Monday, November 23, 2009

The Guru's BlogPoll Ballot (Week 12)

The Guru's BlogPoll Ballot, with comments below:

(And no, your eyes are not doing tricks on you. It does say No. 1 TCU.)

1 TCU 2
2 Cincinnati 4
3 Boise State 2
4 Alabama 2
5 Texas 4
6 Florida 2
7 Georgia Tech 1
8 Pittsburgh 1
9 Oregon
10 Ohio State
11 Iowa 1
12 Penn State 1
13 Brigham Young 1
14 Utah 2
15 Houston 2
16 Oklahoma State 2
17 LSU 6
18 USC 4
19 Oregon State 4
20 Clemson 4
21 North Carolina
22 Virginia Tech
23 Miami (Florida)
24 Temple
25 Navy

Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#15), Rutgers (#19), Arizona (#20), Stanford (#21).

With more than a dozen teams already finished their respective schedules, it's appropriate to look at the ballot in the totality with respect to the season. After taking a good look at the credentials of the teams at the top, I came to one inescapable conclusion:

TCU should be No. 1.

Why not? The Horned Frogs are the only teams in the nation ranked in the top five in total offense (fifth) and total defense (fourth). They're the only team among the unbeatens to have defeated three ranked teams (Clemson, Utah, BYU), and by a combined score of 107-45. Two of those wins were on the road. And one is over potentially the champion of another BCS conference.

That should be the barometer, going down the line. Have you beaten the champion or runnerup of another BCS conference? For both Cincinnati and Boise State, that's in the affirmative. The Bearcats won at Oregon State while the Broncos beat Oregon. The Civil War will decide the champion of the Pac-10, the best conference in college football (I'm not going to belabor this point). Cincy's road win nudges it ahead of Boise.

And then you have the big three that have dominated the top of the traditional polls for much of the season. But take a closer look, what have they done, really, to deserve their perch?

The answer: Not much.

Alabama is the best of the trio, having beaten Virginia Tech, a ranked team but not good enough to play for the ACC championship. The Tide have also won the SEC West, which is considerably better than the SEC East this year, with wins over LSU and Ole Miss.

Texas is next, and its only victory of note is over Oklahoma State, the second best team in the Big 12, which isn't saying much this season. Florida checks in at No. 6. Let's face it, the Gators beat LSU - the only ranked team on their schedule - and their next best win was over ... Troy?

Thanks to Clemson's resurgence, Georgia Tech is moving up as the best 1-loss team in the nation - though now it must beat the Tigers again in the ACC championship game. Oregon, without a doubt, is the best two-loss team and checks in at No. 9.

The rest of the ballot is pretty standard fare. Each 2-loss team made the list, along with the best of the 3-loss teams. The team that won the head-to-head battle against another that has the same record, naturally gets the consideration.

One last word, on Temple. This team went 4-42 between 2003-2006 and got kicked out the Big East. Today, as a member of the MAC, the Owls have finally ended two decades of futility by recording their first winning season since 1990 and will play for the conference title against Central Michigan. They make my ballot for the first time, at No. 24, thanks to a victory at No. 25 Navy.


Donny said...

So texas kills their last 4 opponents by an average score of 44 to 13 and they drop 4 spots???

Look, I have no doubt that TCU is very good. But lets be honest, if Utah or BYU... TCU's biggest wins played in the big XII south.

They'd likely be 4th or 5th place. They would not be favored against Okie State/Tech/Texas or OU. Yes, i know BYU beat OU by 1 point the first game of the year.

You are just trying to 'shock' people now because the season has been 'boring' to you.

Louis said...

I have been saying the same things about TCU all season. I have no doubt that the big 3 are the big 3 for a reason but on paper their demolishing of other teams are all sub-par teams to say the least. To be in the top 5 in both O and D and win big games on the road (including two against the ACC) should not go unnoticed. The system may have already all but picked its NC game but the Frogs deserve a shot at the split NC.

dethwing said...

It doesn't matter, but Temple has not yet clinched. They are 7-0 in the MAC and finish AT 6-1 Ohio in a winner take all showdown to face the Chips.

And just leave the "Team X would finish Yth in conferene Z" at the door. Because you don't know. No one knows. You're just speculating.

Mike said...

I understand your thinking, and agree to an extent that a team should be rewarded for beating a conference champ and especially Florida doesn't have much for quality wins.
Why wasn't that same line of thinking applied to other teams in the poll. Who have BYU and Utah beaten to deserve #13 and #14? They are essentially Temple dressed in MWC clothing and belong at the tail end of Top 25.

matttownson said...

Wrong, TCU is not the only team to beat 3 ranked teams. Nice job.
Alabama has beaten VT, LSU, MISS- all ranked in BCS top 25, which is what I assume you are going by.

PeteP said...

Donny ---
TCU would be undefeated with Texas's schedule.

Ask Vegas -- they have TCU as No. 2, behind Bama (of course, TCU is 8-2 ATS)

There are only two teams in the Big 12 South with defense (UT and OU) and only one with both defense and offense (UT). As such, TCU and UT are very close, so close that the only way we could know which is better is in the BCS.

