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Tag:Oklahoma
Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:42 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 11:29 am
 

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

By taking a look at the AP poll from 2005-now, we can look at the five most overrated and underrated teams when it comes to preseason polls. Some schools continue to be ranked high in the preseason AP poll, only to finish nowhere near where they started.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Five Most Overrated Teams

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners are the most overrated team over the last five years, and as you might expect, it comes from having a strong, long-term reputation and high expectations.  It was their 2009 season that cemented their place at the top.  They started 2009 at No. 3 and dropped completely out of the polls by season’s end.  They were overrated four of the last five years, but two of those (2008 and 2006) were very minor, one-spot changes.   On the other hand, 2005 was another year of unmet expectations with the Sooners dropping from No. 7 in the preseason to No. 22 in the final.  In the last five preseasons, Oklahoma has never been underestimated. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Sooners started the 2010 preseason ranked No. 7, which was the largest jump for an unranked team in the 2009 final poll.  In the 2010 pre-bowl poll, Oklahoma is ranked No. 9.  Not bad work by the voters, but the Sooners will need to win their bowl game to avoid staying on the list another year.

2. California: 
 Voters want to keep believing in Cal.  This is another team that hasn’t been under-ranked in the last five years.  In 2008 they started the season unranked and ended there.  Every other season was a disappointment.  The worst examples are 2009 and 2007, where the Golden Bears started the season at No. 12 and finished unranked.

2010 Prognosis:  The Golden Bears started 2010 the same way they ended:  unranked.  So they won’t be making too big of a jump in either direction on the list.  However, Oklahoma will likely drop at least one spot, and California could slide into the top spot on the overrated list.

3. Florida State: The Seminoles hold the AP record for the most consecutive top-five finishes (1987 – 2000).  While they haven’t touched the top five in the last five years, it seems the voters still give the Seminoles the benefit of the doubt.  They were only under-ranked once (2006) when they started unranked and finished No. 21.  The other four years, FSU was overrated.  The worst case was 2006, when they dropped from No. 11 in the preseason to unranked in the end. 

2010 Prognosis:  FSU was ranked No. 20 in the preseason and currently sit at No. 23.  Like Oklahoma, the Seminoles must win their bowl game to start working their way off this list.

4. Tennessee: The Volunteers have lost some respect over the last two years.  They finished unranked in 2008, and they started and finished unranked in 2009.  However, in 2005, they plummeted all the way from No. 3 in the preseason to unranked by season’s end.  This 23-place drop is tied with Oklahoma’s 2009 drop for the largest over the last five years.  In 2005 they effectively swapped places with Penn State, who went from unranked to No. 3 in the final poll.

2010 Prognosis:  Tennessee received absolutely no votes in the current poll or the preseason poll.  Even Middle Tennessee received some votes in the preseason poll.  However, with their 2005 results getting dropped from the calculation next year, the Volunteers are going to escape this list.

5. Michigan: The last five years haven’t been kind to the storied program of Michigan.  They started and finished 2008 and 2009 unranked.  In 2006 they actually improved from No. 14 to No. 8 by the end of the season, but they made this list mostly because of the 2007 and 2005 seasons.  The Wolverines dropped from No. 5 to No. 18, and No. 4 to unranked, respectively. 

2010 Prognosis:  Michigan was making a run up the polls earlier in the season, but it didn’t last.  The Wolverines started and ended the season unranked.  However, they should still get bumped off this list next year by a couple of new entries:  Southern Cal and Texas.  The Trojans dropped from No. 14 in the preseason to unranked, and the Longhorns dropped from No. 5 to unranked.  With no chance to improve their rankings (being bowl ineligible), they will enter next year’s list for sure.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Five Most Underrated Teams

1. TCU: TCU is exactly the type of team you would expect to be the most underrated.  They are a Mountain West school that has been getting the job done on the field for years, but rarely getting respect in the preseason poll.  Three really good years made them the under-appreciation champion.  In 2005, then went from unranked in the preseason to No. 11 in the final poll.   In 2008, they went from unranked to No 7, and in 2009 they climbed from No. 17 to No. 6.  

