take a dip. It’s just fact. Unless we win out in noncon (which never happens because it’s not practical), you have to be concerned about other people’s performances, especially when you’re historically a bubble team BECAUSE YOU’RE A MIDMAJOR. There’s a reason people point out that the bubble teams are usually midmajors with fantastic records and P5 schools with mediocre ones. How can you see that pattern year in and year out and not see that midmajors have a disadvantage?
I get it, though. You expect our team to win 25+ games every season, and get mad when they don’t. I’m ok with it. You want us to be almost perfect so that what other schools do doesn’t matter, and I think our conference makes things harder for us. We just approach it differently.