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Posted on: October 17, 2010 10:55 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:33 pm
 

You Can't Spell BCS Without CBS





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 BCS Standings of the season are out.   For those who have only been using Pollstalker to check out the AP ballots up till now, let me direct you to the BCS+AP Report.  Each week, you can also use Pollstalker to compare how each component of the BCS (plus the AP Poll) ranks each team.  For example, you can easily see that Alabama is ranked lower by Sagarin than any other component, or that Florida is ranked highest by Billingsley at No. 20, or you could compare Boise State’s rankings to Oregon’s in the ten different systems.

As for the AP, Pollstalker tells us that Jon Wilner is the most extreme voter this week.  Nothing new there, but he outdid himself this week with 14 extreme votes and 5 near-extremes.  That means he only had 6 teams on his ballot that are generally in line with the other voters.  His bottom five teams (No. 21 – No. 25) are all lowest in the nation, in order:  Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State.  Sometimes being extreme can mean the voter is thinking more like the computers, without all the pre-season baggage that often comes with voters.  However, a quick check of the same teams in the BCS+AP report (Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia and Oklahoma State) shows that Wilner would also be a very extreme computer.

Another AP trend this week shows a lot more teams getting a few votes.  Last week it looked like the top 25 might be getting more focused with only 32 teams getting any votes.  However, with all of the recent upsets, the voters are once again struggling to fill the bottom of their ballots, and 40 teams received votes this week.  12 of those teams only received one to four votes, including some of the upset-ers like Hawaii, Kentucky, East Carolina and Washington.

The Albuquerque Journal’s Greg Archuleta has been replaced this week in the AP Poll.  Rick Wright from the same newspaper is the new voter.   Archuleta was at the center of the issue a few weeks ago where a technical glitch caused the AP to count his previous week’s ballot by mistake.  According to the AP, that has nothing to do with the change of voters this week, which was made by the Albuquerque Journal itself.

Head-to-Head lines:

I’ll keep the Arizona over Iowa watch going, although it seems to be a stalemate.   37 of 60 voters still have Iowa over Arizona.  The worst offender is now Kirk Herbstreit who has BOTH Iowa highest at No. 6 and Arizona lowest at No. 21.  I can understand why a voter might have the two teams ranked closely in either direction.  After all, Arizona lost to Oregon State who just lost again on Saturday.  So maybe the Wildcats should be ranked lower.  However, Iowa hasn’t beaten a quality opponent yet, whereas Arizona beat…Iowa.  So, to me, as long as they both have one loss, Arizona should be ranked over Iowa, and if you don’t think much of Arizona…why would you think more of Iowa?  The Hawkeyes haven’t beaten a currently ranked team.  Again, to add some objectivity, 4 of the 5 unbiased (meaning, not including Billingsley yet) computers rank Arizona better, which I also take into account.  However, I put more emphasis on the head-to-head result because the computers don’t.  Even so, they still generally think Arizona is a better team regardless of the head-to-head result.

With South Carolina losing, it has straightened out the whole Auburn over South Carolina over Alabama conundrum.  Although, Bob Hammond is the only voter who still ranks Alabama over undefeated Auburn.

Enough old news… this week, 10 voters still rank Ohio State over Wisconsin after the Badger’s weekend win.  Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal is the worst of the group with a ten-place differential.  Being from Vegas, Anderson should certainly know that the 13-point Wisconsin victory more than accounts for the typical 3-point advantage given to the home team.  In fact, he didn’t even drop Ohio State from his previous ranking of No. 7 after the loss.  I wonder what needed to happen for Anderson to rank Wisconsin higher.  To the credit of the AP, they barely have Wisconsin over Ohio State in the overall poll, but the two other human polls (the ones used by the BCS) don’t.  If only we could get our hands on those ballots.  In the meantime, we’ll have to assume that there are even more Coaches and Harris voters who secretly voted Ohio State over Wisconsin.

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 27, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 8:48 am
 

CBSSports.com, Pollspeak notify AP of error


UPDATE: From Travis Haney's twitter account: "The AP voters (including me) just got an e-mail outlining policies. It wants us to check with it, to ensure it gets our ballots."



The lead in the Associated Press' AP Top 25 story doesn't tell the whole story of what transpired last night.

NEW YORK -- Michigan
moved up a spot to No. 19 and South Carolina moved down to No. 20 Sunday night after it was learned that an out of date ballot was used in tabulating the Associated Press college football poll. No other rankings changed when the correct ballot was entered.

Late last night as we were looking for voters to break down in our blog and weekly "Ballot Grades" we noticed Greg Archuleta, from the Albuquerque Journal had the same ballot as the previous week.