2010 Prognosis:  No. 6 is where the Horned Frogs started the 2010 season. So while their lack of respect may finally be coming to an end, they currently sit at No. 3 and will likely continue to remain on the Underrated list next year (though not at No. 1).  Hopefully TCU’s pending move to the Big East will help them to continue building their credibility.

2. Alabama:  The Crimson Tide are the type of team you wouldn’t expect to find high on the underrated list.  Alabama is a historical national power oozing with respect.  However, they were in a serious slump before Nick Saban took over in 2007 and nobody expected he could turn the Tide (so to speak) so quickly.  2008 and 2009 were great years for Alabama, but they also had an unexpectedly good year in 2005, going from unranked to No. 8.  In 2008, they went from No 24 to No. 6, and had a very modest climb in 2009 from No. 5 to No. 1.  Of course, they couldn’t go any higher that year. 

2010 Prognosis:  With a preseason ranking of No. 1 in 2010, the Crimson Tide can only drop on the list next year.  Under Saban, we predict Alabama won’t be climbing the underrated list any time soon.  In fact, Alabama most likely drops off the list completely next year.

3. Cincinnati:
 The Bearcats have at least one thing in common with the Crimson Tide; they haven’t been overrated once in the last five years.  Cincinnati has started each of the last three seasons unranked.  However, they ended 2007 and 2008 at No. 17, and 2009 at No. 8 and Big East Champion.

2010 Prognosis:  While Cincinnati wasn’t ranked in the preseason, they still didn’t live up to expectations.  They just missed the preseason poll at No. 26, but the Bearcats ended 2010 with zero votes and bowl ineligible at 4-8.  So, due to lowered expectations in 2010 (partly due to losing their coach to Notre Dame), Cincinnati will certainly be on the underrated list for another year.

4. Boise State:  Boise State may be who most fans think of when they think of underrated teams.  The Broncos are definitely in the mix.  However, they don’t get top honors because they have also been overrated two times – in 2005 and 2007 the voters ranked them in the preseason, but they fell out of the rankings by season’s end.  The other three years, Boise State climbed.  They climbed as high as No. 4 in 2009.  

2010 Prognosis:  The Broncos may have finally broken through to mainstream respectability.  The start of the 2010 season had them ranked No. 3, and as a bonus, they announced their move from the WAC to the Mountain West.  They currently sit at No. 10, and even though they were overrated this year, they will likely remain high on the 5-year underrated list.

5. Oregon: This is another well-respected team that seems like an odd-duck on this list.   Yet, these Ducks haven’t been getting the respect they deserve lately.  In 2005 and 2007, they started out unranked, but didn’t end that way.  In 2008, they rose from No. 21 to No. 10, and in 2009 they climbed five spots from No. 16 to No. 11. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Ducks are currently No. 2 in the AP Poll with a chance to become No. 1 with a victory in the BCS Championship Game against Auburn.  Even so, there are a few teams on the cusp of the list that could knock them off next year if the Ducks don’t win.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Methodology

Pollspeak.com used a simple method for determining overrating and underrating in the AP Poll.

An overrated team is one whose final poll ranking is worse than its preseason ranking.  An underrated team is one whose final poll ranking is better than its preseason ranking.  Different results could be obtained by tracking every week individually during the season.  "Final poll" means the poll released after the bowl games.

The last five years for this list are the 2005 – 2009 seasons, inclusive.

