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POLLSPEAK'S PICK: Bad Voter of Week 10 -- Jon Wilner (posted 10/29/08)
Last week Pollspeak sided with the voters and resisted a strong urge to vote Jon Wilner Bad Voter of Week 9. It was just too hard to resist two weeks in a row. This is his first time Pollspeak has picked Wilner this season, although he was a regular contributor last season and our inaugural Worst Voter of the Year for 2007. In 2008, Wilner's week 10 ballot has several issues that bear discussion:
Wilner was an obvious candidate since Pollstalker even singled him out as the week's most extreme voter with eight extreme votes and four near-extremes. However, extreme doesn't have to mean bad.
On the other hand, he is one of two people who voted USC over Penn State (Kevin Pearson is the other). This is really hard to justify, but he tries. In his blog, Wilner points to USC's strength of schedule, which is much stronger according to Sagarin's ratings. However, he fails to mention that even Sagarin ranks Penn State over USC. Penn State is ranked higher in both the standard ratings (#2 vs. #3) and ELO_CHESS (#3 vs. #9), which is what the BCS uses. The reason Sagarin ranks Penn State higher is because it also takes into account number of losses and to whom a team loses. Unfortunately, Wilner has his own formula, which is likely less scientific and less proven.
Wilner also mentions USC and Penn State's common opponents: Ohio State and Oregon State. For some reason he points out that USC beat the Buckeyes more convincingly, but he completely neglects the value of USC's loss to Oregon State. What is so frustrating about reading Wilner's blog (much like his ballot) is that he seems to spend a lot of time thinking about his rankings only to come up with contradictory results while leaving out important facts.
The next issue with Wilner's ballot is ranking Texas Tech lowest in the country at #12. This is an improvement over last week's lowest ranking of #16. You would think after beating Kansas, a team he ranked #21 last week, the undefeated Red Raiders may have at least earned enough respect to jump teams like Boise State (who has a lower strength of schedule) or two-loss Ohio State, which he currently ranks highest at #9. Texas Tech might deserve to drop out of the top 10, if they lose this week to Texas. However, he could wait to see if it happens first. Even if Texas Tech does lose, some voters may still rank them higher than 12. In fact, if Texas Tech loses, we think there is a chance Wilner will actually rank them higher next week since their strength of schedule will improve.
As we mentioned in our SI.com Blog, Wilner was the only voter to rank Navy (5-3) this week. Interestingly, he left Duke and Pittsburgh unranked. No shock over Duke … nobody ranked the Blue Devils. But the Panthers (5-2) have a better record than the Midshipmen and trounced them in Annapolis. However, if you're going to rank Navy, you might as well rank Duke, too. The Blue Devils have the same number of losses (3) and also beat Navy. Duke would surely love some publicity after last week's victory over one-time SEC Cinderella, Vanderbilt. In fact, that win certainly contributed to both Sagarin and Anderson/Hester ranking the SEC the fourth strongest conference this week. (Note: Wilner ranked Vanderbilt over Texas Tech last week as well.)
Jon Wilner was also the only person this week not to rank BYU and one of two voters not to rank Minnesota. However, on the positive side, he is one of the few voters to actually rank Maryland over California AND California over Michigan State, which is how those head-to-head matchups played out. Most voters don't have Cal on the radar yet because they've played fewer games and only have five wins, but that should change if the Golden Bears keep winning.
PEOPLE'S PICK: Bad Voter of Week 10 -- Craig James (posted 10/29/08)
|Name ||Good Votes ||Bad Votes ||Net Bad Votes
received the most Bad votes and net Bad votes (which hasn't happened in a while). While he received a lot of Good votes, it seems Boise State fans ruled Pollstalker this week. James voted the Broncos lowest at #15. Even happy Virginia (#20) and Georgia Tech (#22) fans couldn't make up the difference.
Good Voter of Week 10 -- Ferd Lewis (posted 10/29/08)
|Name ||Good Votes ||Bad Votes ||Net Good Votes
A mere 55 net Good votes was enough for Ferd Lewis to be the people's choice this week. (Jon Wilner received the most Good votes, 345, likely from USC, Ohio State and Navy fans, but received nearly as many bad votes.) Pollspeak has no major issues with Lewis' week 10 ballot so we'll make it unanimous.
Lewis' ballot is a good choice because it is opposite Wilner's in several ways:
- Penn State over USC
- Texas Tech in a reasonable spot (#6)
- Doesn't have Navy in place of BYU or Minnesota
Yet, he still has Maryland, Cal and Michigan State in the order of head-to-head matchups, and as a bonus also ranks Pittsburgh (winner of the Pitt, USF, Kansas head-to-heads).
