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Tag:Big Ten
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: 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 28, 2010 7:18 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 3:17 pm
 

AP Voter Removed Due to Big Ten Relationship

Tom Hart will no longer be voting in the 2010 AP football poll due to his recent change in employment to the Big Ten Network.  Pollspeak reported the potential for bias directly to the AP on August, 22nd, the day after the preseason AP football poll was released. 

As we also mentioned in our previous blog:  “…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.”

Even though there was no bias in favor of the Big Ten in Hart’s ballot, to their credit, the AP responded swiftly and did the right thing by replacing Hart as a voter.  The AP’s willingness to address even the potential for bias, once again, demonstrates why Pollspeak gives it their highest ranking.

When originally contacting the AP, we quoted their own rules against similar relationships:

·         Voters should have no professional or booster connection to the schools they cover. This could pose a conflict of interest.

·         Voters cannot write for team media guides or even independent fan magazines associated with certain schools. This has the potential of compromising a reporter's objectivity.

 

These rules show the intention of the AP to limit bias in the AP Poll, and even though there is no specific mention of “conference” affiliation, the intention is clear.

Hart’s preseason ballot will be his last for this season.  He will be replaced in “week 2” (in the AP’s numbering system) by Dave Curtis of The Sporting News.

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