Last week, Archuleta had Texas ranked at No. 9 with South Carolina at No. 15 and Auburn at No. 16. When looking at what we thought was his ballot this week, something didn't seem right.

Was it possible for a voter to have the same exact ballot as the previous week? What if something happened to Archuleta over the weekend and he wasn't able to turn in a ballot? Does AP just automatically default to last week? Red flags were popping up all over the place.

We contacted the Associated Press and editor Ralph Russo last night. He called us back and let us know that Archuleta did turn in a correct ballot and it was a technical glitch on their part. So they adjusted the votes and that's why Michigan moved up overnight and South Carolina moved down.

CBSSports.com and Pollspeak are here to not only keep the voters in check with their weekly ballots, but also the AP.

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 12, 2010 10:31 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 11:17 am
 

Pollspeak Remembers 2007 and Ranked ACC Teams

 

 

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.

Virginia Tech lost to James Madison last Saturday, and two of the California voters, Jon Wilner and Ray Ratto , actually have the “Dukes” ranked on their ballots this week. Wilner has them all the way up at No. 19.  The last time an FCS school received that many votes was when Appalachian State beat Michigan in 2007, which also happens to be the last time an FCS team beat a ranked FBS team.

Of course, Virginia Tech’s loss hurts themselves more than anyone ( they didn’t receive a single vote ), but it also hurts Boise State .  The Broncos victory over the Hokies was their signature win for the year.   Now there is a possibility that Virginia Tech will finish the year unranked and cost Boise State any chance they had at the BCS Championship.  As it is, the Broncos lost 7 first place votes this week just by sitting at home watching the games on TV. Their last remaining No. 1 vote comes from Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.

In terms of rankings, the ACC basically imploded last weekend.  All four ranked teams lost:  Miami , Georgia Tech , Florida State and Virginia Tech.  Miami and FSU lost to highly ranked teams, but Virginia Tech lost to an FCS school and Georgia Tech lost to an unranked Kansas team that lost to an FCS school the week before.  Miami is now the league’s only ranked team at No. 17 in the AP .  The few voters who still have hope for the ACC have thrown their support behind teams like NC State , Boston College and Maryland , who each received one vote this week.

Those upstarts are joined by Northwestern , Nevada and Baylor as the lone-vote-getters of the week.

At No. 13, South Carolina is the highest they’ve been since Oct. 2007 when they climbed as high as No. 6.  However, there are still a lot of differing opinions on the Gamecocks.  They are ranked everywhere from No. 7 to No. 24, which is this week’s second largest spread.   

The largest spread is Michigan’s , ranked everywhere from No. 8 to unranked.  When Rich Rodriguez said he was going to bring the spread to Michigan, I don’t think that’s what he meant.  The Wolverines check in at No. 20 overall in the AP, which is as high as they’ve been since the end of the 2007 season as well.

Florida is another team all over the AP ballots, voted from No. 3 to No. 19 for the third-largest spread.  The Gators keep winning, but the voters haven’t been impressed with what they’ve seen so far.  This is Florida’s second consecutive win and second consecutive drop in the polls.  They now sit at No. 10 overall in the AP and No. 7 in the Coaches’ Poll .

This week’s most extreme voter is once again Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News.  He’s going to make a lot of Buckeye fans unhappy since he ranked Ohio State lowest in the nation at No. 7.  This is after they beat Miami handily by 12 points.    You would think that means Wolf doesn’t think much of Miami; however, he ranks the Hurricanes No. 13, and only one voter ranked them better.  By his own rankings, no team has beaten a better opponent this season than Ohio State.  So I can’t figure out why he ranks the Buckeyes so low, and I can’t find anything related to the year 2007 to continue my trend.  Okay, wait, I’ve got it… in Week 12 of 2007, Scott Wolf voted Ohio State lowest in the AP at No. 11!  That may seem like worthless information, but I will still be proud of the six times I mentioned 2007 (now seven times) in this blog.  That’s something no other poll-oriented blogger on CBS can claim… this week.

A couple of housekeeping notes:

Randy Rosetta of the Baton Rouge Advocate’s ballot is missing for ‘week 3’.  The AP confirmed only 59 voters this week.

We’ve received confirmation that the BCS will not be ranking USC in any of its components this season… not just the Coaches’ Poll.  The computer rankings will still list USC when they deliver to the BCS, but the BCS will then manually remove the Trojans and move all other teams up one spot.  So we’ve now removed USC from our BCS Rankings to better reflect what the BCS will be using.  That means one extra team will sneak into the top 50 in all of the computer rankings going forward.  The Trojans will only appear in the AP Poll and ballots in Pollstalker this season. 




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