Monday, October 05, 2009

Traditional Polling Sucks

Here is the Coaches’ Poll

1 Florida (57) 4-0 1473
2 Texas (1) 4-0 1408
3 Alabama (1) 5-0 1366
4 LSU 5-0 1273
5 Virginia Tech 4-1 1141
6 Boise State 5-0 1133
7 USC 4-1 1123
8 Ohio State 4-1 1072
9 TCU 4-0 965
10 Cincinnati 5-0 937
11 Miami (FL) 3-1 750
12 Penn State 4-1 713
13 Oklahoma State 3-1 702
14 Iowa 5-0 655
15 Kansas 4-0 616
16 Mississippi 3-1 460
17 Oregon 4-1 433
18 Missouri 4-0 386
19 Auburn 5-0 369
20 Brigham Young 4-1 353
21 Oklahoma 2-2 346
22 Nebraska 3-1 329
23 Georgia Tech 4-1 278
24 South Florida 5-0 220
25 Wisconsin 5-0 156

It can’t be taken remotely seriously.

First of all, Florida and Texas have played virtually nobody. The best win for Florida is Tennessee, who has also lost to UCLA and Auburn. Texas’ best win appears to be 3-2 Texas Tech, themselves losers to Houston.

Houston totally dominated Oklahoma State, who appears 13th here at 3-1. Houston, also 3-1, is unranked. You either rank them both (presumably with Houston ahead) or not at all.

Why in the name of Pete Carroll’s facelift is USC ranked 7th? Several unbeaten teams fall behind them (8, to be exact) and countless 1-loss teams who lost to better opponents than 2-3 Washington do likewise. Stanford and Notre Dame, who both have one-loss, beat Washington, yet neither are ranked at all. USC is 7th based solely on past reputation. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be ranked, but they should be much higher, or at least near where Notre Dame and Stanford deserved to be ranked.

Ohio State – the Bucks have played one decent team, and lost. And that gets them an 8th ranking?

Iowa, unbeaten and an impressive winner at Penn State, appears here at 14th. Their scoring defense is 10th nationally, and they held PSU to only 10 points at home. Shouldn’t they be a little higher, at least?

Finally the sole reason Auburn, South Florida and Wisconsin all, while unbeaten, appear 19th or higher is based entirely on preseason preconceptions. Everyone of them has a more impressive resume than USC or Ohio State at this point (or Texas or Florida for that matter), yet they are barely ranked?

The polling this year is an outrage. Sure, it is early, and may sort itself out. But to say that USC has a better title shot than Auburn right now is un-effing-believable.


jj gator said...

What really kills me is that Bitche State is ranked so high when, for all intents and purposes, they go RUTS on cupcake teams week after week - unless these dopes in the media consider their upset of Oregon a "moral victory" (LOL)

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda appalled that Houston loses one game and is out of the poll, and all the people I know who are defending Oklahoma and USC (among others) remaining in the polls after their loss because they don't want to see a lot of shakeup from week to week, because one bad game doesn't represent the team necessarily, say that Houston deserved to fall out because they lost to a bad team and obviously weren't that great to begin with, just like everybody was saying. [/rant]

Mergz said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention Oklahoma. How in the hell is a 2-2 team here after the 5th week?

Promotional Products Blogger said...

It is slightly ridiculous. But still- I think the Gators have reason to be at the top.

Oklahoma is a joke though, I agree with Mergz.

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Griffin Caprio said...

I just wrote about this issue yesterday with regards to the AP Poll:

The entire Big 12, frankly, is getting propped up.

Gator KGB said...

I can't figure out why anyone bothers to get worked up about this stuff at this point of the season.

1. Why rank 25 teams anyway? Why take it past 10?

2. All polls are biased, one way or another, intentionally or not.

After 5 or 6 weeks, those that have watched dozens of games, hopefully quality games should have some idea of the strengths and weaknesses of them and make some sort of intelligible estimation of the best 10-15.

Same as it ever was.

Floridan said...

"But to say that USC has a better title shot than Auburn right now is un-effing-believable."

Of course its believable. Looking at the rest of the schedule, the Trojans are much more likely run the table than is Auburn. The Tigers are unlikely to even win their division (what do you think the line will be on the AU-Bama game?).

