I did not make this headline up
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Chaos! After a week in which the only real movement was Penn State taking the pipe, all hell breaks loose. Most teams move up by default after a wide array of ranked teams bite it at the hands of the unranked; one shining(?) exception is South Florida, up ten after a Friday-night turnover blizzard against West Virginia and Auburn's last-second field goal against Florida. The Bulls now sit #5; SMQB stews. (`And omits BC entirely due to oversight.)
Voters were kind to Oregon, six inches and one erstwhile five-star recruit's hands away from overtime against Cal, and Florida -- relatively -- while being vicious towards Texas, Clemson, and Rutgers.
Two notes: South Carolina is now pegged a spot in front of Georgia, which makes me ever so skippily happy, and LSU's margin over USC is now truly prodigious, which strikes me as odd since LSU was leading by, like, one at the half against Tulane and Washington's flukily close game against USC featured in Life on the Margins this week.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Your three Cal enthusiasts: Card Chronicle, Buckeye Commentary, and Frank McGrath.
- The House Rock built is unnaturally positive about Clemson at #12.
- Uh. Crap. MGoBlog is a huge outlier for Florida State, ranking them #13; the most enthusiastic voters other than that idiot say #17.
- Jonathan Tu is currently touring the country at 82 Sluggo Win; he must be banking on the Zooker scoring him some babes: Illinois #16. Vote redacted. (Not actually.)
On second thought, retract the accusations of babe-trolling. Mr. Tu is doing just fine.
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.
This week's Mr. Bold. is Saurian Sagacity; their ballot is just plain weird. As mentioned, they drop USC to #7 while shooting struggling (but barely winning) Wisconsin up to #4; BC moves ahead of the Trojans after two uninspiring weeks against Army and UMass. Hawaii is #12, Purdue #13, UConn #14. Florida plummets to #21, Oklahoma #22. Go figure.
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 CK Award guided another team to a painful loss this week, as Michigan State went down 37-34 to Wisconsin. Perhaps this is not painful enough for you? The award's hatred was probably still focused on Jou
rno Rock, who you will remember called out the award after winning it two weeks ago, promptly was subjected to an overtime loss, and then went out the next week and finished second. Alabama lost to Florida State; Journo Rock does not appear on this week's list.
Next up? The Enlightened Spartan is back again, ranking MSU #20. This does not qualify as totally awful and next week the Spartans get Northwestern, so the award's streak of inflicting pain on its winners may come to a temporary halt. The lesson is still learned, though: don't screw with the CK Award.
During the season, the Straight Bangin' Award is often the property of blogs covering a highly-ranked team coming off a dispiriting loss. This week Saurian Sagacity goes flapjack nuts, as mentioned, ranking UF #21.
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 goes to Badger Sports... probably because said blog totally forgot to include Florida. You know, Florida? Winners of the last like billion national championships in everything? Quarterbacked by an Ewok? Etc? This is why you should always post your draft ballots, so people can say things like "hey, idiot, where's Florida?"
This week SMQB wins for totally omitting BC.
Duck blog Addicted to Quack is your Mr. Stubborn. In marked contrast to some voters, AtQ dropped Florida only one spot and Oklahoma four.
Peter said ditch UT, so ditch I did...
Clemson and WVU also move down; I'm sticking with Oregon.
As always, I never look at previous ballots when I go through initial drafts. So sometimes things get a little wonky. Points of possible contention:
- Missouri plummets out for no reason at all. A small oversight, but they will be moving down significantly. Other than a win over Illinois they've done nothing and other teams are beginning to rack up accomplishments.
- The chaos! Oy, the deltas here are terrifying. Yes, apparently I did slide Oregon up four after a loss. Yes, South Florida got the mother of all boosts from a combination of their win over WVU, Auburn's win over Florida, and KState's win over Texas. At this point in the season my rankings are mostly descriptive and not predictive and I remain skeptical of the turnover blizzard that earned USF its wins over both teams, but that defense is for real. I spent most of the Friday night game thinking "boy, I wish we had South Florida's defense" and emitting great big heaving sobs.
- Florida State! Beat Alabama and now their win over Colorado looks much better. One of few teams to have three games against pretty decent teams under their belt.
- The destruction of the Big 12 losers. Texas was waiting to have this happen to them after looking lackadaisical against UCF and Arkansas State. They have no quality wins and their loss was by 20 to a probably decent but not great KSU team. Hell, maybe I should dump them entirely. Their resume is basically Kanasas with a 20-point loss. Oklahoma... well. I think I wanted them behind Florida State because of the Colorado comparable, but they did splatter Miami who splattered A&M so they might deserve to be a little higher.
- South Carolina still way above Georgia. Georgia's big win over 'Bama just got significantly devalued, people, and Georgia's huge win over Ole Miss was closer than it appeared. And also against Ole Miss.
- UVA! GT win looks better now. Just took out an awful Pitt team handily. Meanwhile, VT has played no one against LSU, and even though they're #1 I'm sure there are dozens of teams across the country that could manage to lose by less than 41 to them. Like, say, Tulane. Yeah, UVA lost to Wyoming, but I'll take the team that's actually beaten someone over the team that hasn't.
Questions for the masses:
- Should I drop Texas entirely in favor of Missouri?
- Where should WVU, Florida, and OU go?
- What do I do with Clemson? They're up a spot after a dismal loss because I have to keep them ahead of surging Florida State.
Games observed: WVU-USF, Michigan-Northwestern, MSU-Wisco, Texas-KSU, Oregon-Cal, GT-Clemson (last three quarters of last four; all at the same time in Evanston sports bar; vertigo acquired); Florida-Auburn, bits of USC-Washington.
Editorial Opinion: Uh... yeah. So not much is going on. Obviously.
