Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Voting in Polls is Hard (no, really)

It's easy to make fun of the polls - there's the seemingly yearly infatuation with Notre Dame, some team in your conference you know isn't very good keeps getting ranked, and your team is always too low. Somebody in the Harris Poll votes for Idaho, that kind of thing. I mean, how hard can it possibly be to list the 25 best teams and not make any major gaffes? As I have found out voting weekly in the BlogPoll, it's harder than it sounds.

Quitely simply, I don't watch enough college football to be able to accurately judge the value of the majority of the teams in the country. But how can that be, since I'm on the couch at the very beginning of College Gameday, and my wife has to pull me off the couch at midnight because I've fallen asleep watching the end of another Pac-10 shootout?In between there somewhere I actually attend most of KU's football games in person as well. I'm pretty sure I watch more college football than 99% of the voters in the coaches poll, and heck a good portion of the AP writers.

As I've found out, that's not nearly enough to fairly judge the teams on their merits. In my ballot I'm voting for Fresno State, and I've only watched them play once. Do I have a good idea if they are really better than UTEP or Rutgers or Georgia Tech? Of course not, but the general consensus is that they are and so I go with it. Who should be ranked higher, Florida State or Miami? Where on earth does Ohio State go in this mess? What about Texas Tech and their Little Debbie schedule? But if you rip TT for their schedule, what about LSU or Auburn? Is UGa better than Florida State? Those are big name schools, and I've watched most of them at least once or twice so far this year - but do you really glean anything from only a tiny sample like that? Heck, if the only GT game I watched this year was the Auburn game ... I'd believe they were a top 10 team.

In short, I have no idea how the real pollsters and especially the coaches have any better idea than me. Short of watching a day's worth of tape each week and crunching through several of the major computer polls, I'm not sure a person can fairly do it. And yet this crowd that can't possibly be fully aware of everything are the ones deciding national champions. Gene Wojciechowski wrote an excellent piece yesterday on about a BCS selection committee similar to the one that the NCAA basketball tournament uses. It makes sense on so many levels, and being exposed to the failures of the voting system on a personal level has made me even more aware of the flaws inherent to the system.

So here's my ballot for this week. I'm sure there are flaws in it, but it's what I feel is most representitive of the teams at this point in the year. As always, comments are welcome - and trust me, if you think I'm wrong about a team ... it's quite probably because I am.

1. Virginia Tech --
2. Southern Cal --
3. Texas --
4. Alabama 1
5. Florida State 1
6. Miami (Florida) 1
7. UCLA 2
8. Penn State 2
9. Louisiana State 2
10. Boston College 2
11. Georgia 7
12. Notre Dame --
13. Oregon 1
14. Florida 4
15. Wisconsin --
16. Minnesota 1
17. West Virginia 3
18. TCU 3
19. Colorado 3
20. Texas Tech 3
21. Auburn 5
22. Fresno State 2
23. Michigan 2
24. UTEP 2
25. Louisville 1


Post a Comment

<< Home