Blog Entry

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

Posted on: October 31, 2010 10:10 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 8:56 am

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.  Click on other links at your own peril!

Welcome to the Halloween-themed edition of Pollspeak.  Our first topic is: curses.  With both Oregon and Auburn winning last weekend, The No. 1 curse has been broken…or has it? (Cue flash of lighting and thunder clap.) 

Last week in both the Massey and Sagarin Ratings, Missouri was No. 1.  The Tigers were buried by Nebraska, so that means there are still No. 1 teams in the BCS dropping like flies.  This week the only No. 1 teams are Oregon and Auburn, and with upcoming games against Chattanooga and Washington respectively, it’s likely the curse will be truly broken next week.  (Cue wolf howls.)

Aside from the computers’ clear No. 1 (Auburn) and the polls’ clear No. 1 (Oregon), the biggest battles this week between humans and computers are being fought over Missouri and Alabama.  The Crimson Tide (BCS No. 6) are the most underrated by the computers with a computer average of 15 and a poll average of 5, while the Tigers (BCS No. 12) are the most underrated by the voters with a poll average of 15 and a computer average of 4!  If these disagreements continue, our future enslavement by the evil computers is all but assured.

Syracuse is currently the highest ranked Big East team.  (Cue creepy organ music.)  They aren’t in the top-25 yet, but they are the closest to it.   They are sitting at No. 27 in the AP, and if they can continue winning, they will certainly earn their first ranking since 2001.  However, it won’t be easy.  They still have to face Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut and Boston College.  While none of those teams received a single AP vote, it is still a murderer’s row by Big East standards this year.  The conference as a whole is currently ranked 7th in both Sagarin’s conference rankings and Anderson & Hester’s conference rankings… just below the independents and Mountain West respectively.  Meanwhile, Pittsburgh, with three losses, is the only team that controls its own destiny towards the Big East crown.

The ACC is nearly as chaotic with three teams hanging on for dear life at the bottom of the polls:  Virginia Tech, FSU, and N.C. State. (Cue horrific scream.)  Virginia Tech and NC State control their own destinies in the ACC, while FSU needs to run the table and hope for an N.C. State loss.

In the AP, I’d like to introduce the star of the week (our Michael Myers if you will), Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Cue theme from “Halloween”.)  He is this week’s most extreme voter, which I can only assume he pried away from the cold, dead hands of Jon Wilner.  You don’t have to look long at Anderson’s blood-red ballot to be frightened.  He gives Hawaii their highest ranking at No. 19…over other two loss teams like South Carolina, which he ranks lowest at No. 24.  With Boise State No.1 and the highest ranking for Nevada at No. 18, he has an obvious and creepy WAC bias.  Even more terrifying, he ranks Missouri highest at No. 7 OVER Nebraska at No. 10.  They have the same number of losses and Nebraska just murdered Missouri last weekend (forgive the overly brutal Halloween-speak).  He also has Wisconsin lowest at No. 16 while he places the team they strangulated, Ohio State, highest at No. 6.  My blood curdles at his ranking Iowa six places over Arizona and his other results-be-damned decisions.

Anderson did get one thing right.  He was one of only two people to vote Michigan State better than Wisconsin.  The Spartans beat the Badgers by two scores in early October.  They have the same record, so why wouldn’t you vote Michigan State higher?  Which brings us to…  (cue creaking door)


(Severed) Head-to-Head lines:

The Big Ten poses a truly scary situation this week:

·         Michigan State beat Wisconsin

·         Iowa beat Michigan State

·         Wisconsin beat Iowa

·         Wisconsin also beat Ohio State

How can this be resolved using head-to-head results and records?  Here is the general order they should be ranked:

·         Michigan State

·         Wisconsin

·         Ohio State

·         Iowa

(Arizona should also be over Iowa, although comparing the Wildcats to the other Big Ten teams will be a source of debate.)

Why is that the proper order?  Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State all have one loss.  So they are ranked in order of their head-to-head results.  While Iowa’s dismemberment of Michigan State was very impressive, they have two losses, which drops them below the other teams. (Cue dropping scream.)

There is only one voter who got all of that correct:  Doug Lesmerises, writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Lesmerises has consistently shown himself to be an unbiased voter who puts a lot of thought into his ballots…ever since he freaked out fans back in 2009 with his first regular season ballot, and went public with his “no preseason bias” method of voting. (Cue rattling chains.)

I’m running long, and I’ve already covered plenty of head-to-head issues, so let me take this opportunity to answer the criticism of a few irate Iowa fans who have accused Pollspeak of an Iowa witch hunt.  That is absolutely not true!  I think Iowa is a GREAT team.  However, I also think Arizona and Wisconsin are great teams…until proven otherwise.  For now, the Wildcats and Badgers have one less loss and a win over the Hawkeyes, who I have already said is a great team.  Those who vote differently may be biased or may not be paying attention.  They may also just be smarter than the rest of us as some Iowa fans suggest.  Since it is Halloween, we’ll allow these people to hide behind the guise of impartial fans for now.  However, next week, nobody will escape the scrutiny.  Pollspeak will be coming after your rotten, bloated preconceptions and your slimy, maggot-covered ballots.  Until then… sweet dreams. (Cue Vincent Price maniacal laughter.)


Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:54 pm

Missouri was murdered?

Give me a break.  So what happened to Alabama vs South Carolina?  Ohio St vs Wisconsin? 

Always something has to be said about Missouri.  Lets not forget that Missouri was without their starting DT, who broke his leg in the OU game and MU's MLB was out as well.  We still came back and cut the game to a 14.   Alabama lost by 14 to a 2 loss South Carolina...Ohio St lost by 13 to a strong Wisconsin, but they haven't beaten anybody. 

