Tag:Oregon
Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:42 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 11:29 am
 

Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

By taking a look at the AP poll from 2005-now, we can look at the five most overrated and underrated teams when it comes to preseason polls. Some schools continue to be ranked high in the preseason AP poll, only to finish nowhere near where they started.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Five Most Overrated Teams

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners are the most overrated team over the last five years, and as you might expect, it comes from having a strong, long-term reputation and high expectations.  It was their 2009 season that cemented their place at the top.  They started 2009 at No. 3 and dropped completely out of the polls by season’s end.  They were overrated four of the last five years, but two of those (2008 and 2006) were very minor, one-spot changes.   On the other hand, 2005 was another year of unmet expectations with the Sooners dropping from No. 7 in the preseason to No. 22 in the final.  In the last five preseasons, Oklahoma has never been underestimated. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Sooners started the 2010 preseason ranked No. 7, which was the largest jump for an unranked team in the 2009 final poll.  In the 2010 pre-bowl poll, Oklahoma is ranked No. 9.  Not bad work by the voters, but the Sooners will need to win their bowl game to avoid staying on the list another year.

2. California: 
 Voters want to keep believing in Cal.  This is another team that hasn’t been under-ranked in the last five years.  In 2008 they started the season unranked and ended there.  Every other season was a disappointment.  The worst examples are 2009 and 2007, where the Golden Bears started the season at No. 12 and finished unranked.

2010 Prognosis:  The Golden Bears started 2010 the same way they ended:  unranked.  So they won’t be making too big of a jump in either direction on the list.  However, Oklahoma will likely drop at least one spot, and California could slide into the top spot on the overrated list.

3. Florida State: The Seminoles hold the AP record for the most consecutive top-five finishes (1987 – 2000).  While they haven’t touched the top five in the last five years, it seems the voters still give the Seminoles the benefit of the doubt.  They were only under-ranked once (2006) when they started unranked and finished No. 21.  The other four years, FSU was overrated.  The worst case was 2006, when they dropped from No. 11 in the preseason to unranked in the end. 

2010 Prognosis:  FSU was ranked No. 20 in the preseason and currently sit at No. 23.  Like Oklahoma, the Seminoles must win their bowl game to start working their way off this list.

4. Tennessee: The Volunteers have lost some respect over the last two years.  They finished unranked in 2008, and they started and finished unranked in 2009.  However, in 2005, they plummeted all the way from No. 3 in the preseason to unranked by season’s end.  This 23-place drop is tied with Oklahoma’s 2009 drop for the largest over the last five years.  In 2005 they effectively swapped places with Penn State, who went from unranked to No. 3 in the final poll.

2010 Prognosis:  Tennessee received absolutely no votes in the current poll or the preseason poll.  Even Middle Tennessee received some votes in the preseason poll.  However, with their 2005 results getting dropped from the calculation next year, the Volunteers are going to escape this list.

5. Michigan: The last five years haven’t been kind to the storied program of Michigan.  They started and finished 2008 and 2009 unranked.  In 2006 they actually improved from No. 14 to No. 8 by the end of the season, but they made this list mostly because of the 2007 and 2005 seasons.  The Wolverines dropped from No. 5 to No. 18, and No. 4 to unranked, respectively. 

2010 Prognosis:  Michigan was making a run up the polls earlier in the season, but it didn’t last.  The Wolverines started and ended the season unranked.  However, they should still get bumped off this list next year by a couple of new entries:  Southern Cal and Texas.  The Trojans dropped from No. 14 in the preseason to unranked, and the Longhorns dropped from No. 5 to unranked.  With no chance to improve their rankings (being bowl ineligible), they will enter next year’s list for sure.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Five Most Underrated Teams

1. TCU: TCU is exactly the type of team you would expect to be the most underrated.  They are a Mountain West school that has been getting the job done on the field for years, but rarely getting respect in the preseason poll.  Three really good years made them the under-appreciation champion.  In 2005, then went from unranked in the preseason to No. 11 in the final poll.   In 2008, they went from unranked to No 7, and in 2009 they climbed from No. 17 to No. 6.  

2010 Prognosis:  No. 6 is where the Horned Frogs started the 2010 season. So while their lack of respect may finally be coming to an end, they currently sit at No. 3 and will likely continue to remain on the Underrated list next year (though not at No. 1).  Hopefully TCU’s pending move to the Big East will help them to continue building their credibility.

2. Alabama:  The Crimson Tide are the type of team you wouldn’t expect to find high on the underrated list.  Alabama is a historical national power oozing with respect.  However, they were in a serious slump before Nick Saban took over in 2007 and nobody expected he could turn the Tide (so to speak) so quickly.  2008 and 2009 were great years for Alabama, but they also had an unexpectedly good year in 2005, going from unranked to No. 8.  In 2008, they went from No 24 to No. 6, and had a very modest climb in 2009 from No. 5 to No. 1.  Of course, they couldn’t go any higher that year. 

2010 Prognosis:  With a preseason ranking of No. 1 in 2010, the Crimson Tide can only drop on the list next year.  Under Saban, we predict Alabama won’t be climbing the underrated list any time soon.  In fact, Alabama most likely drops off the list completely next year.

3. Cincinnati:
 The Bearcats have at least one thing in common with the Crimson Tide; they haven’t been overrated once in the last five years.  Cincinnati has started each of the last three seasons unranked.  However, they ended 2007 and 2008 at No. 17, and 2009 at No. 8 and Big East Champion.

