Tag:Sagarin
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: 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: September 8, 2010 4:04 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 4:26 pm
 

We Welcome the First Polls of the Regular Season

Note:  Clicking a team link in this blog will show you how everyone voted for that team.  Clicking a voter name link will show you their ballot.

There were some surprise changes to the AP Voters this week.  As we reported last week, Tom Hart of the Big Ten Network was being replaced by Dave Curtis of the Sporting News.  However, Curtis was unable to vote and was immediately replaced by Brett McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse.  USC fans might be most upset since McMurphy is one of only three voters to leave the Trojans off his ballot.  Also, Scott Carter of the Tampa Tribune was replaced by Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times this week.

Scott Wolf is this week’s most extreme voter.  He gives Texas their lone No. 1 vote but seems to think very little of the Big Ten, ranking Ohio State, Iowa , Wisconsin and Penn State (unranked) lowest in the nation.

Some people scoffed at Joe Giglio when he ranked Boise State No. 1 in his preseason poll.  Now, after the Broncos victory against Virginia Tech, more people are jumping onto the blue bandwagon.  Eight voters this week have Boise State ranked No. 1.  One of those voters, Jon Solomon, thinks so highly of the Broncos that he still ranks Virginia Tech No. 5 after the loss.  The strangest thing about Boise State’s eight No. 1 rankings, however, is that Joe Giglio isn’t one of them!

Giglio dropped Boise State to No. 2 in favor of the more conventional choice, Alabama.  Maybe the Broncos weren’t convincing enough in what was essentially a road victory over a top-ten team.  Maybe they also needed to throw down with James Hetfield during “Enter Sandman” to keep Giglio’s respect.  (My apologies to those who clicked on James Hetfield’s name expecting to see his ballot.  Unfortunately, the lead singer of Metallica is not an AP Voter.)

Wade Denniston had the opposite reaction to Oklahoma, whom he ranked No. 15.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, except that he ranked the Sooners No. 25 in his preseason ballot.  There was nothing wrong with his preseason ranking of Oklahoma either.  The Sooners were unranked at the end of the 2009 season, so a No. 25 ranking is justifiable.  The area of concern is the jump from No. 25 to No. 15 after Oklahoma struggled mightily at home against Utah State.  While the average ranking for Oklahoma dropped from 7.6 in the preseason to 10.72 this week, Denniston gave the Sooners a 10-spot jump.

Some might think he simply has newfound respect because Utah State is located in Logan, Utah…and Denniston writes for the Logan Herald-Journal.   However, checking his
blog on the subject, it seems he may be caving to pressure from the fans.  Mr. Denniston, if you feel Oklahoma should be ranked No. 25, I implore you to stand your ground until the Sooners do something to change your mind (as long as you have done your research and stay unbiased.)

Look at Scott Wolf.  He’s been making “crazy” picks (according to fans) for years.   He could use your pile of e-mails as a base camp for the mountain he gets.  And yet he continues to climb his ever-growing mountain as this week’s most-extreme voter.  Being a long-time AP voter takes thick skin.  Football coaches are notorious for having thick skin, and even they don’t have the guts to release their ballots every week.

Voters could have had an interesting dilemma with North Carolina this week.  It is pretty easy to leave the Tar Heels unranked since they now have a loss, but even if they beat LSU (and they almost did), voters would have considered dropping the Tar Heels due to their off-the-field problems.  It’s unlikely that any voter would have ranked North Carolina in their preseason poll if they knew the Tar Heels would lose a dozen players to suspension.  So even if they won against LSU, some voters would have likely dropped them until the suspensions were lifted.  As it is, 14 voters still rank the Tar Heels.  Meanwhile, the fact that LSU barely won vs. North Carolina’s second and third stringers didn’t seem to hurt LSU in the rankings.  The Tigers picked up 6 new voters and jumped from 21 to 19 overall in the AP Poll.

Before I wrap up, let me give my annual explanation of how Sagarin Ratings work in Pollstalker and the BCS.  While you can find the Sagarin ratings on the USA Today site, the problem is that they aren’t listed in the format used by the BCS.  Instead, the BCS uses the column called “ELO_CHESS” and also ignores any FCS (1AA) teams on the list.  So the best way to view the Sagarin ratings for BCS purposes is using Pollstalker.  By the way, there would have been three FCS teams in the Sagarin top-50 this week including the two major upset-ers: No. 33 Jacksonville State (defeated Mississippi), and No. 32 North Dakota State (defeated Kansas).

The polls go back to their regular schedule next week with Sunday releases.  We’ll learn a lot this Saturday with huge games between ranked teams like Miami vs. Ohio State, Florida State vs. Oklahoma, Penn State vs. Alabama, and Georgia vs. South Carolina.  The computers might even start to make more sense after this weekend.  Regardless, it will be a great Saturday for watching football and a great Sunday for watching polls.

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