Bad Voter of Week 11 -- Jon Wilner (posted 11/5/08)
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This is Jon Wilner's second week in a row as Pollspeak's Pick, but his first unanimous pick for the season. Texas Tech fans likely led the charge in voting against Wilner, but we can't blame them.
Wilner is the only voter to rank Texas over Texas Tech after the Red Raiders defeated the Longhorns just last week. This is about as obvious a case of ignoring head-to-head results as we've seen.
While he wasn't alone on the following choices, he also ranked Alabama, Penn State, and BYU lowest (or unranked in BYU's case). On the opposite end of the spectrum, he ranked South Carolina, North Carolina and Texas highest, while giving Florida their only number #1 vote.
While he does have a lot of extremes, he actually has most head-to-head matchups ordered as you would expect. The Texas Tech vs. Texas one being the major exception.
We spent enough time on Wilner last week so we'll keep this brief and move on to a more positive topic.
Good Voter of Week 11 -- Kirk Herbstreit (posted 11/5/08)
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Kirk Herbstreit's week 11 ballot is surprisingly average for a fan favorite. He has no extreme votes and only one near-extreme (TCU). He did rank Texas lowest at #7, but 12 others agreed with him. He has some head-to-head matchups out of order (for example, Michigan State #17 over California #20 over Maryland #23), but Maryland has been a very hard team to predict and has some terrible losses, and Michigan State has the most wins of the trio (for now). We're not sure why the fans picked Herbstreit this week; regardless, it's an overall good ballot, so we'll go along with the readers and make it unanimous.
There are signs that the polls are going to Hell in a hand basket. We saw the signs that opened up our eyes, and now you can too. Also, tips on understanding Sagarin, and why did the Coaches drop Texas like they're hot? Read about it in this week's blog on SI.com.
TO HELL WITH THE BCS
With Texas losing, all Hell has broken loose in the polls. If you need proof, note Penn State received six (6) first-place votes in the AP Poll and Texas Tech received six (6) in the Coaches' Poll. Harris Interactive just released its sixth (6) poll of the season. There are six (6) computer polls and if you include the AP Poll and the BCS Standings, six (6) of ten rankings have Alabama No. 1. Oh, and this is my sixth (6) blog of the season. Three (half of 6) different teams received a No. 1 ranking from the BCS components: Alabama, Texas Tech and Texas. Two of those teams feature red as their school colors (crimson & scarlet), and while Texas may be orange, it's burnt orange. Can the signs be more obvious?
Not only do the BCS components disagree, there's plenty of disagreement within the human polls as well. In the AP, four different teams received a No. 1 vote (Alabama (46), Texas Tech (12), Penn State (6) and Florida (1)), while four did in the Coaches' Poll (Alabama (40), Penn State (14), Texas Tech (6) and Oklahoma (1)) and five in Harris Interactive (Alabama (79), Penn State (17), Texas Tech (16), Florida (1) and Texas (1)). While this isn't dissension of Biblical proportions, it's a far cry from the near-Nirvana of the past two weeks.
DESPERATELY SEEKING SAGARIN
Recently, I've received some feedback about the Sagarin Ratings. It can be hard to determine BCS rankings at the official Sagarin Ratings site because teams are ordered by Sagarin's standard rating instead of the ELO_CHESS rating, which the BCS uses. The inclusion of FCS teams at the official site complicates matter further, because only FBS teams play in the BCS. This week, for example, James Madison finished No. 20 in the ELO_CHESS ratings and Appalachian State ranked No. 50. Sagarin Ratings are usually the first of the BCS components made public on Sunday morning, but you can easily read the actual BCS list here at Pollspeak.
Since we're plugging Pollspeak, we just published an article detailing some BCS flaws and how to fix them. There are some serious concerns, including issues with security, which could be the BCS's undoing if not corrected. Hopefully these concerns can be addressed because I am actually a fan of the BCS overall.
One part of the BCS I don't like, however, is the use of secret ballots. This week I would really like to know how the coaches dropped Texas to No. 7. That's a big drop for an away team losing on a last second play to another top 10 team, especially when Texas has played the toughest schedule in the top 10 (Sagarin ranks the Longhorns' schedule seventh overall).
Looking at the AP for some clues, Maurice Patton ranks Oklahoma over Texas by the largest margin (five), but amazingly, 16 other voters followed him. Some voters have exceptionally short memories.
Jon Wilner not only cast the lone No. 1 vote for Florida, he was also the only voter to rank Texas over Texas Tech. Although the coaches may be low-balling Texas, Texas Tech is certainly one team that can rightfully jump over the Longhorns.
Finally, if you need more proof that all Hell has broken loose this week, note that in the current Wolfe Ratings Central Methodist is ranked 666. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.
For more poll analysis, go to pollspeak.com.
Learn about four flaws in the current system that must be corrected if the BCS is to survive. Pollspeak's most intriguing special feature yet includes never before released information about how the BCS works. Click the link above to read it or check out the new "Features" menu at the top of every page in the Football section.