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College football BlogPoll rankings: Notre Dame holds the top spot, mid-majors invade

Notre Dame's a solid No. 1, but the story of this week's BlogPoll is the rise of non-BCS teams.


Notre Dame is No. 1 in this week's BlogPoll, gets almost all the first-place votes, and is pretty much assured of carrying that No. 1 ranking into the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. Whatever: that was expected.

The really cool thing about this week's BlogPoll is the respect that otherwise unsung teams command. While the top four remained the same, and the biggest move in the top 15 came with Florida State's five-spot plummet after a home loss to Florida, Kent State, Northern Illinois, and Utah State all hopped into the top 20, taking Nos. 18 through 20 in that order.

That mid-major sympathy couldn't get San Jose State into the top 25, alas, nor did it prevent brand names like Michigan and Texas from remaining in the top 25 despite losses on the weekend. But the jumps those three teams made, of five spots each, highlights the sort of responsiveness and intellectual rigor the BlogPoll aspires to.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 13

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (61) 25.13 2.92 --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide (5) 23.66 2.56 --
3 Oregon Ducks 21.83 2.18 --
4 Georgia Bulldogs (1) 21.44 0.95 --
5 Florida Gators (1) 21.24 1.28 Arrow_up 1
6 Ohio St. Buckeyes (3) 19.70 6.12 Arrow_up 1
7 Kansas St. Wildcats 19.39 0.92 Arrow_down -2
8 Stanford Cardinal 17.69 0.12 Arrow_up 2
9 LSU Tigers 17.41 0.71 --
10 Texas A&M Aggies 17.16 1.02 Arrow_up 1
11 South Carolina Gamecocks 15.23 0.94 Arrow_up 3
12 Oklahoma Sooners 14.04 2.42 Arrow_up 1
13 Florida St. Seminoles 13.09 1.26 Arrow_down -5
14 Nebraska Cornhuskers 12.09 1.33 Arrow_up 2
15 Clemson Tigers 11.17 1.24 Arrow_down -3
16 Oregon St. Beavers 8.09 3.44 Arrow_up 1
17 UCLA Bruins 8.06 2.45 Arrow_down -2
18 Kent St. Golden Flashes 7.61 3.67 Arrow_up 5
19 Northern Illinois Huskies 6.83 3.76 Arrow_up 5
20 Utah State Aggies 4.74 2.58 Arrow_up 6
21 Northwestern Wildcats 3.66 2.88 Arrow_up 7
22 Michigan Wolverines 3.36 3.08 Arrow_down -1
23 Boise St. Broncos 3.13 3.24 Arrow_up 2
24 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 2.70 3.30 Arrow_down -2
25 Texas Longhorns 2.50 2.97 Arrow_down -7
Others Receiving Votes: San Jose St. Spartans | Louisville Cardinals | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | Penn St. Nittany Lions | Vanderbilt Commodores | TCU Horned Frogs | Louisiana Tech Bulldogs | Fresno St. Bulldogs | Ball St. Cardinals | San Diego St. Aztecs | Cincinnati Bearcats | Mississippi St. Bulldogs | Central Florida Knights | USC Trojans | Arizona Wildcats | Washington Huskies | Toledo Rockets | Arizona St. Sun Devils | North Carolina Tar Heels | Arkansas St. Red Wolves | Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Updated: Nov 27, 2012 10:02 AM EST

Total Ballots: 70 | Votes by team | Ballots by voter

Wack Ballot Watchdog

I get voting for Notre Dame as the nation's best team (I did just write more than 2,000 words in support of them), and I get voting for Alabama, and I get voting for Florida (that's my vote), but I can't really reconcile voting for Georgia or Ohio State with reality. Ohio State's best win is over either Nebraska or Michigan; Georgia's best win is over Florida, and its second-best win is ... over ... okay, I've decided, it's Vanderbilt. Those two teams' résumés aren't just not in the same stack as Notre Dame's (wins over Stanford, Oklahoma), Alabama's (wins over LSU and Michigan), and Florida's (wins over LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Florida State); they're not on the same desk.

And, what do you know: Two of the Ohio State No. 1 votes come from Ohio State blogs (our Land-Grant Holy Land and Men of the Scarlet and Grey), and another from Northwestern blog Sippin on Purple, and the Georgia No. 1 vote comes from Orange::44, which also notes that ranking Florida State No. 1 last week would have made him look like a genius ... if Florida hadn't come into Doak Campbell Stadium and waxed the 'Noles. I'm all for homerism helping make better value judgments, but protest votes for a team that got to 12-0 by beating a lot of underwhelming teams close don't make sense to me, and voting Georgia No. 1 when it has one very good win and only one other that is remotely good probably doesn't make sense to any honest observer of college football.

