Monday, September 29, 2008

BlogPoll Ballot Week 5

Once again we employ our resume method of ranking, but there are two different classes now – winners (undefeated) and one-loss teams. We will apply our “tier” system to look at both classes. Top ranked teams will have a victory over top-tier teams (in this case that is Alabama and LSU). For our one-loss teams, we will look at quality of loss in a similar way we look at quality of wins. One-loss teams may be ranked ahead of undefeated teams if the undefeated team has played no quality opponents.

What to do with the Big 12?

The problem we have with the Big 12 is their bizarre schedule this year. There are 5 undefeated teams that, because they have not yet started their conference schedule, have not played anyone significant (with one exception). You have a group of 4-0 teams that have played a bunch of nobodies. At this point the strength of the conference is vastly overrated. Note to Big 12 – PLAY SOMEBODY.


Florida

The more I looked at it, the worse the Gator’s situation looked compared to many other 1 loss teams. Face it – we lost, at home, to a very mediocre team. Not to mention we really haven’t defeated anyone of consequence yet. There are many better situated one-loss teams than Florida, and we won’t be ranked. (Note to observers – this is not a case of “Woe is me, big loss, I won’t rank my team”. It is very justifiably based, if you read what follows).

The Rankings

1. Alabama – dominating road win at Athens easily gets them here.
2. LSU – second best win this year is the Tigers over the Tigers, at Auburn.
3. Oklahoma – the one exception to the Big 12 problem – win over TCU was a good win.
4. Boise State – that’s right. Win over Oregon the next best win I could find.
5. South Florida – Kansas a good win here.
6. Vanderbilt – South Carolina puts them here.
7. Connecticut – win over Louisville nets this spot.
8. Kentucky – also beat Louisville.
9. Northwestern – don’t laugh. Wins over an improved Duke team, and Iowa, get them here.
10. Penn State – by my reckoning, Oregon State and Illinois aren’t really that good.
11. Missouri – best wins are Illinois and Nevada. I’m not impressed.
12. Oklahoma State – best win is Troy.
13. Texas Tech – going to have to beat someone better than Nevada to rank higher.
14. Ball State – wins over Indiana and Navy. Both are better than Rice (below).
15. Texas – Rice is the best win for the Longhorns.
16. Utah – when Michigan is your marquee win, I’m not impressed.
17. BYU – best win is Wyoming.
18. Georgia – loss to number 1 makes them best of this class.
19. Auburn – as does losing to number two for AU.
20. TCU – only loss to our number 3 team.
21. Cincinnati – see TCU.
22. Kansas – loss to our number 5 team.
23. Tulsa – undefeated, but a bunch of nobodies.
24. Duke – sole loss is to Northwestern, our 9th team.
25. Boston College – sole loss to Georgia Tech

Now before some of you express your indignity, what I think is exactly this – Georgia Tech is a better team than either Ole Miss or Oregon State, the teams that defeated Florida and USC respectively. Thus neither the Gators nor Trojans get ranked. There is plenty of time and opportunity for both teams to get back in, if they deserve it – right now they don’t.

And the point isn't whether Texas is "better" than Ball State. Pretty much, that is irrelevant to me. The point is Ball State has beaten Navy and Indiana, and Texas has beaten Rice.

So once again, let me know what you think. Convince me of my errors, and I will change them in time for Wednesday final poll.

UPDATE: I want to clear up a couple of misconceptions about my voting.

First, THIS IS NOT A POWER POLL. This has nothing to do with who is "best" (which, I submit, normal polling does a poor job of this early in the season). This is about who is most deserving at this point in time. That's it. I'm not trying to predict who will win between whom. If that is your opinion of traditional polls, then its time you realize they stink at it. USC was a unaminous number 1 a week ago. How did that work out?

Undefeated teams, by definintion, are generally more deserving than those with losses, and my poll reflects that. It is important to remember that, over the course of the season, these things take better shape. If Vanderbilt wins the SEC (an enormous IF), then they will stay highly ranked. If they lose several times, as expected, then they will fall out. By no means is what you are looking at a final product.

Following up that last point, just because Florida and USC are not ranked now, they are by no means "out of it". In Florida's case, if they beat LSU in two weeks, they will be very much back in it. I think polls that allow a certain position for a team based on what can only be reputation (USC right now) are a massive disservice to the sport at large.

Finally, imagine if my poll was The Poll, the one that got to decide who played in the BCS Title game. What relevance would the rankings have now? The answer is absolutley none, as it is the final poll that would decide it.

Contrast this with the AP and Coaches' Polls. Current positioning is of nearly overwhelming importance. Teams that are too far "out" often have no chance. And that is patently unfair.

Imagine if Oklahoma goes undefeated, and the issue is which 1-loss gets to play them. Say the choices are 1 loss USC, and 1 loss Virginia Tech. Well, according to the current polls, USC gets the nod simply because of positioning.

There should be no "entitled ones". Play it on the field.

10 comments:

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Holy shit Mergz, you truly are a selector now.

dethwing said...

I think you're giving too much credence to who the 1-loss teams lost too. I agree that's important, but equally important is the question of who they actually beat. Take Kansas. Losing to SF is not a bad loss. But who have the beat? La Tech?
I'm more impressed with say Virginia Tech, who although has a worse loss, has balanced it with THREE good wins over Nebraska, UNC, and Georgia Tech [all 3-1]

Amos said...

Not sure I agree with you that Louisville is better than Illinois, though I think both are on the bad side of things.

Also, when does the actual strength of schedule kick in for this and "I think team A is better than team B" go out the window (since in a full resume-ranking it must)?

Scully said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scully said...

Well you do work in the financial industry so there is no reason no to expect you to be in overreacting mode at this point. I suggest you check out vegasinsiders.com. There you will find a top 30 poll, which is formed by the people that come up with the lines on the games. This poll is probably a better gauge for where the teams are at this point of the season, since the voters care about one thing and one thing only - money.

LeakBrewerGator said...

I don't believe this shit. I come here to see some good 'ol fashinoed homer picks and this is what I get!

Florida should be number one b/c they only lost by 1 point. You know it, I know it, every Gator fan knows it.

Kudos on not letting your rooting interests effect your blogging. You're a better man than I....

Aaron said...

Mergz,

Good post. I come to this site because you guys give reasoned commentary on my Gators.

Keep up the good work.

Brown Hornet said...

do you get an AP ballot? great poll. There should be wide swings in the poll from week to week, especially in the early weeks when perception is fueling the rankings rather than performance on the field.

I am a Gator Alum ('95) but had to ask: What about Va Tech? good wins against Ga Tech, UNC, Nebraska...

Ian smith said...

Auburn is the only team unmoved. “Unmoved” can also describe the ball after most Auburn drives. They have a good defense, but if Tennessee hadn’t committed an unforced error (fumbling the ball into their own end zone without any pressure from the Tigers at all), they would have lost to a horrific Tennessee team. Vanderbilt just may do the unthinkable this weekend and beat Auburn.
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Anonymous said...

ian,

If, if, if, if, if...

Clint Stoerner.
Bill Buckner.
Ernest Byner.
Walt Coleman (the "Tuck Rule" referee).

Sports history is chock full of "ifs." Allbarn may very well fall v. Vandy...but they did EXACTLY what they had to do against UT.

yankeegator