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College Football BlogPoll Rankings, Week 15: Placing Our Bet On Auburn

Auburn's dismantling of South Carolina moves them to the top as minor changes propagate down the poll elsewhere. Some nut ranks TCU No. 1; another ranks them No. 13. Utah is appropriately the team under the CK whammy.

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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.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 15

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Auburn Tigers (35) 24.57 0.59 Arrow_up 1
2 Oregon Ducks (20) 24.34 0.51 Arrow_down -1
3 TCU Horned Frogs (1) 22.79 1.42 --
4 Wisconsin Badgers 21.32 1.32 --
5 Stanford Cardinal 20.96 1.43 --
6 Ohio St. Buckeyes 19.00 1.60 --
7 Michigan St. Spartans 17.96 3.35 Arrow_up 1
8 Arkansas Razorbacks 17.96 1.93 Arrow_down -1
9 Oklahoma Sooners 17.11 2.05 --
10 Boise St. Broncos 15.32 2.87 Arrow_up 1
11 LSU Tigers 14.45 3.02 Arrow_down -1
12 Virginia Tech Hokies 13.02 3.11 Arrow_up 3
13 Nevada Wolf Pack 12.59 3.16 --
14 Missouri Tigers 12.39 2.45 --
15 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 11.11 1.98 Arrow_up 1
16 Alabama Crimson Tide 10.80 2.49 Arrow_up 1
17 Nebraska Cornhuskers 10.05 2.63 Arrow_down -5
18 Texas A&M Aggies 9.80 2.42 Arrow_up 1
19 South Carolina Gamecocks 6.07 2.72 Arrow_down -1
20 Utah Utes 5.02 2.33 Arrow_up 1
21 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 4.55 1.99 Arrow_up 1
22 West Virginia Mountaineers 4.00 2.10 Arrow_up 1
23 Florida St. Seminoles 3.84 2.16 Arrow_down -3
24 Hawaii Warriors 1.61 1.92 Arrow_up 2
25 Central Florida Knights 1.45 1.68 Arrow_up 3
Others Receiving Votes: Connecticut Huskies | Navy Midshipmen | Maryland Terrapins | San Diego St. Aztecs | N.C. State Wolfpack | Miami (Ohio) RedHawks | Air Force Falcons | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Northern Illinois Huskies | Pittsburgh Panthers | Florida Gators | Baylor Bears | USC Trojans | Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Updated: Dec 8, 2010 8:37 AM PST

Total Ballots: 56

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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.

Most Disagreement

# School Points/blog SD
1 Michigan St. Spartans 17.96 3.35
2 Nevada Wolf Pack 12.59 3.16
3 Virginia Tech Hokies 13.02 3.11
4 LSU Tigers 14.45 3.02
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.

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.

Mr. Bold

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
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

# Blog Team Ballot Avg Error
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

# Blog Team Ballot Bias
1 Block U Utah Utes ballot 5.98
2 SimonOnSports Connecticut Huskies ballot 2.09
3 Men of the Scarlet and Gray Ohio St. Buckeyes ballot 2.00
4 Team Speed Kills South Carolina Gamecocks ballot 0.93
5 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

# Blog Team Ballot Bias
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.

# Blog Team Ballot Swing
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.

Mr. Xanax

# Blog Team Ballot Swing
1 SimonOnSports Connecticut Huskies ballot 10
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 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.