As all of you are aware, one of the premises underlying the BlogPoll is that bloggers engage in more back-and-forth communication about the rankings in their chosen medium than voters in the sportswriters’ and coaches’ polls are apt to do---there’s a reason why they don’t call it "the reportersphere"---so there is greater likelihood of a particularly persuasive case having an impact. At its finest, meritocracy, rather than The Narrative, rules. As BlogPoll founder Brian Cook put it:
It's really important that you as a voter listen to the other voters in the roundtable discussions and the like. If someone provides a convincing argument about a team, please be open minded enough to admit wrongness and change your ballot. What's convincing? Well, that's up to you. Feedback and the give-and-take of blogging is critical to the poll. Be a part of the discussion, and change your mind.
I already had been giving some thought to making adjustments to my BlogPoll ballot, albeit not the demotion of North Carolina recommended by the exceptionally well-named Quiet Hour Backflips and implicitly endorsed by California Golden Blogs.
No, I was reconsidering my decision to rank Louisiana State ahead of Texas Christian. Here were the data that gave me pause:
- The Fighting Tigers went on the road and lost to highly-ranked Florida (5-1) by 30 points. The Horned Frogs went on the road and lost to highly-ranked Oklahoma (5-1) by 25 points. That’s effectively a push.
- One of L.S.U.’s wins was over Division I-AA Appalachian State. One of T.C.U.’s wins was over Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin. Those wins are essentially meaningless.
- Aside from the aforementioned outings, Louisiana State’s resume consists of wins over Auburn (4-3), Mississippi State (2-4), and North Texas (0-6), whereas Texas Christian’s record includes victories over Colorado State (3-3), New Mexico (3-4), San Diego State (1-5), Southern Methodist (1-6), and Stanford (4-3). One of the Bayou Bengals’ wins came on the road by a narrow margin; three of the Horned Frogs’ wins came on the road and none were close contests.
- For me, it came down to a question whether a 26-21 win over the Plainsmen in the so-called Loveliest Village counted for more or less than a 31-14 home win over a Cardinal club with an identical record. Stanford boasts wins over Arizona and Oregon State. Auburn beat . . . uh . . . Mississippi State by one? Tennessee by two? I hate to say it, but hasn’t more been accomplished at The Farm than at The Barn this season?
That settled it, then; I had decided to move L.S.U. down and T.C.U. up . . . and then I noticed that The Daily Gopher was sending readers my way for the purpose of making the following case for Minnesota:
As far as Minnesota is concerned I have no problem with my current ranking of the Gophers. I realize there is a lot of discussion surrounding their lack of a difficult schedule. But take a look at some of the other teams above or near the Gophers in the most recent AP/Coaches' polls and their strength of schedule ranking...
- Minnesota – 77
- Ball State – 107
- TCU – 91
- Tulsa – 141
- Florida State – 127
- BYU – 121
- Missouri – 87
- Texas Tech – 105
- Kansas – 95
- Georgia Tech – 89
Why do teams like Ball State, BYU, TCU or Texas Tech get ranked as high as they do despite a worse strength of schedule? I know the Big Ten is down but does it actually deserve less respect than MAC or Mountain West? BYU is the eithg [sic.] best team in the country with a SOS ranking of 121?
Minnesota earned a significant win on the road against a good team. Their strength of schedule is not in the top 30, but they are winning their games and deserve a top 25 ranking as much as any of the other teams in the 20-27 range.
Admittedly, I have an innate partiality towards arguments which treat Georgia Tech disrespectfully, but, when a fellow makes a good case in a civil manner---particularly when he’s a Big Ten blogger, in light of the squabbles I have had occasionally with fans of that league’s teams---he gets my vote.
Accordingly, here is my revised top 25: