The writing was on the wall last week when Auburn edged Oregon in first place votes but couldn't quite get over the hump: an obliteration of South Carolina would likely see the Tigers supplant the Ducks at the top of the poll. 56-17 qualifies, and we have a new No. 1 going into the national championship game. Auburn takes the crown by about a quarter of a point with slightly over 60% of the first place votes.
Elsewhere the poll is mostly static save for championship game participants: VT up three, Florida State down three. Nebraska down three. Hawaii and Central Florida join the poll at the tail end, but it's a light week for changes after a light week for games.
Justify Your Existence
The main difference is at the top: the AP switched to Auburn as well but the coaches are still going for Oregon by the same margin the AP and BlogPolls go for the other guys. Differences are limited other than that, with some Nevada love going on—13 here, 15 to the Coaches—and the poll splitting the difference between three-slot gaps in the rankings of Alabama and Oklahoma State.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
- Virginia Tech's dealt with a trail of doubters ever since that James Madison game but they have now won ten straight and the ACC, so… yeah. Ranking them 23rd (Atomic Teeth) and 21st (Linebacker U) is a little much.
- Hog DB is the only voter to put TCU outside of the top five… by placing them 13th. Yeesh. They have Arkansas third.
- In retaliation(?), Eagle In Atlanta ranks Arkansas No. 16, four slots lower than anyone else.
- Boise State blog OBNUG is the only one to rank Oregon something other than first or second—they're third.
- Two voters still ranking Michigan State No. 16.
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.
|1||Michigan St. Spartans||17.96||3.35|
|2||Nevada Wolf Pack||12.59||3.16|
|3||Virginia Tech Hokies||13.02||3.11|
|5||Boise St. Broncos||15.32||2.87|
All of these teams make sense: the two mid-majors no one ever knows what to do with, LSU and their batty season of near-losses, Virginia Tech and their loss to James Madison, and the champion a Michigan State team that did not play Ohio State and whose best nonconference game was a narrow win over Notre Dame.
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||From Old Virginia||Virginia Cavaliers||ballot||2.54|
|2||Block U||Utah Utes||ballot||2.24|
|3||Rise Northwestern||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||2.19|
|4||NittanyWhiteOut||Penn St. Nittany Lions||ballot||2.12|
|5||The Unbalanced Line||Army Black Knights||ballot||1.92|
The Mr. Bold winner is an ACC blog displaying a raging case of… Big 12 homerdom? Er, yes, apparently, that and the SEC. Oklahoma is 4th and Missouri 6th; LSU is eighth. This pushes Wisconsin and Stanford down to the fringes of the top ten and sees Michigan State check in at No. 16, behind about a zillion teams with more losses than they have. I get the schedule argument but this is extreme. No. 11 Boise State did not play Wisconsin and beat them comfortably.
Mr. Numb Existence
|1||WV Mountaineer Sports||West Virginia Mountaineers||ballot||0.70|
|2||SOX & Dawgs||Connecticut Huskies||ballot||0.87|
|3||Card Chronicle||Louisville Cardinals||ballot||0.92|
|4||Conquest Chronicles||USC Trojans||ballot||0.96|
|5||Hail to the Orange||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||0.98|
WV Mountaineer Sports turns in an impressively low-error ballot but our Quest ends in the top ten as he reverses the poll order of Michigan State an Ohio 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.
The CK Award
|1||Block U||Utah Utes||ballot||5.98|
|3||Men of the Scarlet and Gray||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||2.00|
|4||Team Speed Kills||South Carolina Gamecocks||ballot||0.93|
|5||ScalpEm.com||Florida St. Seminoles||ballot||0.16|
We're back to this again, though at least this time it's a different blog putting the bowl whammy on the Utes. Block U ranks them 15th, ahead of Alabama and Oklahoma State, and picks up an easy win here for the umpteenth week in a row except for a couple. This will not happen next year because the Utes will be in the Pac-10 and will either beat teams people respect or lose sufficient games to prevent this season-long cockeyed optimism.
Utah is a 17 point dog against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, and if anyone's deserved firey torment from this award's fey power it's them. Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife.
The Straight Bangin' Award
|1||Roll Bama Roll||Alabama Crimson Tide||ballot||-1.80|
|2||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||-1.05|
|3||Conquest Chronicles||USC Trojans||ballot||-0.05|
|4||BCS Know How||USC Trojans||ballot||-0.05|
|5||Frank the Tank's Slant||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||0.00|
Alabama blog Roll Bama Roll is slightly more skeptical about the Tide than the poll at large; Corn Nation and their raging OC antipathy is the only other vote in the poll to have a meaningful negative difference. Optimistic bunch.
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||Block U||Utah Utes||ballot||74|
|2||Hammer & Rails||Purdue Boilermakers||ballot||68|
|3||Red Cup Rebellion||Mississippi Rebels||ballot||56|
|4||Rise Northwestern||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||52|
|5||Hail to the Orange||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||50|
How do you get to 74 points of swing this week? It helps if you've got Northern Illinois hanging out near the top 15 and have to boot them, as Block U does. That gets them over the hump. Getting them to the hump requires sliding every mid-major up two to four spots by hammering all championship game losers and even sliding VT down one after winning.
The reason this ballot finished second in the Mr. Bold competition: TCU is No. 1, Nevada No. 11, Boise No. 12, Utah No. 15, SDSU No. 18, UCF No. 21—every mid-major is over-ranked except Boise.
|2||NittanyWhiteOut||Penn St. Nittany Lions||ballot||12|
|3||From Old Virginia||Virginia Cavaliers||ballot||12|
|4||Let's Go Rockets||Toledo Rockets||ballot||20|
|5||ScalpEm.com||Florida St. Seminoles||ballot||20|
Incredibly low swing is part and parcel of the poll this week so eyebrows will not be lifted here. I do think maybe South Carolina deserves a ding since now their aggregate performance against Auburn is not so good—something Simon On Sports did not do—but on the other hand most teams hanging out around 20th would have their doors blown off by Cam Newton.