Blogpoll ballot

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas 2
2 Alabama
3 Florida 1
4 Cincinnati 1
5 Iowa 1
6 TCU 1
7 Boise State 1
8 Southern Cal 3
9 LSU
10 Georgia Tech 2
11 Penn State 2
12 Oregon 2
13 Oklahoma State 4
14 Houston 2
15 Virginia Tech
16 Utah 2
17 Miami (Florida) 7
18 Pittsburgh 1
19 West Virginia 1
20 Ohio State
21 Central Michigan
22 Brigham Young
23 Arizona 1
24 California
25 Wisconsin
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: New Mexico (#1), Texas Tech (#21), South Florida (#23), Idaho (#24), Kansas (#25).

A little movement at the top: I thought Texas looked the best, while Alabama struggled with Tennessee (hail Cody!) and Florida again looked less than superior, at least on offense (defense played great, again). (And I don’t think anyone who watched the UF-Miss. State game thought it was just a defensive struggle and that, in actual fact, the football was a superior brand.) After that I still like the undefeateds hanging around. I moved TCU ahead of Boise because they have looked great. Not entirely fair, but, hey, that’s polling. Cincy continues to look dominant within the domain of the Big East, even with its backup quarterback, and so hold off a one-loss Southern Cal team. GT continues to be a tough, tough team — many wrote them off as underrated early, and they probably were, but they have responded to the Miami game and have done all you could ask for. The next batch of teams will have to continue winning to stay up there or rise, and in the case of teams like Oklahoma State, that would involve huge upset victories over Texas and if they can do that, the sky is the limit (though likely not the BCS title game). The same goes for Oregon, who faces Southern Cal this weekend.

Central Michigan made it on here as my underappreciated team. They managed to beat Michigan State in excruciating fashion (much as everyone else has seemed to do). Cal and Wisconsin snuck back in after earlier stumbles and have a chance of moving up if they continue to play well.

Blogpoll Ballot

Rank Team
1 New Mexico
2 Alabama
3 Texas
4 Florida
5 Cincinnati
6 Iowa
7 TCU
8 Boise State
9 LSU
10 Miami (Florida)
11 Southern Cal
12 Georgia Tech
13 Penn State
14 Oregon
15 Virginia Tech
16 Houston
17 Oklahoma State
18 Utah
19 Pittsburgh
20 West Virginia
21 Texas Tech
22 Arizona
23 South Florida
24 Idaho
25 Kansas

Okay, so the obvious thing is I ranked New Mexico #1. This was a protest vote, as I initially tried to make my ballot with the #1 slot empty. It kicked it back to me so I had to remake the ballot all over again. I watched all three of the “top three” teams last weekend — Texas, Florida, and Alabama — and am not impressed by any of them. Well that’s not totally fair. All three defenses look solid overall, with Florida’s putting in the weakest performance by far (I think Arkansas runningback Dennis Johnson is somewhere still breaking tackles), and Mark Ingram is a difference maker for the Crimson Tide. Yet none has distinguished themselves — and the next batch of undefeateds have serious questions about their strength of competition — so I picked a hopeless team to be a placeholder, Mike Locksley’s inept New Mexico squad. Again, were the software to let me leave it blank, I would have.

From there, much of the debate recently was about USC’s low spot with the computers when the BCS poll came out. Well count me with them. They lost to Washington, which means they have no right to complain about anything, and they haven’t exactly looked dominant in their other wins. (And it doesn’t help that Ohio State looked awful against Purdue, Washington lost to Arizona State, and USC nearly let Notre Dame fight back.) They have time to recover — I’m looking forward to the USC-Oregon game — but for right now, they are where they are. If nothing else, both Miami and LSU have “better” losses than does USC.

From there, the biggest difference is I probably have Houston higher than many. For the moment I’m willing to forgive their fluke loss to UTEP, though I reserve the right to penalize them again later. They’ve looked quite good otherwise, and their offense will keep them competitive in any game they play.

Finally, I felt dirty leaving Kansas in the poll after they lost to Colorado, but felt I didn’t have much choice. I did let Idaho sneak in there — the Vandals are 6-1 and deserve it as much as any of the other teams in the 20-30 range.

Mummepoll Ballot

The ballot is below. Again, the Mummepoll requires you to rank the top five teams and then just select, in any order, the next seven. This intent is for a more original polling format. Also, there is still time to join, as voting is open to everyone. (And if you missed last week, they are allowing a mulligan on voting.)

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Cincinnati
  • Boise State
  • Virginia Tech
  • Miami
  • Iowa
  • TCU
  • Kansas
  • South Carolina
  • Ohio State

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).

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Blogpoll Week 4 Ballot

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

Some minor commentary after the jump.