But, on the flip side: Ohio State was only ranked on 65 of 70 ballots. Those people who don't think Ohio State is among the nation's top 25 teams are far, far dumber (or pettier, if they're leaving off Ohio State because of an interest in upholding NCAA standards) than the ones who think the Buckeyes are the best in America.

Last but not least: Yes, the BlogPoll tabulated an extra ballot somewhere again. It's doubtful that getting it excised would change any rankings of any teams other than perhaps flipping No. 16 Oregon State and No. 17 UCLA, but it's not something we want any more than you all do. We're well aware of the issue, and deeply sorry it hasn't been corrected yet, but it's not, alas, a simple fix; hopefully, in the span between next week's final pre-bowl BlogPoll and the post-bowl final rankings, we can get it done.

Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most 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, Kentucky) would all be at the top.

# School Points/blog SD
1 Ohio St. Buckeyes (3) 19.70 6.12
2 Northern Illinois Huskies 6.83 3.76
3 Kent St. Golden Flashes 7.61 3.67
4 Oregon St. Beavers 8.09 3.44
5 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 2.70 3.30

It's all about those five omissions here. Northern Illinois (lost to Iowa) and Kent State (lost to Kentucky) present conundrums for voters: do they put more stock in ripping through the MAC or losing to awful BCS-league teams?

Ballot Math

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.

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
1 Black Heart Gold Pants Iowa Hawkeyes ballot 2.67
2 The Ralphie Report Colorado Buffaloes ballot 2.34
3 BCS Guru USC Trojans ballot 2.04
4 The Champaign Room Illinois Fighting Illini ballot 2.02
5 Rock M Nation Missouri Tigers ballot 2.01

It's incredible that, this late into the season, a strict résumé ballot is still the boldest we've got. But it is.

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
1 Mountain West Connection Utah Utes ballot 0.93
2 Card Chronicle Louisville Cardinals ballot 1.01
3 Frank the Tank's Slant Illinois Fighting Illini ballot 1.02
4 Eleven Warriors Ohio St. Buckeyes ballot 1.09
5 Red and Black Attack Northern Illinois Huskies ballot 1.23

I'm almost certain I've never seen Mountain West Connection top this category before, and, with Oregon No. 2 on its ballot, I'm surprised it did this week.

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 Barking Carnival Texas Longhorns ballot 4.50
2 Eleven Warriors Ohio St. Buckeyes ballot 4.30
3 OverThePylon Ball St. Cardinals ballot 3.76
4 Sippin on Purple Northwestern Wildcats ballot 3.34
5 And The Valley Shook! LSU Tigers ballot 2.59

Having Texas anywhere within the top 20 was sure to be dangerous for Texas blogs this week, and Barking Carnival did that, but, well, these numbers are wrong, too: my No. 1 vote for Florida on Alligator Army's ballot should have that same 3.76 bias OverThePylon has, and the two aforementioned Ohio State No. 1 votes from Buckeyes blogs should top this list with 5.30 bias.

# Blog Team Ballot Bias
1 Frogs O' War TCU Horned Frogs ballot -0.43
2 Garnet and Black Attack South Carolina Gamecocks ballot -0.23
3 BCS Guru USC Trojans ballot -0.16
4 One Foot Down Notre Dame Fighting Irish ballot -0.13
5 Let's Go Rockets Toledo Rockets ballot -0.10

Meanwhile, negative bias has been ruled all year by blogs that don't rank their teams that get votes.

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 Corn Nation Nebraska Cornhuskers ballot 108
2 The Ralphie Report Colorado Buffaloes ballot 98
3 Let's Go Rockets Toledo Rockets ballot 96
4 Addicted to Quack Oregon Ducks ballot 90
5 Rock M Nation Missouri Tigers ballot 82

Corn Nation's Swing win was made possible in part by having Clemson No. 4 last week for no damn reason. Seriously: Clemson, at No. 4, in November of this season.

# Blog Team Ballot Swing
1 Barking Carnival Texas Longhorns ballot 48
2 Sippin on Purple Northwestern Wildcats ballot 48
3 BC Interruption Boston College Eagles ballot 56
4 One Foot Down Notre Dame Fighting Irish ballot 56
5 Bucky's 5th Quarter Wisconsin Badgers ballot 60

I can forgive Barking Carnival for not making big swings happen, because this has been an excruciating good season for Texas — the Longhorns could maybe still theoretically go to a BCS bowl, but everyone in the Texas fan base is more worried about what to do about Mack Brown. (And former coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp doing big things at Florida isn't helping.)

Finally: again, because the errors are myriad this week, and because we're actually going to have time to fix the BlogPoll in full in the next month, I offer my apologies that things aren't running as smoothly as we want, and offer the comments to you to report any issues you've seen. I'm disappointed that it has bugs, too, and I want to make it the most honest, best-researched, most transparent, most diverse, and best-run college football poll there is. Telling us what you see is wrong will help, so feel free to report any issues down below. Thanks.

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