Not even winning the nation's best conference could help Alabama erase Notre Dame's BlogPoll lead. But while the Irish stay No. 1 for the fourth straight week heading into bowl season, Alabama is less than a point per ballot behind at No. 2.
The points-per-ballot average of the BlogPoll is supposed to give a better indicator of how close teams actually are, and it does that well this week. After Notre Dame finished its undefeated season and Alabama waxed Auburn, the Irish were nearly 1.5 points per ballot ahead of the Tide; after Alabama added a win over Georgia to its C.V., the Tide sit exactly .70 points behind their undefeated BCS National Championship foes.
Elsewhere, the top three remains unchanged, with Oregon checking in at No. 3, but No. 4 Florida is up one spot and less than a quarter-point behind the Ducks. Kansas State is a near-unanimous No. 5, and Georgia slides to No. 6 after falling to 'Bama. Stanford moves up a spot with its Pac-12 title in hand, helping displace Ohio State, down to No. 8 despite receiving two first-place votes. And LSU and Texas A&M finish the pre-bowl season No. 9 and No. 10, giving the SEC five top-10 teams.
The biggest fall of the week belongs to Nebraska, routed in the Big Ten Championship Game and down eight spots to No. 22 as a result. Kent State nearly matched the Huskers' plummet, dropping seven spots to No. 25. Louisville, which earned the Big East's BCS berth by scraping by Rutgers, is the week's biggest riser, vaulting seven places to No. 23.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
The holiday season is almost upon us, and I don't feel very Grinch-like, so I will only note two things here. First, Ohio State is still not part of every ballot (the Buckeyes are on 49 of 56), and ranking it No. 19, as Frogs O' War does ... hey, wait, that's predicated on Ohio State's best win to date getting mutilated by Wisconsin, isn't it? Never mind.
Second, BlogPoll voters are supposed to rank the best 25 teams in college football in order. That's the entire ethos of this enterprise, and a mission statement that voters attempt to fulfill in whatever manner they see fit. With Notre Dame getting 42 first-place votes to Alabama's 11, I look forward to seeing a bunch of writing on all of our voters' sites about how Notre Dame is actually the BCS National Championship Game favorite.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams that spur the most 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, Iowa) would all be at the top.
|1||Ohio St. Buckeyes (2)||18.05||7.51|
|2||Boise St. Broncos||5.09||4.26|
|4||Northern Illinois Huskies||9.68||3.48|
As usual, being left off a bunch of ballots helps here: Ohio State's seven non-votes have it comfortably ahead here, while Boise State's 15 non-votes are more than enough to balance its 24 votes for spots from No. 16 to No. 19. And if you can't see why Nebraska and Northern Illinois might inspire difference of opinion ... do you actually watch college football?
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||Lake The Posts||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||2.65|
|2||Hammer & Rails||Purdue Boilermakers||ballot||2.55|
|3||From Old Virginia||Virginia Cavaliers||ballot||2.51|
|4||Crimson and Cream Machine||Oklahoma Sooners||ballot||2.49|
Lake The Posts has Alabama No. 3, but then, nine other voters do. It has Florida State No. 8, the 'Noles' second-highest ranking. But its jumble in the teens (No. 13 Stanford, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 15 Louisville, No. 16 Northern Illinois, No. 17 Nebraska, No. 18 Michigan) is more than enough to pip Hammer & Rails here.
|1||Land-Grant Holy Land||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||1.34|
|2||Mountain West Connection||Utah Utes||ballot||1.38|
|3||Voodoo Five||South Florida Bulls||ballot||1.49|
|4||Smoking Musket||West Virginia Mountaineers||ballot||1.55|
|5||Card Chronicle||Louisville Cardinals||ballot||1.58|
It must be nice for Ohio State fans to not have to worry about a bowl game, because then they can finally nail down awards named for Jim Tressel, which they can then sell for e-tattoos. In seriousness, this is really an impressive bit of work, considering that L-GHL also ranked Ohio State No. 1.
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||Land-Grant Holy Land||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||6.95|
|2||Alligator Army||Florida Gators||ballot||3.80|
|3||Dawg Sports||Georgia Bulldogs||ballot||3.52|
|4||Smoking Musket||West Virginia Mountaineers||ballot||2.95|
That No. 1 vote for the Buckeyes wins L-GHL this category, too, and by a very healthy margin over the ballot of the only person who has Florida No. 1. (That's me, by the by.) The rankings here make sense for Dawg Sports (Georgia at No. 3, where just five other voters had it) and Shanoff (Florida at No. 2), but Smoking Musket giving West Virginia literally its only vote, at No. 23, is the funniest way a team has broken into the CKA top five this year.
|1||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||-2.00|
|2||Crimson and Cream Machine||Oklahoma Sooners||ballot||-0.36|
|3||BCS Guru||USC Trojans||ballot||-0.13|
|4||The Crimson Quarry||Indiana Hoosiers||ballot||0.00|
|5||From Old Virginia||Virginia Cavaliers||ballot||0.00|
Corn Nation having Nebraska at No. 24 was enough. Those 0.00 ratings making the tally for voters whose teams didn't even get votes means just three voters underrated their own teams this week. Good show, fans!
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||Team Speed Kills||South Carolina Gamecocks||ballot||86|
|2||Hammer & Rails||Purdue Boilermakers||ballot||82|
|3||Lake The Posts||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||72|
|4||Block U||Utah Utes||ballot||70|
|5||From Old Virginia||Virginia Cavaliers||ballot||70|
Team Speed Kills dropped four teams from its top 25 and moved three others six spaces each at least. (Also interesting: an SEC blog with a Gamecocks bias has four top-six SEC teams, but puts Stanford at No. 4, and keeps South Carolina out of the top 10 at No. 11.)
|1||Hustle Belt||Ball St. Cardinals||ballot||16|
|2||BCS Guru||USC Trojans||ballot||28|
|3||Voodoo Five||South Florida Bulls||ballot||36|
|4||The Crimson Quarry||Indiana Hoosiers||ballot||36|
|5||Maize n Brew||Michigan Wolverines||ballot||40|
Hustle Belt did something pretty impressive: it moved Georgia down four spots and moved four teams up one after the Bulldogs' SEC title game loss, and it kept Northern Illinois and Kent State -- two teams that, as SB Nation's MAC blog, it knows well -- right where they were entering last week. Belief is a good way to end up in the teens in Swing.
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