We only counted teams listed in the top 25 during those years (53 teams in total).  When a team isn’t listed in the top 25, it is considered unranked and given a value of 26.  We could have ranked teams further by counting all teams that received votes, and that certainly would have changed the results.  For example, a team could have dropped to a theoretical No. 27 (receiving 50 votes), which would be better than a theoretical No. 49 (receiving one vote).  However, for simplicity’s sake, anything beyond 25 is unranked.  This also entirely weeds out teams typically considered unranked that qualify for the list by jumping from No. 49 to No. 26 (or vice-versa) in a given year.

Each team’s final ranking is subtracted from its preseason ranking to determine its over/under-rating for each year.  Then all five years are added together to determine each team’s “Points” and place on the list.  Ties are broken by taking into account the number of years being overrated vs. underrated.

Again, a more complex formula could be used and could certainly change the results, but we’re keeping it simple and straight-forward. 
You can find the entire list of teams sorted from most overrated to most underrated here: 
THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:23 am
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Posted on: November 28, 2010 9:20 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 3:14 pm
 

Man, Thatís Just Mean

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.




This week is another great example of why people should care about polls and rankings.  It’s not just about the BCS championship game.  Teams with higher rankings get better TV, radio and newspaper coverage…  and sometimes they even help determine conference championships.

This week, one conference is depending on the BCS to sort out their champions:  the Big Ten.  Also, the Big 12 came very close to having a repeat of 2008.

The Big 10 still has the three-way tie I discussed at length last week between  Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State.  Again, if you went in order of head-to-head victories, that is how they would be ranked:  Michigan State > Wisconsin > Ohio State.  Michigan State should be going to the Rose Bowl.  Instead, they won’t be going to any BCS bowl because they are the lowest of the three in the BCS rankings.

Here is the actual rule that is causing all of the fuss (section B.5.e):

“If three teams are still tied, and all three teams have the same winning percentage of all games played, the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings shall be the representative.”

Since all three teams have the same winning percentage (11-1 overall), The BCS standings are used.  However, the rules don’t account for this year’s situation.  There is no contingency for when there is a very clear set of head-to-head results, but all three teams haven’t played each other.   The Big Ten obviously puts a lot of weight behind head-to-head results.  It is the first applicable tiebreaker (B.2):

“If there is a tie for the championship, the winner of the game between these two teams shall represent the conference.”

However, the rules incorrectly throw out the head-to-head results when an extra team gets added to the mix, but when they don’t all play each other.  The Big Ten set up the schedule for Michigan State, and the Spartans did what they needed to do considering they weren’t slated to play Ohio State.  However, B.5.e robs Michigan State of the bowl game they deserve.  The Big Ten, based on the order of their tiebreaker rules, states that head-to-head results are the most important factor in breaking ties, but then falls back on the BCS to resolve the current situation, trumping the head-to-head results. 

The rules should have stipulated that the BCS would be used only when all three teams have a win over each other.  That would make a circular reference that would be impossible to resolve by head-to-head results.  However, that isn’t the case this year.  Michigan State is the clear winner of the head-to-head matchups, and is the clear loser of the Big Ten rules.  Some fans (particularly Wisconsin fans) don’t want to hear that, but it is the Big Ten that set up head-to-head results to be so important, and nobody complained about that.  If they wanted BCS rankings to trump the results on the field, the Big Ten should have made the BCS rankings the first tie-breaker.  Then the current situation would make sense.  Instead, we end up with a mixed message.  Head-to-head results are most important, but we’ll ignore them in this case.

The Big 12 and its tiebreaker rules, have a much easier situation to deal with this year.  Since all three teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M) are in the same division, they are all guaranteed to play each other.  However, there is still the chance of all three having the same conference record and one win over the others, which is the case this year.   Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State.  Oklahoma State beat Texas A&M.  Texas A&M beat Oklahoma.  They all have 6-2 records in conference.  It would be up to the BCS to solve the problem, except that Texas A&M has on out-of-conference loss (Arkansas), so the Aggies’ overall record knocks them out of the title game (section b.1).  That leaves Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and RIGHTFULLY leaves the decision to the head-to-head results.  That sends Oklahoma to the title game.   The BCS has nothing to do with the Big 12 this year as some sources are reporting, although it did in 2008 when Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech tied and forced the Big 12 to resort to the BCS rankings as well.

