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Tag:Texas
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 26, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 8:49 am
 

Running Out of Ballot Space

 

 


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.

Let’s start out with hearty congratulations to
Nevada who earned their first AP Ranking (No. 25) since they climbed as high as No. 10 in 1948!  They also sit at No. 25 in the Coaches’ Poll.  Nevada deserves it for reaching 4-0 while beating teams like California and BYU.  Meanwhile, with its third loss, it looks like BYU picked the wrong week to go independent.

So much for the computer’s high expectations of Texas.  Last week two of them had Texas pegged as No.  1.  After their stunning home loss to UCLA, the Longhorns have dropped this week as low as No. 28 in the Colley Matrix.  That isn’t much worse than the AP, who dropped Texas all the way from No. 7 last week to No. 21.  Fourteen spots is an exceptionally large single-week drop.  Of course, it still doesn’t compare to Michigan’s infamous 2007 drop from No. 5 to unranked after the Appalachian State loss.

There are still lots of undefeated and once-beaten (or more) teams out there with top-25 potential.  There are 36 teams getting votes in the AP this week, but there’s only room for 25 on a single ballot.  Typically the teams that voters made room for this week were Nevada and North Carolina State.  Therefore, voters also needed to drop a team or two, and that lead to some tough choices.

For example, Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant has undefeated Arizona unranked, but has a team they beat, Iowa, at No. 15.  In place of the Wildcats, Conner gives one-loss Houston their only vote.   Of course, that loss came from a now impressive looking UCLA team.

Ray Ratto is the only voter to leave either Iowa or Miami off his ballot, let alone leaving them both off.   Ratto not only made room for Nevada and N.C. State, he also added Kansas State to his ballot.

Rob Long was the only voter to drop Arkansas off his ballot after the Razorbacks nearly pulled the upset over No. 1, Alabama.  Bob Condotta and Mark Anderson dropped South Carolina after their loss to Auburn.

Scott Wolf and Jon Wilner left out both Michigan and Wisconsin.  Wilner was one of three to also drop USC, and in his case, replace the Trojans with Kansas State, Oregon State, Air Force,  Missouri or UCLA.  If you couldn’t tell already, Pollstalker tagged Wilner as the most-extreme voter of the week.  It is odd that the top-three most extreme voters are the three from California.  Does the Golden State have a Conventional Voting Tax to go along with their Junk Food Tax?

In the Coaches’ Poll, Big 12 members, Missouri and Oklahoma State take the place of USC and N.C. State in the top 25.

Head-to-Head lines:

There are still 8 people voting Iowa over Arizona.  That’s down from ten last week, even though the Wildcats had a very narrow escape against unranked Cal.  As long as Arizona can keep winning, that trend should continue it its favor.  However, even a one-loss Arizona team should be ranked over Iowa except under extenuating circumstances.  As mentioned previously, Desmond Conner has the biggest gap in favor of the Hawkeyes.

 

 

Two-loss UCLA didn’t receive many votes, even after their upset of Texas.  However, most everybody who did cast a vote for the Bruins, remembered that Kansas State beat them in week one.  The only exception is Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News, who ranked UCLA highest at No. 22, but didn’t rank undefeated Kansas State.

Solomon and Jon Wilner were also the only voters to rank UCLA over Texas.  It’s hard to argue with that considering the game was at Texas and the outcome was decisive.  Also, Texas hasn’t had a signature win yet (although Texas Tech may turn out to be a ranked team down the road).  However, Pollspeak is generally an advocate of using head-to-head results when the winning team has the same or better record than the losing team.  In this case, Texas has one loss and UCLA has two.  So we also don’t begrudge any voters who rank Texas higher.

Note:  When the ballots were released on Sunday, Greg Archuleta's ballot was exactly the same this week as last week.  The AP reported that this was a technical glitch, and have since corrected it.

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

Pollspeak Goes Head-To-Head With The Voters

 

 

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!

 

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.

Posted on: August 22, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2010 4:52 pm
 

Inside The 2010 Preseason AP Poll

Note: All individual links will open up that person's specific ballot. Team links will show where every voter has ranked that school. 

