Also Receiving Votes: Missouri(3.6), Georgia Tech(3.2), South Florida(2.5), UCLA(2.3), South Carolina(2.2), Wisconsin(0.7), Notre Dame(0.4), Utah(0.2), Arizona(0.1), North Carolina(0.1), Stanford(0.1), Florida State(0.1), North Carolina State(0.1), Pittsburgh(0.1), Connecticut(0.0), Texas Tech(0.0), Minnesota(0.0), Texas A&M(0.0),
Total Ballots: 102
Hello! There's a new #1 in town : Alabama, which authoritatively dismissed Arkansas and got a big boost from Virginia Tech demolishing previously top-ten story of the season Miami (That Miami). Alabama's got way more oomph in its early season schedule than anyone else and narrowly overcomes poll momentum to grab the top spot away from Florida. In the long run it won't mean a whole lot since undefeated (or, honestly, one-loss) versions of either Florida or Alabama are virtually guaranteed to get into the BCS Championship Game after beating the other in the SEC version of same, but it is nice to see that people are paying attention. About which more later.
Elsewhere, a wide variety of top ten teams get hammered for disappointing performance. Cal takes what I believe is a record 20-spot drop after losing to Oregon 42-3; Mississippi just barely stays in the poll at #25 after losing in ugly fashion to South Carolina, Penn State drops 13 spots after an only vaguely competitive game against Iowa, and Miami (That Miami) suffered the aforementioned beating at the hands of Virginia Tech. Miami's wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech give them some staying power; they drop only eight slots.
Justify Your Existence
It might be time for the Harris and Coaches' Polls to start justifying their existences. I noted this on my home blog and it's worth repeating here: the list of grievances presented by Doctor Saturday a month into the season is compelling. Here's a brief dossier of the inanities currently featured in the polls that determine BCS eligibility and national championship game entry:
• LSU is No. 4. Because ... ?
• Oklahoma is No. 8. Because ... ?
• The coaches rank Oklahoma State ahead of Houston.
• The coaches and Harris polls rank Penn State ahead of Iowa.
• The coaches and Harris rank Cal ahead of Oregon.
• All three polls rank Ole Miss ahead of South Carolina.
Each of these has explanation over at DocSat, though in many cases the explanation could be "duh." The blogpoll is far from perfect but the ever-expanding cadre of voters who are basing their ballots strictly on what's gone on between the sidelines—something the poll guidelines suggest should be implemented by week five and demand by week eight—makes for a poll that escapes most of those inanities . You could argue LSU and Oklahoma are still too high but they are considerably lower than they are in the Harris/Coaches' polls. Houston, Oregon and Iowa are ahead of the teams they beat handily. Ole Miss is still ahead of South Carolina, unfortunately, but the inertia in the BlogPoll is far less; Ole Miss is still #18 in the Coaches' Poll but is down to #25 here, and was totally out of the Monday draft version of the thing.
And then there's
Wack Ballot Watchdog
We're finally done with strange #1 votes, so just the weirdos, ma'am:
- Block C saw 42-3 and only dropped Cal four spots , which leaves them six spots higher than they are on the next most-enthusiastic voter's ballot.
- The Tortilla Retort is the only voter of 102 to go for 2-2 Florida State , and FSU gets placed #14(!).
- I don't get Iowa's vote distribution at all, with plenty of voters not even permitting the Hawkeyes entry into the top 20. Okay, close shave against a I-AA team. They've moved past it.
- Similarly, LSU's voting patterns are inexplicable, especially the guy who voted them #2 .
- Our new FO voter—Syracuse guy—has Ohio State #4 , five spots ahead of #9 USC.
- Falcon Nation has Oklahoma State #5 !?
- Bruce Ciskie has VT #21, actually dropping them a spot after they murdered Miami. Next lowest vote is #14.
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.
Oooh: a rare instance where mid-major teams do not so much as make an appearance. Oklahoma, possessors of wins over nobody and a loss to a BYU team that was subsequently run off its own field by Florida State, which was subsequently run off the field by a South Florida team without longtime starting quarterback Matt Groethe, is a matter of some debate. Of course it is.
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.
|1||Dr. Saturday||Southern Miss||6.28|
|2||Tomahawk Nation||Florida State||5.98|
|4||The Tortilla Retort||Texas Tech||5.70|
|5||Rocky Top Talk||Tennessee||5.33|
Dr. Saturday reclaims its God-given spot at the top of the Mr. Bold rankings with his dedicated resume-ranking, though you can see the margin and average error dipping as the rest of the poll begins to come around to the idea that onfield results are the only thing that matter after a certain point.
