"Descriptive not predictive". That is what the Blogpoll aims to be. I realize that for a lot of the season, I was being a combination of both. Now that we are at about the halfway mark on the season, we have enough data to rank the teams according to their resume. The idea here is to rank based on what has already happened - not what we think will happen down the road. Kind of sucks because I like to predict/project, but I get it. Also, each week we are supposed to make changes based on the teams, not on where we had teams last week. Therefore, one should disregard the deltas this week as I adapt my methodology for voting.
I think the overall goal is to do a better job describing to the fans what's going on, and aims to take away some of the flaws in the other ballots. For example, in the AP or Coaches' Poll, if a team has been good all year but doesn't catch on until later in the season, they may creep into the #25 spot for example. Then if they lose against the #1 team, being ranked #25, they get booted from the poll, even though they may really be one of the best teams in the nation.
Therefore, my rankings changed quite a bit:
Breakdown And Other Week 7 Thoughts After The Jump.
Below is a quick description of each team.
1. Florida (6-0): I've talked about it before but defending your title is tough. The SEC is tough, and are getting everybody's best shot.
2. Alabama (7-0): Have beat three ranked teams, but only faced one on the road. Still one of the toughest schedules in the nation and are one of only seven unbeatens.
3. Texas (6-0): Haven't played anybody other than Oklahoma. While Oklahoma is not ranked I still think they are better than people give credit for: 3 losses by 5 points total, all against ranked teams.
4. Cincinnati (7-0): Top win was @ South Florida, but Rutgers, Oregon State, and Fresno State are quality opponents that could all make bowl games.
5. Miami (5-1): Arguably the toughest schedule, going 3-1 against ranked teams to start the year. I think they are better than some unbeatens like Iowa and Boise State.
6. Iowa (7-0): Had a big top win against a team ranked #5 at the time, but overall their schedule was weaker than Texas and Cincy.
7. Boise State (6-0): Top win was against Oregon, Fresno and Tulsa were good wins, but haven't had as hard of a schedule as Iowa.
8. TCU (6-0): Beat some OK teams like Virginia and Clemson, but haven't been tested yet. They will against BYU this week.
9. Georgia Tech (6-1): 2-1 against ranked teams, including a win over Virginia Tech. Miami made them look silly though. This is somewhat of a wildcard team, and they were in my dog house due to my reservations on how they would end the season, but this is based on what's happened so far.
10. LSU (5-1): 1-1 against ranked teams, but played close to Florida, the best team in the nation in my mind.
11. USC (5-1): Beating Ohio State, Cal, and Notre Dame (all on the road) boosts their schedule strength. Losing to Washington does not.
12. Oregon (5-1): Beating Utah and Cal helps, losing bad @ Boise State is not as good, but that was Week 1, and this team has rallied from that.
13. Virginia Tech (5-2): A very tough schedule, going 2-2 against ranked teams (nearly 1-3 though). Might be the best 2 loss team in the nation.
14. Houston (5-1): Nice wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. That loss to UTEP is what's keeping them from being ranker at this point.
15. Texas Tech (5-2): 1-2 against ranked teams, but they played all three on the road. Played tough against both Texas and Houston, and picked up a nice win @ Nebraska.
16. South Florida (5-1): Little bit misleading if you look at the deltas as they just got blown out, but move up. Sole loss was against a Cincy team I'm very high on. If you think they are ranked too high, no worries. They play Pitt and West Virginia these next two weeks.
17. Oklahoma State (5-1): Only one loss to Houston. But they haven't played the meat of the Big 12 South yet, so their schedule is actually relativity weak. As the season goes on, it will get much tougher, but remember, "descriptive not predictive".
18. Penn State (6-1): One loss against a very good Iowa team, but who have they beat?
19. Utah (5-1): One loss against a good Oregon team, but they haven't beat anyone that great either.
20. BYU (6-1): Beating Oklahoma is nice, but doesn't look great at the moment. Getting blown out at home to Florida State doesn't help either. They haven't played any tough teams since, but that will change against TCU this week.
21. Kansas (5-1): I actually think they have a played a tougher schedule than Penn State, but I think losing to Colorado is worse than losing to Iowa.
22. Pittsburgh (6-1): Haven't played the toughest schedule either, but they are pretty good and beat some solid teams like Rutgers and Navy. That loss to NC-State, however, is not one you want to have.
23. Ohio State (5-2): Have played a slightly tougher schedule than Kansas in that they faced USC, but they have 1 more loss, and I think losing to Purdue is worse than losing to Colorado or NC-State.
24. Arizona (4-2): Beat some quality teams in Central Michigan, Oregon State, and Stanford. Played tough against Iowa and lost close to Washington on a freak-type of a play. According to TeamRankings.com, Arizona has played the 10th toughest schedule this season thus far, and was close to being 5-1 right now.
25. South Carolina (4-2): Lost close @ Georgia. Beat a good Mississippi team, along with a Kentucky team that just won @ Auburn. Many may kick them off the polls due to the timing of their loss against Alabama, but would anyone expect the #25 team to beat the #2 (#1 in the eyes of some) team on the road?
Watch List Teams:
These are teams that haven't made the cut right based on who they've played so far, but have opportunities to prove themselves based on their schedules down the road. I have a list of 15 teams that are all pretty close, but I'll just list my Top 5:
Oklahoma (3-3): They have had such a tough schedule and have played very tough. They aren't the best team in the Big 12, but they are probably the second best in my eyes. I thought about ranking them #25, but they will have the chance to prove themselves against Kansas (and the rest of the Big 12) this week. Since this is "descriptive, not predictive", I will wait for them to pick up some more quality wins before moving them.
Michigan (5-2): They lost by two to a very good Iowa team, and lost in OT to a rival in Michigan State. They face Penn State this week and it's a good chance to see if either team is for real.
Notre Dame (4-2): Close losses to USC and Michigan aren't so bad, but the close wins against Purdue, Michigan State, and Washington are. They are playing some quality teams, but they are games that could've gone either way. With Boston College, Navy, and Pitt on the schedule, this is a team that will play a top 30-40 schedule. It will be important to see if they beat any of these teams handily, or if they're just scraping by.
West Virginia (5-1): Sole loss is to Auburn, which is looking worse with each passing week. They haven't beaten anyone that good, as they're facing teams like Colorado, Syracuse, and Marshall. According to TeamRankings, Iowa State has played a tougher schedule thus far, and ISU fans realize how winnable their schedule is. This team is a paper tiger, right now.
Oregon State (4-2): Played tough to Cincy and Arizona. Beat decent teams like Arizona State and Stanford. Let's see what they do this week against USC.
Other Week 7 Thoughts:
- What was the deal with the Big 12 this week? Whatever K-State was on, I want ISU to be on it too!
- The Big 10 has a lot of parity, and it showed. Ohio State getting smacked around by Purdue?? I don't think the Big 10 ought to have more than 1 BCS team this year, and BCS Championship game should be an outside shot.
- I love conference play! Now that teams are getting in the thick of the conference season, we are finally starting to see which teams are for real, and which are not. It's much harder to tell when the BCS teams are playing FCS teams, and mid-majors.
- How far has Illinois fallen? Phil Steele made me believe that this team would be good. Now I'm wiping my ass with the Illinois page in the Phil Steele guide! #19?? Maybe if you count from the bottom.
Another solid week, and looking forward to the next one!