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College Football BlogPoll Top 25: Alabama Predictably On Top Of Preseason Rankings

The first college football BlogPoll of the season is out at its new home on SB Nation. Ballots were submitted by 117 blogs, most of which voted Alabama No. 1, although six teams earned first-place votes. Brian Cook breaks down all the results.

Welcome to the BlogPoll 2010 and its unfortunately boring decision that an Alabama team replacing 10 defensive starters should be No. 1.

Oh well. Last year when it seemed like Alabama was probably better than Florida the poll did move away from the rote "win-stay No. 1" mentality of the other polls and spent several weeks tossing the No. 1 back and forth between the two teams, eventually settling on Alabama before the SEC Championship Game resolved that question permanently. With this college football season lacking a clear frontrunner--any of a dozen teams can plausibly hope to end up the national title game right now--chances are the top of the ballot will be an unusually chaotic place this year. Should be an interesting year to see how the blog-folk change in ways the AP and Coaches polls do not.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 1

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (87) 24.3 2.49 --
2 Ohio St. Buckeyes (19) 23.1 2.67 --
3 Boise St. Broncos (3) 20.9 3.51 --
4 Florida Gators (1) 20.6 2.98 --
5 Texas Longhorns (3) 20.5 3.44 --
6 Oklahoma Sooners (3) 18.6 5.24 --
7 TCU Horned Frogs 18.1 4.23 --
8 Virginia Tech Hokies 17.8 4.10 --
9 Iowa Hawkeyes 15.7 3.71 --
10 Nebraska Cornhuskers 15.7 4.45 --
11 Oregon Ducks 14.5 4.25 --
12 Miami Hurricanes 12.7 4.16 --
13 Wisconsin Badgers 12.4 4.75 --
14 Pittsburgh Panthers 8.7 5.06 --
15 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8.0 5.08 --
16 Penn St. Nittany Lions 7.8 4.53 --
17 North Carolina Tar Heels 7.1 5.19 --
18 USC Trojans 7.1 6.63 --
19 Arkansas Razorbacks 6.6 4.25 --
20 LSU Tigers 5.9 4.68 --
21 Georgia Bulldogs 5.7 4.86 --
22 Florida St. Seminoles 5.6 4.50 --
23 Auburn Tigers 5.2 4.88 --
24 Oregon St. Beavers 3.7 4.24 --
25 Utah Utes 2.6 3.66 --
Others Receiving Votes: West Virginia Mountaineers | Cincinnati Bearcats | Houston Cougars | Stanford Cardinal | Connecticut Huskies | Arizona Wildcats | South Carolina Gamecocks | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Washington Huskies | BYU Cougars | Clemson Tigers | Missouri Tigers | Texas A&M Aggies | Boston College Eagles | Navy Midshipmen | California Golden Bears | Texas Tech Red Raiders | Southern Miss. Golden Eagles | Washington St. Cougars | Ball St. Cardinals | Baylor Bears | UNLV Rebels | Central Florida Knights | Troy Trojans | Michigan St. Spartans | Colorado St. Rams | Dixie State Rebels | Wyoming Cowboys | Bowling Green Falcons | Colorado Buffaloes | Tulane Green Wave | Temple Owls | Eastern Michigan Eagles | Syracuse Orange | UTEP Miners | Oklahoma St. Cowboys | Northwestern Wildcats | South Florida Bulls | Duke Blue Devils | Mississippi Rebels | Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders | Florida Atlantic Owls | SMU Mustangs | San Jose St. Spartans | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | San Diego St. Aztecs | Ohio Bobcats | Central Michigan Chippewas | Idaho Vandals | Air Force Falcons | UAB Blazers | Fla. International Golden Panthers | Michigan Wolverines | Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Updated: Aug 25, 2010 11:26 AM PDT

Total Ballots: 117

Explore votes by team
Explore poll ballots by voter

Each week the BlogPoll comes out, we will break it down into the following sections to analyze the results ...

Justify Your Existence

Notable differences between the BlogPoll and the coaches' poll (excepting USC, which is eligible for this poll since it doesn't have any impact on the BCS and ineligible to the coaches for the opposite reason):

  • Boise State is No. 3 here, No. 5 there.
  • LSU is No. 20 here, No. 16 there.
  • The blogpoll is higher on Oklahoma and Georgia Tech by two spots.