Anonymous said...

While it may seem radical, it's really hard to argue with many of the things said in that article. The "big 3" are up there, and have been all year, based on the name of the school and the names of a few key players. Texas has played an absolute joke of a schedule, and Florida and Alabama have had to play one or two games for their entire season. If another team was in that situation, say Iowa with the controversy over them earlier this year, they would have dropped by now without a doubt.

mike said...

Saying X team would be undefeated with the undefeated Y team's schedule is boring conjecture. I think we can all agree that Texas and Florida haven't played many games of significance. You could just as easily say that Texas and Florida would be undefeated with their schedules too (Utah and BYU are ranked higher because of reputation, and they play in weak conferences, where having many older/stronger guys can be a big advantage).

I don't know whether TCU is better than Florida, Texas, Boise State, or an undefeated FCS school. I think a lot of teams could go undefeated with any of those schedules (taking into account the one "real" week followed by 2-3 "gimmie" weeks nature of the schedules - do any teams outside the Big 10 and Pac 10 play more than 1, maybe 2 weeks in a row against BCS top 40 opponents?).

But I know Florida and Texas have great players from their performance in past years against good teams, even if they haven't had a chance to prove it this year. So if I had a choice for one game, I'd go with the known quantity.

jason said...

You just lost ALL creditability with me....sorry. Are you joking?

mike said...

How about this for schedule strength - the 3 ranked teams TCU beat have a combined one win against current AP top 25 teams (an overtime win for Clemson over Miami). It's probably a byproduct of preseason rankings which keep these teams high as long as they beat their bad opponents.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for mentioning something that I have noticed for weeks.

Anyone who doubts the Frogs obviously didn't watch them play on the field.

The only competitive game would be Texas v TCU in Pasadena.

Go Frogs!

Anonymous said...

Strange how margin of victory is suddenly a major player in your rankings in a year that it suits your needs to give the "little guy" every angle possible. When you get done reading a sample of the last 40 or so blog posts you've made on this site, I can only come to the conclusion that at some point you will be lobbying Congress to strip every so called "big school" championship the last 12 years from the records in favor of MWC and WAC teams (but teams that win the SunBelt or Conf USA should never count as worthy teams to be scheduled by a UF (for example)...of know they suck as they don't beat Oregon every year...they just lose to SEC teams).

In your "fairness" article, you shoulda gone pre-bcs (FOR ONCE) with your stats...and show us how great it was and how everyone who "deserved" a shot at the MNC truly got one at a time conferences predetermined who'd play where even before the season started. Sure, compared to a playoff, the BCS sucks. But the BCS beats what we lived with for the 120 years of joke MNC's before by miles. The amazing thing is...had we kept that even more pathetic system, no one would have a case for Congress, no matter how silly the championships were doled out year after year. That disaster coulda gone on forever. I'm thankful the BCS, however imperfect it may be, has given us at least an opportunity to get better matchups regularly. I can only guess how many MNC's Ohio State and USC would own using the old system the last 12 years. I'm glad they've had to play Texas, UF and LSU along the way instead of the less than ideal matchup they would have played in the forced Rose Bowl matchup.

Finally, everyone here (and you) talk about how awful it is these "big teams" get so much built-in "cred" each year from past history. Yet when you really look at it...the reason you trust TCU, Boise, Cincy (and any other team not from the SEC or Big 12) is Utah's win LAST year vs. Bama and vs. Pitt in '04. And Boise's win of Oklahoma a couple years ago. You guys have your own built in belief system for why the "little guy" is surely gonna beat mean old Goliath every time. Your basically hypocrites on that subject, IMO. I realize the UF-Bama game is just going to be a display of a couple of bumbling-stumbling jokes of programs while Boise State caps off their incredible, awesome, historic year with a awe-inspiring win over New Mexico State (for what may as well have been the 10th time they've played NMst this year). I'll admit...what they do 12 of every 14 weeks is really inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Every team in the top 10 wouls be favored against Cincy!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a worthless poll; no wait it worth a laugh!!!!!!!!!!!

The Guru said...

Lots to respond here, trying to make it short and sweet:

@Donny: Shocking would be putting Michigan No. 1 and Notre Dame No. 2. TCU has a legitimate case. Ask yourself this: Would Texas be unbeaten if it had played TCU's schedule? I'm not sure if the Horns would've won at Clemson or BYU.

@dethwing: You're right about Temple, my bad.

@mattownson: I was referring to my own ballot. Ole Miss isn't in the Top 25 and nor should it be.

@anonymous (the last one): The "Fairness" article wasn't mine. Read the warning label. Also, I have never discounted MOV, in fact, I am always in favor of it, not against.

Victor said...

I enjoy reading your blog, but this set of rankings is pretty odd, at best. I have to agree about the shock value, because it looks very much like you've constructed the rankings in order to justify putting mid-major teams over AQ teams. Not only that, but you're holding different teams to different standards in order to sustain that ranking - as I pointed out in an earlier post several weeks ago.

