Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
After ten crazy weeks, things begin to solidify. Ohio State increases its grasp on the top spot, but Oregon surges into second by a tiny margin -- they do have a slight advantage in points that's not reflected in the rounded numbers above -- on the strength of a solid victory over then-undefeated Arizona State. Clemson is the week's biggest winner, BC and Alabama the biggest losers; the Week of Anarchy this ain't.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Your Oregon voters: MGoBlog, Boi From Troy, Addicted To Quack, and Rocky Top Talk.
- Everybody loves them some spread option, but Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician puts WVU #2, in front of Oregon and LSU, which is completely indefensible.
- Speaking of indefensible: VT #4, up eight. OSU #9, down 3. Michigan #18, down 11, Cal #13, up eight. Boi From Troy? Boi From Troy.
- Pitch Right ranks Oregon #9. In front of the Ducks: UConn.
- Cal Golden Blogs drops Missouri down to #14 for no apparent reason.
- Sigh. MGoBlog ranks South Florida #16; no one else goes higher than #20. What a knob.
- There are no fewer than five Duke-style votes for Navy after the Middies broke their 43-year run of futility against Notre Dame.
- We've been over how I loathe the idea of Hawaii in the top ten, so we'll skip the indigation and just point out the offenders: Big Red Network and My Opinion On Sports both rank Hawaii #3.
- Dan Shanoff's East Coast bias what? UConn #5.
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.
Ballot math: 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 is Big Red Network, who you might forgive since he just saw Kansas score 76 points on Nebraska -- he must assume this is opposite day. A major reason for the win is #3 Hawaii; #13 Cincinnati and #15 Boise State are also generous. The SEC and portions of the Big Ten take major hits as BRN goes mid-major mad. Again, I query anyone who has Hawaii in the top ten: why?
Creepy mind-reading domination of this category by Double Extra Point continues: they win Mr. Numb Existence for the third time this year and fifth or sixth in their two years of participation. A salute to you, sirs, and a request for lotto numbers when you get the time.
This week: Double Extra Point. WTF? I'm freaked out by this.
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.
Oh, don't think that I wasn't silently cursing foul pundit gods with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter of the Michigan State game. But, lo, our penance was accepted and our offense relatively minor, so we were released from the Vader chokehold and, chastened, vow never to tempt the wrath of fate again.
The CK Award will probably not be so kind to California Golden Blogs, which ranks the Bears #18, up six after a stirring three-point victory against... uh... Washington State. USC is up next. Lo, prepare to meet thy doom. (For the fourth time this year.)
Straight Bangin' Award has been the near-exclusive province of Florida and USC blogs this year and this week is no exception. Four of the top five are blogs representing those particular schools, including #1 and #2. This week's winner: Conquest Chronicles, which has USC #20.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive is EDSBS for the second straight week, though this can be interpreted more as Orson bringing his ballot into line with reality after EDSBS won Mr. Bold. Last week's #12 (Wake), #14 (Cal), and #16 (Tenn) all drop out. USC jumps up to #12 from unranked, and everyone else runs around going "ahhhh".
Mr. Stubborn is Rocky Top Talk; there's hardly any movement as you might expect. Alabama up one after losing to LSU, though? What? Maybe if they had outplayed the Tigers I could see it, but a lot of bad interceptions and penalties on LSU's part don't make for stirring nobility in defeat. Alabama got outgained badly.
Oh, yes: Black Shoe Diaries is a co-winner.
I bumped Kansas up a few spots, swearing as I went.
Arizona State complainers: ASU has a solid win over 5-5 Colorado, an average Big 12 squad, in the nonconference and since the Pac-10 plays round-robin the entire conference has one less cupcake to devour Magino-style. At the end of the year you should mentally subtract half a loss and add half a win from/to every Pac-10 school; their records will be depressed relative to conferences across the country. Meanwhile, Kansas played four atrocious games in the noncon. There's also a common opponent in Colorado, who ASU beat 33-14; Kansas was exactly two touchdowns short of that. There's no comparison.
Oregon complainers: see above for a reason the Pac-10 will be underrated on the records forevermore. Oregon also smashed Michigan, a team that hasn't lost to a I-A squad(!!!) and is currently undefeated in the Big Ten; their other two nonconference games were against Fresno State and Houston, both of whom are 5-1 in conference and 6-3 overall and would have been losable if the Ducks weren't nuclear powered. It's potentially the toughest nonconference schedule in the country, which is a pretty sad commentary on nonconference schedules, I'll grant you. In conference they lost to Cal but have comfortable wins over ASU and USC. LSU can't match the ability to put teams away; OSU can't match quality of opposition, and this ballot has a bias towards who you beat, not who you lost to.
