This list is completely arbitrary and not a genuine analysis of the relative merits of state fossils.
You can see below what I've got for the BlogPoll ancillary stats so far. There's also going to be a "swing" measure which is the total change between each blog's ballot from week to week.
What should the in-season roundtable format be? They've been coming at approximately two week intervals now. Obviously college football's preferred time unit is the week. I thought we'd bump the frequency up to weekly, cut the question count down to ~2, and continue on. Without a critical mass of participation they seem kind of dumb, though, so I'd rather have too few than too many. Is weekly too often? Will you participate in most of them?
Should we weight ballots? If so, how? I would like to start this at some point in the future to give more weight to the opinions of people who participate on a regular basis and make good cases for or against teams. Part of the poll's philosophy is to fill in gaps of knowledge. The best way to do this seems to be offering tangible reward to those who do the filling. I was pleased to put NC State at #23 in my poll because Section Six gave me reasons to do so. TAMBINPO's Big 12 rundown for the BlogPoll question swayed my opinion on various teams (it knocked OK down about 4 spots, moved up Texas A&M, and earned Texas Tech #24). They should get some extra poll-power, because if I got as well informed about every team I would feel much better about my ballot.
How to do this? Initial thought was a "rep me" button on everyone's blog that people could click when they found something useful, but that's absolutely ripe for abuse, and honestly a bit beyond my current web-wizardry (<-- TIC). It could be basd on traffic, but not everyone in the poll makes their traffic numbers public. I could give a small boost based simply on participation (ie, by voting and answering roundtables) or by weighting ballots based on correctness relative to the week's games. Whatever I decide will probably be a major project (and something not implemented until Year 2), but I'd like to get as many ideas possible here.
How should we deal with wildly biased voters? The Enlightened Spartan's initial ballot has MSU #17 and Michigan #20, which is pretty much beyond the pale when it comes to ridiculousness. This aggression will not stand, man. Remember how we scoffed at that guy who put Louisville #1? (Good times, good times.) Well, we've got our own house to attend to. I don't mind the ceremonial "whoever my team is goes #25 if they're not higher" preseason vote, nor do I particularly mind Bruins Nation giving Texas the #1 spot in the poll in an effort to piss off the USC voters--as long as they are willing to drop that motivation if USC proves itself to be a juggernaut once more. But something wildly divergent that has a real effect on the poll and loses us credibility in the eyes of discerning rabble is not cool. Bruins Nation with USC at #2 isn't going to do anything nasty to the poll. If they had them at #10, though, I'd have to get out my Internet Club With Nails In and thump some heads. There's a difference between harmless fun and poll-distorting juvenile bias.
I've got a bias rating and though it's simple, I plan on using it like a hammer, by, like, de-weighting votes of people who exceed a certain threshold, and continuing to do so if they continue to exhibit flagrant homerism. Does this meet with protest? Pitt Sports Blather pointed out an interesting article by a longtime AP voter. The AP takes things seriously:
Back in New York, the AP folks look at those ballots as they are tabulated. If they see something that doesn't pass the smell test, they make phone calls. If a Florida voter had ranked Tennessee ahead of Southern Cal, that would've been OK. But if that voter were to put Florida or Florida State as No. 1, alarms would go off.
Reasonable for them, critical for us. Whereas AP voters are Unbiased Press, we're Obviously Biased Fans. To have credibility (and I'm talking "this is an interesting social phenomenon" credibility not "let's insert this puppy into the BCS" credibility) we have to be more interesting, more open, and generally all-around better than the existing polls. Just as good isn't going to cut it. If some of us act immaturely, it reflects on the poll at large. I'd like to prevent that embarassment at all costs, but I can see an argument for anything-goes fun. What do you think?
So. Floor's open. Discuss.
There's a new candidate for the Big Ten's "Book of Job" Award previously earmarked for poor, poor Northwestern: Penn State. You've heard about the arrows in the wall, you've heard about the prank phone calls. Now Penn State has lost two important players, albeit via more conventional means. Sophomore WR Mark Rubin injured his ankle and is out for the year. Senior DE Lavon Chisley is academically ineligible.
Rubin, who caught 16 passes last year, was probably the #2 WR behind freshman Derrick Williams. Penn State now has a grand total of three returning receptions in the WR corps. You can expect fellow freshman uberrecruit Justin King to spend his first year in the blue and white on offense. The Penn State WR corps now consists of three freshman and sophomore doghouse resident Terrell Golden.
Chisley was the third DE behind seniors Tamba Hali and Matthew Rice. He started as a redshirt sophomore in 2003. His loss isn't devastating but he definitely would have seen substantial time behind the starters. The drop off after Rice and Hali is now precipitous.
In other opponent news, Northern Illinois has lost its best linebacker for the year.
These are not the droids you're looking for. Dude. Weis E. Coyote has some sort of strange Jedi powers over the minds of mediocre sportswriters. Check this flagrant fanboy AJC article (HT: EDSBS) from Terence Moore. A sample:
First, Weis showed the movie "Rudy" to the team. Afterward, he said he couldn't imagine what the real Rudy experienced, so he pointed to the real Rudy sauntering into the room amidst gasps.
Well, you're damn right there were gasps. If Frodo Baggins walked into the room I was in I'd gasp too. Dude went to Mount Doom. Dude saved Middle Earth. Mad props, in the parlance of our times.
