Welcome to the BlogPoll. The BlogPoll is a blogger equivalent to the AP or coaches poll voted on by slightly under 100 college football bloggers large and small. It differs from more conventional polls in this way.
There is a coherent, stated voting philosophy. Transparency is a major goal -- initial ballots are due Monday but the final poll comes out Wednesday. Voters watch way more football than your average college football coach or beat writer, there are little tribes of voters doing weird quasi-computer things or ranking solely on on-field actions from Day 1, and it's usually more skeptical about teams with wack schedules.
It is the week of no forgiveness: losers were punished harshly. You can see that USF lost a whopping eleven spots. Auburn shot from No. 14 to out of the poll entirely; UConn and Wisconsin suffered similar, if less severe ejections from the promised land. There's also an opinion shift at the top: after Alabama's narrow win against Kentucky a number of voters have abandoned the Tide as their No. 1 team in favor of Oklahoma; Mizzou is also picking up some first place votes
Wack Ballot Watchdog
Herein I take a look at weird votes, in an effort to either shame those with no common sense or get the poll to reconsider a particular team.
This will be covered later, but Dr. Saturday ejected BYU from his poll entirely. Whoa.
Why is anyone voting Kansas anywhere near the top 10? I'm sort of looking at Rocky Top Talk and Corn Nation here, but there are many others with Kansas in the top 15. The Jayhawks to date have beaten Florida International, La. Tech, Sam Houston State, and Iowa State (by two), meanwhile losing to South Florida. I don't know how you can justify ranking them higher than 20 or so and they certainly have to be behind USF.
Similarly, I don't get anyone who put Cal behind Michigan State. This may be because I was tied as the poll's most enthusiastic Bear proponent, but Cal's played one non-BCS team and that was a pretty decent Colorado State team and has beaten Arizona State and Michigan State; MSU lost to Cal and has played two tomato cans, two of the Big Ten's bad, bad teams, and Notre Dame. The resumes aren't drastically different, so shouldn't people go with the head-to-head?
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most disagreement between voters. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at No. 25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Kansas is the poll's most confusing team by a wide margin; it's probably because of the reasons mentioned above.
Ballot Math: First up are Mr. Bold and Mr. Numb Existence. The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The latter goes to the voter closest to the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is the province of the weird, outlying ballot, and is usually the province of one of the poll's small cadre of resume rankers. These hardy souls discard all preseason expectations from the very first week, ranking solely on a team's accomplishment on the field. An example of the philosophy: a couple of them had East Carolina No. 1 after their stunning back-to-back upsets of Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
|1||Dr. Saturday||Southern Miss||4.84|
|3||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa||4.36|
|4||Rocky Top Talk||Tennessee||3.73|
And indeed, the resume zealots' king and master Dr. Saturday takes home the award this week largely thanks to his reconsideration of BYU, No. 6 before the weekend and right out of the poll afterwards. Normally I look askance at these things but ...
I didn't set out for it to be this way, but on the heels of Monday's skepticism over the Cougars' rock-bottom schedule, I guess I'm the Anti-BYU Guy from here forward. This comes mainly from a complete re-evaluation -- i.e., significant devaluation -- of the blowout win over UCLA, which is virtually singlehandedly propping up the Cougar hype until they get some better-looking skins on the wall.
Memo to fellow pollsters: instead of thinking Well, BYU was in my top 12 last week, so ... take a fresh look at their victims. The Bruins are a confirmed bad team, as is Washington, whose near-upset in Seattle must be a liability for BYU as the Huskies sink farther into the tank. Otherwise, it's filler: Northern Iowa, Wyoming and Utah State.
