EUGENE OR - OCTOBER 2: Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates as he scores a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium on October 2 2010 in Eugene Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Oregon consolidates its lead atop the poll thanks to sudden riser Wisconsin. The Western upstarts have or will soon see BCS undefeateds pass them. Also: we welcome back the Big East, and it's a good week to be an MSU of any variety.
What promised to be a season-long Great Debate at the top of the polls between Oregon and Ohio State—and possibly a major difference between the BlogPoll and the rest of the polling universe—was kiboshed by Wisconsin last weekend. Week 7 No. 2 Ohio State drops 10 spots as a result, and we all look smart for not having Ohio State No.1 last week.
Oregon consolidates its lead at the top, but that's not to say it's a decision without some controversy. Three other teams (Boise State, Oklahoma, and Auburn) pick up at least eight first-place votes and two more (TCU and LSU) get lonely single affirmations.
In news of the slightly weaker, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Arkansas all plummet OSU style; Wisconsin is the main beneficiary, with Michigan State getting a healthy boost to No. 6 since their ten-point win (with a –3 turnover margin!) over the Bagers now looks shiny indeed. Also two welcome two fresh faces: the Big East, which re-enters the poll at No. 20 with West Virginia, and No. 23 Mississippi State. The other MSU cracks the BlogPoll top 25 for the first time ever.
Total Ballots: 102
Justify Your Existence
Some significant differences for this late in the season, including evidence of the BlogPoll's reticence to shove one of the mid-majors into the national title game.
- No. 4 Auburn (5 AP, 5 Coaches)
- No. 6 Michigan State (8 AP, 8 Coaches)
- No. 11 Stanford (12 AP, 14 Coaches)
- No. 14 Missouri (18 AP, 16 Coaches)
- No. 5 TCU (4 AP, 4 Coaches)
- No. 12 Ohio State (11 AP, 10 Coaches). Mostly notable because the coaches still have OSU ahead of Wisconsin.
- No. 16 Nebraska (14 AP, 13 Coaches)
- No. 18 Arizona (15 AP)
Also, Boise State and Oklahoma are in a virtual dead heat for second. In the other two major polls the Broncos are considerably ahead of the Sooners; look for that order to flip next week if Oklahoma takes out 6-0 Missouri no matter how thoroughly Boise bombs Louisiana Tech. The bet here is the other polls will still have Boise #2.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
- Lone TCU No. 1 vote comes from Dan Shanoff, who has TCU, Boise, and Utah 1-2-3.
- Lone LSU No. 1 vote comes via From Old Virginia.
- Clone Chronicles moves Ohio State down seven for losing to Wisconsin… and leaves Wisconsin static. Result: OSU 14th, Wisconsin 21st. Guh.
- Shaking The Southland ranks Texas No. 11, four slots higher than the next most optimistic voter. They also have Arkansas No. 12, five slots higher than tNMOV.
- I normally don't call out weird No. 25 rankings but our two voters for Purdue are 1) a Purdue blogger and 2) a Northwestern blogger who just saw his team lose to Purdue. Where is the Toledo love, kids?
- Bearcats Blog has Miami(That Miami) 11th, eight slots higher than tNMOV.
- WSU Football Blog is the only guy in the poll voting for Fresno State. No big deal except they're 17th. Fresno has a two-touchdown win against Cincinnati and three wins over nobodies against losses to Ole Miss and Hawaii.
- The Crimson Quarry is still hanging on to Florida at No. 23.
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 #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
|2||Oklahoma St. Cowboys||11.44||3.83|
|5||Florida St. Seminoles||10.34||3.19|
Utah remains the king of indecision and will probably remain so until their matchup with TCU. After that it's all Big 12 as nobody can figure out who's actually good in this conference.
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.
Mr. Black Heart Gold Pants Award
|1||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa Hawkeyes||ballot||3.74|
|2||SB Nation Atlanta||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||ballot||3.44|
|3||Boys of Old Florida||Florida Gators||ballot||3.37|
|4||The Owl's Nest||Temple Owls||ballot||2.61|
|5||Hey Jenny Slater||Georgia Bulldogs||ballot||2.61|
The Mr. Black Heart Gold Pants Award goes to Black Heart Gold Pants. Every week, Black Heart Gold Pants submits a ballot that is weirder than everyone else in the poll; this week Black Heart Gold Pants's Mr. Black Heart Gold Pants Award-winning ballot has the following oddities:
- Poll No. 1 Oregon is eighth after letting Washington State hang around a bit. They drop five slots from last week. Verdict: bleah. Stanford is No. 9 and Oregon beat them by three touchdowns. While ranking Oregon something other than first is plausible via overall resume, having them behind Michigan State, Missouri, and LSU is goofy.
- No. 14 Missouri is still 4th. The Illinois win is looking better and they just clunked A&M, but this is severely overvaluing wins over a trio of 3-3 BCS teams.
