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Tag:Pollspeak
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 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: November 21, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 7:22 pm
 

Everybody Makes Mistakes

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 AP released an invalid poll on Sunday.  It seems they used Bob Condotta’s old week 12 ballot while calculating the week 13 poll.  Pollspeak brought this to the AP’s attention, and the ballot was quickly updated .  However, the AP Poll itself was still incorrect since the numbers didn’t match up.  Again, we notified the AP, and they released a new version of the poll.  Luckily, there were no position changes in the top 25 (although there were some outside the top 25).

Thankfully, the AP is fully transparent, and we can help find issues like this.  Unfortunately, the BCS isn’t.  Neither the Coaches’ Poll nor the Harris Interactive Poll releases their ballots every week.  Do similar mistakes happen in those polls?  Very likely.  Yet, we have no way to find those mistakes.  This is something the BCS should address… and soon.  If you would like to express your agreement on the matter, sign the PETITION . 

Speaking of mistakes…

Head-to-Head lines:

Most people won’t agree with me this week.  I say that because most voters definitely don’t agree.  In fact, only 4 voters ranked Michigan State over Wisconsin this week.  Even 5 of the 6 BCS computers think Wisconsin is better.  But computers don’t take into account head-to-head results, and that’s one way that humans can do a better job in rankings.  Both teams have the same record, and the Spartans beat the Badgers by ten points on Oct. 2nd.   Wisconsin is likely ranked higher because they have been dominating their opponents, and they even beat Ohio State .  Of course, who’s to say Michigan State wouldn’t beat the Buckeyes as well.  Thanks to Big 10 (11) scheduling, we’ll never know.  So I’m inclined to agree with the minority and say Michigan State is the better team.  They proved that on the field.

I bet that makes some Wisconsin fans angry.  So let me point out:  these 2 voters have Ohio State over Wisconsin .  At least I’m in the majority who think the Badgers should be ranked over the Buckeyes after their 13-point victory on Oct. 16th.  Again, the computers aren’t unanimous in their agreement.  So can you really be upset about these people ignoring the head-to-head results?   I bet Wisconsin fans don’t agree with those two voters, but then why wouldn’t they argue for Michigan State as well?

You can’t have it both ways.  If you believe in head-to-head results, then apply them across the board without bias.  That means voters should have Michigan State > Wisconsin > Ohio State, which only 3 voters actually did. 

Only 5 voters have Michigan State over Ohio State .  Since these teams haven’t played, you could argue either way, but then you have somebody like Dave Foster , who is the only voter with Ohio State > Michigan State > Wisconsin, which is just plain weird. 

Pollspeak obviously (and repeatedly) favors using head-to-head results as the first tiebreaker when two teams have the same records.  However, if a voter is going to ignore head-to-head results, he should at least ignore them consistently.  The reason we suggest using real results (aside from the obvious logic of it) is that it helps weed out bias.    Otherwise, voters could use whatever rationale suits their biases or no rationale at all.

Fans often cite head-to-head results when it suits their team, and they ignore head-to-head results when it doesn’t.  This makes sense.  Fans are just trying to persuade people (and maybe themselves) that their favorite team is better or maybe that their rivals are worse.  We would like to hold voters to a higher standard than fans. 



Posted on: November 14, 2010 9:55 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 3:42 pm
 

A W is a W

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. 




Wisconsin earned some serious style points this week.  By “style points”, I mean stylishly destroying Indiana 83 to 20!  Getting that many points has to impress everyone.  It definitely impressed the voters since the Badgers remain the highest ranked one-loss team in the BCS human polls (No. 5).  However, it didn’t impress the computers one byte.  BCS computers are mandated to exclude margin of victory in their rankings.  In fact, the computers actually dropped Wisconsin an average of two places from last week (from 10 to 12).  BCS computers have no sense of style.

Outside the top four, there are two ranked, non-BCS teams:  Utah and Nevada.  This week’s polls, particularly the Coaches’ Poll, are a lesson in just how important record is to ranking.  If you remove, Utah and Nevada, every other team falls in line based on their record:  the first four teams have no losses, the next 7 have one loss, the next 5 have two losses, and the last seven have three losses.  The other polls aren’t quite as delineated as the Coaches’ Poll, but they’re close.

It’s safe to say that the number-one factor in determining a team’s ranking is its record.  That’s why Pollspeak always advocates using head-to-head results as a tie-breaker only when two teams have the same number of losses.  On that note…

Head to Head Lines:

The ACC is a bit tricky to figure out this season.  Especially when there are four teams with 7-3 records that have only one head-to-head result each:  NC State, Florida State, Maryland and Miami.   Maryland only received one vote this week in the AP, so let’s focus on the other three:


·         NC State beat Florida State

·         Florida State beat Miami

·         NC State and Miami don’t play

They all have the same record, so in the makeshift playoff we call the regular season, the teams should be ranked in this order:

·         NC State

·         Florida State

·         Miami

However, all three human polls have Miami on top, Harris Interactive has FSU at No. 25 and none of them have NC State in the top 25.  It’s exactly the opposite of the head-to-head order.  That means a bunch of people got it wrong; however, there are so many wrongdoers, I’m going to try something different.  I’m going to give kudos to all of those who got it right.  Here is their chance to stand out and shine in the bright spotlight:

Andy Staples, Chad Cripe, Chip Cosby, Chris Fowler, Desmond Connor, Doug Lesmerises, Jon Solomon, Kirk Herbstreit, Kyle Tucker, Mark Anderson, Randy Rosetta, Ray Ratto, Travis Haney, Wes Rucker

The following people MAY have gotten it right, but since they didn’t rank ANY of the three teams, it’s hard to give them full credit:

Bill Cole, Bob Asmussen, Bob Hammond, Brett McMurphy, Ferd Lewis, Jack Bogaczyk, Joe Giglio, John Shinn, Kyle Veazey, Mike DeArmond, Scott Wolf, Steve Conroy, Tom Murphy

That’s still only 14 out of 60 voters who got it right and 13 more who maybe got it right.  More than half of the voters got at least one pair wrong based on head-to-head results.  OK, I can’t go without at least one tiny, off-handed mention of one person who got it all wrong:

The Voter who has it most backwards is

TOM KEEGAN, OF THE LAWRENCE JOURNAL WORLD

who has Miami at No. 22, Florida State at No. 25 and NC State unranked. 

For some reason, people tend to focus on the negatives about voters, so I hope Pollspeak readers appreciate this attempt to highlight the positives.

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.)

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