That second-ranked team is Alabama, which gets a paltry four first-place votes to the Domers' 63 of 71, and which is almost a point and a half per ballot back of the lone BCS-eligible unbeaten left. It's the sort of lead Alabama held at some points this year, and one that the Irish are unlikely to relinquish without a loss to USC this Saturday.
While Georgia moved up to No. 3 in most rankings after the Oregon and Kansas State losses, the BlogPoll is much kinder to the Ducks, leaving them at No. 3 after a loss to the BlogPoll's No. 10 squad. Georgia follows at No. 4, with Kansas State rounding out the top five.
Florida, despite its impressive sheaf of wins, remains at No. 6, perhaps because bloggers have had the stomach to watch the Gators' wretched offense struggle against Missouri, Louisiana, and Jacksonville State. Florida's weekend foe, Florida State, is No. 8, one spot behind former Florida coach Urban Meyer and his undefeated Ohio State outfit, which moves up to No. 7, its highest ranking of 2012. LSU and Stanford finish out the top 10, with the Cardinal booting Texas A&M to No. 11 despite the Aggies receiving their first first-place vote of 2012.
Elsewhere in the top 25, UCLA moved up two spots after dispatching USC, 9-1 Rutgers moved into the top 20, and No. 24 Northern Illinois joined No. 23 Kent State in the top 25, making the MAC Championship Game in two weeks a prospective clash of ranked teams.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
Ohio State's been getting first-place love from our friends at OBNUG all season because of its compilation of wins over FBS teams, but now that there are only two teams left with goose eggs under the L, there should be a worthwhile comparison between those two teams for the No. 1 spot ... except there just isn't.
(For what it's worth: Ohio State and Notre Dame share two common opponents, Purdue and Michigan State: the Buckeyes won 17-16 at Michigan State and 29-22 in overtime at home against Purdue; Notre Dame beat Michigan State 20-3 on the road and needed a Tommy Rees-led field goal drive in the final two minutes to top Purdue 20-17. Take that as you will.)
Notre Dame being No. 1 on 63 ballots means it's not No. 1 on eight; of those eight, five have Notre Dame No. 2, one No. 3, and two No. 4. Six of those eight still have Notre Dame ahead of Ohio State, and all six of those have the Irish at least two spots out in front. Even the two ballots with Ohio State on top have Notre Dame No. 2, as if to note that there's not a lot of difference there. So, hey, congrats: only two people seem to think an overtime win over Wisconsin as your signature triumph trumps a win over Oklahoma in Norman.
That's not to say there weren't head-scratchers this week, though. Orange::44 has Florida State No. 1, probably because beating Maryland is so impressive, and old friend and longtime BlogPoll voter Dan Shanoff has come with one of his finest contrarian polls, slotting Texas A&M in at No. 1, on the basis of the Aggies' win over Alabama, his No. 2. Never mind that besides that Alabama win, A&M's finest day was an obliteration of a Mississippi State team which has one win over an FBS team with a winning record (Middle Tennessee State), or that Shanoff dropped the Bulldogs off his ballot: Johnny Football's magic is strong, indeed.
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||Ohio St. Buckeyes (2)||18.38||7.38|
|3||Boise St. Broncos||1.59||3.38|
|4||Oregon St. Beavers||9.45||3.32|
|5||Florida St. Seminoles (1)||18.08||3.32|
It's still astounding to me that a bowl ban and a historically bad year in the Big Ten can produce this much variance in Ohio State's ballot. I assure you that there are still voters leaving Ohio State off their ballots entirely, including eight voters this week, but you wouldn't think that would be enough for the Bucks to enjoy more than double the standard deviation of the next closest team ... until you learn that those eight non-votes are the third-largest group for Ohio State, which is only more frequently ranked No. 2 (13 ballots) and No. 5 (10 ballots). Add in the skepticism about the schedule that keeps Urban's bunch out of the top 10 on eight ballots that do have them ranked, though, and it all makes sense.
Florida's offensive woes are well-documented, and the Gators' plight is the flip side of the other three squads': they have wins, but look bad; Boise State (best win: Fresno State), Oregon State (best win: UCLA in Week 4), and Florida State (best win: Clemson) all have little to recommend them beyond brand name and play against overmatched teams.
