POLLSPEAK'S PICK: Bad Voter of Week 6 -- Joe Rexrode (posted 10/1/08)
Once again Pollspeak is going with a relatively obscure voter as far as the fans are concerned. Joe Rexrode received only 1 Good vote and 2 Bad votes. However, he still managed to find his way onto the Pollspeak radar. Before his nomination was made official, we checked his AP Poll Blog. In what amounts to the most ironic statement in Pollspeak history, he writes: "Hopefully I can earn "Bad Voter of the Week" some day." Congratulations! That day is today. Of course, the reasoning is not what he was expecting.
Once again our Bad Voter has a relatively clean ballot in Pollstalker. However, we have some points to make this week and Rexrode is a good example. First, like last week's Bad Voter, Rexrode votes two losers over winners from their head-to-head matchups:
Kansas #14 over USF #15. Yes, it was a close game at USF and this is a close ranking. It MAY even be justifiable if USF had a loss on the season, but USF is undefeated and already beat Kansas.
Fresno State #17 over Wisconsin #19. Rexrode is not alone in this choice (five others joined him), but that doesn't help. Wisconsin beat Fresno State at Fresno, and both teams have the same record. Pollspeak recommends that all voters review the AP Guidelines regarding head-to-head results ("Pay attention").
Pollspeak has one more point to make, however. Rexrode ranked USC (#6) and Ohio State (#8) highest in the country. He isn't alone in those choices, although he alone ranked both so highly. Our point is certainly open to debate, but both of those teams likely shouldn't be in the top eight this week. I'm not saying that they aren't great teams. I'm not saying they won't be ranked in the top eight come season's end. What I am saying is they don't deserve it in week six. There are other teams that are either undefeated and/or have played reasonable schedules (i.e. Penn State, Connecticut, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, etc.). Again, I would direct readers to the AP Guidelines "Base your vote on performance, not reputation or preseason speculation."
USC lost to (1-2) Oregon State (who was trounced by Penn State), and as Adam Van Brimmer (who voted Ohio State lowest at #23) told Pollspeak -- he dropped the Buckeyes drastically because, "they had beaten a I-AA team, struggled against a bad MAC team and (were) blown out by the Trojans." Brimmer feels he is one of the "scant few" who actually follows the AP guidelines, which also include "Don’t hesitate to make significant changes in your ballot from week to week. "
So we urge Rexrode and all voters to keep these guidelines in mind. Your goal isn't to predict the future or cling to the past. It is to report on the present state of college football -- this week. You may have a gut feeling that a certain team will be in the championship game. That's okay, but rank them today based on how they have played so far. You have at least 10 more weeks to make adjustments as the games unfold. Of course, if Rexrode is as prophetic with his ballot as he is with his Bad Voter of the Week call, he'll be fine.
PEOPLE'S PICK: Bad Voter of Week 6 -- Jason Franchuk (posted 10/1/08)
|Name ||Good Votes ||Bad Votes ||Net Bad Votes
fans grabbed the relay baton from Alabama
this week an voiced their displeasure with Jason Franchuk
, who voted the Nittany Lions lowest at #17. His 183 Good votes likely came from BYU
fans. Franchuk, who is a local BYU sports writer, ranked the Cougars highest at #6, but it wasn't enough to tip the balance. While we can't be sure, this seems like a classic case of feline rivalry.
UPDATE 10/5/08: In Franchuk's AP BLOG
he says that his Penn State vote was a mistake. He meant to put them #9, but "I was traveling yesterday, and had to be up at 7 a.m. to catch a flight. Whoops ... somehow Penn State slipped through the cracks on my normally trusty system."
Knowing this, somehow I still don't think it would have changed the votes of Penn State fans.
Good Voter of Week 6 -- Eric Page (posted 10/1/08)
|Name ||Good Votes ||Bad Votes ||Net Good Votes
Eric Page of the Quad City Times backed into Good Voter of the Week. Once again his good votes were fueled by happy Penn State fans. He ranked the Nittany Lions highest at #3.
However, it was Kirk Herbstreit who actually received the most Good votes (264). The votes likely came from fans of Illinois (#18) and North Carolina (#22) whom he rated highest. However, he was also the only voter to leave Vanderbilt off of his ballot, and the resulting 226 Bad votes knocked him out of the running.
