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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.

Wow. I believe this is the first time in Blogpoll history that voters have spit on the general consensus for #1 and gone their own way, and not only is AP/Coaches #1 USC not first but they aren't even second. Oklahoma and LSU have surged into the top two spots on the strength of their opening two weeks; USC gets to return serve this weekend against Nebraska. Other major gaps between the bloggers and the AP:

  • Penn State is the highest ranked Big Ten team instead of third. The three suffered to be in the poll:

    I'm obviously biased, but the BP ordering makes much more sense given Wisconsin's narrow escape over UNLV and OSU struggling with Akron. PSU, meanwhile, clunked Notre Dame... though it remains to be seen how meaningful that is. Initial returns: not very.
  • Bloggers are much higher on Oregon (#14) than the AP (#19).
  • They're also sufficiently impressed with Washington and South Florida to move them in at #22 and #21, respectively; both are unranked by the AP.
  • Virginia Tech, barely hanging on at #25 in the blogpoll, is #18 to the AP.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:We now have some ammo:
  • Rakes has some weird placement for a lot of teams, probably because of resume ranking stuff, which I will get to later. Anyway: Arizona State #5?
  • Bruce Ciskie is still holding on to Boise at #21. The Fiesta Bowl is so over, Bruce.
  • One of many totally egregious rankings from Dawg Sports this week: Cal #21. This is also a "resume" thing.
  • Saurian Sagacity drops Cinci in at #10 after their fluky turnover fest win over Oregon State. No other voter has them higher than 17th.
  • They also have Clemson #4. WTF?
  • They also have Florida #17... WTF WTF?
  • And they're not even the most pessimistic about UF: Rakes has them #20, Dawg Sports #23.
  • The Hoosier report holds on to Miami at #22. Miami(OH)? No.
  • Dan Shanoff puts Rutgers #3.
There are more wack anomalies with the ballots of Rakes and Dawg Sports. It's all pretty weird out here in week two.

Hey, at least no one put Appalachian State #13. Not that they could have if they wanted to anyway.

Note: the CSS below is messed up. Sorry. Will fix ASAP.

Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.

Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.

This week's Mr. Bold. is not SMQB but another proponent of this "resume ranking" thing I railed against last week: Dawg Sports. To get a number like 9.0 in this category, you have to be totally insane. One glance at this ballot confirms: UCLA #3, Washington #4, Missouri #5, BC #6, etc. etc. etc. Because beating one of the worst schools in a BCS conference (Stanford and Syracuse for UCLA and Washington) and a respectable mid-major (BYU and Boise, respectively) is much more impressive than beating Auburn on the road (#9 USF)? And beating Tennessee thoroughly means nothing if a couple quick scores in a road game against Colorado State narrows that game and causes you to rank Cal #21? Pure resume ranking often produces incoherent results in the first few weeks, but this ballot doesn't even make internal sense and comes dangerously close to the level at which I would spike a ballot.

Look: it's good that bloggers have paid attention to the first couple weeks enough to elevate LSU and ding VT and do all the things that made this week's poll an interesting item, but there is a happy medium between rote AP "they win they stay" and this stuff. At this point, polls should still have some element of projection if only because many teams haven't actually shown their wares on the field. When we get into week five and week six, resume rank all you want (and by the end of the year, you should have completely discarded your preseason projections for Actual Events), but at the moment is leads to incoherent, silly-ass ballots. All things in moderation.

Mr. Numb Existence goes to Arkansas blog RazorBloggers and their completely reasonable, if slightly dull, ballot.

Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.

The CK Award Ramblin' Racket returns to wrest the CK Award away from Bruins Nation after a one-week hiatus. Last year any blogger with the hubris to rank high in this category saw his team immediately struck down... GT #5 deserves some smiting, oh yes.

Holy crap, what did Florida do last week that so soured Saurian Sagacity? The Straight Bangin' Award is theirs for dropping UF from #5 to #17 after the Gators beat Troy 59-31. Maybe the 31 alarms? Were there no meaningless garbage time touchdowns?

Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.

Mr. Manic Depressive also goes to Dawg Sports. When you entirely throw out your previous ballot in favor of something insane, you tend to win here.

Falcon Nation, a Bowling Green blog, was unmoved by last week's events and wins Mr. Stubborn. LSU clattering Virginia Tech really only warrants a four-spot drop from #5 to #9? (Also: Oregon drops a spot after beating Michigan like a mule? I mean... obviously Michigan isn't that good, but that's harsh.)