Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Guru's BlogPoll Ballot (Week 2)

The Guru's ballot this week. A couple of notes below:

2 Florida
3 Texas
4 Alabama
5 Brigham Young
6 Boise State 1
7 California 1
8 Penn State 1
9 LSU 2
10 Ohio State 2
11 Oklahoma 1
12 TCU 1
13 Mississippi 1
14 Virginia Tech 2
15 Miami (Florida) 2
16 Utah 1
17 Missouri 1
18 Houston
19 Oklahoma State 13
20 Georgia 1
21 Georgia Tech
22 Cincinnati
23 Pittsburgh 1
25 Michigan

Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Notre Dame (#20), North Carolina (#23), Oregon State (#25).

Unlike the Week 1 ballot, there is very little movement on my ballot as the world order of college football is taking shape. And also unlike the Week 1 ballot, I did consult with the previous week's ballot to form my decisions, in particular:

1) Only three teams in my Week 1 ballot lost - Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. The Buckeyes lost to top-ranked (on my ballot) USC in a very close game, so they suffered no penalty. In fact, they moved up two spots. The Cowboys lost at home to previously unranked Houston, causing them to slip 13 places. Notre Dame is out of the top 25 altogether after losing to Michigan.

2) North Carolina and Oregon State were dropped after unimpressive wins. The Tar Heels needed a late holding call in the end zone (though the right call) to pull out of a 12-10 win at Connecticut. Oregon State took advantage of a pass interference flag on fourth down (a very questionable call) to keep alive their game-winning drive at UNLV.

3) The three dropouts were replaced in the ballot by Houston, UCLA and Michigan, three teams with easily the most impressive victories this week by previously unranked teams. The Cougars shocked OSU even after blowing an early lead to win in Stillwater. UCLA used a goal-line stand to fend off Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. And Michigan, of course, nipped the Irish behind the wunderkind freshman QB Tate Forcier.

4) USC remains No. 1 on my ballot. The Trojans won at Ohio Stadium, against a highly talented and motivated Buckeyes, in what's so far the signature win of the season by an elite team, eclipsing BYU's victory over Oklahoma. With Utah struggling to beat San Jose State, a team that USC destroyed last week, there is little doubt that the Trojans are a cut above. Until Florida plays somebody (maybe this week against Tennessee) worth a lick, the Gators will have to settle for No. 2, for now.


mike said...

wish more people would consider more than simply win or loss and the prior week's ballot when filling out their ballots. Too many voters keep everything the same while consistently dropping those who lost 4-5 spots.

fluidity within the polls (especially after week 1) is so important to have early season, to minimize the effect of pre-season rankings made by guessing and reputation. otherwise, we get 3-4 sec teams in the top 10, they play nobody in non-conference, and when they play each other, the argument becomes "we play 3-4 top 10 teams every year that's why the sec is best".

Clark said...

I think mike has a good point. This last weekend constituted 50% of the season so far. (100% for a few teams.) But this ballot has very few significant changes. At this point in the season, there should be much more movement. A team that won in particularly convincing fashion ought to be able to move up significantly passing various teams that didn't look all that great. A team that won, but barely ought to be able to drop 5, 10 or 15 spots because they didn't look convincing enough. To do otherwise makes it look like opinions have already been formed and are stuck in our heads.

Now, having said that, I don't have many specific criticisms of this particular ballot. I think Utah is rated too high. So far they've beaten USU and were tied in the 4th quarter vs SJSU. Those are some pretty poor teams, and a top 20 team should have disposed of them more easily. I know it's hard to vote down a team in the midst of the longest winning streak in the nation, but really, what have they shown in the first 2 weeks? Do the blindfold test:
Team 1: 35-17 vs USU and 24-14 @ SJSU.
Team 2: 49-3 vs Northern Colorado and 34-7 @ UTEP
Team 3: 37-13 @ Tulane, 44-10 @ New Mexico.
One of these teams is ranked #16, the other two are unranked. Why?

The Guru said...

Mike - While I did look at my last week's ballot, the fact that very few teams on the ballot lost made it difficult to move things around too much. I did punish a few teams for unimpressive wins, but I am cautious to move up a team too much or too little just because of the final score.

For example, TCU beat Virginia, 30-14. On the surface, that doesn't look great, UVa lost to William & Mary last week. But the Frogs were leading 30-0 and gave up two garbage TDs at the end. That sort of thing.

I do generally agree with the philosophy that there should be no polls until after September.

The Guru said...

Clark, I know exactly what those teams are without looking them up - Kansas and Tulsa. I gave those teams due consideration for this week and you may very well see them on my ballot next week if they continue winning.

Utah definitely benefited a bit from its lofty No. 2 end-of-season ranking. But I didn't punish the Utes too much because having seen both of San Jose State's games, the Spartans are not exactly a patsy - for USC maybe - but that team will probably end up with a respectable record.

At this stage of the season, most teams on the ballot will be undefeated. I'm not worried so much about the bottom part of the ballot because that will sort itself out soon enough.

kevin said...

"But since the SEC is not particularly tough this season"



JP said...

do sec teams' fans really not understand the concept of a "subjective" voting poll?

'kevin', get real. four top-10 sec teams after two weeks and playing mostly creampuffs is based mostly on perception and reputation more than anything else. pollsters are subjective and extremely loyal to their pre-season ranks, so as long as the sec teams schedule and beat lower-level competition in the early part of the season, they will stay where they are.

it essentially makes the points that mike and clark allude to, that because there is a lack of fluidity in the polls, as long as teams that are ranked high in the pre-season polls keep winning, there will be little change. i really like how mike said it, that it's almost a circular argument in claiming that sec teams play 3-4 top 10 teams every year because they play much weaker teams in pre-conference.

JP said...

'kevin' - instead of using caps to emphasize your biased, unsubstantiated viewpoint, maybe a little analysis as to why those of us who don't agree with you should "get a clue" might be more effective...

Ute Fan said...

I agree that Utah's win was unimpressive, but I think being down around 16 is realistic for a 2-0 team that finished 2nd last year (but arguably the best team last year -- they certainly handled Alabama better than Florida did), even if they have been unimpressive thus far.

The Oregon game should be a better test of where this team rates.

Long live the nations longest active winning streak.