Week 11 Poll

Things are starting to shake out nationwide. Here is the latest addition of the SFN poll. Conference leaders are becoming more clear, even in the Big 10 where Penn State can wrap up the BCS berth with a win over MSU in a couple of weeks.

Notre Dame on the strength of the same irrational exuberance that got Weis a hefty contract extension is highly ranked despite not “proving it on the field�. How is ND ranked over Georgia, VPI, Ohio State, or even Oregon, Florida, Auburn, Florida State, and Wisconsin for that matter.

For example, VPI has quality wins over #16 WVU, #24 Ga Tech in a blowout, and a pretty good BC team. The closest of those wins was by 17 points. They lost to an outstanding Miami squad who is now ranked #3.

ND lost to unranked MSU, barely beat Michigan who was struggling at the time, but its marquee game was probably its loss to USC, which is I expect why they are ranked this high. Wins over Pitt, Washington, Purdue, and Tennessee may sound exciting, but none of those teams have a winning record. ND finishes with Navy, Syracuse, and Stanford, and unless they stub their toe, they wind up in a BCS bowl despite the fact that they’re ranked 18th by the computers and have only beaten one descent team.


8 Responses to Week 11 Poll

  1. Mr. O 11/08/2005 at 1:20 PM #

    I think the whole concept of human polls has no place in college football. I think the absolute best measure of this year’s teams against this year’s schedules is the Sagarin rating. Margin of victory is included in the calculations which is essential in my opinion. Based on these measures, Notre Dame does pretty well and the SEC in general is overrated in the human polls. I prefer objective measures as opposed to subjective measures.

    Here is how the rankings go:
    1. Texas
    2. USC
    3. Penn St
    4. Ohio St
    5. Va Tech
    6. Miami
    7. Texas Tech
    8. Notre Dame
    9. Michigan
    10. Oregon
    11. Wisconsin
    12. Minnesota
    13. Colorado
    14. Alabama
    15. LSU
    16. L’ville
    17. Northwestern
    18. Georgia
    19. Florida
    20. Auburn

    1. Big 10 83.27
    2. ACC 78.09
    3. Pac 10 77.28
    4. Big 12 77.07
    5. SEC 75.35

  2. SaccoV 11/08/2005 at 2:12 PM #

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “objective” measures. Objectively speaking, Auburn was left OUT OF the National Championship game despite their equally undefeated record in a tougher conference than the PAC-10 and the Big 12. Regardless of our methods to improve the impartiality of polling, there is no solution. Polling will always be biased because either pollsters slant their voting towards good teams who play in weak conferences (USC), or they grossly inflate solid teams in tough conferences only to be hammered in the last game. (Oklahoma losing to LSU and USC badly, and FSU losing to Oklahoma are two quick examples which come to mind.)
    The real issue here should be the uses of polls for ALL COLLEGE SPORTS. Take into consideration that we made the NCAA tournament last year despite a 7-9 conference record, the same as Miami. Luckily, we won two games and so our presence wasn’t doubted like other teams with even better records who fell earlier. Why did we make the tournament? Because our conference RPI is better. Why? Because the system is based SOLELY on the ranking of the team you’re playing. If you’ve scheduled some decent teams from small conferences, your RPI is gravely affected. Despite a decent schedule with tough teams, if you’re not playing other teams from top conferences, you’re ranking will NEVER be high. All this aside, there’s no denying that we have benefitted the last four years from being an ACC team. If we were independent of conference affiliation, there’s no way we would have made four straight tournament appearances. All this is because of polling, and I would much rather live with a short tournament, and not care at all about rankings which are stupid enough to place Miami (with one loss) ahead of Alabama (no losses).

  3. TigerFan 11/08/2005 at 3:14 PM #

    For the most part, I agree with you though Sagarin does also have its flaws, and in general, computer polls need a season’s worth of data to be accurate. Also, I think most of the computer polls fall into the same trap with strength of schedule. I believe, though I have not confirmed, that the computers factor in strength of schedule linearly. Or put another way, in an eleven game season if you played teams 50 – 60, you would have the same strength of schedule as a team that played teams 5, 15, 25, 55-60, 100, and 115. Clearly the second team would have a much tougher time going undefeated.

    By the way, the Sagarin ratings you posted are not the margin of victory ratings. The margin of victory ratings are the ones that show up under his “Predictor� ratings. He had to take margin of victory out for the BCS calculations. To my chagrin, Notre Dame is actually ranked higher under the predictor ratings, which I still think is a big mistake.

    Some other obvious (at least to me) examples of misses in the Sagarin “Predictor� ratings. VPI is ranked ahead of Miami. Each has one loss, and Miami dominated Va Tech in Blacksburg despite key injuries to three of Miami’s starters. Louisville is in the top 10. The Card’s outlandish margin of victories in most of its games overcompensate for the fact that they were crushed by a mediocre South Florida team. Iowa at 19. They haven’t beaten a Big 10 team with more than one conference win and their other wins are over Ball St. and I-AA Northern Iowa.

