Tag:Arkansas
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: 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.

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