For those of you who just discovered the wonderful world of the college football blogosphere this summer and stumbled upon this humble blog we like to call BSD, you will find that during the season we participate in a little something called the Blogpoll. The Blogpoll is the brainchild of MGoBlog currently going on its fourth year.
Personally, I believe the Blogpoll to be a superior poll to the Coaches and AP Polls for several reasons.
1. Bloggers watch more games. While coaches and journalists are glued to one game every Saturday, bloggers are free to watch multiple games at a time and get a broader sense of what is going on.
2. Bloggers have more time. Once a game is over journalists rush to get their articles written by their deadline to make the Sunday edition. Then they have to get their voter ballot in by Sunday morning so the new poll can be published Sunday evening. Blogpoll voters have until Wednesday morning to submit their ballots giving ample time to digest the activity and put considerable thought into their ballot.
3. Bloggers get feedback. A requirement of the blogpoll is that all voters post their ballots on their blogs for all to see and pick apart. We are given the freedom and strongly encouraged to listen to others and change our ballots even after they are submitted. Ballots are not considered final until Wednesday morning. When was the last time a journalist or a coach asked you what you thought about his ballot?
4. Bias and ignorance is ridiculed. Every Wednesday afternoon Brian will publish the new blogpoll at MGoBlog, and you can bet if he thinks you're a homer or your ballot doesn't make sense he's going to break out keyboard and beat you over the head with it.
Having participated in this exercise for the past two seasons I'm absolutely convinced the blogpoll is the best measurement we have for determining the best team in the country.
Now Let me say a few words about putting together a ballot. Putting together a decent ballot is not easy. If you don't believe me, try it sometime. Coming up with a top five is simple. Listing 5-10 isn't that difficult either since these are usually your one loss teams that lost to another top ten team. Spots 11-15 start to get tricky as you may have a dozen one or two loss teams with a good case. I call spots 16 and up the "Whatever" spots. It's a jumble of fringe teams with a few losses and even fewer impressive wins. You could mix and match them in any order and my opinion would be "Whatever." When team A beats team B who beats team C who beats team A, what do you do?
Many voters have different philosophies they adhere to. Some try to look at the schedule and project what the final standings will look like. Their poll is a glimpse into the future and how they see it ending up. Others use the theoretical "head-to-head" matchup philosophy. Their poll is a ranking of who would win on paper. Some voters use the "resume method". I was a fan of this in the beginning of last year, but it leads to crazy ballots in the beginning where Appalachian State can be ranked #1 because they beat Michigan.
For my personal philosophy, I think in the early part of the season reputation weighs heavily. I look at thinks like last year's record, bowl performance, players returning and the general buzz surrounding the team from the media to form my ballot. Ultimately everyone is 0-0 to start the season, but you can probably make a pretty good bet that USC is going to be better than Vanderbilt. But as the season wears on the importance of reputation diminishes and on the field results carry more toward forming my opinion. This usually starts to take place around week four or five. Once we hit around week seven I am putting together my ballot strickly by performance on the field. Really, I hate putting together a ballot before week five. I would prefer to see everyone wait until then to put together the polls. But rankings create big matchups made for television, and big matchups generate money. So we have preseason polls and they're here to stay. Nobody asked me what I thought, so when in Rome...
So with all that said, I need to put together a ballot which Brian wants by Monday. I was going to put something together and throw it out there, but I got to thinking why spend an hour to do so when I can just ask the readers to pick apart someone else's ballot. So here is the USA Today Coaches Poll in all its glory.
(22) 1. Georgia
2. USC (14)
(14) 3. Ohio State
(3) 4. Oklahoma
(5) 5. Florida
6. LSU (3)
8. West Virginia
Tech 14. Texas
15. Virginia Tech
16. Arizona State
17. Brigham Young
21. South Florida
22. Penn State
23. Wake Forest
25. Fresno State
On the Fringe: Alabama, South Carolina, Utah, Rutgers, Boston College, Cal, Pitt
So my question to you is, what do you think? Who is ranked too high? Who is ranked too low? Is there anyone missing? Give me a feel for what you think about this, and then sometime this weekend I will form a ballot of my own. I'll publish it on here and we can take that one apart too.