No one can prove anything right now, but I would bet the final poll will be much closer to the coaches poll than it will to one done on a "resume" basis.

Mergz said...

I'd have to disagree Floridian, not with your estimate of who has the easier schedule here out between Auburn and USC but with the overall premise.

I have done studies on this in the past, but where you are at this point in the season in the polls is VERY important to where you end up. The polls are essentially saying right now that IF Auburn were to lose one game, and USC ran the table, USC would get the BCS title nod over Auburn.

It has happened before (see 2003). In fact no team ranked higher than 19th preseason has ever got to play for the BCS title, regardless of their final record.

Finally who cares what the "final" poll looks like when it is decided by the same people who make the current poll. That is exactly the problem!

Henry Louis Gomez said...

A bit of semantics. Mergz said : " In fact no team ranked higher than 19th preseason has ever got to play for the BCS title, regardless of their final record."

When he says higher, he means numerically. Technically no team ranked "lower" or lowlier position. I always see number 1 as top ranked and everyone else below.

But Mergz point is dead right. The final poll is a direct descendent of the preseason poll. Teams move up or down incrementally but there is a ceiling and floor for most teams based on preconceived notions about those teams. The season simply isn't long enough and there's far too little meaningful inter-conference play to overcome these biases.

Floridan said...

If, indeed, no team ranked below 19th in a preseason poll got into the BCS championship game, the obvious question is which of those low-ranked team deserved to make into that game?

But beyond that, I would say your contention that the "friction" of the polls prevents a low-ranked team from rising to the top is not correct.

One need go back no further than last year when Alabama began the season not ranked in the top 25 in the USA Today Coachs' poll (the Tide was 24th in the AP poll). By the fifth week, Alabama was ranked fourth, and by week 10 they were in first place. Of course, they didn't playin the BCS Championship game because they lost to Florida in the SEC Championship game. Hard to blame that on the polls.

Or maybe you feel Utah should have played for the National Championship. The Utes were unranked in the preseason polls, yet they cracked the top ten by the 9th week,and rose to 7th by the 11th week. They stayed in that position largely because of the team ahead of them, none lost until the final week of the season (Number 1 Alabama losing to number 4 Florida).

I would contend that Utah's claim that they deserved to be in the BCS Championship game makes sense only in retrospect (due to their victory over the Tide). Sure, they were undefeated during the regular season, but so was Hawaii the year before.

Rob said...


In the same way, Hawaii claim to be in the BCS title game only gets rejected in retrospect, due to their loss in the bowl game.

A supposed contender getting nuked in a championship game wouldnt be the first time that had happened - 1995 being a perfect example.

Floridan said...


I would argue that neither Utah (2008) nor Hawaii (2007) had a valid claim to be ranked numbers one or two, and thus be in the BCS Championship game.

The fact that both teams ended the regular season with undeafeated records does not outweigh their much less taxing schedules, among other factors.

Also, thanks for reminding me about the 1996 Fiesta Bowl -- I've been trying for over a dozen years to block that disaster out of my memory.

Rob said...

Utah had a valid claim over every team except the OK/Tex/TT group.

That claim was a chain of wins leading from Utah to team X, without one in return. If you want to argue that Utah was 4th behind the 3 above (or 5th behind Boise + those 3), Im okay with it. But none of the other 115 teams should have been ranked in the top 2. And yes, Im putting an insane amount of weight on "bad losses". Insane, but logical.

I think Florida would have won a legit playoff, but in our current "every week is a playoff" setting, Ole Miss should have eliminated them.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

A supposed contender getting nuked in a championship game wouldnt be the first time that had happened - 1995 being a perfect example.

Or FSU in 1996 or OSU in 2006 or OU in 2008.

Look, 120 teams. 12 games for each. Very limited interconference play. Somebody is always going to get jobbed because there's no tournament (and yes people will still get jobbed but at least you have a better chance of capturing the real top 2 if you have a field of 8 or even better 16 teams playing). There is no doubt that a tournament would add a greater degree of legitimacy than the current system.

Floridan said...

Rob: "And yes, Im putting an insane amount of weight on 'bad losses'. Insane, but logical."

An insanity plea? First you have to prove you don't know right from wrong.

HLG: "There is no doubt that a tournament would add a greater degree of legitimacy than the current system."