If you’re reading this column, you likely know the importance of polls and rankings.  However, there are still many who think they only affect two teams at the end of the season… the ones going to the BCS Championship.  It is up to us to help people understand that there is so much more at stake for many teams, throughout the whole season.  That’s why Pollspeak exists.  Mistakes (or corruption) in the polls can potentially cost schools millions of dollars, and can cause fans immeasurable frustration.

Before I close, let me express the frustration of Nevada fans.  They just beat Boise State in one of the WAC’s most publicized upsets.  Technically, the Wolf Pack also has a better record than Boise State; yet they are ranked below the Broncos in every human poll.  In the AP, 34 out of 60 voters still ranked Boise State higher.  Yes, it was a home game for Nevada, and it was a close, overtime win, but that doesn’t excuse Robert Cessna from ranking Nevada 11 spots below Boise State.  He actually has Nevada ranked the same spot as the week before.  Man, that’s just biased.  That’s biased, man.

Posted on: November 7, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:37 pm
 

Terminating the BCS

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. 

 





If the computers had their way (and someday in the post-apocalyptic future, they will), it would be
Auburn and TCU playing for the national championship.  Meanwhile the humans (in their secret, underground coliseum) would have Oregon and Auburn playing each other.  TCU certainly has the easiest path and will likely win out.  Oregon is the next most-likely, and Auburn still has the toughest road to the BCS championship.  So unless the BCS top two (Oregon and Auburn) fall, there is no salvation for TCU or even Boise State (the only other unbeatens).  Barring a Terminator-led Judgment Day , there is nothing any computer can do to change things.

If one of the top two falls, LSU is the only one-loss team that has enough computer clout to potentially pass the unbeatens.  However, it’s unlikely to happen unless one of the human polls jump the Tigers to No. 2.  Interestingly, Stanford , Nebraska and Oklahoma State all have the same computer average in the BCS (No. 6).  However, there would have to be major upheaval for any of the three to have a shot at the title game.  Since the top of the BCS is so solid, let’s look at the less stable parts…

The ACC imploded once again over the weekend.   With Florida State and NC State losing, the ACC is down to one ranked team, Virginia Tech .  Unfortunately, the Hokies have been generally loathed by the computers ever since they lost to an FCS team, James Madison.

Speaking of FCS teams, Delaware received a vote from Ray Ratto in the AP.  Typically “1AA” teams don’t get a vote with one loss, and typically they must at least beat one FBS team to get serious consideration, but Ratto still puts the 8–1 Blue Hens at No. 25 in his pecking order.  At least Delaware did manage to beat James Madison.

The ACC has one team in the top 25, but the Big East is still sitting at zero.   As the Big East expands, they should seriously consider the importance of keeping their automatic BCS qualification when selecting new members.  If the ACC didn’t snatch Virginia Tech when they expanded, they could be in the same boat considering the last few seasons they’ve had (excluding Virginia Tech).

In the AP, Rob Long is this week’s most extreme voter.  He takes his extreme voting seriously -- not so much in quantity as in quality.  He only had seven extreme votes, which is relatively low compared to some weeks, but every one of them is red… no yellows.  When he goes extreme, he goes all the way.  Teams like Ohio State , Nebraska , Iowa , Missouri and Pittsburgh probably appreciate that while LSU and Oklahoma State … not so much.

