Tag:Utah
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: October 17, 2010 10:55 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:33 pm
 

You Can't Spell BCS Without CBS





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

The first BCS Standings of the season are out.   For those who have only been using Pollstalker to check out the AP ballots up till now, let me direct you to the BCS+AP Report.  Each week, you can also use Pollstalker to compare how each component of the BCS (plus the AP Poll) ranks each team.  For example, you can easily see that Alabama is ranked lower by Sagarin than any other component, or that Florida is ranked highest by Billingsley at No. 20, or you could compare Boise State’s rankings to Oregon’s in the ten different systems.

As for the AP, Pollstalker tells us that Jon Wilner is the most extreme voter this week.  Nothing new there, but he outdid himself this week with 14 extreme votes and 5 near-extremes.  That means he only had 6 teams on his ballot that are generally in line with the other voters.  His bottom five teams (No. 21 – No. 25) are all lowest in the nation, in order:  Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State.  Sometimes being extreme can mean the voter is thinking more like the computers, without all the pre-season baggage that often comes with voters.  However, a quick check of the same teams in the BCS+AP report (Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia and Oklahoma State) shows that Wilner would also be a very extreme computer.

Another AP trend this week shows a lot more teams getting a few votes.  Last week it looked like the top 25 might be getting more focused with only 32 teams getting any votes.  However, with all of the recent upsets, the voters are once again struggling to fill the bottom of their ballots, and 40 teams received votes this week.  12 of those teams only received one to four votes, including some of the upset-ers like Hawaii, Kentucky, East Carolina and Washington.

The Albuquerque Journal’s Greg Archuleta has been replaced this week in the AP Poll.  Rick Wright from the same newspaper is the new voter.   Archuleta was at the center of the issue a few weeks ago where a technical glitch caused the AP to count his previous week’s ballot by mistake.  According to the AP, that has nothing to do with the change of voters this week, which was made by the Albuquerque Journal itself.

Head-to-Head lines:

I’ll keep the Arizona over Iowa watch going, although it seems to be a stalemate.   37 of 60 voters still have Iowa over Arizona.  The worst offender is now Kirk Herbstreit who has BOTH Iowa highest at No. 6 and Arizona lowest at No. 21.  I can understand why a voter might have the two teams ranked closely in either direction.  After all, Arizona lost to Oregon State who just lost again on Saturday.  So maybe the Wildcats should be ranked lower.  However, Iowa hasn’t beaten a quality opponent yet, whereas Arizona beat…Iowa.  So, to me, as long as they both have one loss, Arizona should be ranked over Iowa, and if you don’t think much of Arizona…why would you think more of Iowa?  The Hawkeyes haven’t beaten a currently ranked team.  Again, to add some objectivity, 4 of the 5 unbiased (meaning, not including Billingsley yet) computers rank Arizona better, which I also take into account.  However, I put more emphasis on the head-to-head result because the computers don’t.  Even so, they still generally think Arizona is a better team regardless of the head-to-head result.

With South Carolina losing, it has straightened out the whole Auburn over South Carolina over Alabama conundrum.  Although, Bob Hammond is the only voter who still ranks Alabama over undefeated Auburn.

Enough old news… this week, 10 voters still rank Ohio State over Wisconsin after the Badger’s weekend win.  Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal is the worst of the group with a ten-place differential.  Being from Vegas, Anderson should certainly know that the 13-point Wisconsin victory more than accounts for the typical 3-point advantage given to the home team.  In fact, he didn’t even drop Ohio State from his previous ranking of No. 7 after the loss.  I wonder what needed to happen for Anderson to rank Wisconsin higher.  To the credit of the AP, they barely have Wisconsin over Ohio State in the overall poll, but the two other human polls (the ones used by the BCS) don’t.  If only we could get our hands on those ballots.  In the meantime, we’ll have to assume that there are even more Coaches and Harris voters who secretly voted Ohio State over Wisconsin.

Posted on: October 11, 2010 10:24 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 8:47 am
 

Head-to-Head-to-Head Comes to a Head





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

The first Harris Interactive College Football Poll of the season was released this week, which means we’re just a week away from the first official BCS rankings.  The Harris Interactive Poll is pretty similar in content this week to both the Coaches and AP Poll.  It does place Arizona lowest of any BCS component at No. 21.

