Also Receiving Votes: Central Michigan(1.7), California(1.1), Brigham Young(0.7), Wisconsin(0.5), Clemson(0.2), Kansas(0.2), Navy(0.1), Arkansas(0.1), Texas Tech(0.1), Oregon State(0.1), Georgia(0.0), Central Florida(0.0), Troy(0.0), South Florida(0.0), Rutgers(0.0), Connecticut(0.0),
Total Ballots: 91
Iffy performances by both SEC powerhouses, with Alabama's being considerably iffier, see first-place votes shift away from the formerly dominant Tide to Florida, Texas, Iowa, and even TCU. Alabama still maintains its grip on #1, and there's no danger of anyone in the top three falling out without a loss: after Texas's 23.4 points per ballot the next team in the poll, Cincinnati, is a full three points back.
Elsewhere it's fairly boring, with Miami taking a tumble for its loss to Clemson and the back end of the poll getting wiped out and replaced with poll debutant Arizona and a few other teams who've hopped in and out this season.
Justify Your Existence
The AP poll's one-week dalliance with Alabama #1 came to an end, leaving the Blogpoll the only poll in all the land with Alabama #1. The other striking feature of the blogpoll is its wish to hurt USC. USC is #8 here and #4 in the AP/Coaches poll. If Texas eats it and Cincinnati or Iowa go undefeated this poll may have a different opinion of who should play for the national title than the actual polls do.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
Now that the #1 votes are spreading out from their status last week (overwhelmingly Alabama with some Florida stragglers and one or two folks going for Texas), let's focus on the arguments for the outlying #1 votes. Two voters went for TCU. Irritatingly, Dan Shanoff provides no explanation other than "TCU!" and Tilting at Windmills doesn't even go that far. Lame.
The lack of explanation is probably because there just isn't one unless the only football game you saw this year is TCU-BYU. TCU's beaten Virginia solidly and Clemson narrowly, escaped from Air Force by three, and then clobbered BYU, which I'll remind you is something that Florida State has done this year. This is a nice resume, definitely a top 15 team. It doesn't come close to beating out those of Florida, Alabama, Iowa, and even Texas.
Two others went for Iowa, citing the Hawkeye's excellent strength of schedule thanks to its fortune with Arizona and sudden bowl-threat Iowa State. Dawg Sports :
The Iowa Hawkeyes earned the top spot on my ballot, in spite of their narrow escapes against Arkansas State and Division I-AA Northern Iowa, because their six triumphs over teams at or above .500 include solid victories over the 17th-ranked Penn St. Nittany Lions and the 21st-ranked Arizona Wildcats , as well as wins of moderate quality against the likes of the Wisconsin Badgers and the now slightly less wholly unworthy Iowa St. Cyclones .
Dr. Saturday … well, Dr. Saturday does not have his poll post up right now. But I'm sure when he does it will have similar justifications based on strength of schedule that will get weaker as the season progresses. Iowa's got three home games against Big Ten dregs (Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota) coming up with one trip to Columbus standing between them and (probably) a national title shot.
A few other oddities:
- Dan Shanoff shot Florida down to #4 and Alabama down to #5 after the weekend's events, which seems kind of silly when the beneficiaries are Cincinnati and TCU.
- Hail to the Orange (an Illinois blog, not a Syracuse one) left Miami #8 despite their loss to Clemson.
- Not one but two voters have Oklahoma #9. One of them will win Mr. Bold below. The other is Buckeye Commentary .
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most 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.
Oklahoma, which we'll get to in a moment, is a winner here. Weird year when this isn't dominated by the questionable undeafated mid-major. This year the questionable undefeated mid-major is in the top ten.
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||Husker Mike's Blasphemy||Nebraska||3.90|
|2||Buckeye Commentary||Ohio State||3.36|
|3||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa||3.19|
|4||The Joe Cribbs Car Wash||Auburn||2.85|
|5||Frank Helps You||Tulane||2.68|
Husker Mike's Blasphemy comes in solidly on top of this category for some extreme Big 12 love and Big 10 hatred: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, respectively #23 and #14 above, come in at #9 and #10 on his ballot. Iowa doesn't show until #14. Unranked Arkansas also finds its way to #16, in front of Penn State. Mike is the only voter going for Arkansas at all. Other oddities dot the ballot but those are the most extreme. Oklahoma! #9!
