Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Blogpoll: Saint Barbara Don't Let Me Explode! Edition

1 Ohio State --
2 Michigan --
3 Rutgers 9
4 Southern Cal 5
5 Florida --
6 Arkansas 4
7 Notre Dame 1
8 Louisville 5
9 Wake Forest 9
10 Boise State 3
11 Wisconsin 3
12 LSU 1
13 Auburn 9
14 Texas 7
15 Tennessee --
16 Georgia Tech 1
17 West Virginia 2
18 California 12
19 Boston College 7
20 Oklahoma 4
21 Maryland 2
22 Brigham Young 2
23 Nebraska 2
24 Virginia Tech 2
25 Hawaii --
Dropped Out: Texas A&M (#20), Oregon (#22).
Before I unveil this week's blogpoll, let us bow our heads in a solemn prayer to Saint Barbara, the patron saint of Landmines, artillery gunmen, and, according to Wikipedia, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death. This week, a veritable gaggle of teams saw their championship dreams meet a bloody and merciless end, a slew of attrition that is nearly unprecedented in these late weeks of November. And, alas, I'm stuck in the position of trying to make sense of the wreckage and aftermath, matching dismembered limbs of teams with their appropriate ranking. It's a gory job, but dammit if I'm not going to try.

Make that three consecutive blogpolls with a Hold Steady reference.

  • One and two. Catch you cats this weekend.

  • Rutgers... and a Xanax, please. I vascillated on this one for a while, but at the end of the day, I felt it would be disingenous if I didn't give them a rocket ride. I had Louisville at number three last week, and when they are beaten by a team from their own conference that is also undefeated, I can't think of a good reason to give Rutgers the exact same treatment. I'm literally losing my mind at the thought of putting the State University of Rutgers this high, since that puts me under some sort of obligation to bump them to number freaking two after the UM-OSU game. Mind... exploding. Clocks... melting. Beam me up, God.

  • I am un chien Andalousia.

  • 4 through 8 have some national championship aspirations. And there has been a pretty big shakeup. USC takes a big jump for a variety of reasons. In addition to their unholy vengeful beatdown of Oregon, I'm seeing their big win over Arkansas in a different light each week that the Hogs stubbornly refuse to collapse and vindicate my preseason bashing. I had to make a big decision this week whether to rank these teams by the quality of their wins or the quality of their losses. USC sports the best win and the worst loss in the group, so it's difficult to know exactly what to do with them.

    At the end of the day, I decided to go by win quality, as I plan to keep that the hallmark of this poll. The reason? 1993. Notre Dame and Florida state finished the year with one loss apiece. Notre Dame had the best win of the group, beating... you guessed it, Florida State. However, Florida State had a higher quality loss... against Notre Dame as opposed to ND's loss to Boston College. It's a tricky paradox to think that Notre Dame punished itself by being successful and thus making the Seminoles' loss more forgivable. I don't like that strain of circular logic, and I'm going to instead put more value on quality wins than quality losses.

    Ergo, your next five, based on their best win's ranking. USC beat Arkansas (6), Florida beat LSU (12), Arkansas beat Auburn (13), Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech (16), and Louisville beat West Virginia (17). It's a very, horribly, insanely imperfect science, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

  • And... uh, the rest. Done with a combination of schedule strength, victory chains, and of course my trusty dartboard.

So that's that. Next week is going to be even more crazy.

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At 9:32 AM, Blogger gwzimm said...

Seriously: Do you REALLY think Rutgers, Boise State, Louisville or Worst Virginia could hang for 60 minutes with OSU, Mich., Ark., USC or most of the other top 10 teams? Do you REALLY? Come on....

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or how about this...how about if Rutgers played the schedule of Notre Dame. Or USC. Do you think they would be undefeated? Do you really?

Or for that matter, take any team and imagine how they would do with any other teams schedule....that gives you a better overall judgement then ranking based on "higher quality loss".

And concerning 1993: In every football conference, both college and NFL, if two teams have identical records, then head to head competition is used to determine who is more deserving of the being labeled the better team. In the case of 1993, ND beat FSU. What more do you want?

At 10:41 AM, Blogger gwzimm said...

About the comment on the 1993 ND-FSU game.

In 1989, ND & Miami both went 10-1. Miami beat ND. Miami was named No. 1, because "They won head-to-head."

In 1993, ND & FSU finished 10-1. ND beat FSU. FSU ws named No. 1, because "Head-to-head" doesn't matter.

Go figure.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous canuck said...

The pollsters can't have it both ways. If 3 Big East teams belong in the top 12, a no loss Big East team definitely belongs in the big game.

If Rutgers didn't have a top 5 defense (scoring and yards), if they hadn't shut down the consensus scariest offense in the 2nd half, if Louisville didn't have a top 25 SOS, and WVU hadn't beaten Georgia last year, if the Big East wasn't the 2nd ranked conference in the computers, it might be possible to throw one's hands up.

But lumping an undefeated Big East winner in with Boise State just doesn't work this year.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately we can't just rely on statistics and rankings to judge who is better than who. I still stand by the fact that the Big East is the most overrated conference in America. You can rattle off all kinds of statistics that point to them being a strong conference this year, but they (and their "gawdy" statistics) benefited from playing a bunch of teams that just weren't that good. The marquee win for the entire Big East is WVU beating Maryland, by the way.
And to say that Boise St doesn't deserve to be lumped in with them is erroneous. Let me remind you that Louisville played Boise St in a bowl two years ago, with the game coming down to the final play before it was determined. The two teams matched up very well in that game.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous canuck said...

