BlogPoll Returns! New No. 1 Team Overtakes Preseason Rankings

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 25: LSU Tigers cheerleaders perform on the field before the Tigers take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium on November 25, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

LSU fans should smile: the Tigers move past USC for the No. 1 spot in our second preseason rankings for 2012. First Preseason Poll | BlogPoll

Preseason polls matter far less than in-season polls, and far more than they should, but one of the great things about the BlogPoll is that it surveys plugged-in college football observers — the kind who know which team's linebacker is suspended, which school pulled in the most blue-chippers, and which running back tore an ACL, even if you ask them in the second week of May — and produces their collective pulse on the sport at any given moment.

That might explain why LSU moved past USC in our second preseason BlogPoll for the 2012 season.

The Tigers take the top spot back from the Trojans, who were No. 1 in our January BlogPoll, despite getting 13 first-place votes to USC's 14. Maybe the stink of Alabama's BCS National Championship Game shutout of the Tigers has washed off for long enough for bloggers to see that the Tigers return most of their fearsome defense, and will no longer have to play pick your poison with Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee at quarterback.

Alabama, Oregon, and Oklahoma round out the top five, in the same order as in January, but the loss of Bobby Petrino to an Arkansas career-ending brain injury drops Arkansas four spots from sixth to 10th, and bumps Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and South Carolina up one spot each.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Post-Spring Preseason Poll

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 LSU Tigers (13) 24.09 0.89 Arrow_up 1
2 USC Trojans (14) 23.88 1.32 Arrow_down -1
3 Alabama Crimson Tide (6) 23.03 1.40 --
4 Oregon Ducks (1) 21.35 2.40 --
5 Oklahoma Sooners 19.82 4.00 --
6 Georgia Bulldogs 19.00 2.34 Arrow_up 1
7 Michigan Wolverines 17.32 3.07 Arrow_up 1
8 Florida St. Seminoles 15.91 3.67 Arrow_up 1
9 South Carolina Gamecocks 15.21 4.79 Arrow_up 1
10 Arkansas Razorbacks 14.56 5.68 Arrow_down -4
11 West Virginia Mountaineers 14.56 3.41 --
12 Wisconsin Badgers 12.09 4.47 Arrow_up 2
13 Michigan St. Spartans 11.85 5.30 Arrow_down -1
14 TCU Horned Frogs 11.50 5.31 Arrow_down -1
15 Kansas St. Wildcats 9.68 4.53 Arrow_up 3
16 Clemson Tigers 9.44 4.78 --
17 Virginia Tech Hokies 8.97 4.38 Arrow_down -2
18 Nebraska Cornhuskers 7.76 3.88 Arrow_down -1
19 Stanford Cardinal 6.74 5.71 Arrow_up 3
20 Ohio St. Buckeyes 6.32 5.56 Arrow_up 1
21 Texas Longhorns 6.12 3.83 Arrow_down -2
22 Boise St. Broncos 6.00 5.22 Arrow_down -2
23 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 4.76 4.78 --
24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2.74 3.30 Arrow_up 1
25 Washington Huskies 2.50 4.18 Arrow_down -1
Others Receiving Votes: Florida Gators | Louisville Cardinals | Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets | Missouri Tigers | Utah Utes | Auburn Tigers | Texas A&M Aggies | Cincinnati Bearcats | Penn St. Nittany Lions | Illinois Fighting Illini | Baylor Bears | Iowa Hawkeyes | BYU Cougars | South Florida Bulls | Louisiana Tech Bulldogs | Central Florida Knights | Southern Miss. Golden Eagles | Syracuse Orange | Toledo Rockets | Virginia Cavaliers | Fla. International Golden Panthers | Vanderbilt Commodores | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | SMU Mustangs | Miami Hurricanes | California Golden Bears | Purdue Boilermakers
Updated: May 9, 2012 12:37 PM EDT

Total Ballots: 34

Explore votes by team | Explore poll ballots by voter

Wack Ballot Watchdog

The blog that gave Oregon its only first-place vote, The Unbalanced Line, describes its BlogPoll ballot as an "unbiased, uneducated, lowball expectation of teams that typically occupy top 25 lists," so that's good.

