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Monday, August 21, 2006

First Blogpoll Roundtable

As a member of MGoBlog's Blogpoll, a weekly ranking of college football teams culled from a number of college football-related blogs across the Internet, there is also a periodic roundtable in which other members of the poll discuss and answer questions posed by one of the voting sites. Kicking off the 2006 season comes the following questions from Notre Dame blog, The House That Rock Built.

1. What's the biggest ripoff in this preseason poll? Either pick a team that's offensively over or underrated, or you can rag on a particular voter's bad pick (hey, we're all adults here, we can handle it).

Benny and I are both in agreement here when we say West Virginia. Yes, we know, we know they beat Georgia last season but it seems they're ranked as high as they are in most polls (the AP has them at #5) not because they're that good of a team but because their schedule, to be blunt, is weak. Very weak.

Since there is no playoff, a team's schedule must carry a lot of weight or there is no point in playing tough out-of-conference games. Why should Texas or Ohio State risk that early loss if neither would be punished and get the same ranking for playing, say, Louisiana Tech?

But I will give fellow Blogpoll members credit - nobody voted WVU #1 while six (oblviously drunk) AP voters did.

2. What should a preseason poll measure? Specifically, should it be a predictor of end-of-season standing (meaning that a team's schedule should be taken into account when determining a ranking), or should it merely be a barometer of talent/hype/expectations?

How can you measure something that isn't? Impossible? Well, that's "exactly" what a pre-season poll does. No games have been played and each team's roster is different than last season so it's sort of like "measuring" beauty in a talent pageant at this stage.

My feeling is pre-season polls serve not to "measure" anything but are fantastic tools to provide hype for the upcoming season. A point of debate that has us all taking (as we are today) about the sport a month or two before the first kickoff. The only problem with that, as Benny points out, is that these "tools" have a bearing on the National Title.

As such, while the preseason Blogpoll and other fan or mag polls should always be around for the "excitement" part, I believe that any polls used to determine the BCS outcome shouldn't have their first vote until three games in, enough time for any pre-season bias to be erased (yes, even though such a move would hurt perennial poll darlings like Michigan).

3. What is your biggest stretch in your preseason ballot? That is to say, which team has the best chance of making you look like an idiot for overrating them?

Obviously for us it's our #1 pick, FSU. But we freely admit that was an educated guess in this year when no team looks dominant. We didn't snub OSU for the top pick because we're Michigan fans, we didn't pick them #1 because they have only two starters back on defense. Notre Dame? Their schedule is brutal and, no offense, but their biggest "win" last season was a close loss to USC. They beat nobody (Michigan included). They are getting their pre-season hype on name value (as U-M often does). We expect to be a good team, we just don't see them as the best.

So, we picked FSU because it seemed just as logical (or illogical) as any other pick. Having said that, I think we might look mighty stupid about this pick by the end of the year (or after the first weekend).

4. What do you see as the biggest flaw in the polling system (both wire service and blogpolling)? Is polling an integral part of the great game of college football, or is it an outdated system that needs to be replaced? If you say the latter, enlighten us with your new plan.

Benny's big polling problem is that it actually affects who plays for the National Championship. My biggest problem (which is unavoidable) is that folks voting only see a small, small percentage of the teams they're voting on actually play. Hell, even in the beauty pageant mentioned above, the judges at least see all the contestants. No so in college football polls.

Having said all that, I do think they are an important and even fun part of the game. I just think, as mentioned, the polls used for BCS shouldn't start until later.

5. You're Scott Bakula, and you have the opportunity to "Quantum Leap" back in time and change any single moment in your team's history. It can be a play on the field, a hiring decision, or your school's founders deciding to build the campus in Northern Indiana, of all godforsaken places. What do you do?

Benny's "do over" would be the 2001 M-OSU game. It was Tressel's first game. If we win, we go to the Rose Bowl. The Buck's were struggling and we were playing at home. Benny feels if Michigan wins that game, the Bucks, and Tressel, don't ascend to their current heights.

My Ghost of Michigan Past is also from 2001, but from the spring. When Drew Henson left. If I could go back, I would tell Drew about how poorly things would work out for him by choosing baseball over his senior year at Michigan. But, he left and John Navarre was forced into the starting role before he was ready.

I firmly believe that if Henson stays, we beat Washington in September and Ohio State in November and many of the "Fire Lloyd" and other maize and "boo" birds aren't as loud today.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bo: I don't care if he is the "Rocket", kick it to him.

Dooooh!!!!!!

Bo: He can't do that again. Kick it to him.

Dooooh!!!!!!

surrounded in columbus said...

Yost,
sticking w/ your theme of "recent" history (if we went back in time, i could probably come up w/ a list long enough to clog your server), i'd have to agree w/ trying to change the '01 tosu game.

however, i don't think you need to do anything too dramatic have a big impact. yeah, Henson could have been great but we still had a pretty good team that should have won the conference.

if i could, what i'd do is go back and whisper into Carr's ear "just run the damn ball". tosu only put together one drive on its own in the first half. tosu's other 16 points/scoring came off of ints/fumble by the qb in the pocket/that stupid play w/ Gonzalez at the end of the half.

if we'd have just stuck on the ground and been patient, we'd have at worse gone into half down 7-0, instead of 23-0. but we didn't. when we had trouble running, instead of commiting to the run, we tried to put it up (w/ a shaky qb and bad, windy wet weather), turned it over, and gave them 16 points.

if you look at how poor tosu's offense played in the second half, and how our O adjustments worked in the second, it would have been a much better result. we tend to forget that we came w/ in a Walker drop of winning this game anyway. if we hadn't handed them the other points, Lloyd wouldn't be in the fix he is today.

i also credit this as the beginning of the "finesse" era/mindset on offense that has plagued us 4 out of the last 5 seasons. the impatience w/ running the ball showed here and has cropped up more frequently every season.

Yost said...

"if we went back in time, i could probably come up w/ a list long enough to clog your server"

LOL!!!

Kirbdaddy said...

Don't forget Spartan Bob hosing UM in 2001. That game isn't close with Henson at QB...