One example - You're dismissing VT as "not good enough to play for the championship," and yet Clemson only has the luxury of a rematch with GT thanks to a weak division in a split conference. Compare the two teams, and they have many common opponents. The difference? VT has lost to three teams that you've ranked... while Clemson lost to Maryland. Your ranking is designed to help TCU's case and hurt Alabama's, but it makes no sense based on what's actually happened on the field.

A second example - Boise is ahead of Alabama/Texas/Florida based on its best win, but behind TCU and Cincy based on its resume. If best win is your criteria for ranking teams with equal records, Boise should be #1. If resume is your criteria, they should be #6. You're using one set of criteria to place them above the majors, but another to hold them below TCU/Cincy.

- Do Temple and Navy really have better resumes than all the unranked 3-loss teams? If you believe that Cincy is strong enough to be #2, doesn't that assign more credit to the 3 loss Big East teams they've faced? How about Central Michigan? Or based on the Boise argument, shouldn't Villanova be ranked ahead of Temple?

- I don't really understand the ranking of BYU and Utah at all. Utah has 2 top 10 losses, but their best win is Air Force? Louisville? BYU's best win is over a 5-loss Oklahoma, and their loss to Florida State hurts. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has the same record with both good wins AND good losses. Houston has the same record, with much better wins - including a ranked win. Are you valuing high-ranked losses more than high-ranked wins? If that's the case, Utah is the best 2 loss team, above both Ohio State and Oregon. If not, then I can't figure out what the criteria is for putting BYU at 13 and Utah at 14. I don't even understand what makes Penn State's resume strong enough to put them at #12 based on the above.


I do appreciate sticking up for the little guy, and I really enjoy cheering for the underdog, but this is pushing it a little bit...if you're trying to create an unbiased ranking, then all the teams (major or mid-major) need to be held to the same standards. The top 6 all have schedules that include good, middling, and bad teams. I don't give TCU any more credit for beating on Wyoming than I do Texas.

Anonymous said...

Unlike last year, this has been a fairly irrelevant year for a guru.

It strikes me that a valuable service you could provide would be to dissect the computer rankings and determine why your top team (TCU) is mired in 5th by the PC's.

What are they all doing wrong in your mind?

Anonymous said...

Your comments were a but vague guru. Were you throwing out Troy as a suggestion for Florida's second best win for shock value? Or is it your personal opinion that Troy is better than Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina & Kentucky?

I guess the 56-20 whooping that Arky put on Troy didn't grab your attention or the fact that Troy didn't beat a single team in the top 80 wasn't relevant.

Florida has won 21 straight, 20 of which have been by double digits. In the span, that have beaten two BCS #1 teams, they beat the preseason BCS #1 from last year, they ended a 34 game winning streak at night in Baton Rouge.
They even beat one of the 2 teams that beat TCU last year.

When they beat Alabama next week, you'll be the only one in the country claiming that they didn't deserve to go to Pasadena while TCU got jobbed.

btw - I like the idea of a 4 team playoff with the extra games being played the week after the conference championship games. Stick with that and try to stay away from your understandable bitterness about the Gators.

Donny said...

"Would Texas be unbeaten if it had played TCU's schedule? I'm not sure if the Horns would've won at Clemson or BYU."

Would TCU have beaten Okie State on the road 41-14?? Yes, TX beats those two teams. Texas has the bigger win of the two teams. Again... who has Utah or BYU beaten to justify being top 25?

Texas has beaten a top 12 BCS team. TCU?? crickets.

Again, no disrespect to TCU. They should be top 5. But TX's projected SOS is #20 while TCU's will be in the 50's.

Donny said...

More of the truth on TCU's supposed 'Strength' of schedule.

TCU's opponents played 19 DII (FCS) teams.
Texas opponents played 8.

TCU's opponents had wins vs 12 BCS conference opponents.
Texas opponents had 37 wins vs BCS conference opponents.

TCU played 2 games vs BCS conf opponents.
Texas played 9 games vs BCS conf opponents.

Look here to find the average SOS of all the comps.

Anonymous said...

To hop onto Donny's point. If one were to take ESPN's bowl projections seriously. Texas will have played 11 bowl teams. TCU just 5.

Its a shame these 2 won't get to prove their mettle on the field. This should be more about why a playoff is needed. Lets stop the nonsense about their being objective proof that TCU is better. If you are going to look at the raw data TX prevails. As for me, this debate is pointless anyway. LET THEM PLAY!!

Anonymous said...

Actually, who has Texas played? Okie State on the road? That's about it...

And let's look at Okie State: Who have THEY beaten? ONE ranked team - Georgia, who have beaten NO ranked teams.

To watch TCU play is to KNOW that they deserve to be at the VERY top...

Erick said...

Wow. I don't even think you believe the ballot you just made. This is purely shock value. You just lost some credibility with me.

Top 3 are Florida, Alabama, and Texas. Then there is an obvious gap back to the next echelon teams.

Anonymous said...

"And let's look at Okie State: Who have THEY beaten? ONE ranked team - Georgia, who have beaten NO ranked teams."

Funny stuff, considering what happened today, where Okie State loses to Oklahoma, and Georgia beats the ranked team in Georgia Tech.