Blog Entry

Preseason Blogpoll Breakdown

Posted on: August 26, 2009 1:57 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2009 2:06 pm
Rank Team PPB
1 Florida (99) 24.8
2 Texas 23.4
3 Southern Cal 22.1
4 Oklahoma 22.1
5 Alabama 19.8
6 Ohio State 17.7
7 Penn State 17.7
8 LSU 16.0
9 Virginia Tech 15.9
10 Oklahoma State 15.8
11 Mississippi 15.8
12 California 14.0
13 Georgia (1) 12.3
14 Georgia Tech 10.6
15 Boise State 9.9
16 Oregon 9.7
17 TCU 8.8
18 Utah (1) 5.1
19 Florida State 5.0
20 Brigham Young 4.8
21 North Carolina 4.3
22 Iowa 4.2
23 Nebraska 3.6
24 Notre Dame 3.0
25 Miami (Florida) 2.0

Also Receiving Votes: Illinois(1.9), Oregon State(1.9), Kansas(1.5), Clemson(1.4), Texas Tech(1.3), Michigan State(1.2), Pittsburgh(1.2), Rutgers(0.8), Arkansas(0.6), Cincinnati(0.6), West Virginia(0.5), South Florida(0.4), Missouri(0.3), North Carolina State(0.3), South Carolina(0.3), Tennessee(0.3), Mississippi State(0.2), UCLA(0.2), Vanderbilt(0.2), Kentucky(0.2), Maryland(0.1), Northwestern(0.1), Virginia(0.1), Michigan(0.1), Washington(0.1), Auburn(0.1), Central Michigan(0.1), Southern Miss(0.1), Stanford(0.1), Boston College(0.1), Nevada(0.1), East Carolina(0.1), Arizona State(0.0), Wake Forest(0.0), Wisconsin(0.0), Arizona(0.0), Colorado(0.0), UAB(0.0),

Total Ballots: 101

Votes by blog here , votes by team here .

There's deep analysis leading to understanding, and then there's just being contrarian. Anointing anyone other than Florida would have been the latter and lo, it has not come to pass. In fact, only two first-place votes went anywhere else and we'll see in the next section that they weren't based on team quality or events that actually happened.

There are some interesting differences between Blogpoll voters and the AP folks towards the bottom of the top ten, where LSU and Penn State find themselves three and two spots higher in the blogger hivemind's view than the AP's. Virginia Tech and Ole Miss take two and three point drops to balance everything out; has Doctor Saturday's persistent skepticism of Ole Miss' chances burrowed itself into the hivemind? If there's one blogger in the poll everyone reads it's him.*

Past that, things get creepy. After Ole Miss shows up at #11 the rest of the poll follows in lockstep with the AP except for three occasions where teams flip spots and the bloggers' inclusion of Miami over Kansas at #25. I'm thinking of experimenting with some confidence bonuses where you can pick a few teams that you feel you have a good handle on and weight your votes there more heavily, and this is an argument for that sort of thing.

(*Irony alert! Doc Sat takes the opportunity provided by his ballot to retract some of that criticism :

I've been a bit of a hater on the widespread Rebel love this offseason, but the more closely I look at Ole Miss , the more I see what everyone else has been seeing in them: A first-rate quarterback, a dangerous set of skill players, a top-20 defense with eight starters back, a trio of big-game wins last year and a schedule absent both Florida and Georgia.

He still sticks the Rebels 10th, which is lower than the AP consensus.)

Wack Ballot Watchdog

About those extraneous #1s:

  • The Georgia vote comes from Tomahawk Nation , which decided to make its preseason ballot based entirely on schedule strength. Do I like this? No. It creates a very, very silly ballot which won Mr. Bold by a huge margin and I thought seriously about spiking it. I decided against it since it's the preseason and I don't have any hard evidence that Vanderbilt is not a top ten team. But I am implementing a new guideline: if your ballot wins Mr. Bold by five or more points I'm removing it from that week's poll.
  • Your Utah supporter is The Lions Den , who explains his rationale like so: "it may seem weird that Utah is #1, but they were number one when the season ended, and they haven't lost a game yet." It does seem weird because Utah wasn't #1 by any measure when last season ended, actually. Eigh… preseason polling.

Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.

Most Disagreement

# Team StdDev
1 Utah 5.5
2 Oregon 5.4
3 Notre Dame 4.9
4 Boise State 4.8
5 Florida State 4.3

This is traditionally the realm of the mid-major and it is so again this year, with Florida State showing up largely because of TN's wack ballot and Notre Dame and Oregon your official most unpredictable BCS teams.

