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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Previously: Preseason; Week 2.

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

Ohio State's win over Texas snaps the poll into agreement: the Buckeyes now dominate the #1 votes. I hope to wake up in a panicked sweat to find out this is all a dream any moment.

Fallers: Texas clearly had to lose ground after losing decisively and did but stayed in the top ten.

Teams that struggled against what appeared to be vastly inferior competion were all punished similarly. Florida State dropped three spots to #12 after their Houdini act versus the mighty Troy Trojans of Troy (We're From Troy). Note that FSU remained static in the AP poll. Iowa's "whoops" moment against Syracuse also cost them three spots; ditto Tennessee's narrow escape versus Air Force.

Finally, Miami lost a lot of ground by association after the FSU-Troy game. I personally dropped the 'Canes a few slots just to keep them behind the plummeting Seminoles and I assume many other voters did likewise.

Risers: OSU didn't really go anywhere but their hold on the top spot went from tenuous to vice-like. Georgia and Michigan rose by default, as someone had to leap past Iowa, FSU, and Tennessee. BC's OT thriller versus Clemson earned them a debut at #20.

Wack Ballot Watchdog: SMQB has gone retro, 2005 style, and features Boise State in the top ten. Bruce Ciskie missed the end of the BC-Clemson game, evidently, ranking the Tigers #12. TrojanWire hates #19 Florida. Cheap Seats has South Carolina #20... what? And Florida State #5 but Miami unranked, down from #11 last week? What? Is San Jose State on this ballot somewhere?

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.

Mr. Bold is (ack) Notre Dame's House Rock Built, probably because he conducted his latest exercise in ballotry like it was a blind taste test:
Initially, I wrote down the top 35 or so teams on index cards, then flipped them over and wrote the results from their games. On my first pass, I ordered the teams strictly by looking at the back of the card, completely ignoring the name on the front.
Flashcards! For the BlogPoll! Everyone else without excessively complex systems for determining their ballots is hereby on notice. Anyway, this went as you might expect:
Suffice to say, my first pass was batshit crazy (e.g., Pitt was at #8), and would have resulted in Brian from mgo driving down to my house and kicking me in the pillbox.
So he made some changes to tone it down a bit. Nonetheless, the results:
  • Oregon and Tennessee bullishness: #5 and #6, respectively. UT actually flew up 12 spots despite the Air Force business for reasons unrelated:
    You see, this is the week that I officially removed all weighting of preseason rankings from my standings. For the preseason, I was fine letting everybody slide by on hype and power rankings, and even after week one, I didn't really make changes while everybody whipped themselves into shape by beating on patsies.
  • Hate hate hate! for WVU (#15), LSU (#17), and Louisville (#21).
Note that this week's winner in this category is approximately half as wacky as our winner last week (if you assume a reasonable error minimum is posited by the Numb Existence guy).

Mr. Numb Existence is from Russell Levine of Football Outsiders. As per usual, this category is no fun to talk about. But FO is one of the best sites ever.

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.

For a second straight week, The CK Award has proved a heavy weight around the necks of the overrated teams. JournoRock, the winner last week, is an Alabama fan: the Tide escaped with a 13-10 win versus Vanderbilt. Penn State bloggers spent the first couple weeks in the #2 and #4 slots: the Nittany Lions were obliterated by ND. Beware! This category has dark and fey powers.

With that in mind, congratulations to our co-winners. Journorock tempts fate for a second straight week; he's joined by the Badger Sports Report. The CK Award would have to be mighty indeed to strike down the Tide when they play Louisiana-Lafayette, but Wisconsin is hereby on upset alert versus San Diego State. Also, watch MSU get crushed by Pitt.

Straight Bangin' Award should probably be retired and replaced with another award defined as "the voter most pessimistic about his team who isn't Joey from Schembechler Hall." He'll probably have to cede the trophy next week, as minds will be made up one way or the other when Michigan plays ND.

Swing is essentially 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.

SMQB repeats in the Mr. Manic-Depressive category. Week 2 provided some clear answers on many teams (Ohio State, for instance) that brought SMQB's ballot closer to the average; since it was so far out last week that obviously requires some seismic shifting.

One question, though: was Pitt's 33-15 victory over Cincinatti sluggish enough to drop them entirely?

(Don't get me wrong, I like voters in this category more than voters in this one:)

Mr. Stubborn is Iowa State blogger Cross Cyed. Some of that is an aftereffect of being right -- OSU was already #1, ND #2, Texas relatively low at #5 -- but Penn State is obliterated and they drop one slot? Okay.