Blogpoll Week One: Hello Insanity, My Old Friend

There might be a new purveyor of the Blogpoll, but there's no change in philosophy:  Results, and only results, matter.

As we've explained in previous years, we don't buy the concept of power polling, the idea that teams should be ranked in any way based on the preconceived notions of their ability made by writers and coaches and bloggers.  It is a view shared by luminaries like Doc Saturday and other adopters of "resume ranking" in which we rank based on the quality of wins.  The problem, of course, is that rating the quality of early-season wins only removes the expectations one level: Rather than placing weight on how talented a team is perceived to be, the old-school resume rankers place their emphasis on how talented a team's opponents are perceived to be.  It is hardly an improvement.

The BHGPoll asks the question of just who is better based on no expectations whatsoever.  Every FBS-level team starts at zero (because of scholarship limitations, the standard FCS squad is at a fundamental disadvantage against their FBS brethren, and wins over those teams are reduced accordingly).  It's not a formula, at least not in the purest sense of the BCS computer polls, but statistics like margin of victory matter greatly. 

At the end of the year, the results should match what we see from every other ranking.  At the beginning of the year, it's complete chaos.  Stanford, by virtue of murdering San Jose State 57-3, takes the top spot after one week.  They're followed by Central Florida (62-0 win over FCS Charleston Southern), Cincinnati (72-10 win over FCS Austin Peay), Mississippi State (59-14 win over Memphis) and Virginia Tech (66-13 win over FCS Appalachian State).  LSU drops out completely, because we only know that the Bayou Bengals are 13 points better than Oregon, who are just as likely to be the worst team in the country as any other.  Obviously, we don't believe that is the case, but what we believe is not what we can prove.  At this point, we can prove nothing.  The snow globe will be shaken again next week, and these results will have exactly half the relevance they currently hold.  By week four or five, the poll will start to take shape.  It's not a protest vote.  It's not a gimmick vote.  It's not some sort of joke.  It's a philosophical shift in polling, and it's our belief in this philosophy that compels us to post these admittedly insane polls in the first few weeks.

BHGPoll Games of the Week:

#8 Alabama vs. #20 Penn State -- Unquestionably the game of the week, at least by Blogpoll standards, as preseason #1 Bama travels to Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions.  Penn State was impressive in a 41-7 win over I-AA Indiana State.

#3 Cincinnati vs. Tennessee -- The Bearcats are the only top five Blogpoll team to face a top 50 opponent in week 2 (Tennessee's win over Montana has them at #36).

#6 Rutgers vs. North Carolina -- The State University of New Jersey's tour of North Carolina continues.  UNC's 42-10 over I-AA giant killer James Madison left them barely outside the week 1 poll.  Rutgers was slightly more impressive in its own bodybag win over North Carolina Central.

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