Mr. Numb Existence
|1||WSU Football Blog||Washington State||0.91|
|2||Yet Another N.C. State Sports Blog||North Carolina State||0.94|
|3||Michigan Sports Center||Michigan||0.95|
|4||Red and Black Attack||Northern Illinois||0.97|
|5||The Only Colors||Michigan State||1.06|
This is what I like to see in when it comes to Mr. Numb Existence: Washington State at the top, followed by NC State and Michigan. It doesn't feel right when the chalk is getting submitted by teams that aren't trudging through a miserable gray season. We're still nowhere near the hypothetical perfect ballot; WSU Football Blog doesn't even get past #1 before a change (Florida is its choice for the top spot). Margins are dipping as more information comes in, though.
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||The Smoking Musket||West Virginia||6.19|
|2||Subway Domer||Notre Dame||5.49|
|3||WVU Pressbox||West Virginia||5.19|
|4||Conquest Chronicles||Southern Cal||3.91|
|5||Men of the Scarlet and Gray||Ohio State||3.69|
A late blip-gone run from Noel Devine saved West Virginia's bacon against UConn and prevented the CK Award from winning straight up, but a four point win for WVU does beat the spread and sends the award to 6-2 on the year there. (It's 5-3 straight up, with one of those losses being the Arkansas State-Iowa game.) Also, remember earlier in the season when three Nebraska voters had huge 8-11 point margins for two consecutive weeks? And remember how the award was thwarted by a furious fourth-quarter comeback in a monsoon against Missouri?
That latter game featured eight (eight!) turnovers. The CK Award took a bye week of its own, then rained down the thunder on Nebraska for its two weeks of insolence. As always, the lesson is don't vote your team too high in a poll because malevolent entities from opposite ends of the political spectrum will rip your team from limb to limb.
This week's winner is again West Virginia, though this time the victorious blog is The Smoking Musket . Chagrined, WVU Pressbox has slightly scaled back its enthusiasm. West Virginia gets… bler. South Florida. Remarkably, West Virginia is only a three-point favorite, so it will be tough to win with the points without winning straight up. How is this possible when USF's been humiliated by Pitt and Cincinnati its last two trips out? Grumble.
The Straight Bangin' Award
|1||My Opinion on Sports||Oklahoma||-2.83|
|3||Tilting at WindMills||Oklahoma||-1.83|
|5||Foul Balls||Notre Dame||-1.51|
Thin gruel here as no team in the midst of a top-ten season has lost ignominiously in a while. I mean, when you get a Central Michigan voter in the top five you know it's a lean year for seasoon-changing upsets. MOOS wins for taking the completely reasonable step of omitting Oklahoma from its poll.
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||Oread Boom Kings||Kansas||298|
|2||Braves and Birds||Georgia||128|
|3||Tilting at WindMills||Oklahoma||110|
|4||Clone Chronicles||Iowa State||108|
|5||Hey Jenny Slater||Georgia||106|
Um. Please pay no attention to the spectacular number put up by Oread Boom Kings , as there was a glitch in the system last week that saw their ballot only register a top nine . I've never seen that before. I'll investigate.
Your real winner is Georgia blog Braves and Birds, which wasn't going to take the SEC teams' poor performance lying down. Texas gets bumped to #1. And only two teams—#11 Boise State and #23 South Carolina—remain static. Miami, VT, Texas Tech, Arkansas, and BYU all plummet. LSU, Pitt, Penn State, and a host of teams that slide up three or four slots are the main beneficiaries. This ballot is a classic example of late-season high swing events: you bet on a bunch of teams that run out and get crushed, and next week you hurl them out for their impertinence.
|1||Rocky Top Talk||Tennessee||16|
|2||Husker Mike's Blasphemy||Nebraska||34|
|4||My Opinion on Sports||Oklahoma||44|
Also pay no attention to Rocky Top Talk at the top of this list; that was another glitch. It's been that kind of week. Your real winner is Husker Mike's Blasphemy, which we've already talked about. The blasphemy.