... he's got a point. He's also got other oddities: LSU No. 10, behind No. 9 Boise State, Vandy No. 5, Georgia Tech No. 15, etc, but the margins are coming down and without the massive BYU skepticism this thing might have gone to someone else for like the second time this year.
|1||Michigan Sports Center||Michigan||1.06|
|3||Men of the Scarlet and Gray||Ohio State||1.34|
|4||Lake The Posts||Northwestern||1.35|
|5||The Blue-Gray Sky||Notre Dame||1.48|
Mr. Numb Existence: On the other hand, is awarded to the poll's most boring ballot. It usually has one or two tiny deviations from the overall poll and is thus not easy to comment on: hey, this poll looks like that poll for the 35th consecutive time!
As a result, we try to highlight something interesting from the winning blog and/or plug it, since this is the only award you can get that goes to someone who's not voting all crazy-like.
Our winner, then, is Michigan Sports Center, a one-stop shop for all your Michigan news from football to basketball to hockey to things that are not football, basketball, or hockey. If you're interested in Michigan's onfield activities and want one place to get your news, MSC is it.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
|2||Tomahawk Nation||Florida State||5.31|
|3||SEC Football Talk||Auburn||4.59|
|5||Eleven Warriors||Ohio State||3.35|
The CK Award goes to the voter who overrates his own team the most. The winner here is always sort of annoying to yours truly, since unabashed homerdom is the charge that will be leveled at this thing whenever anyone cares enough to rip on it, so it's fortunate that for the past few years the winner of the award has usually been crying in his beer Saturday night.
Winning this thing is bad, and while it doesn't always guarantee defeat it takes its best shot. In the season to date:
Michigan State loses to Cal.
Boston College loses to Georgia Tech.
Auburn beats Mississippi State 3-2!!!
Utah beats Air Force 30-23 but found themselves tied with a minute left despite outgaining the Zoomies by 249 yards.
OSU clubs Minnesota.
|5||Buckeye Commentary||Ohio State||-1.65|
Michigan State squeezes by a bad Iowa team.
Depending on your opinion re: the relative abilities of Michigan State and Iowa, that's 5/6 weeks something from uncomfortable to dire has happened to the winner here.
This Michigan State guy won't be dissuaded even after his homerism caused the Cal loss and the uncomfortable Iowa game; now the Spartans get undefeated Northwestern on the road. The dire twins will be looking down upon you, yea.
The Straight Bangin' Award goes to the voter who underrates his team the most severely. Why is it named this? Well, in the infancy of the poll there was a Michigan blogger so consistently depressed about his team's chances that he won this something like six times in the first year. So we named the award after him. Those concerned about Straight Bangin's mental health will be pleased to note he mostly blogs about hip hop and politics now.
|3||Dr. Saturday||Southern Miss||156|
|4||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa||144|
|5||Rocky Top Talk||Tennessee||142|
Anyway, this week our winner is Saurian Sagacity, just like last week. That winning margin is even more spectacular than it was last week, when SS won this award by omitting Florida entirely. Florida is still omitted entirely and has improved in others' estimation, pushing the margin to nearly 14.
Why is this? SS uses a monstrously inflexible system that ranks all undefeated teams above any team with a loss (with limited exceptions) even if those undefeated teams have faced Northwestern-caliber competition.
Swing: is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
|1||The Mountain West Conference Connection||TCU||52|
|2||ACC Football Report||Florida State||56|
|3||Eagle in Atlanta||Boston College||58|
|4||Bama Sports Report||Alabama||62|
|5||My Opinion on Sports||Oklahoma||66|
Mr. Manic-Depressive goes to the voter who changed his ballot the most from week to week. Like Mr. Bold, until we reach week six or seven this is usually the domain of resume zealots, who whipsaw back and forth on teams as more data comes in.
Here Saurian Sagacity again takes it home, again because of the system.
Mr. Stubborn goes to the voter who changed his ballot the least from week to week, and it's the property of The Mountain West Conference Connection this day. Often the winner of this has just been freakily prescient, and that's the case this week: The MWCC had a healthy skepticism of South Florida and had already ejected Auburn from the poll entirely.