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.

# School Points/blog SD
1 Stanford Cardinal 6.74 5.71
2 Arkansas Razorbacks 14.56 5.68
3 Ohio St. Buckeyes 6.32 5.56
4 TCU Horned Frogs 11.50 5.31
5 Michigan St. Spartans 11.85 5.30

Stanford lost maybe college football's most polished player from 2011; Arkansas lost its coach/spittle-flecked spirit animal; Ohio State has the Urban Meyer Express rolling into town and a team that lost its way in 2011 getting older and stronger. I get all of the disagreement on those teams. But are we really conflicted about how much losing Kirk Cousins means to Michigan State?

Ballot Math

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.

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
1 House of Sparky Arizona St. Sun Devils ballot 4.78
2 Lake The Posts Northwestern Wildcats ballot 3.60
3 SOX & Dawgs Connecticut Huskies ballot 3.55
4 The Unbalanced Line Army Black Knights ballot 3.40
5 BCS Guru USC Trojans ballot 3.38

Michigan fourth, Wisconsin fifth and Kansas State ninth? Yes, House of Sparky, that is guano-crazy enough for this award.

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
1 A Sea of Blue Kentucky Wildcats ballot 1.54
2 Card Chronicle Louisville Cardinals ballot 1.67
3 Block U Utah Utes ballot 1.74
4 Tomahawk Nation Florida St. Seminoles ballot 1.85
5 BCS Know How USC Trojans ballot 2.03

I'm honestly just surprised that A Sea of Blue turned in a ballot, because (insert joke about Kentucky not having football fans) and (insert joke about riots in Lexington setting back Lexington 100 years to 1843).

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.

# Blog Team Ballot Bias
1 Block U Utah Utes ballot 6.12
2 Frogs O' War TCU Horned Frogs ballot 3.50
3 Smoking Musket West Virginia Mountaineers ballot 1.44
4 Card Chronicle Louisville Cardinals ballot 1.29
5 Crimson and Cream Machine Oklahoma Sooners ballot 1.18

Block U has Utah 19th, which is not the highest of the Utes' eight votes, but is certainly high enough to win this category.

# Blog Team Ballot Bias
1 One Foot Down Notre Dame Fighting Irish ballot -2.74
2 Corn Nation Nebraska Cornhuskers ballot -1.76
3 Bucky's 5th Quarter Wisconsin Badgers ballot -1.09
4 Team Speed Kills South Carolina Gamecocks ballot -0.21
5 The High Porch Picnic Iowa Hawkeyes ballot -0.21

One Foot Down doesn't have Notre Dame ranked, and when you don't rank your own ranked team, you usually show up in this here table.

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.

# Blog Team Ballot Swing
1 Hammer & Rails Purdue Boilermakers ballot 108
2 Smoking Musket West Virginia Mountaineers ballot 94
3 Team Speed Kills South Carolina Gamecocks ballot 88
4 Building The Dam Oregon St. Beavers ballot 82
5 Tomahawk Nation Florida St. Seminoles ballot 78

For the record, Hammer & Rails did turn in a January preseason ballot, but while moving Arkansas seven spaces was among its biggest drops, it wasn't nearly as big as the 12-spot penalty Kansas State got.

# Blog Team Ballot Swing
1 Bucky's 5th Quarter Wisconsin Badgers ballot 14
2 Corn Nation Nebraska Cornhuskers ballot 50
3 Block U Utah Utes ballot 56
4 One Foot Down Notre Dame Fighting Irish ballot 76
5 Alligator Army Florida Gators ballot 78

Bucky's 5th Quarter kept the top 14 teams from its January ballot, moved Wisconsin up three spots, dropped Notre Dame four places ... and that was about it.

What do you think of the BlogPoll Top 25 for the post-spring portion of the 2012 offseason? Is LSU overrated? Did Arkansas get penalized too heavily? Is there a team outside the Top 25 that is getting slept on?

Let me know in the comments; I'll be there to answer any questions and talk a little college football with all of you.

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