Blogpoll Ballot, Week 10

Submitted by Brian on October 31st, 2011 at 10:23 AM

This week's ballot:

Teams of interest:

STANFORD. They drop behind Alabama and OSU after struggling with the erratic Trojans. Mostly cosmetic at this point since both of those teams will either win and justify their existence above the Cardinal or lose and drop behind them.

CLEMSON. They drop only three spots. They are buoyed by 1) general respect for GT and the one-off weirdness of facing the triple option, 2) my revulsion at having to put non-entities like Arkansas and South Carolina in the top 10, and 3) a quality nonconference win plus all of the ACC challenges in the rearview. I expect they will annihilate South Carolina in their season-ender.

OTHER TINY DROPPERS. State only drops two after losing; USC drops one. In State's case they're propped up by quality wins and general suspicion of VT. In USC's case, triple overtime versus Stanford. They didn't really drop at all, they were passed by GT thanks to that Clemson win.

THE BIG TEN. Good lord, man, I don't know. There are the three one-loss teams plus two-loss Wisconsin and MSU. Wisconsin takes a backseat because of their awful nonconference schedule and single quality win (home vs Nebraska), but that win is maddening. Still, I'm a schedule zealot. Backseat for UW.

Nebraska gets the edge over PSU because their inept QB can run some and they have quality wins over Washington, OSU, and MSU. PSU just has… Illinois? Iowa? MSU has two losses but wins over Wisconsin, OSU, and Michigan, which seems to be better than Michigan beating no one save ND even if they have one fewer loss.

POTENTIAL TAIL END OF POLL OVERRATING. ND and OSU show up at the tail end. OSU has wins over UW and Illinois with losses to Nebraska, State, and Miami. I like that resume better than Washington (best win… Cal?), anyone in the Big East, FSU (best win: Maryland? NC State?), Wake (FSU win but losses to UNC and Syracuse, the former uncompetitively).

ND… well, when they're not dumping 10% of D-I's redzone turnovers on the other team they're pretty good. They have a quality win in MSU, no mega-cupcakes and each of their losses is traceable to one or more inexplicable turnovers. They'll probably run through the rest of their schedule until they come up against Stanford, and I won't be surprised to see the Irish give them a game.



October 31st, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

I'm not sure I can recall a season where there are so many unimpressive 1-loss teams in the country. Trying to determine whose semi-quality win is better must be maddening for pollsters.

Arkansas, S. Carolina, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Va Tech, Kansas State, etc. are all pretty much in the slightly-above-average to sorta-kinda-good range but none are particularly awe-inspiring considering that each has just one loss.

I'm not sure that MSU deserves to be ranked that highly when you consider how they have played on the road and the miraculous nature of their win over a good-but-not-great Wisconsin team.


October 31st, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

I wish I could see it differently, but I think it helps clarify to notice & admit that whole B1G really, kinda, sorta, ...well... Stinks. What is whole conference's best ooc win? UM's miracle v. mediocre ND? Neb over Wash, or Ill's fluke v ASU? That's it for candidates. Then we have one of if not the best team(s) in conference losing to, no handled by, that meh ND team & another recent-history conf-dominant team losing to a below-avg Miami team. And I'm not sure any other conference looks so clearly bad by out-of-conference games. So, what if we think instead that B1G stinks, then you can't count games against each other as "quality wins" & it seems to me that our 7-1 & good 6-2 teams populate the 20-25 range. Call me a blind pessimist (please), but I'm looking for a reason to think that conference doesn't get smoked again, top to bottom, & worse than before.
<br>By the way, from this gloomy perspective, MSU has not so much improved over last 3-4 yrs as not regressed or not regressed as horribly as rest of conference has. (And, less appealingly, that UM has not improved so much this year as rest of conference has slipped down to (or past) us. Again: someone explain me out of all this pessimism, please! But I worried about Purdue (really?!) & still can't shake worry that we lose out from here, although Minny (Mouse) beating Iowa did help that a LOT! WTF?!)