Oklahoma and Missouri share the largest AP voting range for the week -- voted everywhere from No. 12 to unranked.  Actually, both teams are also similar in that they only had one voter not rank them.  They can add those to the biggest thing they have in common:  losing to a serious underdog last week for their second loss of the season.  Missouri does have one advantage, which brings us to…

 

Head to Head Lines

These 22 voters have Oklahoma over Missouri even though they both have the same number of losses and the Tigers beat the Sooners just two weeks ago.  Each team lost last week to a middle-tier, Texas-based team ( Texas A&M and Texas Tech respectively).  Missouri’s other loss was to a very good, one-loss Nebraska, and Oklahoma’s other loss was to… Missouri.  You can argue that A&M is better than Tech (especially with the results of their game), but the head-to-head win for Missouri over Oklahoma has got to count more than the transitive speculation.  Besides, most of the computers rank Missouri better, and they aren’t taking the head-to-head result into account.  Voters need to fix this before the robots attack.  If you don’t believe me, I offer one solid bit of proof:

Only one voter didn’t rank Oklahoma:  Desmond CONNOR .   Since I’m typing this on a computer, I can’t go into more detail, but if you don’t see the connection, do some research and figure it out .

Oh, and for those that didn’t notice, the preseason basketball rankings came out over the last couple of weeks.  You can check them all out here:


Posted on: October 24, 2010 10:16 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 4:09 pm
 

One Is The Loneliest Number

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.




For the second week in a row, a team outside the top two in the human polls is the BCS No.1.  All three human polls have Oregon No. 1 and Boise State No. 2.  Yet, Auburn is the BCS No. 1 due to four of the six computers ranking them on top.  This is truly surprising considering that, historically, the voters have slighted the Broncos while the computers have usually regarded them higher.  Who would have thought that a well-respected and undefeated SEC team would need to rely on the computers to set the voters straight?  It looks like it is going to take a No. 1 ranking in the human polls, for Boise State to have any shot at the title.  Meanwhile, the computers are only going to make it harder for the Broncos as their strength of schedule gets worse with each WAC opponent.

Speaking of conference troubles, with the loss of West Virginia to Syracuse on Saturday, the Big East now has no representative in the AP, Coaches, or BCS top 25.  They are also the only Big East teams left with 2 losses, and they both have some of the best conference teams remaining.  One of them will have to step up in order to finish the season in the top 25.

Nevada is surprisingly back in the polls and in the BCS top 25 for the first time.  I say surprisingly only because it is after a bye week, and their last game was a loss to Hawaii.  In fact, Nevada was able to sneak in despite not appearing in the coaches’ top 25.  Instead, Michigan is the coaches’ No. 25.  However, the computers think better of the Wolf Pack than the Wolverines right now, so Nevada earned the BCS spot.  If Michigan can beat Penn State next week, they will likely jump over Nevada.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech should be thanking the voters and the ballots they wrote in on.  The Hokies made the BCS at No. 23 only because the human polls ranked them No. 21.  The Billingsley Report ranked them No. 25 and the other five computers didn’t rank them in the top 25 at all.

In the AP, there is very little disagreement about who should be ranked in the top 25.  A solid 18 teams appear on all 60 ballots.  While 24 teams appear on at least 50 of the 60.  That left Baylor just enough room to sneak in at No. 25 with only 32 votes.  Congrats to the Bears on their first ranking since 1993.

Eight teams received a single vote in the AP, but probably the two loneliest votes are Mike Hlas with Northern Illinois at No. 25 and Jon Wilner with San Diego State at No. 19.  Both teams have two losses, and they have only beaten one BCS-conference team between them.  Northern Illinois beat Minnesota. (edited 10/26/10)

 

Head-to-Head lines:

 

Cole Harvey and Pete DiPrimio are the only two voters to rank Florida State over Oklahoma.  These two teams have the same number of losses (one), and for those that forgot, the Sooners beat down the Seminoles 47 to 17 in week two.  If Oklahoma loses again and FSU doesn’t, there would be reason to switch the teams, but as of right now, the Sooners have clearly proven themselves the better team.