- No. 15 is UNC, which makes no the sense. Losses to LSU and Georgia Tech are offset with wins over Rutgers, ECU, Clemson, and Virginia. Suspensions or not, this poll is based on season resume. Only six other ballots have UNC on them and none higher than 21.
- No. 9 Utah is 17th. We've discussed this before; I agree.
- No. 13 Iowa is 20th, locked behind similarly under-voted Arizona; Michigan is still 21st.
Check back next week when Black Heart Gold Pants wins the Mr. Black Heart Gold Pants Award for a Black Heart Gold Pants ballot that has just enough unjustifiably weird stuff to beat all other non-Black Heart Gold Pants voters in the quest to annoy me for ten minutes every Wednesday.
Mr. Numb Existence
|1||OverThePylon||Ball St. Cardinals||ballot||1.20|
|2||Baltimore Sports Report||Maryland Terrapins||ballot||1.25|
|3||Rakes of Mallow||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||ballot||1.33|
|4||Tom Fornelli||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||ballot||1.34|
|5||Burnt Orange Nation||Texas Longhorns||ballot||1.55|
…narrowly avoids being sarcastically retitled the Mr. Baltimore Sports Report Award. Ball State blog Over The Pylon continues a running theme: fans sifting through the ashes of a lost program seriously consider the many benefits of nihilism and/or oblivion as they dully survey the ballot entry page and end up putting in chalk. Proof: Ball State lost to EMU last weekend, Maryland is Maryland, Texas is still smarting from that UCLA game, and OH HAI Notre Dame fans.
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.
The CK Award
|1||Mountain West Connection||Utah Utes||ballot||4.03|
|2||Burnt Orange Nation||Texas Longhorns||ballot||3.16|
|3||Buckeye Commentary||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||1.49|
|4||Eleven Warriors||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||0.49|
|5||The Ciskie Blog||Wisconsin Badgers||ballot||0.44|
Utah had the whammy last week after a week off and managed to cover a 20.5-point spread against Wyoming by winning 30-6. The CK Award has fallen to .500 on the year for the first time in forever. Maybe some of its mojo was stolen by the earlier confusion about who, exactly, deserves the award. Bugs and all that.
This week the whammy falls on Utah again since the Mountain West Connection isn't budging on the Utes at #6. This week Utah takes on… sigh… Colorado State. Utah is a 31-point favorite.
The Straight Bangin' Black Heart Gold Pants Award
|1||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa Hawkeyes||ballot||-6.61|
|2||The Key Play||Virginia Tech Hokies||ballot||-2.10|
|3||SpartyMSU||Michigan St. Spartans||ballot||-2.05|
|4||Hog Database||Arkansas Razorbacks||ballot||-1.54|
|5||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||-1.37|
The Straight Bangin' Black Heart Gold Pants Award goes to Black Heart Gold Pants for throwing Iowa 20th in their The Black Heart Gold Pants Award-winning Black Heart Gold Pants—aw, you get the idea. Same stuff, different week.
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.
Mr. Black Heart Gold— Oh. Nevermind. Mr. Manic-Depressive
|1||The Purple Wimple||TCU Horned Frogs||ballot||158|
|2||Boys of Old Florida||Florida Gators||ballot||148|
|3||The Crimson Quarry||Indiana Hoosiers||ballot||144|
|4||Burnt Orange Nation||Texas Longhorns||ballot||144|
|5||Voodoo Five||South Florida Bulls||ballot||140|
Black Heart Gold…. ugh… The Purple Wimple wins this one for the usual inexplicable wild swings. Missouri is up 12, Oklahoma State up eight, LSU up eight, Arizona up seven. For what? I don't know. At least Arizona's within hailing distance of Iowa now. Meanwhile, Nebraska is booted from the poll totally after losing to Texas by a touchdown; San Diego State and its loss to awful BYU get the last slot in the poll over the 'Huskers.
Oddly for a ballot that wins this category, Wisconsin doesn't move at all. What a country!
|1||The Owl's Nest||Temple Owls||ballot||78|
|2||Mountain West Connection||Utah Utes||ballot||92|
|3||Eleven Warriors||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||100|
|4||The Ciskie Blog||Wisconsin Badgers||ballot||108|
|5||Blogger So Dear||Wake Forest Demon Deacons||ballot||110|
The Owl's Nest continues its quest to change its ballot as little as possible week-to-week. I bet they don't know you're explicitly encouraged not to look at last week's ballot because if you can't remember where you had Iowa seven days ago it probably wasn't that important.
In any case, Ohio State and Nebraska fall just six spots while Wisconsin inches up just three, leaving the ballot in a bizarre place where OSU is nine spots in front of a team that just beat them by 13 and four spots in front of a team that just beat the team that beat OSU by ten. Er. What I am saying is that TON's extreme reticence to move teams around is to the point where his poll has ceased to make sense seven weeks into the season when preseason expectations are supposed to be wiped out. Ohio State's resume is definitely less impressive than Michigan State's at the moment, but the ballot here says this is not the case.