Tuesday, November 3

Poll dancing, week 9: I believe some apologies are in order.

I apologize to you, the reader, for incompetently composed BlogPoll and SEC Power Poll ballots based on what little information I can remember through the haze of nearly a half a bottle of George Dickel No. 12 during the Cocktail Party game on Saturday. But y'all are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to people to whom I owe apologies, a group that includes, though is not exclusive to, my mom and dad; all three of our dogs; Holly; the Georgia coaching staff; any of the little kids who came to our house for Halloween candy; Mrs. Wilkes from down the street; that cop in the Tahoe on Macon Road; all of the employees working the third shift at Denny's; and the entire Northside High School girls' volleyball team. I, uh, didn't know it was hanging out like that.

And I apologize.

Games watched: East Carolina-Memphis, a little bit of South Florida-West Virginia, flipped back and forth between Iowa-Indiana and Auburn-Ole Miss, Florida-Georgia, Tennessee-South Carolina.

The next five: Brigham Young, Tennessee, South Florida, Wisconsin, Utah.

Dropped out: Utah (21), West Virginia (24).

· The top three get reshuffled once again, with Florida (who finally rediscovered their offense, at Georgia's expense, of course) and Alabama (who had a bye but only looked so-so in their previous game, against Tennessee) swapping places. Texas, who decimated Oklahoma State in Stillwater, holds on to #2.

· I have a feeling Boise State and Oregon are going to be tied to each other for the rest of the season in consecutive slots, as Oregon's rapid ascent continues to make Boise's dominating win over them on opening Thursday look that much more impressive. No matter how high the Ducks rise, I can't in good conscience put the Broncos below them.

· Southern Cal probably deserved to drop more than three spots for getting the dog beaten out of them by that Oregon team, but let's face it, there's a huge dropoff once you're outside the top 10. Bad as the Trojans looked in Eugene, would you put them below LSU or Houston at this point? I obviously wouldn't. (Still, I have to laugh at the above picture, which apparently depicts Death coming for USC's Rose Bowl hopes.)

· Only two of the two teams who drop out of my ballot actually lost, but Utah took forever to put away a lousy Wyoming team at home; West Virginia, meanwhile, did the courtesy of losing to a South Florida team that's usually spending this part of the season tanking their way right out of the top 25 themselves.

· In their places go Texas Tech, who stomped what was supposedly a good Kansas team (but may not be anymore), and Auburn, who got back on the side of the angels by pounding an Ole Miss squad that was supposedly bouncing back.

And the SEC Power Poll ballot:

1. Florida -- Yeah, they're a great team, and Brandon Spikes can go die in a train derailment. Sorry, was that me being a sore loser? Please let me show you where to shove -- er, send your complaints.

2. Alabama -- Got jumped while they were on their bye week, which is probably unfair, but their passing game needs to show some major improvement against LSU this week.

3. LSU -- If they were looking ahead to Alabama while playing Tulane on Saturday, I must've missed it. They're going to give the Tide everything they can handle.

4. Auburn -- Got a big game by the offense when they most desperately needed one. Looks like the Chizik/Malzahn doubters who all of a sudden burst forth from the woodwork may have to keep quiet for another couple weeks.

5. Tennessee -- The defense remains top-notch despite a barrage of injuries, even Crompton is looking good . . . has Kiffykins righted this ship a whole lot more quickly than any of us realized?

6. Ole Miss -- I'm done trying to figure them out. Can we just send them their Music City Bowl invite already and be done with it?

7. Georgia -- The offense can't stop turning the ball over, the defense can't stop anybody, and the coaching staff's idea of a bye-week adjustment is black helmets. Good Lord, I'm actually looking forward to the start of basketball season.

8. Arkansas -- Blowing out Eastern Michigan isn't enough to make up for the turd you laid on the field against Ole Miss, Hogs.

9. South Carolina -- Thanks, 'Cocks. It's nice to know Mark Richt isn't the only SEC coach against whom Lane Kiffin is undefeated.

10. Mississippi State -- They've got exactly two more SEC wins than I predicted they'd get this season, and they're only two wins from bowl eligibility. Can anyone say with absolute confidence that the Bizarro Bulldogs aren't going to beat Arkansas and Ole Miss to close out the season?

11. Kentucky -- They've got Eastern Kentucky and Vandy the next two weeks, so there are your six wins, but I wouldn't count on any more than that.

12. Vanderbilt -- Finally discovered an offense. Too bad the coupon was only good for the first half against Georgia Tech.


Holly said...


JanuskieZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

"No matter how high the Ducks rise, I can't in good conscience put the Broncos below them." I'd ask you to reconsider--not now, but certainly toward the end of the season. I know your poll is more of a power poll (the fact that Tennessee is even sniffing the poll reflects as much), and a power poll could generally be defined as "a poll that ranks each team above all those against which it would beat head-to-head a majority of the time on a neutral field". So when you have actual H2H evidence, I get why you value it highly.

However, valuing the 8% of a team's schedule that is any H2H game to the complete exclusion of the other 92% of those teams' remaining schedules would lead to really dumb results in some cases. For instance, it would give ND the '93 national championship over FSU, despite the fact that ND had a much less impressive season outside of that game. It averaged 35.6 PPG and gave up 17.9 against a schedule that was 72-57 in other games. Not bad. FSU averaged 41.2 and gave up just 9.9 (!!) against a schedule that was 91-50 (!!). It annihilated an extremely tough schedule--outside that one game. Furthermore, ND played BYU and Navy, while FSU played exclusively major conference teams (where have those days gone, by the way), so FSU's opponents' SOS is likely as strong or stronger, too. FSU clearly deserved to be ranked ahead in the polls, and I make that statement as an ND alum.

This year's case is even tougher to evaluate--BSU is undefeated, Oregon obviously has that loss. Right now, I would rank BSU ahead myself. But I certainly would have no problem moving Oregon past them if Oregon's results (and BSU's) warrant it in coming weeks. Which they likely will, if both teams keep winning.

Keep up the good work (and maybe rethink your placement of Pitt relative to OSU and TT--fewer losses against just as good a schedule as either team),


Dan said...

Brian: If you're going to put a team that wins all of its games behind one of the teams they beat, why the fuck even play the games? If that happens at the end of the season, all the mid-majors should just form their own subdivision and play for their own national title, because they'll have hard proof that they'll never be allowed to win this one, results on the field be damned.

Head-to-head doesn't mean everything when both teams have a loss. If BSU loses, I'd drop them behind Oregon in a heartbeat. But when the winner of the head-to-head game hasn't lost to anyone, it's kind of hard to find evidence to overturn the verdict from that matchup.