Even with a better record and a direct win over Iowa, these three voters still rank Arizona lower.  Maybe it is a Big Ten thing because these four voters still rank Ohio State over Wisconsin even though the Badgers won the head-to-head and just had another solid win over Iowa.  Thankfully nobody ranks Iowa over Wisconsin, or it would be time cancel my subscription to the Big Ten Network and just stop watching them until they get a championship game.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 10:24 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 8:47 am
 

Head-to-Head-to-Head Comes to a Head





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 first Harris Interactive College Football Poll of the season was released this week, which means we’re just a week away from the first official BCS rankings.  The Harris Interactive Poll is pretty similar in content this week to both the Coaches and AP Poll.  It does place Arizona lowest of any BCS component at No. 21.

For reference, here is a list of all of the voter changes in the Harris Interactive Poll from 2009 to 2010.  There were only 12 people replaced from what is the largest voter pool of any poll (114).  Compared to the AP Poll and Coaches’ Poll, which has replaced about 50% of their voters over the last two years, the Harris Interactive number seems very small.  Is that an issue?  Probably not, but it is something to keep an eye on.  One reason is that voter turnover helps prevent corruption.    In other words, if 90% of the voters are going to stay the same from year to year, it makes it a lot easier to “fix” the polls.  No amount of change can completely prevent corruption, but there is no sense it making it easier.

With the BCS looming, let’s take a quick look at how humans and computers disagree on No.1 and No. 2.  The humans are currently on board with an Ohio State vs. Oregon title game.  However, if you look at the computers, they tend to favor LSU, Boise State or Oklahoma in the top two spots.  Sagarin does have TCU at No. 2 right now.  The Horned Frogs do have a couple of good opponents remaining in Air Force and Utah, but they aren’t likely good enough to make up for the strength of schedule of the other teams.

In the AP, we have a tie for the most extreme voter this week, but we’ll give a shout out to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal since he is an extreme noob.   He has ten extreme rankings and four near the extreme this week.   While his ballot isn’t 100% clear-cut, the reason he got there was due to a general trend of downgrading the SEC (Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas) while showing favor to the Big 12, including highest ranks to:  Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Kansas State.  However, he did rank Auburn highest in the nation at No. 3 and Nebraska near-lowest at No. 8.

Head-to-Head lines:

It was predictable that Arizona’s loss to Oregon State was going to make the situation between Arizona and Iowa worse.  Now 37 of the 60 voters rank Iowa over Arizona even though both teams have one loss and Arizona beat Iowa.  For some reason Craig James doesn’t even rank Arizona, while he ranks Iowa No. 16.  You would think that if their opinion of Arizona dropped so much after their loss, the loss would also affect their opinion of Iowa, whom the Wildcats beat.  Note that the four released BCS computers (without preseason bias, i.e. not Billingsley) all still rank Arizona over Iowa.    Of course, if Arizona loses again, all bets are off, and I would expect that the voters and the computers would likely rank Iowa over Arizona.

We finally have a great three-way head-to-head-to-head situation to discuss:  Auburn over South Carolina over Alabama.  The Tigers are undefeated and beat South Carolina (one loss) who beat Alabama (one loss).  So you would think that is the order they would all be ranked on people’s ballots.  However, six voters have South Carolina ranked over Auburn, a team they lost to.  The Gamecocks pulled off an amazing upset of Alabama, but Auburn is undefeated and already proved they could beat South Carolina; they may be able to beat the Crimson Tide as well.  Voters could at least give the Tigers the benefit of the doubt until Iron Bowl at the end of the year. 

19 of the 60 voters still rank Alabama over South Carolina, and the following 17 voters rank Alabama over undefeated Auburn, who beat South Carolina, who beat Alabama.  These are people who obviously would not be able to abide by the difficult and final decisions handed down by playoff games.  To them, the results on the field don’t matter nearly as much as their own opinions about some other hypothetical game that may (but likely won’t) happen in the future. 

Oh and as an SEC on ESPN bonus, Craig James is the only voter to rank Arkansas over Alabama.



