Blog Entry

Everybody Makes Mistakes

Posted on: November 21, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 7:22 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.

The AP released an invalid poll on Sunday.  It seems they used Bob Condotta’s old week 12 ballot while calculating the week 13 poll.  Pollspeak brought this to the AP’s attention, and the ballot was quickly updated .  However, the AP Poll itself was still incorrect since the numbers didn’t match up.  Again, we notified the AP, and they released a new version of the poll.  Luckily, there were no position changes in the top 25 (although there were some outside the top 25).

Thankfully, the AP is fully transparent, and we can help find issues like this.  Unfortunately, the BCS isn’t.  Neither the Coaches’ Poll nor the Harris Interactive Poll releases their ballots every week.  Do similar mistakes happen in those polls?  Very likely.  Yet, we have no way to find those mistakes.  This is something the BCS should address… and soon.  If you would like to express your agreement on the matter, sign the PETITION . 

Speaking of mistakes…

Head-to-Head lines:

Most people won’t agree with me this week.  I say that because most voters definitely don’t agree.  In fact, only 4 voters ranked Michigan State over Wisconsin this week.  Even 5 of the 6 BCS computers think Wisconsin is better.  But computers don’t take into account head-to-head results, and that’s one way that humans can do a better job in rankings.  Both teams have the same record, and the Spartans beat the Badgers by ten points on Oct. 2nd.   Wisconsin is likely ranked higher because they have been dominating their opponents, and they even beat Ohio State .  Of course, who’s to say Michigan State wouldn’t beat the Buckeyes as well.  Thanks to Big 10 (11) scheduling, we’ll never know.  So I’m inclined to agree with the minority and say Michigan State is the better team.  They proved that on the field.

I bet that makes some Wisconsin fans angry.  So let me point out:  these 2 voters have Ohio State over Wisconsin .  At least I’m in the majority who think the Badgers should be ranked over the Buckeyes after their 13-point victory on Oct. 16th.  Again, the computers aren’t unanimous in their agreement.  So can you really be upset about these people ignoring the head-to-head results?   I bet Wisconsin fans don’t agree with those two voters, but then why wouldn’t they argue for Michigan State as well?

You can’t have it both ways.  If you believe in head-to-head results, then apply them across the board without bias.  That means voters should have Michigan State > Wisconsin > Ohio State, which only 3 voters actually did. 

Only 5 voters have Michigan State over Ohio State .  Since these teams haven’t played, you could argue either way, but then you have somebody like Dave Foster , who is the only voter with Ohio State > Michigan State > Wisconsin, which is just plain weird. 

Pollspeak obviously (and repeatedly) favors using head-to-head results as the first tiebreaker when two teams have the same records.  However, if a voter is going to ignore head-to-head results, he should at least ignore them consistently.  The reason we suggest using real results (aside from the obvious logic of it) is that it helps weed out bias.    Otherwise, voters could use whatever rationale suits their biases or no rationale at all.

Fans often cite head-to-head results when it suits their team, and they ignore head-to-head results when it doesn’t.  This makes sense.  Fans are just trying to persuade people (and maybe themselves) that their favorite team is better or maybe that their rivals are worse.  We would like to hold voters to a higher standard than fans. 


Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2010 5:30 pm

Oops should be MSU 7-1 OSU 6-1 UW 4-1

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2010 3:13 pm

vs. Bowl eligibles MSU 6-1 OSU 5-1 UW 4-1

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2010 2:54 pm

Everybody Makes Mistakes

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: November 23, 2010 1:20 pm

Everybody Makes Mistakes

Your championship starts next year

Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:03 pm

Everybody Makes Mistakes

It doesn't always work this way.  Sometimes rankings are more about the body of work and the way that a team is playing recently.  There is no question Sparty is one of the best in the country, and they beat Wisky fair and square (at home).  But they barely beat an awful Notre Dame team (it took trikery and OT at home!), they lost BADLY at Iowa (37-6), and last weekend they barely beat the sub-par Boilermakers (at home).  They have a chance for an impressive win @ Happy Valley this weekend, so we'll see what happens.

The Badgers had a slow start and looked pretty poor in some of their non-conference games early in the year, especially in that sqeaker against a sub-par Arizona St. in Madison.  But since the loss to Sparty, the Badgers beat Iowa and Ohio St., and have pounded everybody else.

If head-to-head means we need to go Mich. St. > Wisky > Ohio St., it also means we need Wisky > Iowa > Mich. St.  This doesn't really make sense.  Sparty has the head-to-head argument, but the Badgers have clearly been more dominant of late and have more notable wins than Sparty, hence the debate.

After all the debate, if both Sparty and Wisky end up 11-1, it will be a crying shame for the team that is left out of the BCS dance.  Both teams have had memorable seasons.  (We should probably have a Big Ten championship game... and a college football playoff...)  Wink

Since: Nov 23, 2010
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:42 am

Everybody Makes Mistakes

yes they did! im a die hard badger fan and your right msu did beat us, but your not a better team and deep down you know tht im sorry your going to out of bcs contention i would of liked to see msu in 1 instead of osu now there is a team tht is overrated. but sadly this isnt the case, and you probably not going to win at psu so dont worry about who;s better because we both know who it is !! dont  we?

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:25 am

Everybody Makes Mistakes

The reason why Michigan State gets such little respect is because they have been rather lucky to defeat teams like Purdue and Notre Dame.

Of course they were lucky. Any time a team wins, it is just pure luck. So last season (6-7) is was just plain old bad luck that the team lost all those close ones.

So, too, OSU over Iowa. Had a lot of luck to come from behind to squeak out that win!

No, you are wrong. The reason State gest such little respect is because it has been 20-plus years (4-plus by some counts) since the Spartans have been in this position.

 Give it a rest.

10-1 is not luck. It is about will to win, something that was lacking in the years before Dantonio took over.

"It isn't over. It's just starting."

Go State!

Since: Nov 23, 2010
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:28 am

Everybody Makes Mistakes

A lot of people talk about head to head match-ups when they discuss rankings. But one major factor they fail to take into account is home field advantage. I think where the games are played is very relevant in any discussion of rankings. Home field is a huge advantage in the Big Ten, as it is in most of the major conferences. I think this should be taken into account, as well as games and scores of similar opponents.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2010 8:04 pm

Everybody Makes Mistakes

The reason why Michigan State gets such little respect is because they have been rather lucky to defeat teams like Purdue and Notre Dame.  I am not sure that they can defeat Penn State on Saturday.  Still, we can be thankful that this should be the last time that the Big 10 goes through this.  I can't see three Big 10 teams in the same division ending up in a tie, like what happened in the Big 12 a couple of years ago.  You can not compare head to head results when two out of the three teams involved did not play each other.  Sorry Michigan State fans, but when Ohio State defeated Iowa, they also ended your chance of playing in a BCS Bowl.  Wisconsin and Ohio State are not going to lose this weekend.

Since: Dec 3, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2010 7:31 pm

Everybody Makes Mistakes

If the Big Ten had divisions this year, Wisconsin and Michigan St would rematch for the Big Ten title (they will be in seperate divisions).  That would settle things.  So we just go with the system for now.  Looks like Sparty will be cheering for the Wolverines and RichRod this weekend. Wisconsin will hope for a MSU loss or all three to win and the BCS standings hold fast.  Still makes for an interesting final weekend!

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