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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurray we're different. Sort of. Struggling Joe has been tracking the BlogPoll in relation to the AP poll for the last few weeks. This week we've managed to put different teams in 19 of the 25 spots, but in general the differences are just transpositions. The biggest disagreements are about Cal (AP 13, BP 16), Arizona State (AP 18, BP 15), and UCLA (AP 25, BP 22). These similarities will probably only increase as the season shakes itself out and things get more and more obvious.

Strange that 45-50 bloggers with obviously different voting philosophies--Eagle In Atlanta pounds teams for every loss (not to pick on EIA--it's not wrong, just different) where I've moved teams like NC State and Arizona State up after tough losses against excellent competition--and ballots that range from staid to flapjack nuts would produce a result so similar to the AP poll... unless you assume that they're just flying blind, too, which I do.

Readers and bloggers are hereby invited to ponder and respond to the following queries:

Is being different even desirable?

I assume so, since a poll that's exactly the same as the existing polls isn't very interesting to anyone.

Is achieving difference via "wacky" ideas a terrible idea?

I had an idea that you could pick a team or two and your ranking of that team would be counted double or triple. So you pick a team you feel very strongly about that seems under/overrated to you and your opinion there carries more weight. This could be another poll auxilary at first maybe become more official at a later date if everyone likes it.

Is being different even feasible?

To some extent the results towards the beginning of the year are total speculation and thus not really subject to callouts--I said that the Enlightened Spartan's ballot preseason was terrible and look how that turned out. Results towards the end of the year are largely dictated by results. So, early in the year our ability to analytically do something different is limited and late in the year our ability to move teams around without looking ridiculous is likewise limited.

Should we agree on a set of guidelines for all voters?

Right now we're definitely voting at cross purposes; what's reflected in the poll is not only a difference of opinion but a difference of methodology. I have to believe that if people were voting strictly based on how good a team appears to be Arizona State would be much higher after losing to LSU on a couple of very fluky special teams touchdowns. If people were voting strictly on results, Michigan would be behind ND. But because people voting with 100% of A or 100% of B or 50/50 or whatever combination you desire and strictly on a whim in some cases, we get the poll as it is, which looks an awful lot like the AP poll and has the exact same incoherencies.

So, then, what should those be?

And, finally: How can we communicate better?

I don't get the feeling that we're really absorbing information from other pollers and adjusting our polls accordingly, which is, like, the primary goal here. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.