Note to voters:  ranking people in the proper order this week doesn’t mean that the teams have to finish that way.  Some of those teams are bound to have other losses.  However, based on what you have seen on the field, and in line with AP guidelines, teams should be ranked based on their head-to-head results when all else is equal.  You can always change the rankings again next week when you have more information to go on.  As an added bonus, obvious biases (preseason or otherwise) and/or lack of effort won’t be so obvious during the course of the year.

Posted on: October 3, 2010 7:57 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 8:48 am
 

Ghosts of Weeks Past





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.

In the Coaches Poll, there was one less voter this week because Arizona coach Mike Stoops couldn’t be reached.  The Wildcats had a bye week so maybe Stoops went on vacation and forgot that the rest of the teams continue to play without them.  It’s too bad because at No. 11, Arizona is ranked lower in the Coaches Poll than any other BCS component or the AP.

The past is coming back to haunt a couple of teams. 
Oregon jumped over Boise State to claim the No. 3 spot in both polls.  Boise State might feel cheated, but the feeling will likely get worse over the coming weeks.  There are currently 16 undefeated teams in the top 25 (and a few still unranked).  Any of those teams has a chance to push past the Broncos depending on their strength of schedule.  If Virginia Tech wouldn’t have lost that week-two game to James Madison, Boise State would have had a shot, but now there isn’t much the Broncos can do except hope for other teams to lose.

Also haunted by their past, Texas dropped out of the top 25 after their loss to Oklahoma.  However, the drop was caused more by the loss to UCLA the previous week.  There are currently no teams with two losses in the polls.  Even Penn State received only one point in the AP Poll, and their two losses came from No. 1 Alabama and No. 15 Iowa.  So other two-loss teams shouldn’t expect better treatment.

However, Texas actually received 33 points, and all 10 of the voters who ranked the two-loss Longhorns neglected to rank the two-loss Bruins who beat them two weeks ago.  On the other hand, the five people who ranked UCLA, correctly left Texas off their ballots (going by head-to-head results).  Which brings us to…

Head-to-Head lines:

While everybody now believes that both Iowa and Arizona are ranked teams, we’re down to three who still put Iowa over Arizona.  Lisa Byington is still the leader in that category, with a six-place spread.  I can only scratch my head at her reasoning.    Maybe she is still waiting for Arizona to have an impressive win…like maybe over…Iowa?  Hopefully that isn’t her reasoning, or it won’t likely change until either one of the teams lose or November rolls around and Arizona plays Stanford or USC.



Michigan State upset Wisconsin last Saturday.   The Spartans won by ten points at home, and while the game was closer than the score, you would think it would be obvious to place Michigan State over the Badgers… especially considering the absence of the Spartans’ head coach.  Not the case for David Jones of Florida Today and Bob Hammond of the Laramie Daily Boomerang. They were the only two voters to rank the Badgers over the undefeated Spartans.  Was this a case of them being able to “slide” the teams only so far on their ballots, or intentionally ignoring the results on the field, or just not paying attention?  All three are bad, but I’m not sure which is worse.

Posted on: September 8, 2010 4:04 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 4:26 pm
 

We Welcome the First Polls of the Regular Season

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.

There were some surprise changes to the AP Voters this week.  As we reported last week, Tom Hart of the Big Ten Network was being replaced by Dave Curtis of the Sporting News.  However, Curtis was unable to vote and was immediately replaced by Brett McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse.  USC fans might be most upset since McMurphy is one of only three voters to leave the Trojans off his ballot.  Also, Scott Carter of the Tampa Tribune was replaced by Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times this week.

Scott Wolf is this week’s most extreme voter.  He gives Texas their lone No. 1 vote but seems to think very little of the Big Ten, ranking Ohio State, Iowa , Wisconsin and Penn State (unranked) lowest in the nation.