Back to Eric Page, Pollspeak has no issue with Penn State being ranked #3. They have played very well so far and are as good a candidate for the top five as any team in the nation right now. However, his placing once-beaten Michigan State at #17 over unbeaten teams like Utah, Connecticut, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Oklahoma State seems a bit odd. But not odd enough to force Pollspeak to find another pick.
Note to Joe Rexrode -- so you can still rank Michigan State extremely high and be a good voter.
Pollspeak's first poll-related blog for SI.com was just published. If you're interested in the polls, be sure to check it out. If enough people view it, hopefully there will be more blogs to come. Check it out HERE.
The computers and humans clearly disagree about who is No. 1. The three human polls (including the AP) all have Oklahoma in the top spot. Three of the four released BCS computers have Alabama No. 1 (LSU is first in the Billingsley Report). It's this type of disagreement that's going to cause a Terminator-style takeover by the machines someday.
The biggest disparity among the computers this week involves Florida, which is ranked 11th by Harris Interactive but 67th by the Massey Ratings. So which teams do the computers like?
Northwestern is generally getting far more respect from computers: No. 2 in Massey, No. 4 in the Colley Matrix and No. 15 in Sagarin (ELO). Yet the Wildcats are unranked in every human poll.
Sagarin loves non-BCS teams, with Utah at No. 2, Boise State No. 4 and TCU No. 18. Colley thinks highly of Vanderbilt (No. 2), South Florida (No. 7) and Ball State (No. 12). The Billingsley Report treats two of last week's upset losers the best, ranking USC fourth and Georgia sixth. Massey likes the ACC and Big East; Duke is seventh, Virginia Tech eighth, and Connecticut 10th. Massey also includes FCS schools and actually has Cornell No. 24.
Let's see what the voters think by looking at the AP poll (which is currently the only one with public ballots, so it gives us an idea how human voters think):
Looking at last week's top 10 upsets, Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times punished Georgia the hardest for the Alabama loss, slotting the Dawgs 18th. Barker Davis (Washington Times) penalized Florida the most, also to No. 18. Doug Segrest (Birmingham News) and Glenn Guilbeau (Gannett Louisiana) dropped Wisconsin all the way to No. 25, and Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News) dropped USC to 15th after the Oregon State loss.
Excluding Georgia, those voters are much nicer than the toughest computers, which doled out these rankings:
Team Lowest Rank
Florida No. 67 (Massey)
Georgia No. 17 (Colley)
USC No. 42 (Colley)
Wisconsin No. 32 (Massey)
The following AP voters ranked losers over winners in head-to-head matchups even though the winner has the same number (or fewer) losses:
• Herb Gould (Chicago Sun-Times) ranks Ohio State (No. 8) over USC (No. 14).
• Randy Rosetta (Baton Rouge Advocate) and Pete DiPrimio (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel) rank Oregon over Boise State.
• Joe Rexrode (Lansing State Journal) has Kansas (No. 14) over South Florida (No. 15).
• Guilbeau, John Hunt (Oregonian) and Randy Harrison (Albuquerque Journal) have Florida State over Wake Forest.
• Six voters rank Fresno State over Wisconsin, but Scott Wolf (Los Angeles Daily News) has the largest margin (Bulldogs at No. 16 and Badgets at No. 24).
In the Coaches' Poll:
Coaches' Pets (ranked highest in the BCS):
• Missouri: No. 3
• BYU: No. 7
• Oregon: No. 20
Coaches' Goats (ranked lowest in the BCS):
• Alabama: No. 4
• Virginia Tech: No. 24
Finally, the biggest poll news this week is the release of another BCS component: the Harris Interactive College Football Poll (HICFP). You can find the list of Harris voters on its site, but here is a quick breakdown of the changes from last year.
Harris voters gave the highest BCS rankings to Florida (No. 11), Wisconsin (No. 16) and Fresno State (No. 20). Amazingly, they didn't vote anybody lowest in the BCS top 25. Harris Interactive does a good job of selecting voters based on conference affiliation. It is by far the most comprehensive selection process, and aside from using secret ballots, the HICFP is a solid poll. I just hope it can hold its own against a T-1000 when the machines revolt.
First Harris Interactive Poll Released (posted 9/28/08)
You can find the results for the first 2008 Harris Interactive College Football Poll in Pollstalker HERE. Also of interest, here is a list of HICFP voter changes made from 2007 to 2008 and here is a shorter version listing only the 20 changes made.