BlogpLOL: Week 1

The preseason ballot, as if you cared.  As always, comments, errors, and omissions can go in the comment thread.

One note: This was published before Monday's games, and is based on an assumed Tennessee win at UCLA.  Rocky Top could move either way.


Well, that was interesting. Some of the things we learned:

  • Clemson implodes more quickly than even we expected.
  •  Virginia Tech's slow Iowa-like descent into mediocrity continues unabated, bolstered only by their membership in a ridiculously weak conference which nevertheless retains its BCS membership.
  • Southern Cal might be really, really, really good.  Same goes for Mizzou, Boomer Sooner, and maybe Florida.
  • Akron's starting quarterback changed his last name to pay homage to a 93-year-old fitness guru.
  • Either BYU isn't that great or Northern Iowa is going to Chattanooga.

And, with that base of knowledge, here comes the BHGP BlogpLOL.

Week One Blogpoll Ballot
1. Southern Cal
2. Ohio State
3. Missouri
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. Georgia
7. South Florida
8. Penn State
9. Auburn
10. Alabama
11. LSU
12. Texas Tech
13. Arizona State
14. Wisconsin
15. Kansas
16. Texas
17. Utah
18. Tennessee
19. Miami (FL)
20. West Virginia
21. Wake Forest
22. Central Michigan
23. South Carolina
24. Cal
25. Oklahoma State

Farmed out to prep school: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Iowa, BYU, Tulsa
Tackle eligible:
Tulsa, Oregon, Colorado, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Arizona, Boise State, Houston, BYU

A quick note on BlogpLOL philosophy: I was initially swayed by Dr. Saturday's (f/k/a SMQ) concept of "resume ranking."  In other words, preconceived notions of strength or weakness are irrelevant, and teams are ranked solely on performance to date.  It is the application of Socrates to college football:

"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

Resume ranking appears to be acknowledgement that we don't know anything in the preseason.  It may lead to some otherwise strange results (like Wyoming entering the week 1 top 25), but it seems intellectually pure.

Here's the problem (and it's a problem The Good Doctor acknowledged in last year's week 1 poll): Resume ranking requires the same sort of preconceived notions of strength or weakness, but requires those assumptions of a team's opponents.  For instance, in last year's first Blogpoll, SMQ placed Georgia, Cal, Clemson and Georgia Tech in the top 4, based on "quality wins."  Here were the results that led to that conclusion:

Georgia defeated Oklahoma St. 35-14
Cal defeated Tennessee 45-31
Clemson defeated Florida St. 24-18
Georgia Tech defeated Notre Dame 33-3

The remainder of the season would eventually reveal that Tennessee was a very good team, that Oklahoma State was a decent team coached by a man who was 40, that Florida State was once again Florida State, and that Notre Dame sucked goat balls.  And therein lies the resume ranking problem: It's not illogical to ignore any preconceived strength of a given team and rank teams based solely on the perceived quality of their wins, but doing so requires assigning a preconceived strength to the opponents. 

If we are to stay true to that Socratesian principle, we must acknowledge that we know nothing.  "Quality wins" do not exist until we have enough information to determine just what is quality and what is crap.  In fact, the only pure resume ranking would place the teams 1-119 based solely on margin of victory for the first week or two, until we have enough information to judge just how good a team's opponents truly were.  Unfortunately, I don't think I can bring myself to put Arizona at #1.  Not even Dr. Saturday is willing to do that.

So, this ranking is probably slightly closer to Dr. Saturday resume ranking than other voters, but it's surely not pure resume.  It's also not pure "futures" polling, and it's certainly not "power" polling (I asked myself the "who would win this game?" question once: USC over Ohio State).  So go ahead, you can laugh all you want.  I've got my philosophy.  I might not be able to explain it, but it keeps me walking when I'm falling down.

Southern Cal usurps aOSU in the top spot, if only because their win seems more impressive and the Beanie thing is a little scary.  The top tier is 1-6; an argument can be made for all of them at #1 (except maybe for Georgia, which is no longer #1 at Dawg Sports despite the fact they won by 24 and were up 38-0 halfway through the third quarter), but it's a lot more difficult to justify South Florida, Penn State, or Auburn in the top spot.

Yes, that's 5 SEC schools in the top 11.  I still think there's a decent chance Clemson actually sucks, but there's no way I can put Alabama in a lower spot after that win.  LSU's victory over Appalachian State will almost surely be overvalued due to memories of The Horror, but it was impressive nonetheless.  The other three are unquestionably in the top 10.

Kansas, Wake Forest, South Carolina, and Oklahoma State also enter this week.  If Iowa beats FIU by 30 next weekend, Rock Chalk takes a fall, but at least KU beat a Division I opponent.  Wake, South Carolina, and Oklahoma State looked good against BCS cellar-dwellers (or, in South Carolina's case, after changing quarterbacks in the second half against a cellar-dweller).

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