Thearon W. Henderson
Oregon's not No. 1 in the BCS. But the discerning eyes of BlogPoll voters see the Ducks as the nation's best outfit.
Alabama was the BlogPoll No. 1 last week, with Kansas State was No. 2. But after the Tide got turned back by Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, Oregon blitzed by California and it's Chip Kelly's Ducks, not Bill Snyder's Wildcats, who take the top spot in this week's BlogPoll.
Oregon earns 44 first-place votes in the Week 12 BlogPoll, more than half of the total cast, but Kansas State earns 24 first-place votes of its own and is less than half a point per ballot behind the Ducks.
Alabama's fall isn't very steep: the Tide roll in at No. 4, behind unbeaten Notre Dame at No. 3, and Alabama still gets two first-place votes. Nick Saban's crew is also more than two full points per ballot ahead of Georgia, which rounds out the top five and puts distance on No. 6 Florida. The Bulldogs' evisceration of Auburn certainly looked better than Florida's escape from the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns, of all teams.
A&M's big win boosts the Aggies into the top 10 at No. 10, where they sit behind No. 9 Ohio State, the lowest-ranked undefeated. That's partly thanks to Louisville's loss to Syracuse: the Cardinals plummeted eight positions after it, from No. 11 to No. 19.
Elsewhere, Kent State makes an appearance in the top 25 at No. 23, Michigan jumps 10 spots to No. 24 after accomplishing the feat of vanquishing Northwestern in overtime, and Oklahoma State moves up seven spots on the heels of a dominant win over a team with no discernible pass defense, and you have no idea which Big 12 team I'm referring to, do you?
Wack Ballot Watchdog
There's a case for the No. 1 votes Alabama got, and On the Banks makes it in part by keeping the Tide No. 1 and moving Texas A&M up to No. 4; if you think the Aggies are good and a close loss to them is noble, you might not penalize the 'Bama team that is still statistically dominant very much at all, especially because their win over LSU is perhaps the nation's best not newly owned by A&M.
But CougCenter makes its case for 'Bama with a formula that has produced some wonky results this year, and one that has strength of schedule and simple scoring margin as two thirds of the calculations. 'Bama's strength of schedule is artificially inflated by the presence of Mississippi State, and its scoring margin probably impacted by playing Arkansas and Missouri without their starting quarterbacks. I question whether a formula as simple as CougCenter's can account for that sort of thing.
Weird note: despite the two first-place votes, no one has Alabama No. 2. I guess voters are either sticking with the Tide on top or not, for the most part, though that doesn't explain Over The Pylon making them No. 8.
Notre Dame blog One Foot Down has the Irish No. 1 this week, and explains that by saying that their two best wins are marginally better than Kansas State's two best wins and way better than Oregon's only good one. I seem to remember that Notre Dame's "decisive" win against Oklahoma came with a couple of late touchdowns, including one the Irish didn't need to score, and that Notre Dame has been far less impressive week-to-week than K-State, but do you, OFD.
And, finally, I don't have to write about a first-place vote for Ohio State, because Notre Dame caught up to the Buckeyes' 10 wins over FBS teams, which should logically have ended OBNUG's reign of Buckeye-backing terror ... but OBNUG didn't submit a ballot this week.
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, Boston College) would all be at the top.
|1||Ohio St. Buckeyes||17.67||6.43|
|2||Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||6.25||3.65|
|3||Oregon St. Beavers||8.78||3.53|
Blah, blah, no one knows how good Ohio State is. At least we can see that there's a ton of uncertainty about the Buckeyes even without the OBNUG vote this week.
First up are The Chip Kelly Award for Boldness and Jim Tressel's 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 Champaign Room||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||2.94|
|2||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||2.27|
|3||Let's Go Rockets||Toledo Rockets||ballot||2.21|
|4||The Crimson Quarry||Indiana Hoosiers||ballot||2.09|
|5||Rock M Nation||Missouri Tigers||ballot||1.79|
Tom Fornelli of The Champaign Room has Ohio State No. 5, LSU No. 11, Northern Illinois No. 15 (Northern Illinois lost to Iowa), Oklahoma No. 22 despite a powdering of his No. 16 team, Texas, at a neutral site, and UCF No. 24 despite not being the best team in C-USA. Bold, yes, and almost as dumb as rooting against Italy!
|1||Red and Black Attack||Northern Illinois Huskies||ballot||0.96|
|2||And The Valley Shook!||LSU Tigers||ballot||1.04|
|3||Garnet and Black Attack||South Carolina Gamecocks||ballot||1.05|
|4||Sippin on Purple||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||1.12|
|5||Card Chronicle||Louisville Cardinals||ballot||1.20|
Red and Black Attack, amusingly, isn't as bullish as Fornelli or MAC blog Hustle Belt (which has NIU No. 16) on its own Huskies: they check in at No. 25, a spot behind Kent State.
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||Burnt Orange Nation||Texas Longhorns||ballot||4.26|
|2||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||3.71|
|3||Eleven Warriors||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||3.33|
|4||Barking Carnival||Texas Longhorns||ballot||2.26|
|5||One Foot Down||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||ballot||1.85|
I understand Texas getting its standing back because of how the Longhorns have played of late, and I had them in my top 10 in my first ballot. But this isn't about overrating a bad team; it's about a No. 14 vote being a shoo-in for bias if there's a drop from one tier to another somewhere right around the top 15 and the team in question is in the lower tier. For contrast: Stanford blog Rule of Tree would have had a massive -5.03 bias if it had ranked the Cardinal No. 18 this week, because they actually sit at No. 14 with a healthy 13.03 points per ballot average.
|1||Red and Black Attack||Northern Illinois Huskies||ballot||-0.51|
|2||BCS Guru||USC Trojans||ballot||-0.49|
|3||Sippin on Purple||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||-0.11|
|4||Frogs O' War||TCU Horned Frogs||ballot||-0.11|
|5||Let's Go Rockets||Toledo Rockets||ballot||-0.07|
See what I mean about RABA's vote being amusing?
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.
|1||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||104|
|2||OverThePylon||Ball St. Cardinals||ballot||96|
|3||The Crimson Quarry||Indiana Hoosiers||ballot||92|
|4||Mountain West Connection||Utah Utes||ballot||90|
|5||The Champaign Room||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||78|
Combine Corn Nation's big swing number with its bias rating and it's clear that our Nebraska blog is bullish on the Huskers' win over Penn State at home. To this, I note: Penn State lost to Virginia on the road, too.
|1||Garnet and Black Attack||South Carolina Gamecocks||ballot||42|
|2||Burnt Orange Nation||Texas Longhorns||ballot||50|
|3||Barking Carnival||Texas Longhorns||ballot||50|
|4||Red and Black Attack||Northern Illinois Huskies||ballot||50|
|5||Sippin on Purple||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||54|
I imagine being a South Carolina blogger this year is really unfulfilling, and the Gamecocks' bye week probably wasn't spent watching much college football. I'm fine with that.
Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.