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Tag:Nebraska
Posted on: November 7, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:37 pm
 

Terminating the BCS

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. 

 





If the computers had their way (and someday in the post-apocalyptic future, they will), it would be
Auburn and TCU playing for the national championship.  Meanwhile the humans (in their secret, underground coliseum) would have Oregon and Auburn playing each other.  TCU certainly has the easiest path and will likely win out.  Oregon is the next most-likely, and Auburn still has the toughest road to the BCS championship.  So unless the BCS top two (Oregon and Auburn) fall, there is no salvation for TCU or even Boise State (the only other unbeatens).  Barring a Terminator-led Judgment Day , there is nothing any computer can do to change things.

If one of the top two falls, LSU is the only one-loss team that has enough computer clout to potentially pass the unbeatens.  However, it’s unlikely to happen unless one of the human polls jump the Tigers to No. 2.  Interestingly, Stanford , Nebraska and Oklahoma State all have the same computer average in the BCS (No. 6).  However, there would have to be major upheaval for any of the three to have a shot at the title game.  Since the top of the BCS is so solid, let’s look at the less stable parts…

The ACC imploded once again over the weekend.   With Florida State and NC State losing, the ACC is down to one ranked team, Virginia Tech .  Unfortunately, the Hokies have been generally loathed by the computers ever since they lost to an FCS team, James Madison.

Speaking of FCS teams, Delaware received a vote from Ray Ratto in the AP.  Typically “1AA” teams don’t get a vote with one loss, and typically they must at least beat one FBS team to get serious consideration, but Ratto still puts the 8–1 Blue Hens at No. 25 in his pecking order.  At least Delaware did manage to beat James Madison.

The ACC has one team in the top 25, but the Big East is still sitting at zero.   As the Big East expands, they should seriously consider the importance of keeping their automatic BCS qualification when selecting new members.  If the ACC didn’t snatch Virginia Tech when they expanded, they could be in the same boat considering the last few seasons they’ve had (excluding Virginia Tech).

In the AP, Rob Long is this week’s most extreme voter.  He takes his extreme voting seriously -- not so much in quantity as in quality.  He only had seven extreme votes, which is relatively low compared to some weeks, but every one of them is red… no yellows.  When he goes extreme, he goes all the way.  Teams like Ohio State , Nebraska , Iowa , Missouri and Pittsburgh probably appreciate that while LSU and Oklahoma State … not so much.

Oklahoma and Missouri share the largest AP voting range for the week -- voted everywhere from No. 12 to unranked.  Actually, both teams are also similar in that they only had one voter not rank them.  They can add those to the biggest thing they have in common:  losing to a serious underdog last week for their second loss of the season.  Missouri does have one advantage, which brings us to…

 

Head to Head Lines

These 22 voters have Oklahoma over Missouri even though they both have the same number of losses and the Tigers beat the Sooners just two weeks ago.  Each team lost last week to a middle-tier, Texas-based team ( Texas A&M and Texas Tech respectively).  Missouri’s other loss was to a very good, one-loss Nebraska, and Oklahoma’s other loss was to… Missouri.  You can argue that A&M is better than Tech (especially with the results of their game), but the head-to-head win for Missouri over Oklahoma has got to count more than the transitive speculation.  Besides, most of the computers rank Missouri better, and they aren’t taking the head-to-head result into account.  Voters need to fix this before the robots attack.  If you don’t believe me, I offer one solid bit of proof:

Only one voter didn’t rank Oklahoma:  Desmond CONNOR .   Since I’m typing this on a computer, I can’t go into more detail, but if you don’t see the connection, do some research and figure it out .

Oh, and for those that didn’t notice, the preseason basketball rankings came out over the last couple of weeks.  You can check them all out here:


Posted on: November 7, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:37 pm
 

Terminating the BCS

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. 

 





If the computers had their way (and someday in the post-apocalyptic future, they will), it would be
Auburn and TCU playing for the national championship.  Meanwhile the humans (in their secret, underground coliseum) would have Oregon and Auburn playing each other.  TCU certainly has the easiest path and will likely win out.  Oregon is the next most-likely, and Auburn still has the toughest road to the BCS championship.  So unless the BCS top two (Oregon and Auburn) fall, there is no salvation for TCU or even Boise State (the only other unbeatens).  Barring a Terminator-led Judgment Day , there is nothing any computer can do to change things.

If one of the top two falls, LSU is the only one-loss team that has enough computer clout to potentially pass the unbeatens.  However, it’s unlikely to happen unless one of the human polls jump the Tigers to No. 2.  Interestingly, Stanford , Nebraska and Oklahoma State all have the same computer average in the BCS (No. 6).  However, there would have to be major upheaval for any of the three to have a shot at the title game.  Since the top of the BCS is so solid, let’s look at the less stable parts…

The ACC imploded once again over the weekend.   With Florida State and NC State losing, the ACC is down to one ranked team, Virginia Tech .  Unfortunately, the Hokies have been generally loathed by the computers ever since they lost to an FCS team, James Madison.

Speaking of FCS teams, Delaware received a vote from Ray Ratto in the AP.  Typically “1AA” teams don’t get a vote with one loss, and typically they must at least beat one FBS team to get serious consideration, but Ratto still puts the 8–1 Blue Hens at No. 25 in his pecking order.  At least Delaware did manage to beat James Madison.

The ACC has one team in the top 25, but the Big East is still sitting at zero.   As the Big East expands, they should seriously consider the importance of keeping their automatic BCS qualification when selecting new members.  If the ACC didn’t snatch Virginia Tech when they expanded, they could be in the same boat considering the last few seasons they’ve had (excluding Virginia Tech).

In the AP, Rob Long is this week’s most extreme voter.  He takes his extreme voting seriously -- not so much in quantity as in quality.  He only had seven extreme votes, which is relatively low compared to some weeks, but every one of them is red… no yellows.  When he goes extreme, he goes all the way.  Teams like Ohio State , Nebraska , Iowa , Missouri and Pittsburgh probably appreciate that while LSU and Oklahoma State … not so much.

Oklahoma and Missouri share the largest AP voting range for the week -- voted everywhere from No. 12 to unranked.  Actually, both teams are also similar in that they only had one voter not rank them.  They can add those to the biggest thing they have in common:  losing to a serious underdog last week for their second loss of the season.  Missouri does have one advantage, which brings us to…

 

Head to Head Lines

These 22 voters have Oklahoma over Missouri even though they both have the same number of losses and the Tigers beat the Sooners just two weeks ago.  Each team lost last week to a middle-tier, Texas-based team ( Texas A&M and Texas Tech respectively).  Missouri’s other loss was to a very good, one-loss Nebraska, and Oklahoma’s other loss was to… Missouri.  You can argue that A&M is better than Tech (especially with the results of their game), but the head-to-head win for Missouri over Oklahoma has got to count more than the transitive speculation.  Besides, most of the computers rank Missouri better, and they aren’t taking the head-to-head result into account.  Voters need to fix this before the robots attack.  If you don’t believe me, I offer one solid bit of proof:

Only one voter didn’t rank Oklahoma:  Desmond CONNOR .   Since I’m typing this on a computer, I can’t go into more detail, but if you don’t see the connection, do some research and figure it out .

Oh, and for those that didn’t notice, the preseason basketball rankings came out over the last couple of weeks.  You can check them all out here:


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 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 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: 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.

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.

 
 
 
 
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