Blog Entry

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

Posted on: September 19, 2010 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 2:58 pm



Note:  Clicking a team link in this blog will show you how everyone voted for that team.  Clicking a voter name link will show you their ballot.

Texas is fast becoming a computer darling.  The Longhorns are No. 1 in both the Sagarin and Massey BCS ratings.  Meanwhile the AP has Texas lowest of all the rankings at No. 7.  It may be a coincidence, but the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas currently boasts a 5% enrollment increase.  We’ll be watching that UTCS isn’t promising the computers more technical support in return for higher rankings.  (The jokes may get better as the season goes on, but no promises, and frankly, it’s unlikely.)

The coaches have Arizona lowest (No. 16) of any BCS component or the AP.  If only we could see the coaches’ ballots and how many of them rank Iowa over Arizona still.  Otherwise, the USA Today Poll is pretty standard fare this week.

In the AP, Craig James is the most extreme voter this week, which is rare for a national voter.  However, I doubt the fans will tag him with Bad Voter of the Week since five of his seven extreme picks were for ranks that are highest in the nation.  Nebraska at No. 3, Michigan at No. 14, Oregon State at No. 15, Penn State at No. 17, and Texas A&M at No. 25.  On the negative side he was one of two voters to rank Boise State (No. 7) and LSU (unranked) lowest.

We’ve finally reached a point of the season where we can start talking about head-to-head issues.  As a refresher, the AP Voting Guidelines state: “Pay attention to head-to-head results.”  Now, they don’t say to slavishly adhere to head-to-head results, but voters should certainly show good reason to go against the outcome on the field.  So at Pollspeak, we regularly point out people who don’t seem to be paying attention. For example:

10 voters still have Iowa ranked higher than Arizona after yesterday’s late night upset.  The two most extreme cases are Desmond Conner and Lisa Byington who have the Hawkeyes nine places over the Wildcats.    Being from Connecticut and Michigan, maybe they didn’t stay up to see the end result. In fact, Byington still ranks Iowa highest at No. 10.

Rob long who works for Fox radio in Baltimore, has Notre Dame ranked but not Michigan State.   He gave the Irish their only vote in the nation even though they have two losses, one of which was to the Spartans on Saturday.

Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald was the only voter not to rank Auburn, but strangely, he did rank Clemson.  So he was also the only voter to rank the Tigers over the Tigers….that is, Clemson Tigers over the Auburn Tigers.



John Shinn of The Norman Transcript was the only voter to rank California even though they were just blasted by undefeated Nevada.  However, he also didn’t rank the Wolf Pack team that did the blasting.  That’s a shame because with just four more points, Nevada could have had its first ranking since they climbed as high as No. 10 in 1948!



Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: September 25, 2010 2:14 pm

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

That's why they play the games hawks.  It really doesn't matter what the final score was, a loss is a loss.  A team has to show up to play in every game.  Yes, Iowa is talented, but they didn't show up in their game against Arizona State until the second half.  A team can't do that against a quality oppenent and expect to win.  Could Iowa beat Ohio State?  Maybe, maybe not.  Again, that's why they play the games.  Teams are starting conference play this week.  We will see how good the ranked teams really are.

Since: Aug 30, 2010
Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:44 pm

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

ment 2 say they went in there w a BACKUP QUARTERBACK who hadnt seen game time other then the week b4 which he only played the 2nd half and still almost beat u guys throwing 4 over 200 yards and i believe 2 touchdowns and made a rookie mistake in the end. wasnt the final score 27-24 in OT? yup it was. and u say iowas over rated. we still got plenty of time 2 dominate and get back in the top 10 and u guys got plenty of time 2 lose and fall outta the top 25. these rankings dnt mean nething til the end of the season (week 10 and on).

Since: Aug 30, 2010
Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:29 pm

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

ok. u can say all u want bout iowa and there defense and stanzi bein sacked bc quite frankly its hilarious. iowa was and still is the best team between them. if i recall iowa was down 27-7 at half and shut them down pretty much the entire 2nd half except that last drive where there defense was tired. atleast we aint pussys who schedule all of our hard teams at home. i mean miami usc come on. ohio state is so overrated its not even funny. i mean iowa went in there last season w a BACKUP QUARTERBACK that hadent seen game time othere then the week b4 which he only played the 2nd half. come on. u guys call urself national champion contenders? ohio state is a joke. let me say that 4 u again OHIO STATE IS A JOKE!!! but ill let them tlk 4 themselves when u guys come in2 town. heads up tho. games sold out and its a black out game. o and u guys only got 2000 tickets. lmfao. but well wait and c how bad clayborn klug ballard and binns tear ur offensive line up. and notice clayborn was beein triple teamed nearly all game. guess well have 2 wait and c. hope u guys r undefeated when u come in. so ill b ruttin 4 u guys jst so the kinnick magic can dethrown ur overrated team. hahahahahaha

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: September 22, 2010 1:32 am

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

I am for that idea, Nixon, but the problem is--and will continue to be while the BCS exists--is that we rarely if ever find out who the best teams are on the field.  There is absolutely no incentive for BCS conference teams to challenge themselves out-of-conference.  Even if they schedule a quality opponent, how often do the traditional "powers" travel to play that game?

I'm too lazy to come up with the stats, but I ask just one question.  In the last 5 years, how many times has a legitimate top 10 team traveled to another team's stadium with a REAL threat of losing that game?  Alabama at Penn St is about as close as it gets this year, but c'mon...who actually thought Alabama would lose that game?  See what I mean?  What top 10 team will play in Boise?  When was the last time Florida traveled to a REAL contender's stadium out-of-conference play?  Texas? (Why bother when the shoot-out is coming up, right?)

