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
· Ohio State
(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.)