Monday, October 11, 2010

Who is Number 1?

As I consider my BlogPoll for this week, I’ve rarely found the question more difficult to answer.

The traditional pollsters have Ohio State as their number 1, but this seems (to me at least) more of a default pick borne of typical poll voter laziness. OSU has played a schedule currently ranked 86th (of 120) by the NCAA. Looking ahead at their schedule it seems reasonably likely they may run the table. We may very well be looking at a 2006/2007 scenario again when it comes to the Buckeyes.

The computer polls, not subject to the static inflexibility of the human efforts (not to mention the obvious groupthink), finds Ohio State less than appealing. The Buckeyes range from a high of 4th ranked in the Massey Poll to 15th in Sagarin (though he has them 8th in his “Predictor”.) They would average 8.4 in the computer polls now (Wolfe doesn’t start his until 10/17). Were the BCS released today I’m guessing they would be about 3rd.

So who do the computer polls like? Well, they seem mostly to like the Mad Hatter. LSU is first ranked in A&H, Billingsley, and the Colley Matrix (5th and 8th in the other 2). That’s an average of 3.2, or nearly 6 slots ahead of where the human polls have them at 9th.

Gaudily scoring Oregon, ranked 2nd in both human polls, is all over the map by the computers, ranging from 1st (Sagarin) to 10th (A&H and Colley). I too have trouble with Oregon who, despite the unbelievable offensive numbers (their 43 TD’s are 9 more than the second best team) have played a very soft schedule (110th per the NCAA). I too don’t know what to believe about them.

Like the computers, I also don’t believe in Oklahoma. They are ranked as high as 12th (Sagarin), who actually ranks them 26th in his “Predictor”. According to Sagarin, 25 teams would beat them on a neutral site, including NC State and Texas A&M. In Oklahoma I see a team with the 38th best offense and 56th best defense in the nation. They really aren’t even top 10.

As of this writing I still don’t know who I consider number 1. But I’d bet this much – this season is going to look a lot like 2007 before it is over. Remember 2007? That’s the year 2 loss LSU won it all.

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