Joe Giglio
, of the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina gave Boise State its lone No. 1 vote.  This helped the Broncos to their highest-ever poll ranking at No. 3.  Pollstalker also tagged Giglio as this week’s most-extreme voter.  For those new to Pollspeak, “extreme” doesn’t mean “bad.”  It means this person has the most rankings on the edge (highest or lowest).  Now that COULD be a sign of a bad voter (i.e. a monkey throwing darts would likely be extreme), but it could also be a sign of somebody doing their own research and thinking…especially in the preseason where there are fewer tangibles to base ranks upon.

The key is to determine if the person is being rational, unbiased and consistent.  Based on the reasoning in
his blog, it seems Giglio isn’t throwing darts.  Although, fans of teams he ranked lowest: Texas (his No. 12), Florida (his No. 15) and Virginia Tech (his No. 19) will still accuse him of missing a chromosome or two.

Wade Denniston was the second most-extreme voter.  Denniston, who writes for the Logan-Herald Journal in Utah, gave both BYU (his No. 11) and Utah (his No. 17) their highest rankings.   This is only one better than their final rankings in 2009, so his rankings are justifiable.  Plus BYU has been ranked in the final polls since 2006 and Utah since 2008 (where they were 13-0 with a No. 2 ranking.)  So giving these teams the benefit of the doubt isn’t crazy-talk, even though there could also be some homerism involved. 

Still, it is worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.  Denniston also seems to just like ranking teams highest, giving
Penn State (No. 8), Cincinnati (No. 10), Mississippi (No. 20), Oklahoma State (No. 23), and Central Michigan (No. 24) their highest votes.  The biggest exception is Oklahoma, whom he ranks lowest at No. 25.  It’s hard to blame him since the Sooners were unranked last season, but Sooner fans will blame him anyway, especially since he also ranked their in-state rivals highest.  Here is actual footage of Denniston’s last complimentary ride on the Sooner Schooner.

On the opposite end of the Sooner spectrum, Randy Rosetta gave Oklahoma their only No. 1 vote.  The Sooners are ranked everywhere from No. 1 to No. 25… that’s quite a difference of opinions.  Meanwhile Scott Wolf gave rival Texas, their only No. 1.

Temple, Middle Tennessee, Boston College, Oklahoma State, Central Michigan, UCF, Mississippi and SMU all received just one vote.  At least half those teams won’t see more votes than that this year.  Which ones?  You tell us.

While preseason is a bit early to talk seriously about head-to-head, on-the-field results, I’m going to do it anyway.  It’s a good primer for the rest of the season.  So, for example, Iowa beat Georgia Tech 24 to 14 in the Orange Bowl last season.  Arguably Georgia Tech (a VERY run-oriented offense) loses more of its team than Iowa, including their running back, Jonathan Dwyer, who went in the 6th round to the Steelers.  Still, 3 of the 60 voters ranked Georgia Tech over Iowa, as seen in this report.  Of those, Craig James was the most drastic, ranking the Yellow Jackets No. 7 and the Hawkeyes No. 13.

Looking at the AP Poll’s structure this year, there were no major changes.  There are still 60 voters and the same number of voters per state as 2009.  However, there was a typical amount of voter turnover with 29 new voters this year.  You can check out the complete list of changes here:  AP VOTER CHANGES 2009 – 2010.

Long time voter Tom Hart (formerly of CBS) now works for the Big Ten Network.  While many journalists might work in specific college markets, this is the first time we know of where an AP Voter has a formal relationship with a specific conference. While there is no hint of Big Ten bias in his preseason ballot, it will be worth keeping an eye out for it as the season progresses.  In fact, he ranked incoming member Nebraska, lowest of any voter.  Maybe it is a form of rookie hazing similar to Tebow’s monk-cut.

Number of Teams in the AP Preseason Top 25:

  • SEC:  6
  • ACC:  5
  • Big Ten:  4
  • Big 12:  3
  • Pac-10:  3
  • Big East:  2
  • M-West:  1
  • WAC:  1
  • C-USA:  0
  • MAC:  0
  • Sun Belt:  0
  • Ind.:  0

Comparing the number of teams ranked per conference to the Coaches’ Poll, the only major change is the replacement of the Mountain West’s Utah, with the Pac-10’s USC.  Of course, the reason is that the coaches aren’t allowed to vote for USC due to NCAA probation.  The AP voters are under no such restriction.  If USC can win out, there is a very good chance for a split national championship this year.

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