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Week Nine BlogPoll Ballot Revised

Whenever I look at my BlogPoll ballot, I find myself channeling my inner Chandler Bing: "Could this be any more complicated?" (By the way, if you find yourself channeling your outer Chandler Bing, you’re probably Doug Gillett.)

As always, I asked for feedback, and, as usual, I got it. Hawkeye State of Black Heart Gold Pants (whose on-screen avatar depicts the namesake of a Drive-By Truckers song, which invariably is a good way to score points with me) appropriately called attention to the fact that, in comparing Penn State’s win over Oregon State to Utah’s, I made the mistake of overlooking Southern California’s loss to the Beavers.

Hawkeye State went on to point out the problems inherent in strength of schedule rankings and the fact that I may be underrating teams like Boise State. (With regard to the latter point, C&F noted the disparity between U.S.C.’s and B.S.U.’s wins over Oregon.)

Even though the Nittany Lions’ win over Ohio State came by a much narrower margin than did the Trojans’, P.S.U. played a healthier Buckeye team on the road and, as The ArchDawg pointed out, Joe Paterno’s bunch badly beat the O.S. club that beat the Men of Troy. The admittedly biased yet still reasonable Kevin HD therefore had a legitimate basis for his claim that he was "just not buying it."

SG Standard made a good faith effort to sort through the mess, but he ultimately concluded, "The more I look at the results I came up with, the angrier I get." I empathized with his frustration, and that was without even getting into the Oklahoma schools.

Where, then, did I come down on all of this? Please bear in mind that I am sick, tired, hungry, and under the influence of cold medication when you evaluate my revised ballot:

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas --
2 Alabama --
3 Penn State --
4 Southern Cal 1
5 Florida 4
6 Georgia 2
7 Oklahoma 1
8 Oklahoma State 4
9 Utah 1
10 Texas Tech 3
11 Boise State 7
12 North Carolina 14
13 Ohio State 6
14 Connecticut 12
15 Maryland 11
16 Florida State 5
17 TCU 5
18 Minnesota 2
19 California 7
20 LSU 3
21 Ball State 2
22 West Virginia 4
23 Brigham Young 3
24 Air Force 2
25 Oregon 1

Dropped Out: Pittsburgh (#11), Georgia Tech (#14), Boston College (#15), South Florida (#16), Northwestern (#22), Cincinnati (#23), Tulsa (#24), Virginia Tech (#25).

I don’t know what you’d call that ballot, but it is what it is. (Oh, no! More illness-induced clichés! Does Dr. Saturday make house calls?)

At the end of the day, my argument for dropping Penn State after the Nittany Lions’ biggest win of the season didn’t hold water, particularly since P.S.U. obliterated the team that beat Southern California. I moved Oklahoma and Oklahoma State closer together---I told you before that the Sooners were a shaky top five team, and Doug’s got my back on this one (sorry about the Chandler crack, Doug)---because the Cowboys, on the whole, performed better against Texas and because I’m not all that sure Texas Christian is better than Missouri. For good measure, I inched T.C.U. down a little and I’ll be keeping a close eye on Mizzou, as those Tigers probably deserve to be ranked as much as some other Tigers I could name. Mea culpa, Missouri; get back to winning, and I’ll rank you next time.

(I would add, however, that, while I overreacted in dropping the Nittany Lions, I noticed that some voters ranked Penn State second, ahead of Alabama. I don’t get that. The Crimson Tide beat Georgia. The Nittany Lions beat Ohio State. Beating a good S.E.C. team is better than beating Ohio State. As evidence in support of my belief that a good S.E.C. team is better than Ohio State, I present: history.)

I swapped Georgia and Florida because I don’t want to tempt fate and I was reminded recently about the consequences of excessive pride. Since I previously judged the Utes to be more comparable to Penn State (though not truly comparable to Penn State, if that makes any sense; again, I reiterate the presence of cold medication in my system) than might be apparent at first glance, I put Utah ahead of Texas Tech.

I apologize if that’s unfair to the Red Raiders, but, given the schedule that they’ve played (and my persistent lack of faith in Kansas, which looks to me a whole lot like Kentucky, only with wheat instead of bourbon, which is a bad tradeoff on the Sunflower State’s part!), it seemed appropriate to rank them between two undefeated mid-majors. Honestly, if Texas Tech bolted the Big 12 and joined the Mountain West or the W.A.C., do you think the Raiders would have any trouble fitting in there? Yeah, me, neither, but now I find myself distracted by the thought of using sour mash whiskey as a cold remedy. (Focus, Kyle!)

Right; back to the top 25. Anyway, if Mike Leach’s band of scurvy dogs wants to move up, the Red Raiders have an easy a simple way to do so: beat Texas. Until then, Texas Tech is a high-flying team that has yet to beat a team better than the best teams beaten by the teams ranked first through ninth. (Yes, Oregon State is better than Kansas.)

Some of you may have noticed that, by moving T.C.U. down, I also (of necessity) moved Florida State up, which may strike you as cognitively dissonant on my part, since the Seminoles, like the Red Raiders, have played two Division I-AA teams. To that, I offer a retort in six parts:

  1. I have Texas Tech ranked tenth and Florida State ranked 16th.

  2. The Seminoles’ best win is better than the Raiders’ best win. (Yes, Virginia Tech is better than Kansas.)

  3. The Big 12 is starting to make a certain amount of sense, but who the heck knows what’s going on in the A.C.C.?

  4. As I may have mentioned, I am sick and taking cold medication. (Does casting a BlogPoll ballot count as operating heavy machinery?)

  5. SG Standard is right: there aren’t more than 15 teams that deserve to be ranked in the top 25. I’m pretty sure that’s not mathematically possible, but I’m equally sure it’s true.

  6. Dude, you try making sense of all this! (Seriously, if you’ve never done it, try sitting down and ranking the top 25 teams in college football. It’s harder than it looks.)

That, my friends, is the best I can do for now. I am, as ever, grateful for your input, which I hope has spared me the shame and ignominy of being singled out for a traffic spike by MGoBlog’s Brian Cook.

I’m feeling a little lightheaded. I probably ought to be in bed. Sleep tight. Be good. Be safe. Courage. Don’t drink and blog.

Go ‘Dawgs!