For reference, here is a list of all of the voter changes in the Harris Interactive Poll from 2009 to 2010.  There were only 12 people replaced from what is the largest voter pool of any poll (114).  Compared to the AP Poll and Coaches’ Poll, which has replaced about 50% of their voters over the last two years, the Harris Interactive number seems very small.  Is that an issue?  Probably not, but it is something to keep an eye on.  One reason is that voter turnover helps prevent corruption.    In other words, if 90% of the voters are going to stay the same from year to year, it makes it a lot easier to “fix” the polls.  No amount of change can completely prevent corruption, but there is no sense it making it easier.

With the BCS looming, let’s take a quick look at how humans and computers disagree on No.1 and No. 2.  The humans are currently on board with an Ohio State vs. Oregon title game.  However, if you look at the computers, they tend to favor LSU, Boise State or Oklahoma in the top two spots.  Sagarin does have TCU at No. 2 right now.  The Horned Frogs do have a couple of good opponents remaining in Air Force and Utah, but they aren’t likely good enough to make up for the strength of schedule of the other teams.

In the AP, we have a tie for the most extreme voter this week, but we’ll give a shout out to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal since he is an extreme noob.   He has ten extreme rankings and four near the extreme this week.   While his ballot isn’t 100% clear-cut, the reason he got there was due to a general trend of downgrading the SEC (Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas) while showing favor to the Big 12, including highest ranks to:  Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Kansas State.  However, he did rank Auburn highest in the nation at No. 3 and Nebraska near-lowest at No. 8.

Head-to-Head lines:

It was predictable that Arizona’s loss to Oregon State was going to make the situation between Arizona and Iowa worse.  Now 37 of the 60 voters rank Iowa over Arizona even though both teams have one loss and Arizona beat Iowa.  For some reason Craig James doesn’t even rank Arizona, while he ranks Iowa No. 16.  You would think that if their opinion of Arizona dropped so much after their loss, the loss would also affect their opinion of Iowa, whom the Wildcats beat.  Note that the four released BCS computers (without preseason bias, i.e. not Billingsley) all still rank Arizona over Iowa.    Of course, if Arizona loses again, all bets are off, and I would expect that the voters and the computers would likely rank Iowa over Arizona.

We finally have a great three-way head-to-head-to-head situation to discuss:  Auburn over South Carolina over Alabama.  The Tigers are undefeated and beat South Carolina (one loss) who beat Alabama (one loss).  So you would think that is the order they would all be ranked on people’s ballots.  However, six voters have South Carolina ranked over Auburn, a team they lost to.  The Gamecocks pulled off an amazing upset of Alabama, but Auburn is undefeated and already proved they could beat South Carolina; they may be able to beat the Crimson Tide as well.  Voters could at least give the Tigers the benefit of the doubt until Iron Bowl at the end of the year. 

19 of the 60 voters still rank Alabama over South Carolina, and the following 17 voters rank Alabama over undefeated Auburn, who beat South Carolina, who beat Alabama.  These are people who obviously would not be able to abide by the difficult and final decisions handed down by playoff games.  To them, the results on the field don’t matter nearly as much as their own opinions about some other hypothetical game that may (but likely won’t) happen in the future. 

Oh and as an SEC on ESPN bonus, Craig James is the only voter to rank Arkansas over Alabama.



Note to voters:  ranking people in the proper order this week doesn’t mean that the teams have to finish that way.  Some of those teams are bound to have other losses.  However, based on what you have seen on the field, and in line with AP guidelines, teams should be ranked based on their head-to-head results when all else is equal.  You can always change the rankings again next week when you have more information to go on.  As an added bonus, obvious biases (preseason or otherwise) and/or lack of effort won’t be so obvious during the course of the year.

Posted on: August 22, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2010 4:52 pm
 

Inside The 2010 Preseason AP Poll

Note: All individual links will open up that person's specific ballot. Team links will show where every voter has ranked that school. 

Joe Giglio
, of the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina gave Boise State its lone No. 1 vote.  This helped the Broncos to their highest-ever poll ranking at No. 3.  Pollstalker also tagged Giglio as this week’s most-extreme voter.  For those new to Pollspeak, “extreme” doesn’t mean “bad.”  It means this person has the most rankings on the edge (highest or lowest).  Now that COULD be a sign of a bad voter (i.e. a monkey throwing darts would likely be extreme), but it could also be a sign of somebody doing their own research and thinking…especially in the preseason where there are fewer tangibles to base ranks upon.

The key is to determine if the person is being rational, unbiased and consistent.  Based on the reasoning in
his blog, it seems Giglio isn’t throwing darts.  Although, fans of teams he ranked lowest: Texas (his No. 12), Florida (his No. 15) and Virginia Tech (his No. 19) will still accuse him of missing a chromosome or two.

Wade Denniston was the second most-extreme voter.  Denniston, who writes for the Logan-Herald Journal in Utah, gave both BYU (his No. 11) and Utah (his No. 17) their highest rankings.   This is only one better than their final rankings in 2009, so his rankings are justifiable.  Plus BYU has been ranked in the final polls since 2006 and Utah since 2008 (where they were 13-0 with a No. 2 ranking.)  So giving these teams the benefit of the doubt isn’t crazy-talk, even though there could also be some homerism involved. 

Still, it is worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.  Denniston also seems to just like ranking teams highest, giving
Penn State (No. 8), Cincinnati (No. 10), Mississippi (No. 20), Oklahoma State (No. 23), and Central Michigan (No. 24) their highest votes.  The biggest exception is Oklahoma, whom he ranks lowest at No. 25.  It’s hard to blame him since the Sooners were unranked last season, but Sooner fans will blame him anyway, especially since he also ranked their in-state rivals highest.  Here is actual footage of Denniston’s last complimentary ride on the Sooner Schooner.

On the opposite end of the Sooner spectrum, Randy Rosetta gave Oklahoma their only No. 1 vote.  The Sooners are ranked everywhere from No. 1 to No. 25… that’s quite a difference of opinions.  Meanwhile Scott Wolf gave rival Texas, their only No. 1.

Temple, Middle Tennessee, Boston College, Oklahoma State, Central Michigan, UCF, Mississippi and SMU all received just one vote.  At least half those teams won’t see more votes than that this year.  Which ones?  You tell us.

While preseason is a bit early to talk seriously about head-to-head, on-the-field results, I’m going to do it anyway.  It’s a good primer for the rest of the season.  So, for example, Iowa beat Georgia Tech 24 to 14 in the Orange Bowl last season.  Arguably Georgia Tech (a VERY run-oriented offense) loses more of its team than Iowa, including their running back, Jonathan Dwyer, who went in the 6th round to the Steelers.  Still, 3 of the 60 voters ranked Georgia Tech over Iowa, as seen in this report.  Of those, Craig James was the most drastic, ranking the Yellow Jackets No. 7 and the Hawkeyes No. 13.

Looking at the AP Poll’s structure this year, there were no major changes.  There are still 60 voters and the same number of voters per state as 2009.  However, there was a typical amount of voter turnover with 29 new voters this year.  You can check out the complete list of changes here:  AP VOTER CHANGES 2009 – 2010.

Long time voter Tom Hart (formerly of CBS) now works for the Big Ten Network.  While many journalists might work in specific college markets, this is the first time we know of where an AP Voter has a formal relationship with a specific conference. While there is no hint of Big Ten bias in his preseason ballot, it will be worth keeping an eye out for it as the season progresses.  In fact, he ranked incoming member Nebraska, lowest of any voter.  Maybe it is a form of rookie hazing similar to Tebow’s monk-cut.

Number of Teams in the AP Preseason Top 25:

  • SEC:  6
  • ACC:  5
  • Big Ten:  4
  • Big 12:  3
  • Pac-10:  3
  • Big East:  2
  • M-West:  1
  • WAC:  1
  • C-USA:  0
  • MAC:  0
  • Sun Belt:  0
  • Ind.:  0

Comparing the number of teams ranked per conference to the Coaches’ Poll, the only major change is the replacement of the Mountain West’s Utah, with the Pac-10’s USC.  Of course, the reason is that the coaches aren’t allowed to vote for USC due to NCAA probation.  The AP voters are under no such restriction.  If USC can win out, there is a very good chance for a split national championship this year.

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