2010 Prognosis:  While Cincinnati wasn’t ranked in the preseason, they still didn’t live up to expectations.  They just missed the preseason poll at No. 26, but the Bearcats ended 2010 with zero votes and bowl ineligible at 4-8.  So, due to lowered expectations in 2010 (partly due to losing their coach to Notre Dame), Cincinnati will certainly be on the underrated list for another year.

4. Boise State:  Boise State may be who most fans think of when they think of underrated teams.  The Broncos are definitely in the mix.  However, they don’t get top honors because they have also been overrated two times – in 2005 and 2007 the voters ranked them in the preseason, but they fell out of the rankings by season’s end.  The other three years, Boise State climbed.  They climbed as high as No. 4 in 2009.  

2010 Prognosis:  The Broncos may have finally broken through to mainstream respectability.  The start of the 2010 season had them ranked No. 3, and as a bonus, they announced their move from the WAC to the Mountain West.  They currently sit at No. 10, and even though they were overrated this year, they will likely remain high on the 5-year underrated list.

5. Oregon: This is another well-respected team that seems like an odd-duck on this list.   Yet, these Ducks haven’t been getting the respect they deserve lately.  In 2005 and 2007, they started out unranked, but didn’t end that way.  In 2008, they rose from No. 21 to No. 10, and in 2009 they climbed five spots from No. 16 to No. 11. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Ducks are currently No. 2 in the AP Poll with a chance to become No. 1 with a victory in the BCS Championship Game against Auburn.  Even so, there are a few teams on the cusp of the list that could knock them off next year if the Ducks don’t win.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Methodology

Pollspeak.com used a simple method for determining overrating and underrating in the AP Poll.

An overrated team is one whose final poll ranking is worse than its preseason ranking.  An underrated team is one whose final poll ranking is better than its preseason ranking.  Different results could be obtained by tracking every week individually during the season.  "Final poll" means the poll released after the bowl games.

The last five years for this list are the 2005 – 2009 seasons, inclusive.

We only counted teams listed in the top 25 during those years (53 teams in total).  When a team isn’t listed in the top 25, it is considered unranked and given a value of 26.  We could have ranked teams further by counting all teams that received votes, and that certainly would have changed the results.  For example, a team could have dropped to a theoretical No. 27 (receiving 50 votes), which would be better than a theoretical No. 49 (receiving one vote).  However, for simplicity’s sake, anything beyond 25 is unranked.  This also entirely weeds out teams typically considered unranked that qualify for the list by jumping from No. 49 to No. 26 (or vice-versa) in a given year.

Each team’s final ranking is subtracted from its preseason ranking to determine its over/under-rating for each year.  Then all five years are added together to determine each team’s “Points” and place on the list.  Ties are broken by taking into account the number of years being overrated vs. underrated.

Again, a more complex formula could be used and could certainly change the results, but we’re keeping it simple and straight-forward. 
You can find the entire list of teams sorted from most overrated to most underrated here: 
THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:23 am
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Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:43 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 2:54 pm
 

The Ballots Have Arrived!

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 last polls of the regular season were released on Sunday.  Of course, there is still one more regular season game to be played:  Army vs. Navy.  This year, the outcome should have no bearing on the polls, but it is possible that someday it will.  The BCS and AP should consider that in future seasons.

The last regular season polls means something big at Pollspeak:  the release of the Coaches’ and Harris Interactive ballots!  We get the AP ballots every week of the season, but this is the only week we get to see the other two.  They don’t even get released after the bowl games.  Check out all of the ballots here:

·         AP Poll Ballots

·         Coaches’ Poll Ballots

·         Harris Interactive College Football Poll Ballots

This year was relatively uncontroversial -- particularly at the top.  The two teams most people think should be in the BCS championship are the ones going:  Auburn and Oregon.  This will be a year that the BCS can point to and say that the system works.  Of course, there was still one undefeated team left out of the championship:  TCU.  While most people think the BCS got it right this year, just for the record, the following voters thought TCU should be in the title game instead:

AP Poll:  Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bill Cole of the Winston-Salem Journal, Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette, and Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Coaches’ Poll:  Robb Akey, Head Coach of Idaho; Kyle Whittingham, Head Coach of Utah; and Mike Locksley, Head Coach of New Mexico.

Harris Interactive Poll:  Larry Keech, long-time journalist for the News-Record in North Carolina; Bob Wagner, ex-Head Coach of Hawaii; and Sammy Batten, journalist for the Fay Observer in North Carolina.  

 

The voters know that their ballots are public this week, so everybody should be on their best behavior.  We can only guess what kind of shenanigans go on the rest of the season.  With that in mind, here are the most extreme voters in each poll.  You can make your own judgments about how well they voted:

  

AP Poll:

 Voters 

 Extreme 

 Near Extreme 

 Total 

 Scott Wolf 

 6 

 7 

 13 

 Mark Anderson 

 6 

 2 

 8 

 Ray Fittipaldo 

 6 

 0 

 6 

 Kirk Herbstreit 

 5 

 1 

 6 

 

Coaches’ Poll:

 Voters 

 Extreme 

 Near Extreme 

 Total 

 Dan Mullen 

 8 

 3 

 11 

 Jim Harbaugh 

 8 

 3 

 11 

 Mike Locksley 

 6 

 4 

 10 

 Robb Akey 

 5 

 4 

 9 

 Ron Zook 

 5 

 2 

 7 

 

 

Harris Interactive Poll:

 

 Voters 

 Extreme 

 Near Extreme 

 Total 

 Larry Keech 

 5 

 7 

 12 

 Fran Curci 

 5 

 6 

 11 

 Bob Anderson 

 4 

 7 

 11 

 Bob Wagner 

 4 

 6 

 10 

 John Toner 

 4 

 3 

 7 

 

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 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 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.

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