Monday, October 31, 2011

The Guru's BlogPoll (Week 9)

The Guru's BlogPoll ballot, with comments below:

* Without question, LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the country. We'll find out who is better this week. There is a small, but not completely insignificant possibility that we might have a rematch. That will be predicated on how close this game is and also how the other contenders perform in the coming weeks.

* The top of my ballot remains pretty stable, as the two weakest (previously) unbeaten teams were exposed last week. There is a major shakeup in the Big Ten with both Wisconsin and Michigan State losing. That will be the conference to watch in the season's final month, as it's the one that's most in flux.

* The teams that are most likely to go unbeaten in the regular season, in order of my estimation (from most likely to least likely): Boise State, Houston, Oklahoma State, Stanford, LSU, Alabama.

* New teams that made the ballot this week: Georgia Tech, Texas.

* Conference-by-conference tally: SEC (5), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (4), Pac-12 (4), ACC (3), C-USA (2), MWC (1), Big East (1).


Anonymous said...

If FSU blows out BC this Thursday night (as they have their last three opponents- Duke, Maryland and NC State- I know, poor competition) any chance they are back in your top 25?

Clark said...

I note that USC fell 5 spots in your poll. My comment isn't about their placement, but their movement. Is there any possible outcome that could have resulted in them not moving at all? I realize the poll is all about refining what we know about teams as the season goes on and more data is collected, but there is a possibility (perhaps a small one) that at the end of the game we can say "Whaddaya know. Both those teams were exactly what I thought they were." If that were the case, no movement in the polls would be warranted for either team. Your top 6 has remained largely static for several weeks (if I recall correctly). So, what would it have taken for USC to have not moved in this weeks poll? If they'd scored a TD in the 3rd OT, but come up 1 inch short on the 2 point try? Or if they'd lost in 5 OTs instead of 3? They came about as close to beating a top 10 team as you can, without actually doing it. Isn't there an argument to be made that they are, therefore, the closest thing to being a top 10 team without actually being one? (I.e. why not rank them #11, or Stanford's rank +1?)

Certainly 1 game does not a season make. (Though it does make about 1/8th of one at this point.) I admit that I didn't watch the game. I'm not a USC fan, nor a Stanford fan. Also, rankings also depend on the other teams; perhaps the teams that passed USC in the poll were more impressive than a narrow loss by USC, and thus deserved to move ahead of USC. It's a complicated thing.

It's not really this specific instance that I'm getting at, but the general practice. I feel strongly that it should be possible in most instances for a team to not move after a game. Not that I would expect it to happen regularly, but the possibility should exist. Just some food for thought.

(p.s. I would argue, however, that in the case of two closely ranked teams (Alabama/LSU comes to mind) there may not be the possibility of not moving in the rankings after playing. Such is the difficult nature of ranking 120 teams based on a 12 game schedule (or less throughout the season.) I don't mean to be critical, and enjoy your blog, but I just wanted to provoke some thought on ranking protocol.)

The Guru said...

@Clark - I get what you're saying and you make a lot of sense. But here's why USC dropped:

I try to operate the ballot a little bit like the standings, i.e., the teams are ranked more or less by record, with some discretion on moving the teams up or down irrespective of records.

Now, once USC becomes a 2-loss team, it'd be illogical to put them ahead of Arizona State, another 2-loss team that beat USC head-to-head. And this model is applied throughout the ballot, where I always rank two teams with identical records according to their head-to-head results, if any.

So in essence, I'm doing the ballot more or less like how the NFL does its standings, but with some latitude.

The Guru said...

As for FSU, they're not going to be back in the top 25 until Wake is back in the top 25. They have identical records but Wake won head-to-head.

See above post on my methodology.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts on TCU as they head in to Boise?

The Guru said...

This will be Boise's last hurdle for an undefeated season. TCU might be game for a half, but it won't win on the Blue Turf.