Sorry, but the computers are all looking at Out of Conference games when they rank the conferences. Sagarin has Pac10, Big East, SEC, Big10+1 and then a huge drop off to the ACC and Big 12. If Texas hadn't scheduled tOSU this year and was undefeated with wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska the Big 12 being this year's WEAKEST conference would not factor in. The pollsters figure Louisville and WVU are better than Oklahoma and Nebraska so what's the beef against an undefeated Rutgers in one of the stronger conference ON THE FIELD?

The insane part is that the pollsters are willing to put an undefeated WVU or Louisville in the game, and a one loss WVU or Louisville in the top 12, yet not Rutgers because beating WVU or Louisville isn't marquee. If marquee is a code word for someone who was good last year WVU beat the SEC champ. Going back 2 years to drag Louisville, WVU and Rutgers down to the level of the WAC is bizzare. Not quite as bizarre as the coaches outright fraud of putting Rutgers behind WVU.

The SEC howls for years about passing over an undefeated team with a strong defense from a conference dominating the top 10. There were 3 undefeated BCS teams when that happened. What possible excuse exists for putting 3 Big East teams in the top 10 and pretending an undefeated top 5 defense team isn't for real? Why do they even play the games?

Does the Big East need to schedule OOC more aggressively? Absolutely as should all conferences unless they actually want to bring in a bowl playoff system. Many top 25 teams have weak OOC schedules like Rutgers and WVU not strong ones like Louisville (Sagarin #24, ask Texas about K-State and Miami was perpetual top 10 when scheduled).

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Clashmore said...

Well if Boise State played Louisville tough 2 YEARS AGO, then clearly the BE sucks. How were our Irish two years ago? Would it be fair for someone to compare the 04 Irish with this year's team?

If RU finishes undefeated, they will have earned a shot at the title. Especially if they beat a one loss WVU team.

Has tOSU earned it if they lose to Michigan? With a win over Texas (who plays in the AWFUL Big 12) and Iowa (2-5 in the Big 10)?
Florida? Only if they get by Western Carolina first.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger gwzimm said...

Boise State against the winner of the OSU-MI game. Boy would that be a big hit with the TV networks.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Clashmore said...

who is clashmore and how did they steal my persona?

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O Lord, bless this Thy hand grenade that, with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits in Thy mercy.

At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dammit, I'm an idiot. You said land mine, not hand grenade.

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gwzimm, taking the teams you raised in arbitrary order...

* Boise State: Nah, I don't think they'd hang with the top teams if the top teams showed up.

* WVU: Their offense is scary, in a good way. Their defense is scary, in a bad way. They still haven't seen a good defense yet AFAIK, so I can't judge whether they could hang with a good team. They got credit going into the season for hanging with Georgia last year, so I guess by default we have to assume that they would be capable of hanging with an Arkansas or USC.

* Louisville: Their body of work says they should be able to hang with anybody. They strike me as a mirror image of ND... very good offense, some questions about the defense, so against a team like Michigan they could get in some trouble if they gave up some big plays.

* Rutgers: Absolutely they could hang with Michigan and OSU. That defense could hang with anyone. A game against Rutgers would scare me tremendously as an ND fan, I think the best-case scenario would be a repeat of the UCLA game.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger gwzimm said...


Respect your opinions above, but I don't think any of those four teams could stay within 3 touchdowns of either Mich or osu, Rutgers may be the best of the breed, but not NC caliber. Just my humble opinion.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the biggest problem with the Big Least is Respect. Let's face it, hardly anyone around the country respects the Big Least, and deservedly so.

First off, the conference is only made up of 8 teams. That right there makes it a small pond.

But not only is the pond small, it isn't filled with a bunch of sharks either. The eight teams that make up the conference ALL have perception problems. UCONN and South Florida weren't even Div 1-A teams a few years ago. Louisville played in a baseball stadium for 40 years until that pizza stadium was built. Rutgers, well, they've always been just Rutgers. And Cincinnati has always sucked, too. Syracuse, Pitt, and WVU have had SOME good years, but neither are considered perennial powers like Texas, USC, tOSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida St, Miami, etc.

Furthermore, if you go and look at the top 100 recruits in the nation, very few will wind up at the Big East schools. So there is a perceived talent disparity as well. Sure, West Virginia, Pitt and Louisville might find some diamonds in the rough, or even a 4-5 star recruit every year or two, but the fact is, they don't compete for most of the same kids that tOSU, ND, USC does. This is not a biased opinion, it is simply fact.

Lastly, the Big East is made up of a bunch of schools that aren't exactly a bunch of schools that everyone wants to attend anyway. If you look at all the big traditional football powers, they all have something outside of football that makes it attractive. Notre Dame has academics and a beautiful campus (among other things). tOSU, Texas, Florida, and FSU all are huge state schools that have a lot to offer. Miami and USC are in great climates and are good academically too.

Why would someone from anywhere outside their home state want to go to Louisville or West Virginia?

So before a Big East team (like Louisville, WVU or Rutgers) starts to bang on the table saying "We WANT RESPECT" they should realize that they have to EARN it. This means not playing Temple, Middle Tenn St., and Florida-Atlantic and then bragging about how their offense or defense is statistically so good. It means scheduling a game at Michigan, perhaps at OSU, and then at Texas the next year (maybe even playing a couple of traditional powers IN A ROW). Win all those games, then people will stop pointing out all their disparities.

But I don't see that happening anytime in the near future.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger gwzimm said...

People in W. VA tend to stay in their home state for college. They'd be a little embarrassed and insecure venturing outside the confines of their home state. After all, most of them don't wear shoes....the only good thing that ever came out of KY is a pretty good horse race and fried chicken.


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