Missouri complainers: they beat Illinois, likely to end up 8-4, and their loss is to OU, who Kansas would lose to as well. They've beaten someone, unlike KU, and have dispatched their opponents with more alacrity overall: remember Kansas struggled with several games this year. All Missouri wins have not been in question.
Connecticut complainers: Hell, I feel your complaints and hate placing such a wonky team so high but they did beat USF and Rutgers and it's really hard to move them down on the merits.
Status. There is an idea floating around that Michigan should sit Henne and/or Hart since Michigan is guaranteed a BCS slot with a win over Ohio State no matter what the outcome is against Wisconsin. This is, IMO, crazy, since the outcome of the Wisconsin game is important either way -- is the difference between 9-3 and 8-4 a big deal? 10-2 and 9-3? -- and the chances either's preparation for the Ohio State game is adversely affected are extremely low. FWIW, Carr on the duo:
Asked about the injured players' status on "Michigan Replay," Carr had few doubts about Hart.
"I don't think you're going to keep him out of this one," Carr said of the Wisconsin game.
When cohost Jim Brandstatter asked about Henne, Carr hesitated but endorsed him too, saying, "Absolutely. He finished the game, didn't he?"
Henne reiterated that stance at yesterday's press conference:
Two days after self-diagnosing his health at 80 percent in East Lansing, Michigan quarterback Chad Henne said his separated throwing shoulder from the Illinois game is almost back to full strength.
Henne added at yesterday's press conference that he'll "definitely" play this weekend against Wisconsin.
"It feels really good," Henne said. "I got treatment this morning, and everything has definitely gotten a lot tighter, and it feels a lot better. Obviously it's going to move around a little bit, but right now, it's not really moving around at all and it's back to normal."
Hart, for his part:
"It's the last two games of my career... I'm not missing anything."
McGuffie aaah. Seven minutes of video fluff on Sam McGuffie:
Several of those runs are new even for those who have memorized the mixtape.
Badgerhawk down. Wisconsin CB Allen Langford and DT Jason Chapman are definitely out for the game Saturday; another key Badger may join them:
University of Wisconsin Head Football Coach Bret Bielema is not sure if running back P.J. Hill can play in Saturday's home finale against Michigan. The sophomore starter missed last weekend's loss at Ohio State with a bruised left leg. Bielema said Hill's condition got worse late last week and he has no idea how things will progress.
Hill got progressively more concerning as Jehuu Caulcrick pounded through the Michigan line time and again; if he's gimpy that will help.
Oh, so stupid. I'll keep it brief since this is football season and you probably don't care about this stuff: that McCosky guy with the inadvisable mustache wrote an anti-blog screed in the Free Press. Thunderous accusation leveled:
A lot of times these bloggers use the work of legitimate reporters. They will lift facts and segments of stories and cut and paste them onto their blog. Rarely, if ever, though, do they bother to credit the source.
Second thunderous accusation leveled:
Bloggers are having a field day speculating on how Joel Zumaya really injured his shoulder. Nobody believes a heavy box fell on him. So the Internet is rife with stories about how he fell off his dirt bike.
Links to blogs (or even mentions of specific offending blogs) provided: zero. Why is this? Um... because no Tigers bloggers even so much as mentioned the dirtbike rumor:
I also wonder where in the world he got this idea that blogs were all over pushing some random dirt bike story. Like I said, he wouldn't have got the idea here. He wouldn't have got it from Billfer or from Ian or from Kurt or from Lee or my main man Matt or from any of the major Tigers blogs. I haven't been keeping up on them lately but I don't even think Deadspin reported anything about dirt bikes.
I checked Motown Sports which is, let's admit it, the only Tigers message board worth looking at, and sure enough I found this thread talking about it. Two seconds of reading made it clear that the dirt bike rumor originated from the COMMENTS SECTION of something posted at ESPN.com.
McCosky's title: "bloggers just aren't journalists." Yes. That's the point.
No Tennessee. With apologies to Rocky Top Talk, the only reason to rank Tennessee is mindless SEC bias. The heavy loss to Cal looks worse each day. The Vols were blown out of the stadium by three-loss Alabama and Florida teams. Four of their six wins were against bad mid-major opponents or Mississippi State. (For those who would claim Mississippi State decent: WVU 38, MSU 13, and it was 31-0 six seconds into the second quarter. No. Just no.) The rest of it: an OT win over 6-4 South Carolina in which they were outgained by 200 yards and the aberrant clubbing of Georgia. That's one actual good performance against three awful ones. No thanks.