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Blogpoll Week 3

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas 2
2 Alabama 2
3 Florida 2
4 Penn State 1
5 California 3
6 LSU 4
7 Boise State
8 Mississippi 3
9 Cincinnati 6
10 Miami (Florida) 7
11 Virginia Tech 7
12 TCU 3
13 Houston
14 North Carolina 7
15 Oregon State
16 Kansas 7
17 Missouri
18 Florida State
19 Brigham Young 13
20 Oklahoma 1
21 Michigan 1
22 Pittsburgh 2
23 Washington
24 Southern Cal 22
25 Ohio State 5
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Utah (#12), Georgia Tech (#14), Nebraska (#16).
Not too much to add here, though it is starting to be difficult to reward teams for victories over specific teams and penalize others for losses. Do I honestly think Florida State is better than Oklahoma, in a power poll sense? Not really, but FSU has played the better schedule and gets more credit for thrashing BYU, who beat OU, than OU does for thrashing whoever it has played over the last two weeks. I think Southern Cal has a lot of problems that getting Matt Barkley back won’t fix (with QB coach Jim Bates calling the plays, another guy named offensive coordinator, and Pete Carroll — coupled with the vacuum left by no Sarkisian/Kiffin — do you think USC might have too many cooks in the offensive kitchen?). And then with Boise-Cal-LSU I kind of waffle: I want to reward Boise, but the Oregon win doesn’t look as great in hindsight, they let Fresno back into the game, and the other teams have looked pretty solid. Hard to say. (And LSU’s win over Washington looks pretty good now.)
The most intriguing game to me is one where I didn’t quite know how to rank either team: Virginia Tech vs. Miami. I have VT ranked higher than some other one-loss teams. I do think Nebraska is better, and getting statistically buzzsawed by Alabama while keeping the game close isn’t bad for a team a lot of folks feel is playing the best in the country. Miami has looked great against FSU and Georgia Tech, but it’s not clear what that means. We’ll find out a lot this week.
Last, the movement at the top: Texas and ‘Bama over Florida. This is maybe ephemeral, but, while neither Texas nor Florida dominated, I liked Texas’s win over Texas Tech a lot more than I liked Florida’s win over Tennessee. And Alabama has looked consistent. More on UT-UF later.

Smart Football’s Week Three Blogpoll

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Southern Cal
3 Texas
4 Alabama
5 Penn State
6 Brigham Young
7 Boise State
8 California
9 TCU
10 LSU
11 Mississippi
12 Utah
13 Houston
14 Georgia Tech
15 Cincinnati
16 Nebraska
17 Miami (Florida)
18 Virginia Tech
19 Oklahoma
20 Ohio State
21 North Carolina
22 Michigan
23 Kansas
24 Pittsburgh
25 UCLA

[Update: Third time’s the charm… I had UNC [and Ohio State] listed twice. I removed them and Pittsburgh snuck in. Wannstache is due for an upset loss, but otherwise his team is 2-0 and is the same squad people thought would win the Big East, though Cincy looks better so far.]
More “gestalt”

  • There’s a solid case to be made that USC should have leapfrogged Florida to be number one because they played a quality opponent, but I can’t get past my gut feeling that Florida would roll USC if they played right now. Later in the season? Who is to say. UT sleepwalked part of the way past Wyoming — and they have more questions than does Florida, obviously — but if the ‘Horns throttle Texas Tech at home (who I dropped this week for playing nobody, and have their chance to jump up this weekend as well), then they could shoot to #1.
  • Penn State also leapt in front of ‘Bama as they still had a bit of a hangover from bruising up Va Tech, and I’m keeping the mid-majors like BYU who have beaten people ahead of teams like LSU and Ole Miss who still look like they will be standing at the end of the year but haven’t been truly tested yet. Houston jumped up this week after the big victory against Oklahoma State — who I actually dropped, because seriously — and Utah might be a little high but we’ll see how they do against an unimpressive Oregon squad. If the Utes manhandle the Ducks, then that could really jam up impressions of them as compared with Boise State.
  • For some others, Cincy is surging, Georgia Tech is hanging on, Miami is heading into more of its terrifying part of the schedule, and I gave Michigan the nod into the polls. Notre Dame had risen to as high as the top 15 in some polls; the Wolverines have looked much better than anticipated so they snuck in ahead of teams like Texas Tech that got dropped for not playing anyone legitimate yet.
  • Some of the losers remain in the polls: I couldn’t drop all of them too far. I don’t know if that counts as improper path dependence because they were mostly highly ranked teams previously, but I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech are going to win plenty of games this year, despite early stumbles.

Smart Football’s blogpoll entry

For the first time, I’m participating the BlogPoll. Below is my preseason Top 25. During the season, I should post this weekly. (Technically you’re supposed to post it by Monday for commentary and then revise it on Wednesday, but we’ll see. I am happy to hear all commentary about my selections thought.) Below is my preseason ballot:

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
4 Southern Cal
5 Penn State
6 Ohio State
7 Alabama
8 Virginia Tech
9 LSU
10 Oregon
11 Mississippi
12 Oklahoma State
13 Georgia Tech
14 California
15 TCU
16 Boise State
17 Georgia
18 Utah
19 Nebraska
20 South Florida
21 Pittsburgh
22 Notre Dame
23 West Virginia
24 Texas Tech
25 Nevada

Now, some words on methodology: (more…)