A lot of teams down 24 in the 1st Qtr would have given up and lost big. 

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:24 pm

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

As long as teams keep believing that SU is a cake walk...they will continue to hear this. 

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:20 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

It doesn't matter whether Iowa shot themselves in the foot or they made miscues or whether one would take Iowa over Arizona on a neutral field right now.  The bottom line is Iowa lost to Arizona.  That is a fact, the rest is speculation. 

What is the point of playing the game if people are just going to say, even though Team A lost to Team B I still think Team A is better?  Besides, Iowa has 2 losses, Arizona has 1.  That is completely different than Nebraska (1 loss) ranked above Texas (4 losses) or Alabama (1 loss) over South Carolina (2 losses).  JMU has 3 losses, VTech has 2 losses. 

People should vote honestly which team they think would beat the one below it on a neutral site

For games that do not happen I agree.  However, people should vote on what has happened as well, otherwise forget playing the whole season.  What has happened this season is Arizona beat Iowa and Arizona has fewer losses.

Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:09 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

To reiterate, Pollspeak’s stance on head-to-head matchups is to rank the winner higher when the winner has the same number of losses (or fewer).  So yes, a one-loss Arizona should be ranked over a two-loss Iowa.  However, a four-loss Texas should NOT be ranked over a one-loss Nebraska.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:08 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

Glad to see absolutely nothing has changed since last year. The NC game will be Oregon vs 1 loss Alabama, TCU and BSU will meet again for third place depite being undefeated. Can't wait to see it again next year.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:42 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

I agree with the statement about Iowa.  I am a huge Iowa fan my entire family has gone to school there.  Iowa is getting the votes they deserve if you look at the rankings, Iowa is the highest 2 loss team.  As the next few weeks they will slowly creep up and if they beat Ohio State jump into the top 10 and maybe recieve an at large bcs bid or rosebowl bid if wisconsin loses.  Lot of season left.

However, i do disagree with the weekly point that it is completely unfair to rank iowa ahead of arizona.  With that perspective your saying its wrong to vote alabama ahead of south carolina or nebraska over texas. where is james madison ahead of virginia tech (oh wait they are d2)....

If you watched the iowa arizona game iowa clearly outplayed arizona but shot themselves in the foot.  I credit arizona with the win.  But if you lined up arizona and iowa on a neutral site would you really pick arizona over iowa? even after the arizona iowa game people would probly still put their money on iowa.  Thats how the rankings should be.  It is about where the team is currently.  There is too much constants in the polls. And that is why these non bcs teams are getting up so high lately.  People have to follow the trend or they are criticized? 

People should vote honestly which team they think would beat the one below it on a neutral site.  Sorry but honestly i think about half the teams in the top 25 could take down tcu boise or utah.... and those teams dont play in a bcs conference where its a tough game week after week and lose a trap game.  It is not fair to the one loss teams such as alabama or wisconsin that would beat down wisconsin in a hurry.  People rave about TCU defense, but honestly who have they played? air force? air force has a good record but they havent played anyone good either.

In the end i think the sole solution is to make me the only voter.  or figure out a playoff system.

My solution is keep the bowls.  And have the top team from the bcs conferences (Big 10, Pac 10 (12), Big 12, SEC, ACC, Big East) and then 2 play-in games for the top 4 non-bcs teams (that is voted for).... that would leave a 8 team playoff... it would take 4 weeks... (play in game) then quarters, semis, and finals.  as the playoff is going forward the bowl games can still exist for all the teams that didnt make the playoff.  Other than the play-in games there would be 7 games.... the quarters could be the bcs bowls (rose, sugar, orange, fiesta) and use the match ups that are already set (rose is big10 vs pac10 etc....).... then the semis and finals would be like the final 4 which would set up for a big national championship game.  thats my idea... i think its the best

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:41 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

This would be great for the BCS.  It looks like the winner of the TCU/Utah game will jump Boise State
based on strength of schedule.  So, assuming the winner of the Pac-10 goes to National Championship
Game, then the highest non-automatic qualifier would be the winner of the MWC.  Of course, the
winners of the Big East and ACC must go, even though they can't crack the top 10. If only the the  Big 10
winner goes to the Rose Bowl, and the Pac 10 winner goes to NCG with the second place team getting shut
out, since the BCS subracts points for Stanford's high grades, then this allows the WAC winner to go to
a BCS bowl game.

Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: November 1, 2010 11:40 pm

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

Good points. Wisconsin is 2-1 against top Big 10 teams, Iowa and Michigan State 1-1, and OSU 0-1. But there just aren't enough games to know for sure.

Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2010 10:56 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

Then it is also good that we don't have a playoff system where head-to-head results really count... nobody wants that.  For what it's worth 4 of the 6 computers (who don't take head-to-head into account) also have MSU over Wisconsin based solely on their merits: 

So it shouldn't seem completely crazy to anybody who doesn't have a bias towards one of teams.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: November 1, 2010 9:47 am

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

You really think that MSU should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin after Saturday?

One month ago, Wisconsin lost by 10 to MSU at East Lansing. Admittedly, the Badgers hit their low point of the season in that game. It was a wake-up call. Since then, they dominated then-#1 Ohio St. at home and won at Iowa. Even though Iowa made miscues, in THAT game, Wisconsin was missing 5 key offensive starters at various points in the game and they moved the ball at will against a vaunted Iowa D.
MSU got thoroughly dominated in that same venue. So how can Wisconsin now be placed under MSU without devaluing what Wisconsin has done the past 4 weeks? Common opponents do not count? Would Sparty have won in Madison? Would they even win a rematch now?

For you to suggest that they be ranked MSU-Wisc-OSU-Iowa is a joke after the whipping the Spartans just took at Iowa is irrational. SOS and other games factor in. Good thing you are not a poll voter.

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