Mr. Numb Existence
|1||Bama Sports Report||Alabama||1.64|
|3||A Sea of Blue||Kentucky||1.82|
|5||Hail to the Orange||Illinois||1.88|
Mr. Numb Existence goes to Alabama blog Bama Sports Report , which yes does agree that Alabama should be #1, thank you. We're still a ways off from the point when a hypothetical exact ballot can be submitted, and BSR's 1.64 winning error is actually pretty high. Give it time.
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
|1||Big Red Network||Nebraska||11.68|
|2||Husker Mike's Blasphemy||Nebraska||10.68|
|3||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa||8.25|
Holy hotpants. The CK Award is now 4-0 straight up and against the spread after crushing Florida State for the second time this year. FSU was a two-touchdown favorite over the Groethe-less Bulls. I have been warned never to suggest the CK Award's power is anything other than absolute.
So, Nebraska, you're totally screwed for this week's game against… nobody. What? Is this a plot to break the foul streak? Nebraska blogs had better explain :
Nebraska in the Top 10? I decided this on Saturday night after I returned home from the game and witnessed the carnage in the Top 25. I keep hearing today how if Nebraska had beaten VT they'd be in the top ten. Why not put them there, then? Nobody who watched it came away thinking NU and VT were anything less than equal. The huge jump has nothing to do with the game against Louisiana and a lot to do with the way Tech handled Miami, but here's the other factor: Nebraska hasn't played poorly yet. That's something Oklahoma, USC, Oregon, Cal, Iowa, BYU, LSU, or Oklahoma State--all teams ranked ahead of the Huskers in either the coaches or AP poll--can't say and consistency has to count for something. The Huskers haven't faced a truly explosive offense yet, but they'll see plenty of them in the Big 12.
Oh. Well… that's not totally insane. It's still pretty freakin' insane, because Nebraska may not have "played poorly" yet but they lost to VT and their other three games have been against Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, and Louisiana Lafayette. "Consistency" can count for something, but probably not more than beating Penn State on the road at night, one-point win over a I-AA team be damned.
Speaking of, I guess the whammy might fall to Iowa this week, as an enthusiastic Black Heart Gold Pants throws the Hawkeyes all the way up to #4. I actually think that's justified since few other teams can claim easy victories over three BCS schools, or two BCS schools and Iowa State. Iowa's got… argh… Arkansas State this weekend. They're a three-touchdown favorite.
As for Nebraska, I don't know how the CK Award will react. Will it save up its righteous fury for a week and unleash it in the Huskers' Big Twelve opener against Missouri? Or will it wander off like a confused puppy to gnaw (OF DOOM!) on whichever sap team wins it next week? Stay tuned.
The Straight Bangin' Award
|1||Hey Jenny Slater||Georgia||-7.70|
|2||The Nittany Line||Penn State||-7.57|
|3||Tilting at WindMills||Oklahoma||-7.39|
|4||The Lions Den||Penn State||-4.57|
|5||California Golden Blogs||California||-3.76|
Georgia's getting impressive staying power here off their early-season loss to Oklahoma State, with Doug Gillett of Hey Jenny Slater remaining the poll's most pessimistic fellow about his chosen team. The rest of the top five is pretty obvious, with Penn State fans overreacting to their fall from grace and Cal fans… well… Cal fans are potentially justified in leaving the Bears off their ballots entirely.
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||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa||256|
|2||Dr. Saturday||Southern Miss||254|
|3||Rocky Top Talk||Tennessee||250|
|4||From Old Virginia||Virginia||242|
|5||The Joe Cribbs Car Wash||Auburn||226|
Wheeeee it's resume folk at the top here as per usual, with CK Award sorta-winner Black Heart Gold Pants narrowly edging Doctor Saturday . This category will get more interesting in a few weeks.
|1||Roll Bama Roll||Alabama||26|
|2||Let's Go Rockets||Toledo||78|
|4||Husker Mike's Blasphemy||Nebraska||102|
|5||Subway Domer||Notre Dame||106|
Roll Bama Roll is not psychic—if you look at last week's ballot it looks suspiciously like a ballot that someone might submit this week, they're just prompt. They submitted a ballot first this week and were thus the only blog to run across an error on my part that hadn't moved the voting week ahead. So they are not the possessors of this week's Mr. Stubborn , but we will offer them the first-ever Lightnin' Hopkins Fastest Ballot award.
The actual Mr. Stubborn goes to Toledo blog Let's Go Rockets , which surveyed the carnage last weekend and said "maybe if I vote like a coach I'll get hired somewhere": Penn State drops only seven to #11 and remains six spots in front of Iowa. Miami, which LGR was already skeptical of, drops five spots to #24. Ole Miss and Cal only drop seven spots and Oregon doesn't even get on the ballot. I give this ballot a cocked eyebrow.