New Blogpoll ballot

As usual, ballot below and brief commentary below the jump:

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama 2
2 Texas
3 Florida 2
4 Virginia Tech 5
5 Boise State 1
6 Cincinnati 1
7 TCU 1
8 LSU
9 Miami (Florida) 11
10 Southern Cal
11 Iowa
12 Ohio State 6
13 Kansas 1
14 Penn State 2
15 Oregon 4
16 Oklahoma State 1
17 Auburn
18 Nebraska 6
19 Brigham Young 2
20 Georgia Tech
21 Wisconsin
22 Mississippi
23 South Florida 2
24 Missouri
25 South Carolina 8
Last week’s ballot

Dropped Out: Houston (#7), Oklahoma (#13), Georgia (#16), Michigan (#23).

I now have Florida third. I know they didn’t play last week, so why did I move them lower? Tebow’s injury. This is not a resume thing, it is an intrinsic “power” ranking, and I think it fair. Had Tebow gone pro, we would have devalued them early, and the fact that Tebow might not play certainly affects one’s prediction for the Gators’ game against LSU. I don’t see why I’d have to ignore it. It is subjective, but that’s balloting. I have Alabama ahead of Texas because they have played quite well all year. This early though the whole 1-2-3 distinction is quite moot; it will be settled on the field one way or another.

A brief digression about resume ranking based on above. I like the resume ranking movement, but I disagree that it is the end all, be all of ballots. Yes, traditional power/prestige/reputation/impression ranking is subjective and often biased (sometimes intentionally, usually subconsciously). But that’s not a reason to go pure-resume, it is the reason why one person’s ballot doesn’t entail the whole. The various perceptions and little nuggets of insight get compiled into one specific whole — the wisdom of crowds. Computers aren’t allowed to consider margin of victory — regardless of how predictive that stat is for who might win a game — so their rankings have flaws, but humans can judge not just the margin but also the tenor of the game. Sometimes that is misleading, but, again, amalgamated, these subjective impressions can be a positive. LSU has not looked as good as their record; that is fair to consider, for example.

In any event, the rest of my ballot isn’t too controversial I think. It is the usual mix of “wow that team is lower than I thought, but hey I don’t like them that much more than the teams above them,” and “wow that team is higher than I’d think, but how do I rank them below a team with losses/bad losses/etc.” In other words, it is a quasi-rational quasi-subjective mix. The only notables are that I felt quite punitive to both Houston and Oklahoma. Oklahoma will have many chances to redeem itself and get back into the mix — two out of conference losses is not so crippling if they rebound. Houston might not have those opportunities, but you can’t lose to UTEP. I’m sorry. If they keep winning they will likely sneak back in (to some extent dependent on how Oklahoma State looks for the rest of the year), but them’s the breaks when you’re a non-BCS school. It’s not an argument against the small conferences, but there are simply fewer opportunities to evaluate those teams.

  • Homyrrh

    No Colorado?

  • http://smartfootball.com Chris

    Is that a serious Q? They are 1-3? http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/teams/ccn

  • Curious

    I guess he meant Colorado St. :D

  • Homyrrh

    Yeah, I was definitely kidding. I find TCU at #7 very wise.

  • James

    No Wisc? Just think they deserve a spot as it might be their only chance with OSU coming up.

    Personally I’d keep Aub lower until they play a quality team. Their SEC schedule until LSU has 1 win (MSU over Vandy) in conference play. Even if they lose to LSU as a first loss and You had them ranked 17 then I would be inclined to move them up if they played well (@LSU at night).

  • Greg

    Wisconsin is #21.

  • JC

    On Wisconsin!

  • headsigh

    I still don’t get how South Carolina is only 25. But that’s just me.

  • Fourth

    Chris, thanks for your defense of subjectivity in balloting. I’m just going to have to refer people here when I get in these silly resume ranking arguments online or irl.

    If I were you though I would find a spot for Oklahoma (sidenote: not an OU fan). You said you considered Tebow’s injury in dropping Florida; did you consider Bradford’s (likely) return? Also note that if Oklahoma had Penn State’s or Missouri’s OOC schedule they would be undefeated. The Sooners lost a neutral site game to your number 19 and a road game to your number 9 by one point each, and they did it without their Heisman qb who should be returning this week or next. I would drop Missou this week, then Missou can just replace Nebraska next week if they win that game.

  • Fourth

    headsigh:

    That loss to Georgia isn’t looking so great after Houston beating OkSt, then UTEP beating Houston. Not to mention Georgia picking up another loss to LSU.

    That said, South Carolina should probably be ahead of Ole Miss.

  • Linus

    The difference between Auburn’s and LSU’s rankings are 100% based on their results from last year. Because they have the same record this year, and Auburn has looked way better than LSU. But pollsters look at last year, see 5-7, and think “how could Malzahn possibly be getting THAT much more out of what is basically the same crew” and assume they’ll fall back to earth.

    What’s that? Chizik is the head coach at Auburn? Huh. Well, that’s embarrassing.

  • MJRuffalo1

    Question. Which is a worse loss in your mind. Losing a very close game to a not so good team, or getting destroyed by a very good team?

  • http://smartfootball.com Chris

    MJRuffalo: I’m not sure it can be so easily equated. Depends also what a “not so good team” is. UTEP is worse than not so good, so that hurt Houston a lot. It’s hard to say otherwise without specifics.

  • MJRuffalo1

    Let’s take USC and Miami for example. You have them 9 and 10 in your poll.
    USC loses on the road to UW by a last second FG, and Miami loses on the road to a better team in Virginia Tech, but were beaten badly all game long. In your opinion which is the worse loss?

    Though I would like to add, that too many people seem to focus more on who a team lost to as opposed to who a team beat. In the end who you beat counts for more.

  • Nate

    Chris, When are we gonna see a breakdown/film study of Jim McElwain’s offense at Alabama? They’ve changed a lot from last years grind it out pro style run-run-run style of play. McElwain added the pistol and a lot more vertical passing. They’ve also run a few plays out of a double wingback pistol set. I’m curious as to your take on the new offense.