The BCS promotes terrible matchups out-of-conference.  The non-conference schedule has become a month-long practice scrimmage against the Directional Colleges of the world for most of the real contenders.  Then conference play starts and nothing ever changes.  If this is the way college football is supposed to be, at least make a playoff so we can finally see some REAL interconference games.  I'm sick of the first month of the season being so damn weak and boring every year.  You want to be a title contender?  PROVE IT.

Since: Aug 4, 2009
Posted on: September 21, 2010 4:29 pm

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

I'll keep beating the same drum for not having ANY polls until mid-October when we can truly find out who the best teams are ON THE FIELD.  That, at least, would help level what's an incredibly tilted playing field.

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: September 21, 2010 4:13 pm

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

I think that the polls are SO inconsistent.  Just look at the preseason rankings.  Those were blown out of the water in week 1.  When it comes to head-to-head I think that if a lower ranked team beats a higher ranked team (Arizona v. Iowa) that the lower ranked team should be given more consideration in the polls.  Granted, if say Arkansas beats Alabama this weekend, then Alabama should be ranked lower than Arkansas.  'Bama fans may disagree, but this is the first game that Alabama has played against a quality opponent.  Defending champs or not, you have to prove that your team is worth a #1 ranking.

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: September 21, 2010 3:34 pm

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

Look, I think the way this whole poll thing works is kind of crummy sometimes, too. It has more to do with how a team starts out ranked than anything else. Expectations are this or that at the start of the year, never mind that a few weeks into the season we see that some of our assumptions were totally worng, and many voters simply move teams up or down a few spots based on whether they win or lose and by how much.

I can usually predict how the polls are going to look the day after the games are played. Factors that don't seem to be taken into account very often are where the games are played, the level of opponenet played. It's like if you lose by 1 point on the road to a really good team, you still drop, even if homefield advantage usually counts for 3-4 points. Same teams, the other stadium, and you win by 2, all of a sudden you move up the polls, even though the outcome shows that basically you were equal to your opponent.

Anyway, you can't just say cause one team beat another they automatically deserve to be ranked higher in the polls. You're supposed to be looking at an overall total package view of these teams. And they all will have matchup problems with somebody. For example, Wisconsin almost always has problems beating teams that have a lot of speed and play a wide-open style of offense. They have issues with teams like Arizona State and Northwestern when there seems to be no reason for it talent-wise. The Badgers have been known to run right over other power type teams and get tripped up by those other teams. Now, does that mean these teams that beat the Badgers like Northwestern does from time to time, be ranked ahead of Wisconsin when they pull an upset?

In the case of Arizona/Iowa, right now I'm not sure which is the better team. I do know that just because Arizona beat the Hawkeyes doesn't necessarily make them a better team that Iowa. I will also agree that many times, when one team (Iowa) is ranked much higher than another (Arizona), and the other team (AZ) wins, the shift is poll voting is not what it may seem it should be. There is also a school of thought that a team should be rewarded for beating another team, and I can see that, too.

Then what do you do when you have a team with just one loss on the season? A power like Alabama or Ohio State or somebody like that which gets upset during the season by somebody like Tennessee or Michigan State or something? And the Vols and Sparty have 4 losses. You can't rank those teams ahead of the one-loss teams.

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: September 21, 2010 11:56 am

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

Notre Dame, Michigan or MSU should not be ranked.  Notre Dame is the best team of the 3 and their 1-2, should not be ranked.  Michigan would not have beaten Notre Dame had Crist played the whole game (Crist in 24-7 Irish, Crist out 21-0 Michigan).  MSU had the game handed to them be the referees (phanton push out of bounds on receiver and clipping on punt return, not to mention last play should have been delay of game).  My guess is that Rob Long actually watched the MSU/ND game, as I'm sure most other voters only caught the score and highlights that conveniently leave out the obvious bad officiating that seemed to be bad officiating all one way.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: September 21, 2010 9:20 am

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

Poor Cakes, stings doesn't it?  Of course, when you hire a hooker, you want one who will lay down willingly for you.  Enjoy South Dakota State.

Why pay a Million and then get smoked?  It's ok, we understand what you are truly seeking, an easy lay, not a real game.  After all, for that kind of money, you want what you want.  Don't worry, we get it.

Have you even been looking at future Husker schedules?  This year's pansy schedule is the remaining leftovers of dumb Steve Pederson and the Callahan years.  Future non-conference schedules look to be much tougher than they were during those painful years.

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: September 21, 2010 8:24 am

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

Well, you have to give credit to the Big10/Pac10 deal where they play non-conference games every year. Iowa vs. Arizona was a risk to both teams.

The other thing people don;t get about ranking teams, is that sometimes upsets happen. Just because a team loses, doesn't mean the team who beat them is better, or deserves to be ranked higher. Upsets happen. The fact that they only play once simply magnifies the outcome in some peoples' eyes. If it were like baseball or hoops, where teams play each other several times, we wouldn't be sweating who is better after one meeting. We'd let the season performance determine that.

There is no good way to determine who the best team is without a tournament. They should be ranked based on a saeson's body of work, and then put into a tournament to determine a champion. It's not perfect, because sometimes the best team gets upset in the playoffs in a single elimination format, but it is better than one bowl game to decide a national champion.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or