October 31st, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

Just comparing to one loss teams...

If PSU's best win is really a somewhat undeserved 3 point win against Illinois, I don't see how that stacks up against a 1 loss Michigan (with a better win against ND), or a 1 loss Kansas State (with wins against Miami, Missouri and Texas Tech).

You could also argue for some 2 loss teams being ahead of PSU based on more impressive wins (MSU, USC, Wisconsin), but I suppose not doing so is understandable.


October 31st, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

I started a forum to rank these teams based on schedule strength, pts for, and pts against.  PSU is 64th, 21.8 for, 12.7 against vs Michigan's 60th, 34.8 for, and 14.6 against. I think the edge goes to Michigan here. Similar schedules and records except Michigan is handing out average  20 pt wins vs 9 pt wins.

In a smoke and mirrors Big Ten we deserve as much as anyone sans maybe Nebraska and/or MSU.


October 31st, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

I don't see why Penn State is ranked at all.  Have they beaten anybody?  I don't think Illinois counts, especially in weird weather.  I don't think Iowa counts at all.  Jerry Kill beat Iowa with a team that should be winless.

Regarding Ohio State, I am not sure you can look at the early losses without considering the fact that they were missing key players (esp. Herron) and had a freshman QB who appears to be learning.  Do you/we rank them where they have been or where we think they are now?


October 31st, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^

I don't see how Michigan can be ranked behind Sparty right now.  Obviously, MSU won the head to head competition and quite possible has the better team.....but rankings are about the complete resume to date.

Michigan State has two losses and got smoked in both of them.  Michigan has one loss and was moderately competetive in that game (inside the 10 yard line down by seven in the back half of the fourth quarter).

Michigan State has played tougher competition to this point, although Michigan beat their only common opponent (who beat Sparty by 18).  Things may change down the road as Michigan gets into the tougher portion of the schedule.  However, I just don't see how Sparty can be ahead of them at this point (and BCS, AP and USA Today would agree).


October 31st, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

Navy isn't a mega-cupcake?  Navy's 2-6 with the wins being Delaware and Western Kentucky. 

While the South Florida win could be chalked up to turnovers, South Florida is also dead last in the Big East standings.

coastal blue

October 31st, 2011 at 11:29 AM ^

Every team from 4-25 looks like they could beat the other on any given day, except for maybe Oklahoma (that TT game probably goes down as the most obscure flukish score of the season, except for possibly 22-21.) 

Pretty much every team has an argument to be ranked 5-8 spots higher than they are and 5-8 spots lower than they are. 

I could argue Michigan at #8-10 fairly convincingly: 7-1, beaten every bad team convincingly, quality win over Notre Dame, only loss a tough one on the road to a top 20 team in which they had the ball multiple times with a chance to tie late in the fourth quarter. 

I could argue Michigan at #20-25 fairly convincingly: Only quality win vs Notre Dame and a lucky one at that, soft schedule outside of ND and MSU and ended up losing by double digits to MSU. 

Pretty much every team outside the top 4-5 has similar for/against arguments. 

Even the undefeateds like Boise (schedule) and Stanford (schedule, struggled mightily in first real game) could be argued a few spots lower. 



October 31st, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

but I think Wisconsin is still the best team, even with two conference losses.  Their path to the conference championship game might be too narrow, but if they get there, I would wager that they beat whoever comes out of the Legends.


October 31st, 2011 at 11:46 AM ^

Pretty clear they lose the Ohio game if Boom Herron played, and they lose the Wisconsin game if Bielema didn't have a 400 pound lineman as one of the punt protectors. Shouldn't that guy be a FB or some other somewhat mobile player? 


October 31st, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

"So of course they are on the cusp of the top ten, hanging out with Houston, South Carolina's dumpster-fire offense, and Penn State's bold experiment into quarterback-free football."