He does have Oklahoma State lowest (#11), but not enough Cowboy fans disagreed with his choice to matter. Boise State likely gave him his Good votes since he was one of two people to rank them highest at #9. Luckily for Lewis, Utah fans already made their point last week.
Is there still consensus? Is the BCS watered down? Are people watching the games? What does Barbara Billingsley have to do with football? Those questions answered and more in this week's blog on SI.com.
BCS perfection lasted all of one week. Last week, I pointed out that we had a consensus No. 1 (Texas) and No. 2 (Alabama) for the first time in BCS history. It was close this week, but the Billingsley Report ended that consensus by voting Penn State No. 2 over Alabama. Before Tide fans get angry, I suggest they take another Billingsley's advice. Barbara Billingsley, who played "Jive Lady" in the movie Airplane, said it best: "Jus' hang loose, blood" and "Cut me some slack, Jack!"
Instead of getting upset, ponder this week's BCS question: Have the computer rankings been watered down too much in the BCS formula? Currently, the two human polls account for two-thirds of the formula while the six computer polls account for one-third. Additionally, the formula discards the highest and lowest computer ranking for each team. South Florida provides a dramatic example this week. USF ranks 23rd in both human polls, but didn't get a single point from a computer (the school's not ranked in the top 25). Yet USF still ranks 23rd in the BCS. That doesn't sound right, does it? The formula received some tweaks a few years ago to give the human element more weight, but now it might have too much weight. There are of course some examples to the contrary, but 15 of the 25 ranked teams have a BCS ranking that's basically the same as their human poll ranking.
• If you want to know who's on the "BCS bubble," check out the BCS Guru. There, you can see which teams rank 26th and lower (unofficially) in the BCS Standings.
• Looking at the bottom of the AP Poll, Craig James was the only voter who ranked Notre Dame (No. 24) above North Carolina (unranked). In fact, he was one of only six voters to rank the Irish at all, but of those, he was the lone voter to leave the Tar Heels off his ballot. North Carolina (6-2) has a better record than Notre Dame (5-2) and won the head-to-head matchup. In addition, four people voted Connecticut over North Carolina -- Jeff White, Myron Patton, Jimmy Burch and Mike Strain. Both teams are 6-2 and the Tar Heels beat the Huskies handily.
Meanwhile, Jim Mashek, Glenn Guilbeau and John Hunt voted Louisville over Connecticut even though the Huskies (6-2) have a better record and beat the Cardinals (5-2) at Papa John's Stadium.
• Jon Wilner was the only voter to rank Navy (5-3) this week. Interestingly, he left Duke and Pittsburgh unranked. No shock over Duke … nobody ranked the Bue Devils. But the Panthers (5-2) have a better record than the Midshipmen and trounced them in Annapolis. However, if you're going to rank Navy, you might as well rank Duke, too. The Blue Devils have the same number of losses (3) and also beat Navy. Duke would surely love some publicity after last week's victory over one-time SEC Cinderella, Vanderbilt. In fact, that win certainly contributed to both Sagarin and Anderson/Hester ranking the SEC the fourth strongest conference this week.
• Mike DeArmond did something interesting this week when he voted Ohio State (No. 13) over USC (No. 15). He hasn't done that since his first ballot of the season. It's puzzling that DeArmond would rank the Trojans lower than the Buckeyes, since they beat the Buckeyes earlier this season and since the Buckeyes suffered their second loss this weekend.
• Finally, with Kansas, Pittsburgh and USF losing this week, I can stop trying to compare them all (although USF received the most votes of the three -- damn, couldn't help myself). Maybe with one or two more wins, I can start talking about Oregon State again. I'm always looking for another reason to quote Barbara Billingsley, and we all know as June Cleaver, she had a lot to say about the Beaver.
For more poll analysis, go to pollspeak.com.
Week 10 AP ballots released WITH MAJOR ERRORS (posted 10/26/08)
It looks like many of the ballots are actually pre-season ballots and not week 10 ballots. Until the AP corrects the ballots, Pollstalker voting will be postponed. Hopefully it will be corrected soon, and we will keep you posted.
UPDATE 3:30pm EST: 10/26/08 -- It turns out that the AP site erroneously lists every week's ballot as week 10. This is a technical glitch on the AP site, but you can see the actual 'Week 10' ballots at the bottom of each voter's page. Pollstalker now contains the proper ballots and voting is open. We ask AP voters to please check their ballots and let us know if you find any issues.