  4. BJD95 11/08/2005 at 3:24 PM #

    I disagree that a one loss team should be reflexively ranked below a no loss team (although in my individual ballot, I have Alabama #3 and Miami #4). Actually, it is fine to play teams from the mid-majors in basketball and still get in – Sagarin has historically treated the mid-majors well. It’s the hyphenated pansies that torpedo your standing with the computers.

    Which leads me to my ultimate point – a computerized system punishes teams for playing weak schedules. Without that, there is almost no incentive to play tough OOC games (especially in football)…because you might lose and knock yourself out of contention. Is that good for the game? Hell no! So, why should it be encouraged?

    A better system would use a Sagarin-like formula to rank the Top 16 (with an exemption for BCS conference champions or smaller conference champions if in the Top 20) for a 16-team playoff, with the first 2 rounds at the home stadium of the higher ranked opponent. Decide it on the field. Was Auburn deserving of a title shot despite its joke OOC schedule last year? Decide it on the field. Choose to play a tough OOC schedule and drop a few games? You’re still in (just prove your worth on the road).

    It’s a perverse system that basically eliminates teams from MEANINGFUL post-season (and anything without the POSSIBILITY, however remote, of competing for a title is really just a glorified exhibition) with one stinking loss – or even two, if the rest of the resume looks good. Would you be satisfied if the NFL just took the highest poll-ranked 6-2 NFC team and matched them up vs. the Colts, without the rest of the post-season?

  5. Mr. O 11/08/2005 at 3:29 PM #

    “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “objectiveâ€? measures. Objectively speaking, Auburn was left OUT OF the National Championship game despite their equally undefeated record in a tougher conference than the PAC-10 and the Big 12.”

    This is exactly what I was talking about in regards to human polls/opinions. What statistical evidence did you use to say that the SEC was “tougher” than the Pac 10 and Big 12?

    According to the Sagarin:
    1 ATLANTIC COAST (A) = 77.91
    2 PAC-10 (A) = 77.84
    3 I-A INDEPENDENTS (A) = 76.98
    4 BIG 12 (A) = 76.42
    5 BIG TEN (A) = 75.63
    6 SOUTHEASTERN (A) = 74.13

    It is your opinion that the SEC was a tougher conference. But based on real live performance against their schedules and their opponents performance against their opponents schedules, the SEC was not “tougher” than either the PAC 10 or Big 12.

    Tigerfan: Oops. I certainly prefer the Margin of Victory rankings. Afterall, if team A beats team C by 50 points, then that should certainly be worth more than team A beating team C by 3 points.

    I do agree that the Sagarin and other computer rankings aren’t perfect, but I can’t stand the fact that BCS uses human opinions weighted at 67% to determine the participants of a two team playoff system.

  6. Slader4881 11/08/2005 at 3:41 PM #


    Check out the link. I like the way this guy thinks. Lets just run the ball with all of our RBs.

  7. Haredogg 11/08/2005 at 6:01 PM #

    I’d rate the top teams as follows:

    1) USC – until someone beats them
    2) Texas – may be better than USC
    3) Bama – will not finish the season undefeated, but I can’t justify putting an undefeated SEC school behind any 1 loss team
    4) Miami – if they replay FSU they will smoke them, could compete with USC and Texas
    5) Penn St / Ohio St – haven’t seen that much of either team, both look pretty good though

  8. SaccoV 11/08/2005 at 10:29 PM #

    Not sure the logic of human opinion versus “objective” computers really flies here. Because the computers are essentially number driven, they can ONLY take into account margin of victory as the denominator between one schools victories over another. According to that strategy, I’m sure Texas Tech still ranks highly although they really won’t beat a decent team for some years to come.
    Yes, human polling is flawed BUT, I would much rather have the humans that vote be held accountable for their votes instead of treating the computers as Spock-like gods of logic and impartiality.
    Face it, until the playoff system is in place, there is no plausible way to determine who should play in this garbage National Championship game. More than likely USC will be undefeated at the season’s end, and the other team vying for the title will have one loss, be it Va Tech, Miami, Texas in the Big 12 Championship, or Alabama in the SEC title game. The problem with the BCS is never who’s number 1, it’s always been who’s number 2. Again, I harken back to the Oklahoma/FSU title game a few years ago. Miami was undefeated, had beaten FSU earlier in the year, and still lost out in the end. Miami’s schedule was weakened by the conference they were in (Big East) and nothing more. Have the computers crunch all the numbers you like. Have them decide which conference is best in the land, even. But having a computer determine the two “best” teams which should fight for a several million payoff is ludicrous. We could always insert Utah from last season in here along with quotes from Marx about how the drive for capital destroys education. At least Utah gets its fair shake in all the other sports.
    And as for the PAC-10’s weakness, despite the Sagarin ratings, this conference has for years had the worst total defense in college football. It looks really nice to have your best team scoring tons of points and racking up tons of yards when you AVERAGE defensive ranking last year was over 47 (PAC-10 teams averaged giving up 353 yards PER GAME). By contrast, the SEC’s average was 43 and their teams average giving up 339 yards per game.

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