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||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa Hawkeyes||ballot||3.24|
|2||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||3.06|
|3||The Champaign Room||Illinois Fighting Illini||ballot||2.72|
|4||Rock M Nation||Missouri Tigers||ballot||2.53|
|5||Let's Go Rockets||Toledo Rockets||ballot||2.03|
BHGP's ballot this week is accompanied by a told-you-so bit, ostensibly about Notre Dame, which has Told You So IN THE HEADLINE, but it also makes the great points that Utah State and San Jose State have been thoroughly underrated, and you should read it. That said: the predictive power in those ratings that have Florida (whose cumulative margin of victory is inflated by a shutout of Kentucky and a huge win over South Carolina fueled by turnovers) No. 3 and Florida State No. 10 will be tested this weekend, no?
Corn Nation has Clemson No. 4 ahead of No. 5 Florida State, which I can rationalize by agreeing that Clemson might just beat Florida State at a neutral site. But it has Oregon No. 11, and drops Kansas State to No. 16, one spot behind Rutgers. I can't quite get that.
|1||Sippin on Purple||Northwestern Wildcats||ballot||1.11|
|2||Bucky's 5th Quarter||Wisconsin Badgers||ballot||1.13|
|3||Red and Black Attack||Northern Illinois Huskies||ballot||1.21|
|4||Card Chronicle||Louisville Cardinals||ballot||1.29|
|5||Garnet and Black Attack||South Carolina Gamecocks||ballot||1.32|
Sippin on Purple's top spot here is made all the more impressive by its failure to be in the mode of sites with Notre Dame No. 1. Go on with your bad selves, Lake Michigan Smarties.
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||Eleven Warriors||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||5.62|
|2||And The Valley Shook!||LSU Tigers||ballot||5.30|
|3||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||3.46|
|4||Maize n Brew||Michigan Wolverines||ballot||2.70|
|5||Barking Carnival||Texas Longhorns||ballot||2.46|
No Ohio State blog was foolish enough to put the Buckeyes No. 1 (that would have deserved a little Wack Ballot Watchdog action), but Eleven Warriors has them No. 2 behind Notre Dame, which ... well, no other team's undefeated, I guess.
And The Valley Shook's aggressive move of LSU up to No. 4 (from No. 7) is a bold one, too, and it's based in part on having Florida No. 2. By ATVS' thinking, then, LSU lost close to No. 2 and No. 3 Alabama, beat No. 9 Texas A&M, and would probably beat Kansas State, Georgia, Oregon, and Ohio State. And, hell, that might be right: LSU just ran through a stretch of six SEC teams in seven weeks, including four of the five other ones in the top 12 of the BCS standings, and came out 4-2 with losses by eight points on the road to Florida and four points at home to 'Bama. If Florida and Alabama are really good, and LSU's a step back, those losses make sense.
|1||BCS Guru||USC Trojans||ballot||-0.37|
|2||Red and Black Attack||Northern Illinois Huskies||ballot||-0.14|
|3||Bucky's 5th Quarter||Wisconsin Badgers||ballot||-0.11|
|4||Frogs O' War||TCU Horned Frogs||ballot||-0.11|
BCS Guru tends to be on the other side of the bias pendulum, but seeing USC get mauled by UCLA's offense probably did plenty to convince that these Trojans didn't need to be ranked.
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||Frogs O' War||TCU Horned Frogs||ballot||86|
|2||Rock M Nation||Missouri Tigers||ballot||84|
|3||Corn Nation||Nebraska Cornhuskers||ballot||82|
|4||Eleven Warriors||Ohio St. Buckeyes||ballot||74|
|5||The Crimson Quarry||Indiana Hoosiers||ballot||70|
Every team in the FO'W top eight moved at least two spots; Florida dropped five spots after a shutout; idle Texas dropped three spots. But these swing numbers are generally very low, and about what you'd expect to top this list this late in the season, even after a major shakeup like the top two teams losing.
|1||Card Chronicle||Louisville Cardinals||ballot||46|
|2||BCS Guru||USC Trojans||ballot||48|
|3||One Foot Down||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||ballot||50|
|4||And The Valley Shook!||LSU Tigers||ballot||50|
|5||Addicted to Quack||Oregon Ducks||ballot||56|
And then there's the fastidiousness of the Card Chronicle ballot, which moves no team more than five spots.
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