Some people scoffed at Joe Giglio when he ranked Boise State No. 1 in his preseason poll.  Now, after the Broncos victory against Virginia Tech, more people are jumping onto the blue bandwagon.  Eight voters this week have Boise State ranked No. 1.  One of those voters, Jon Solomon, thinks so highly of the Broncos that he still ranks Virginia Tech No. 5 after the loss.  The strangest thing about Boise State’s eight No. 1 rankings, however, is that Joe Giglio isn’t one of them!

Giglio dropped Boise State to No. 2 in favor of the more conventional choice, Alabama.  Maybe the Broncos weren’t convincing enough in what was essentially a road victory over a top-ten team.  Maybe they also needed to throw down with James Hetfield during “Enter Sandman” to keep Giglio’s respect.  (My apologies to those who clicked on James Hetfield’s name expecting to see his ballot.  Unfortunately, the lead singer of Metallica is not an AP Voter.)

Wade Denniston had the opposite reaction to Oklahoma, whom he ranked No. 15.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, except that he ranked the Sooners No. 25 in his preseason ballot.  There was nothing wrong with his preseason ranking of Oklahoma either.  The Sooners were unranked at the end of the 2009 season, so a No. 25 ranking is justifiable.  The area of concern is the jump from No. 25 to No. 15 after Oklahoma struggled mightily at home against Utah State.  While the average ranking for Oklahoma dropped from 7.6 in the preseason to 10.72 this week, Denniston gave the Sooners a 10-spot jump.

Some might think he simply has newfound respect because Utah State is located in Logan, Utah…and Denniston writes for the Logan Herald-Journal.   However, checking his
blog on the subject, it seems he may be caving to pressure from the fans.  Mr. Denniston, if you feel Oklahoma should be ranked No. 25, I implore you to stand your ground until the Sooners do something to change your mind (as long as you have done your research and stay unbiased.)

Look at Scott Wolf.  He’s been making “crazy” picks (according to fans) for years.   He could use your pile of e-mails as a base camp for the mountain he gets.  And yet he continues to climb his ever-growing mountain as this week’s most-extreme voter.  Being a long-time AP voter takes thick skin.  Football coaches are notorious for having thick skin, and even they don’t have the guts to release their ballots every week.

Voters could have had an interesting dilemma with North Carolina this week.  It is pretty easy to leave the Tar Heels unranked since they now have a loss, but even if they beat LSU (and they almost did), voters would have considered dropping the Tar Heels due to their off-the-field problems.  It’s unlikely that any voter would have ranked North Carolina in their preseason poll if they knew the Tar Heels would lose a dozen players to suspension.  So even if they won against LSU, some voters would have likely dropped them until the suspensions were lifted.  As it is, 14 voters still rank the Tar Heels.  Meanwhile, the fact that LSU barely won vs. North Carolina’s second and third stringers didn’t seem to hurt LSU in the rankings.  The Tigers picked up 6 new voters and jumped from 21 to 19 overall in the AP Poll.

Before I wrap up, let me give my annual explanation of how Sagarin Ratings work in Pollstalker and the BCS.  While you can find the Sagarin ratings on the USA Today site, the problem is that they aren’t listed in the format used by the BCS.  Instead, the BCS uses the column called “ELO_CHESS” and also ignores any FCS (1AA) teams on the list.  So the best way to view the Sagarin ratings for BCS purposes is using Pollstalker.  By the way, there would have been three FCS teams in the Sagarin top-50 this week including the two major upset-ers: No. 33 Jacksonville State (defeated Mississippi), and No. 32 North Dakota State (defeated Kansas).

The polls go back to their regular schedule next week with Sunday releases.  We’ll learn a lot this Saturday with huge games between ranked teams like Miami vs. Ohio State, Florida State vs. Oklahoma, Penn State vs. Alabama, and Georgia vs. South Carolina.  The computers might even start to make more sense after this weekend.  Regardless, it will be a great Saturday for watching football and a great Sunday for watching polls.

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