Man, screw Kansas. Kansas is Hawaii after a power mushroom or, ironically, a replica of Bill Synder's oft-fraudulent Kansas State teams of the mid-to-late nineties.
Not only is their nonconference schedule shameful but they miss both Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12. Their best win is over a Kansas State team that just lost to Iowa State. It's nice to be undefeated and all that and putting up 76 points against any Big 12 team that's not Baylor is an accomplishment, even if that team is coached by Bill Callahan, but this team has a mid-major schedule and I'm ranking it like one.
Texas? Yeah... I dunno. I probably had them too low (unranked) last week and they're probably too high now.
I'm trying to hew to X beat Y when teams are close... so USF stays in front of Auburn, who remains in front of Florida.
"I find a lot of the things that they do amusing. They need to check themselves sometimes. Let's just remember pride comes before the fall." [please note that Dantonio was led into this: he was asked whether he found Hart's "little brother" comments amusing. Sort of like Hart, actually. -ed]
"I'm very proud the way our football team handled themselves after the game as well. You don't have to disrespect people. We'll come to play. We don't have to be disrespected. We don't have to disrespect people. If they want to make a mockery of it, so be it. Their time will come."
Indeed, Michigan State is truly the model for all those who would like to respect the game.
This last is MSU's loser vigil after they blew last year's ND game at home. Notre Dame is a lot of things -- annoying, overrated, liable to lose to Navy at the drop of a hat -- but they aren't the flag planting types.
"Let's put it this way, if anybody hadn't taken this personal up until this point, it's personal now," Hoyer said. "It just shows what kind of class he has.
"Sooner or later, the little brother, you want to put us that way, you get pushed around enough, the little brother fights back and kicks the other brother's ass.
Oh, now it's personal? You mean it's unlike all those other games when a host of kids who never even got looked at by Michigan (save three or four per year) played their instate rival and then immediately collapsed afterward? Oh shit. We are in serious trouble now. It's personal. I am liquidating my assets and moving to Tahiti, as Michigan will never beat Michigan State again.
Dantonio again with my favorite quote from the whole kerfuffle:
"It's [hatred of Michigan] inbred in me," Dantonio said. "It exists in me and everybody who's a true Spartan, not the ones who give their donor seats to Michigan Wolverines."
I suppose I'm duty bound to give a reaction here, so here goes: OH MY GOD JLS HAS KILLED MARK DANTONIO AND IS WEARING HIS SKIN. IT'S GROSS! SO GROSSSSSS! Oh. Oh God. The dripping... the horrible dripping. Effluvia!
But seriously folks, the one thing the Michigan State program needed was a monomaniacal focus on Michigan. It needed a coach who would install a countdown clock to their eighth straight loss in the series. It needed a man who would stand up and say "you know what, guys? All those other games we play are stupid and we shouldn't try very hard in them." It needed a guy who would teach his resilient troops to follow his example by bitching to the assembled media a full two days after his team blew it again. It needed a man who could forge them into a cohesive unit capable of picking up critical personal fouls at the very worst time possible. See, the problem with Michigan State is that occasionally they enter the fourth quarter of games leading. And Michigan State needs a man who can blow that lead, preferably in really, really painful fashion.
Friends, Mark Dantonio is that man.
I know, I know. You're probably wondering "what radical new direction will this knight errant take the hallowed Spartan program?" Well, let me tell you: every year Michigan State will jump out to a fast start by beating a bunch of awful nonconference teams. When they play at Notre Dame, they will win. Everyone will get all hyped up for the Michigan game, which they will lose. On the off chance they do not lose, they will arrange to lose to Indiana or Northwestern or some such team to restore the cosmic balance. After the Michigan game they will collapse wholesale. Sometimes they will go to a bowl in Detroit. Other times they will stay home and cry softly into their BEET MICHIGAN cardigans. They will never, ever go to the Rose Bowl, and every year MGoBlog will start its Michigan State preview the same way.
Yes, friends, times are a-changin' in East Lansing.
Hello! I'm proud to announce that MGoStore has moved. (Or, at least, has partially moved.) It's now under the direction of RichRobots. This has several benefits for you, the consumer:
- Shirts are cheaper: $20 each, shipping free if you buy three.
- The shirts are now from American Apparel, which means no six year old Cambodians were involved in their construction. Also they're really soft.
- There are women's sizes.
It's not a print-on-demand shop, so most of the obscure designs that no one bought have not made the move yet. We'll add designs gradually, and some shirts may just end up in the old shop if they're not of general interest or need quick turnaround.