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

Happy Halloween from Pollspeak

Note:  Clicking a team link in this blog will show you how everyone voted for that team.  Clicking a voter name link will show you their ballot.  Click on other links at your own peril!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(Severed) Head-to-Head lines:

The Big Ten poses a truly scary situation this week:

·         Michigan State beat Wisconsin

·         Iowa beat Michigan State

·         Wisconsin beat Iowa

·         Wisconsin also beat Ohio State

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

·         Michigan State

·         Wisconsin

·         Ohio State

·         Iowa

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

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

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

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

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 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: 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!

 

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