Not a whole lot of difference here, but it's early.

Wack Ballot Watchdog

This is where ballots that are obviously goofy go and I cock an eyebrow at the voters if they haven't attempted to explain their weird decisions. This only starts once the season does since before results it's just, like, someone's opinion, man.

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, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.

# School Points/blog SD
1 USC Trojans 7.1 6.63
2 Oklahoma Sooners (3) 18.6 5.24
3 North Carolina Tar Heels 7.1 5.19
4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8.0 5.08
5 Pittsburgh Panthers 8.7 5.06

USC finishes at the top here due to uncertainty about how their 67-scholarship roster full of blue chips will hold up; Oklahoma is second, with some folk seeing a 7-5 team that was amazingly unlucky both on the field and with injuries last year and others just seeing a 7-5 team.

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 The Purple Wimple TCU Horned Frogs ballot 4.73
2 EDSBS Florida Gators ballot 4.12
3 Frank Helps You Think It All Out Tulane Green Wave ballot 3.71
4 Red Cup Rebellion Mississippi Rebels ballot 3.55
5 BCDraft Boston College Eagles ballot 3.42

Next week this will be the exclusive province of a band of dedicated "resume voters" who chuck out expectations after week one and rank based on only the results in week one. This will make for really weird ballots until about week five, when the rest of the poll generally falls in line.

But for now we've got one guy a considerable distance from the rest when it comes to the weirdness of those expectations: TCU blog The Purple Wimple. Usually when a mid-major blogger hits the top of this list the reason is the guy went nuts with the non-BCS teams, and this is the case here: TCU is No. 4, Utah No. 10, Houston No. 11, and Temple No. 19. Air Force and Tulsa round out the rankings. It's the preseason poll so whatever, but I'm warming up my eye-rolling muscles for midseason when the Mountain West has more teams in this ballot than the Pac-10.

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
1 Streaking the Lawn Virginia Cavaliers ballot 1.38
2 Leftover Hot Dog South Carolina Gamecocks ballot 1.58
3 Frank the Tank's Slant Illinois Fighting Illini ballot 1.88
4 Mountain West Connection Utah Utes ballot 2.08
5 Arizona Desert Swarm Arizona Wildcats ballot 2.14

There's usually not much to say about the ballots that hew the closest to the actual poll except to praise them for their foresight or condemn them for their inability to think outside the bun. This goes triple the first week when there's no actual evidence.

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 Eye of the Hurricane Miami Hurricanes ballot 7.30
2 RazorBloggers Arkansas Razorbacks ballot 6.37
3 WV Mountaineer Sports West Virginia Mountaineers ballot 5.48
4 BCDraft Boston College Eagles ballot 4.68
5 The Purple Wimple TCU Horned Frogs ballot 3.95

A reminder/introduction: this is bad. For the past three years the poll has tracked the fate of the teams that "win" this dubious award against the spread and straight up. The results have been a warning to anyone daring enough to overrate their team. Last year the award was 10-3 against the spread. Underperformance is almost guaranteed. Last year's most horrifying CK-inspired result: Nebraska committed more turnovers than they scored points in a 9-7 loss to Iowa State.

This won't be a big deal for Miami, though, as their first game is against... drumroll... Florida A&M. Maybe it will linger on to their week two matchup against Ohio State--last year the CK Award waited through a bye to wreak its terrible vengeance on the Cornhuskers.

The Straight Bangin' Award

# Blog Team Ballot Bias
1 Dawg Sports Georgia Bulldogs ballot -5.66
2 Arizona Desert Swarm Arizona Wildcats ballot -0.85
3 Subway Domer Notre Dame Fighting Irish ballot -0.76
4 Blog Ten Notre Dame Fighting Irish ballot -0.76
5 EDSBS Florida Gators ballot -0.60

Without actual losses to send fans into a cycle of self-loathing, most of these entries are tiny margins representing little other than the voter being a spot off. The one exception is Dawg Sports totally omitting No. 21 Georgia from its ballot.

Unfortunately for Dawg Sports, the poll has not rewarded humility like it has punished cockiness. Ranking Georgia Tech seven spots above Georgia guarantees nothing.

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.

Swing does not exist the first week.

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