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 number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.


Mr. Bold

# Blog Team   Avg Error
1 Tomahawk Nation Florida State 11.92
2 Saurian Sagacity Florida 5.87
3 One Bronco Nation Under God Boise State 4.41
4 Frank Helps You Tulane 4.09
5 The Joe Cribbs Car Wash Auburn 3.94

As previously discussed, TN dominates Mr. Bold by ranking all schedule-like. That six-plus point margin of victory is probably a poll record, and in the future we'll weed out polls so divergent from the rest of the blogs that they obviously don't exist in the same reality.


Mr. Numb Existence

# Blog Team   Avg Error
1 Block U Utah 1.03
2 Florida State 1.24
3 Orange::44 Syracuse 1.28
4 Colorado 1.34
5 Block C Clemson 1.34

Mr. Numb Existence goes to the blogger with the dullest ballot and Block U manages to slide in with a number that would stand a good chance of winning midseason, when the options you have with your vote are far more constrained. I'm not going to make a joke about Mormons. I'm not.

Next we have the Coulter/Kos 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.


The Coulter/Kos Award

# Blog Team   Bias
1 Tomahawk Nation Florida State 17.99
2 The Rakes of Mallow Notre Dame 9.96
3 The Smoking Musket West Virginia 8.49
4 Subway Domer Notre Dame 7.96
5 Not Qualified to Comment Illinois 6.09

Since TN didn't rank based on team quality and giving multiple awards to the same folk are boring your editor declares Rakes of Mallow your winner of 2009's first Coulter/Kos Award , which is handed to the most flamingly homer ballot in the poll. Rakes saw fit to land Notre Dame at #13 despite their 7-6 year last year, which isn't totally insane with 18 starters back but is decidedly optimistic.

You'll note that another Notre Dame blog also shows in the top five; this is the place where I note the wroth and terrible CK Award Curse, which saw CK Award winners see their teams go about 20% against the spread last year and was cause for celebration amongst certain Michigan State fans when a certain Spartan blogger who won this award all the time was excised from the poll for winning this award all the time.

No, this didn't play into the switch at the top here, since Rakes' ignominy only applies to Notre Dame's opener against Nevada.

The Straight Bangin' Award

# Blog Team   Bias
1 Dawg Sports Georgia -7.35
2 Foul Balls Notre Dame -3.04
3 Hail to the Orange Illinois -1.91
4 Fantasy College Blitz Oklahoma State -1.83
5 We Will Always Have Tempe Ohio State -1.72

The flip side of the CK award, and always one with far smaller margins until teams start tanking winnable games, is the Straight Bangin' award, which is named for a blog run by a rabid Michigan fan that dominated this award until such time as he was proven right and Michigan fell out of the poll entirely.

This year's inaugural winner, and one with a healthy margin for this category, is Dawg Sports . Kyle King & Co saw fit to place Georgia only #21. Anti-jinx, perhaps, except Kyle's got thousands of words to back it up :

I believe the ‘Dawgs are either seriously overrated or severely underrated . I’m hoping it’s the latter, but, until I am given concrete reasons to believe otherwise, I’m betting on the former . We should find out in a hurry which of the two it is.

Meanwhile, Foul Balls attempts to repair some of the damage done above… and apparently expects this is the end of the Charlie Weis era.

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.

Swing does not exist for the preseason ballot.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: blogpoll

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2009 5:27 pm

Preseason Blogpoll Breakdown

I think your criticism of the strength of schedule preseason ranking is a little harsh.  It is rather common to hear people matter-of-factly state something along the lines of: "I ranked Boise St./Notre Dame/Utah/[blank] here because their schedule is really easy and they will lose at most one or two games."  That is really only the flip side of the same coin.  Neither has any relation to how good a team's actual ability and the merit of their performances.

Since: Jan 16, 2009
Posted on: August 27, 2009 2:19 am

Preseason Blogpoll Breakdown

God bless you, sir. I'm a big Utah fan, and regardless of why you did it, I'm glad you were willing/brave enough to do it.

Since: Aug 26, 2009
Posted on: August 26, 2009 3:38 pm

Preseason Blogpoll Breakdown

As one of the two idiots non-conformists that did not pick Florida, I wanted to clarify my Utah vote.  Utah WAS #1 on MY final poll last year--they were undefeated and beat Bama more handily than the gators.  And since they haven't lost a game since then, they are still my honorary #1 preseason.  If they don't deserve to be there, the actual games will bear that out and I will drop them on the poll accordingly.  At this point EVERYONE is undefeated!

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