Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blogpollery Week 5

After getting put through this week's results blender, the JCCW's ballot poured out like so:

1 Alabama 7
2 Oklahoma 3
3 LSU 1
4 Penn State 3
5 Missouri 1
6 South Florida 3
7 Texas 4
8 Vanderbilt 6
9 Boise State 7
10 Utah 5
11 Georgia 10
12 Southern Cal 10
13 Brigham Young 1
14 Florida 11
15 Virginia Tech 4
16 Oregon 8
17 Auburn 4
18 Ohio State 2
19 Northwestern 7
20 Ball State 6
21 Connecticut 5
22 Oklahoma State 5
23 Texas Tech 5
24 Wake Forest 11
25 Mississippi 1

Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#10), Kansas (#22), East Carolina (#23), California (#25).

Your breakdown:

1-7: Yes, when No. 7 is Texas and No. 8 is Vanderbilt, it's safe to say there's some separation here. Alabama gets the nod over Oklahoma because the Sooners still haven't faced anyone half as good as Georgia, and maybe not even anyone as good as Clemson--while the Tide, of course, crushed both those teams like so many walked-on eggshells. USF is held back their close calls against UCF and Florida International, Texas by their schedule.

8-10, 13: There's certainly an argument to be made that one-loss teams with Georgia's potential and scalps at South Carolina and Arizona St. deserves to be ranked ahead of undefeated but almost-certainly-not-as-good teams like Vandy and Boise ... but, eh, as long as there's some meat on the unbeaten resume's bone, I think we're early enough in the season that a winning percentage of 1.000 vs. a winning percentage of .800 is still a big deal. It'll straighten itself out eventually.

So, given that Vandy (@ Ole Miss, vs. Carolina, vs. Rice), Boise (@ Oregon), and Utah (@ Michigan, vs. UNLV, @ Air Force) all have some of the aforementioned meat, they go here. BYU's UCLA and Washington wins are almost meaningless by this point, though; they slip.

11-12, 14-18: Parade of the BCS one-loss teams, with Georgia's relatively impressive victories and more understandable loss keeping them ahead of the Trojans despite USC's still-worthwhile bludgeoning of OSU. Va. Tech should maybe be ahead of the Gators given that they've now got three wins (UNC, Ga. Tech, @ Nebraska) better right now than any Florida's nabbed, but, eh, I just think the Gators are way, way better. Oregon's win at Purdue isn't worth much, but it's better than when the next two teams have got.

Those teams are Auburn and Ohio St., with Auburn a spot ahead since ULM-So. Miss-Miss. St-Tennessee trumps Youngstown St.-Ohio-Troy-Minnesota. I'm not completely sure either belongs in the poll at all, though: the division between either of these two teams and the departed one-loss, resume-light likes of Wisconsin and Kansas is mostly that their losses make a little more sense. We'll see.

19-23: Undefeated teams with some evidence of success but not enough to move ahead of the very-likely-stronger teams ahead of them. Wins at Iowa and Louisville were enough for Northwestern and UConn to sneak in while the drastically increased value of Ball St.'s comprehensive win over Navy gets them a nod of approval. Still no reason to move Oklahoma St. or Texas Tech up; they're here on reputation alone.

24-25: With one fewer loss and a head-to-head win, Wake has to be ranked above the Rebels, no? The Demon Deacons have an improved-looking win over Florida St. to fall back on, too. As for the Rebels, their victory at Florida is miles and miles better than anyone's not ranked above them and they outgained both of the opponents they lost to. They deserve the No. 25 slot.

Waiting list: Yes, I dropped Wisconsin all the way out of the poll. When your best win comes while getting outplayed at Fresno St. (themselves a paper tiger as the Toledo and UCLA scrapes would suggest) and you lose to a team who gave you the ball five times in the first half, you don't deserve to be ranked. Kansas has beaten no one with even half a pulse. Kentucky's best win was a gift from Lousiville. On potential, all of these guys deserve to be ranked; on production-to-date, no.

There's a morass of one-loss teams like Maryland, Cal, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Michigan St., and Duke (don't laugh--the Devils also thumped Navy and seriously outplayed Northwestern in their one loss) that deserve a look, but between questionable losses (Maryland to MTSU) and questionable wins (how much should wins over Boston College or Notre Dame really count for?) I kept them out.

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