Of course, I'd be disappointed if I found out that instead of a noble hobbit what confronted me was a man with no discernable talent except that of relentless self-promotion and a body that appeared to be an unfunny joke played by a cruel and aloof God. (No wonder Weis likes him so much.) But I do have to agree that introducing Rudy shows that Weis understands Notre Dame: it's incredibly hyped but when you get down to the bottom of it it's just 5-6.
More fantabulous EDSBS content: they find Illini nut site "gotzook.com", hilarious to UF fans and Big Ten cohorts alike. They discuss what you must buy for the upcoming season. And, astoundingly, they drop a trilobyte reference.
(And, yes, they voted for Duke in the BlogPoll. I would have been heartbroken if they didn't.)
New blog props must go to Sunday Morning Quarterback (now side-barred). I've read every word of his Big East and ACC previews despite the fact that I care not a whit for the fortunes of, say, Wake Forest or Rutgers this year. A pleasure to read is SMQ--saying something, that. Bookmark/subscribe today. Mmm, Yoda.
Carr Talk featuring Click and Clack from GBW. (Ha! I kill me.) Plus more on Sargeant Slaughter. Dennis Dodd spends his BT preview talking about that anonymous quote and Mike Hart's reaction to it... and then picks Michigan third. Pat Forde colors inside the lines re: defense. Football Outsiders is a Michigan haven. I am so happy.
Hoops recruit Notamadou Ba (AKA Ekpe Udoh) talked with GBW recently. Udoh, a gangly raw shotblocking post guy, appears to be the best bet for a tall reboundy fellow in this class other than Tom Herzog, who is still seriously considering Notre Dame and Michigan State. Udoh is down to Pitt and Michigan and claims Michigan leads slightly.
Strictly for the ladies and alternative-lifestyled, OMG Wolverine manbeef. (You was warned.) Boi From Troy's "Gay Viewers Guide to College Football" went off without a Big Ten rep, and Wannabeleader corrects the error. Does anyone a link to that modelling website with backup CB Darnell Hood on it? Brother had a pickaxe.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here. Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Now on to the blog-specific rankings. First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold goes to TrojanWire. Their wack-ass ballot features Louisville #3, Georgia #6, Purdue #7 (uh... NTTAWWT), Cal #8, Boise State #9, Tennessee down at #14, LSU at #17, Miami (Florida) at #18, Auburn #25, and completely omits Iowa, Florida, and Florida State. I'm speechless. This is, like, an infinite monkeys voting at infinite ballot boxes job, apparently picked completely at random out of a hat after #1 USC and #2 Texas.
Update! The preseason poll got four additional ballots and Heismanpundit claimed the top slot in Mr. Bold with his effort. Raise your hand if you're surprised.
Mr. Numb Existence is The Mississippi State Sports Blog, which submitted a creepily accurate ballot. The only differences betwen the MSSB's ballot and the poll at large are two transpositions--Auburn and Florida State swap spots, as do Pittsburgh and Virginia. It's also worth noting that Straight Bangin' finished fifth despite placing his own team at #13, way, way off the poll's Michigan position (more on that later).
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The inaugural winner of The CK Awards is The Enlightened Spartan, who put a team with no defense whatsoever and a quarterback more fragile than Charles Rogers at #17 because he likes the helmets. Extra bonus ridiculous bias: Michigan debuts at #20. A completely shameful effort. Congratulations, ES, you've disgraced us all.
Update! Rejiggering of the poll due to the extra ballots garnered more Michigan State support than Alabama support, pushing 'Bama blogger Journalism Is For Rockstars into the position of greatest shameful bias.
Unsurprisingly, the winner of the Straight Bangin' Award is Straight Bangin' for placing the Wolverines at #13, more than seven points fewer than the poll-wide consensus.
Coming next week: "Mr. Manic-Depressive" and "Mr. Stubborn" for the voters who change their ballots the most and least from week to week.
My computer, showing all the incredible timing of a Michigan safety trying to tackle Deandra Cobb, unceremoniously died last night at about 11 PM, wiping out the draft version of the Blogpoll. The good news is that It was mostly IFRAMEs referencing stuff already on the interweb, so not much was lost. But I do have to reconstitute it. It'll be up in a bit.
5'9" freshman CB Brandon Harrison is now 5'9" freshman S Brandon Harrison according to Lloyd Carr (and GBW). This is probably not a good sign. Though practice buzz has various players impressing at CB (Charles Stewart, Morgan Trent, Johnny Sears, and Harrison have all gotten positive pub), no safeties have gotten much mention except for Lloyd Carr saying that Brandent Engelmon has had a "lights-out" fall. Harrison's move means one of three things:
- Harrison just isn't that good.
- Mundy's shoulder injury is seriously serious.
- We're screwed.
I don't think it's the first. It could be the second. Mundy has had his shoulder troubles since last year and he absolutely must be more effective for Michigan's defense to show a semblance of competence. If he's afraid to tackle because of his shoulder, he may not see a ton of time at FS. Three? Sure, we'll go with that. Screwed. We're going to need Harrison to play safety. Even if he does well, his move implies bad things for the existing safeties.
Safety: the big flaming hole on the entire team. The nice thing is that it will be hard to give up another eight 60+ yard touchdowns like we did in 2004. So we've got that going for us.
Also: Avant and Pat Massey are captains, as expected.
You've Got To Be Kidding
Rocket Ismail (Did this guy legally change his name or something?)
The average age of the voters who aren't ex-players I wouldn't trust to add two and two together appears to be 145. mgoblog's projected top five:
- Notre Dame
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Jamestown University
- Tippecanoe and Tyler too!
Watch out for the Williamsburgians. Only half of them died from smallpox last winter.