MI LB Kenny Demens as a weakside linebacker, presumably filling up Michigan's class at the position. Marcus Witherspoon is coming in as a strongside linebacker; JB Fitzgerald is the middle linebacker. Each is ranked somewhere in the nebulous zone between the top 100 and the top 250, Fitzgerald towards the high end and Demens and Witherspoon towards the low. Demens is not a huge get or anything, but he's a nice pickup. Rivals rates him a four star, the #7 prospect in Michigan, and the #230 player overall. Scout has him a three-star not within their top 300. ESPN gives him a 78 and spends basically the entire scouting report talking about his potential as a fullback. Not useful. There's little else on him out there.
Meanwhile, CA S Vaughn Telemaque got the USC offer he was waiting on. This bodes unwell, but he plans on visiting Michigan and seeing what the school has to offer:
"Michigan has great tradition and they always have great defensive players there. Also I think it would be really cool playing in the Big House," Telemaque said. "They've struggled this season, but I think they'll be back in contention. My teammate (freshman defensive back for the Wolverines) Donovan Warren goes there and he's doing great. He's starting as a freshman and that makes me think that I can do the same thing."
Telemaque would have to wait at USC, and the pull of Warren may help out, but USC remains USC and Long Beach Poly remains their school. I doubt he ends up anywhere but there. (Previous assertion not based on anything but speculation and tea leaves, FWIW.)
And, uh... that's about it, really. Michigan is done on offense save for one more receiver, probably, and possibly another offensive lineman. Defensively they're looking for a couple DEs, another cornerback, and two safeties. The best bets appear to be PA WR Vaughn Carraway (meh), CA DE Jamar Jarrett (meh+), MI DE Nick Perry (yay!), NJ S Brandon Smith(yay!+)... and who knows? Spencer Adams might come. But names are thin on the ground at the moment.
Yeesh. Three games in a row; guess we know one of the weeks the Big Ten got the #2 pick. Smooth move, Comcast.
Monday Recruitin' is Tuesday Recruitin' this week.
Oh, this is unwise. Yeah, pictures of yourself after getting battered by the sun and Stalin-era football are not good, but the serendipity of it all demands it. As my friends and I exited Ryan Field, we noticed a man walking ahead of us in a jersey that said "Mesko" on the back. Surely... surely these can't be common. I happened to be wearing a "Zoltan For Space Emperor (of Space)" T-shirt; friend Dave was sporting the "I, For One, Welcome Our New Romanian Punter Overlords." So, like, WTF, get busy livin' or get busy dyin': we approached him, said hi, showed him our shirts, and, well...
Depth chart bits: Massey is not listed; Butler and McLaurin are listed with an OR. Given the way he went down and the way they tended to him on the sideline, I think he might be shelved for a while. [Update: this is because he's out for the year per Carr's press conference.] Thompson and Graham are still your linebacker starters despite their injury problems; same for Jeremy Cuilla. Henne is back atop the QB depth chart; kicker is open again. It sounds like Wright is still way too inaccurate and KC Lopata will get a shot against Eastern.
The Chambers thing. Right, so apparently freshman Artis Chambers has been deemed ineligible by the Big Ten:
Under NCAA rules, Chambers was eligible to play this fall.
But Isaacs said he got a call from a Michigan assistant coach last week telling him that under Big Ten rules, summer school grades couldn't count toward eligibility for freshmen such as Chambers, who enrolled in the middle of a school year.
"I don't understand why these kids would be any different in their summer school GPA not being used," Isaacs said. "In one regard, they should be rewarded. They graduated from high school in seven semesters and met all the NCAA requirements."
This is a problem since he played on special teams against Penn State:
Martin said he expected resolution on the matter this week, but Chipman said the committee could take up to two weeks to decide on any penalties.
Chipman said he didn't know the range of disciplinary measures Michigan could face, but added - as Martin noted Saturday - that forfeiture of the win over Penn State was a possibility.
This "forfeiture" thing has been in every article about the situation but seems akin to giving a kid arrested for pot the chair. This violation appears to be a minor misunderstanding of a recent change to Big Ten rules and was self-reported. The player in question also covered a few kickoffs and that's all. IM (uneducated) O, the end result here will be a slap on the wrist and the media breathlessly reporting about a potential forfeiture is misleading given the severity, or lack thereof, of the situation.
Torrent spat. I don't want to get in the middle of this, but anyone looking for the Northwestern game can find it on Mininova. Here's the ~1.5 gig XVID; here is the ~4.2 gig DVD. If you pull down the XVID, you should watch it in VLC and manually change the aspect ratio to 4:3 -- it's square for arcane technical reasons. Unfortunate conflict in full detail here; hopefully this gets worked out soon.
Aaaand more. Michigan 27, Penn State 0, 1998 (Keith Jackson!):
Sportscenter's profile of the weird Crowe-Carr thing:
MGoInternets. There's a new Hart-centric blog dubbed "I Heart Hart" that's worth checking out for your full mancrush service needs. Also, Genuinely Sarcastic put together a very cool feature for the Penn State game that is a sort of niche-y UFR focused exclusively on Hart and the Michigan ground game called the Hart Chart. I've struggled for a couple years now to come up with a meaningful offensive line metric in the run game but never found one that I could do and still get UFR up, like, ever, so this is a pretty exciting addition. GS takes every Hart run and grades out relevant blocks as either "yay" or "nay" with irrelevant blocks given no grade; the results are as you might expect but still thoroughly interesting: Long crushes all comers and Boren shows very poorly after a tough day against Ollie Ogbu and Jared Odrick. Hopefully we get a Northwestern edition; this is an area of UFR I've always felt was lacking.
Etc: Braylon, you are killing me. And not with your eyes this time.