The first college football BlogPoll of the season is out at its new home on SB Nation. Ballots were submitted by 117 blogs, most of which voted Alabama No. 1, although six teams earned first-place votes. Brian Cook breaks down all the results.
Welcome to the BlogPoll 2010 and its unfortunately boring decision that an Alabama team replacing 10 defensive starters should be No. 1.
Oh well. Last year when it seemed like Alabama was probably better than Florida the poll did move away from the rote "win-stay No. 1" mentality of the other polls and spent several weeks tossing the No. 1 back and forth between the two teams, eventually settling on Alabama before the SEC Championship Game resolved that question permanently. With this college football season lacking a clear frontrunner--any of a dozen teams can plausibly hope to end up the national title game right now--chances are the top of the ballot will be an unusually chaotic place this year. Should be an interesting year to see how the blog-folk change in ways the AP and Coaches polls do not.
Total Ballots: 117
Each week the BlogPoll comes out, we will break it down into the following sections to analyze the results ...
Justify Your Existence
Notable differences between the BlogPoll and the coaches' poll (excepting USC, which is eligible for this poll since it doesn't have any impact on the BCS and ineligible to the coaches for the opposite reason):
- Boise State is No. 3 here, No. 5 there.
- LSU is No. 20 here, No. 16 there.
- The blogpoll is higher on Oklahoma and Georgia Tech by two spots.
Not a whole lot of difference here, but it's early.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
This is where ballots that are obviously goofy go and I cock an eyebrow at the voters if they haven't attempted to explain their weird decisions. This only starts once the season does since before results it's just, like, someone's opinion, man.
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 No. 25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
|2||Oklahoma Sooners (3)||18.6||5.24|
|3||North Carolina Tar Heels||7.1||5.19|
|4||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||8.0||5.08|
USC finishes at the top here due to uncertainty about how their 67-scholarship roster full of blue chips will hold up; Oklahoma is second, with some folk seeing a 7-5 team that was amazingly unlucky both on the field and with injuries last year and others just seeing a 7-5 team.
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.
|1||The Purple Wimple||TCU Horned Frogs||ballot||4.73|
|3||Frank Helps You Think It All Out||Tulane Green Wave||ballot||3.71|
|4||Red Cup Rebellion||Mississippi Rebels||ballot||3.55|
|5||BCDraft||Boston College Eagles||ballot||3.42|
Next week this will be the exclusive province of a band of dedicated "resume voters" who chuck out expectations after week one and rank based on only the results in week one. This will make for really weird ballots until about week five, when the rest of the poll generally falls in line.
But for now we've got one guy a considerable distance from the rest when it comes to the weirdness of those expectations: TCU blog The Purple Wimple. Usually when a mid-major blogger hits the top of this list the reason is the guy went nuts with the non-BCS teams, and this is the case here: TCU is No. 4, Utah No. 10, Houston No. 11, and Temple No. 19. Air Force and Tulsa round out the rankings. It's the preseason poll so whatever, but I'm warming up my eye-rolling muscles for midseason when the Mountain West has more teams in this ballot than the Pac-10.
|1||Streaking the Lawn||Virginia Cavaliers||ballot||1.38|
|2||Leftover Hot Dog||South Carolina Gamecocks||ballot||1.58|
|3||Frank the Tank's Slant||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||1.88|
|4||Mountain West Connection||Utah Utes||ballot||2.08|
|5||Arizona Desert Swarm||Arizona Wildcats||ballot||2.14|
There's usually not much to say about the ballots that hew the closest to the actual poll except to praise them for their foresight or condemn them for their inability to think outside the bun. This goes triple the first week when there's no actual evidence.
Next we have the Coulter/Kos 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.
|1||Eye of the Hurricane||Miami Hurricanes||ballot||7.30|
|3||WV Mountaineer Sports||West Virginia Mountaineers||ballot||5.48|
|4||BCDraft||Boston College Eagles||ballot||4.68|
|5||The Purple Wimple||TCU Horned Frogs||ballot||3.95|
A reminder/introduction: this is bad. For the past three years the poll has tracked the fate of the teams that "win" this dubious award against the spread and straight up. The results have been a warning to anyone daring enough to overrate their team. Last year the award was 10-3 against the spread. Underperformance is almost guaranteed. Last year's most horrifying CK-inspired result: Nebraska committed more turnovers than they scored points in a 9-7 loss to Iowa State.
This won't be a big deal for Miami, though, as their first game is against... drumroll... Florida A&M. Maybe it will linger on to their week two matchup against Ohio State--last year the CK Award waited through a bye to wreak its terrible vengeance on the Cornhuskers.
The Straight Bangin' Award
|1||Dawg Sports||Georgia Bulldogs||ballot||-5.66|
|2||Arizona Desert Swarm||Arizona Wildcats||ballot||-0.85|
|3||Subway Domer||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||ballot||-0.76|
|4||Blog Ten||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||ballot||-0.76|
Without actual losses to send fans into a cycle of self-loathing, most of these entries are tiny margins representing little other than the voter being a spot off. The one exception is Dawg Sports totally omitting No. 21 Georgia from its ballot.
Unfortunately for Dawg Sports, the poll has not rewarded humility like it has punished cockiness. Ranking Georgia Tech seven spots above Georgia guarantees nothing.
Swing is 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.
Swing does not exist the first week.
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