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Week 15 BlogPoll - Draft

BSD caught the ACC Championship game between Wake Forest and Georgia Tech and managed to stay awake for most of the 9-6 thriller. The score was 3-3 when I blacked out and fell asleep for about 15 minutes in the third quarter. Fortunately I woke up in time for the 9 point flurry of scoring in the fourth quarter.

I started watching the UCLA-USC game until the wife talked me into going out to dinner followed by some Christmas shopping at Walmart. Figuring the game was sure to be a blowout I agreed. When I got home and saw the final score I was not pleased.

Determined not to miss another precious minute of football in this crazy 2006 season I told the wife the Christmas lights are going to have to wait. The SEC Championship game was in the second half and the Big XII championship game was about to start. So I flipped back and forth between the two of those and caught a few snaps of WV-Rutgers.

On to the ballot...

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State --
2 Michigan 1
3 Florida 1
4 LSU 1
5 Wisconsin 1
6 Auburn 2
7 Oklahoma 2
8 Southern Cal 6
9 Louisville 1
10 Arkansas 3
11 Boise State --
12 Notre Dame --
13 Texas 1
14 California 1
15 Virginia Tech 1
16 Wake Forest 6
17 West Virginia 4
18 Tennessee 1
19 Missouri 1
20 Nebraska --
21 Rutgers 8
22 Georgia Tech 3
23 Boston College 3
24 Hawaii --
25 Penn State --

Dropped Out: Oregon (#23).

First of all, let's get something straight. After the top 3 nothing else matters. Since nobody is going to argue with my #1, I'm just going to focus the rest of this rant on #2 and #3.

It's been a fun ride this BlogPoll thing. It has forced me to open my eyes and examine how I evaluate teams. I've come to the conclusion there are four basic philosophies for putting together a poll, and at some point this season I have used all four which may or may not mean I'm a crappy voter.

The first philosophy entails putting together a poll at the beginning of the year based on last years performance, media hype, school tradition, and total guessing. Then from week to week you move teams up and down according to what they did that week. Win and you basically stay put. Lose and you drop 4-10 spots depending on how difficult your competition is perceived to be. This is how I started out the season.

The second philosophy is called the resume philosophy. Each week you start with a clean slate with no preconceived notions of where a team "should be" instead ranking them strictly on their performance and the performance of their competition. This creates for some wild swings. SMQ started talking about this way of voting and persuaded me to use it some time in the middle of the season.

The third philosophy involves ranking teams based on the "Who would win on a neutral field?" litmus test. I used this a few times this year.

The fourth philosophy disregards performance and resumes and instead just works to put together matchups that will ensure there in an undisputed #1 at the end of the season. This is the philosophy of the BCS loyalists. And I am ashamed to say I fell prey to their spell.

When Michigan first lost to Ohio State, I kept them ranked at #2 because I felt they were still the second best team in the country. When USC beat Notre Dame, I bumped them over Michigan, but not because I believed they were suddenly a better team. I did so because I reasoned Michigan had their chance and USC should have a shot to knock off the Buckeyes.

When USC lost this weekend and Florida won the SEC, I started thinking of my ballot and once again I was going to jump another team over Michigan when I stopped myself. Was I ranking Florida over Michigan because I felt they were a better team? I don't think so because Florida has looked inconsistent at times when I saw them play against Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas. So I asked my self why was I voting them ahead of Michigan? The only answer I could come up with was that I felt they "deserved" a shot at Ohio State more than Michigan deserved a rematch.

So I came to my senses and said "No More". It's not right to rank teams based on who "deserves" the title or a shot at the title. As a voter, it's my job to pit the two best teams in the country in the championship game. And there is no way I feel like Florida is a better team than Michigan.

We have all fallen prey to this myth that the SEC is the toughest conference and that any team that comes out of the SEC, even with one loss, deserves a chance to play for the MNC. This year it is Florida. But if the Gators had lost to LSU the Tigers would have one loss and we would be saying LSU deserves a shot. Where in the BCS formula does it say any SEC team with one loss goes to the BCS Championship Game?

Ultimately I asked myself the following question: If Florida beats Ohio State and Michigan beats USC, would you feel right ranking Florida over Michigan? My ballot speaks to my answer.