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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hi. I assume that if you've reached this page you'd like to join.

Here are the steps:

  1. Have a blog. Write about football on it for at least six months. This is a minimum and does not guarantee admission.
  2. Email me here before proceeding. I'll look at your blog and evaluate it for suitability. As a general rule I'm looking for a certain level of original content. There isn't a hard and fast rule here, but just linking to other's articles isn't enough. Your own opinion and/or analysis must be featured. I should get the idea that you try to post something interesting on college football a couple times a week... ish. I will look at traffic numbers, too. As a general rule if you're getting over 100 visitors a day I'll look at that as a positive. I want the poll to grow but it can't get out of balance, so each progressive blog for a particular team is going to have to be more impressive. Make it so the idea of not including you is dumb.
  3. After talking to me, read the rest of this post.
The BlogPoll has a mailing list you should join. You can subscribe here. Freaking out about 100 emails a day? No need: the list is moderated and the volume on it is on the order of two a week. It's used to inform you of various events that are going on in the BlogPoll world: roundtable discussions, the weekly ballot box being posted, and the results each week. That's it.

You are politely asked to follow the guidelines laid out below.

Teams should be ranked without regard to future schedules. Please don't rank Purdue high because they miss Michigan and Ohio State this year. Teams should also not be ranked on their performance in previous years. At all times it should be an approximate ranking who would beat who on a neutral field this year.

Winning counts... but style counts, too. There just aren't enough games to make a true determination of who's number one without taking a vague impressiveness factor into account. That's life in college football.

The difference between this poll and the other polls--and the reason people might care about it--will be the communication between poll voters. Since bloggers have exactly zero credibility compared to AP members and coaches, we have to build our poll in a different mode. It's really important that you as a voter listen to the other voters in the roundtable discussions and the like. If someone provides a convincing argument about a team, please be open minded enough to admit wrongness and change your ballot. What's convincing? Well, that's up to you. Feedback and the give-and-take of blogging is critical to the poll. Be a part of the discussion, and change your mind.

Votes are due by Monday at midnight, giving you two full days to pull your life back together after that devastating loss... and, hopefully, to give you some time to think. The poll is a full top 25 in the mold of the AP and coaches' polls.

Vote submission is covered here.

Talking more important than voting. We have periodic roundtables (bimonthly from June to August and then weekly during the season) wherein two or three interesting questions are asked and all voters (and non-voters, for that matter) are encouraged to participate in. When ballots are submitted, some commentary on the unusual aspects of yours is desired. No one is going to be a hardass about it, but effort makes you look 31337.


In addition to a straight-no-chaser poll, each week will feature an ever-expanding set of cool ancillary things. What these ancillary stats cover will be a function of the ideas I get and my proficiency at turning said ideas into cold hard numbers in Excel. As of right now, these things will show up every week:

The Top Five "Wrongest" and "Rightest" Ballots: Based on the total error in each ballot. Each week the top blog on each list will be given a fancy title--"Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence," respectively--and politely requested to comment on their ballot. Mr. Bold is asked to convince poll voters that he is right on a team or two he has ranked strangely. Mr. Numb Existence is asked to evaluate Mr. Bold's argument, decide whether he buys it, and declare if he will adjust his rankings accordingly next week (pending the games, of course). Should either Mr. Bold or Mr. Numb Existence be unable to participate in this exercise, the next blog on the list shall step forth into the void.

The Top Five Most Contentious and Most Harmonious Teams: This is based strictly on the standard deviation of teams in the top 25. Each week, the coach of the Most Contentious team will either lose or win spectacularly, thus proving somebody correct--ah, excuse me. I'm being informed that we don't have that power. Damn. Anyway. There will be less fanfare about these categories, but they should provide an interesting look at the teams that spawn the most disagreement.

The following ideas haven't been implemented yet but are being considered:
The Bias Meter: Each pollster will be rated based on the relative ranking teams in his conference get compared to the blogpoll at large. The top rated blog will be shamed into not being such a homer.

Delta Tracking: A note of the teams moving up and down from week to week and the different-est ballots week-to-week, etc.

Weighted Polling: Poll voters will be rated on Internet Authorita(!) and a second poll will be released that weights all ballots by IA. IA is a fuzzy notion to me at the moment, but I think that it would be distributed by other voters to people who make convincing arguments during roundtables or just in general, sort of like message board rep. IA would be logarithmic to prevent one totally awesome blogger from overwhelming the poll.