|3||Southern Cal (1)||22.7||2|
Also Receiving Votes: Brigham Young(1.4), Pittsburgh(1.1), LSU(0.6), Northwestern(0.5), Tulsa(0.5), South Carolina(0.4), Nebraska(0.4), Rice(0.2), Boston College(0.2), Arizona(0.1), Ball State(0.1), North Carolina(0.1), Vanderbilt(0.0), Notre Dame(0.0), Rutgers(0.0),
Total Ballots: 62
Votes by blog here, votes by team here.
A surge of Utah sympathy (and one Southern Cal outlier) is for naught, as Florida takes first with around 75% of the #1 votes. Utah does fly up to second, and if they want they can claim themselves the national champion of Alabama bloggers, who went for Utah 2-1. So you've got that going for you. Who need a playoff?
Wack Ballot Watchdog
I had a nanosecond of dark thought wherein I would program the system to ignore votes with Florida at #1 and throw the poll to Utah, not because the Utes actually deserve it—a review of the resumes shows Florida is the more accomplished team—but because, dammit, the Utes deserve something, and maybe so do USC and Texas. But, no, that's obviously a horrible idea.
Some people did go for Utah on their own merits, though, and some of them have made an effort at explanation. One of the poll's non-BCS participants—the "Frank Helps You Think It All Out," a Tulane blog—takes a stab:
[Utah has] four wins over Top 25 outfits, another win over an Air Force team that was around that level all season- and a trip to Michigan. That is better than a Big East slate- and no one would fuss at awarding a BCS Championship to Pittsburgh or Cincinnati had they run the table. …
Better BCS team schedules definitely have merit as a tie-breaker among undefeateds... notsomuch when one team has one or more losses than another. If Utah's schedule can pass a BCS League sniff test (i.e. at a minimum, this in conference plus out of conference slate is good as or better than some teams from the Big East)- and I think it does- well, they win.
I love the SEC as a League- and salute Florida's brilliant season. But, that strong SEC sort of gives Utah’s Alabama win, a long way away from Utah, on Tulane’s home field even more heft. The SEC had their chance to kill the undefeated Utes- and the Crimson Tide was handled by multiple scores from the get go.
I can go along with a lot of that, but the old "how many losses would Utah have with Florida's schedule?" is a stickler. It's probably at least one, isn't it? I respect Utah for getting by BYU and TCU and beating a pretty good Oregon State team, but the bottom drops out of Utah's schedule fast.
Meanwhile, one of the defeated Alabama blogs joins up:
I’m voting Utah #1. They’re undefeated. They scheduled a tough schedule and won their games. Without a playoff, they’ve done all we could ask any team to do: line up and beat the best schedule that they could put together. Not only did they beat TCU and Alabama (top 10 teams), they also beat BYU and Oregon State (top 25 teams).
The scheduled the winningest program in college football history and shouldn’t be held accountable for Michigan having a mostly unexpected lousy season. Their “patsy” played deep in the FCS playoffs. Their conference acquitted themselves well in the bowls. If we’re ever going to have a non-BCS Conference BCS champion, this should have been the year.
Points to the Utes for scheduling what looked like a respectable foe only to get this year's edition of Michigan, but they played who they played and the random permutations of an opponent do have impact when we're attempting to decide between near-indistinguishable teams.
The regular season is a playoff, I guess, except it's the kind of playoff where you can win all your games and still lose.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
As per usual, a mid-major team wins here: Boise State is your most erratically ranked team of the 2008 season.
First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
|1||Eagle in Atlanta||Boston College||2.82|
|2||The Hotty Toddy Blog||Mississippi||2.77|
|3||The Joe Cribbs Car Wash||Auburn||2.66|
|4||The Nittany Line||Penn State||2.65|
|5||Braves and Birds||Georgia||2.44|
The final Mr. Bold goes to Eagle in Atlanta and the primary reasons are the inexplicable insertion of Virginia Tech at #5, up ten from the final pre-bowl ballot, and the even more inexplicable exclusion of Oklahoma, which may have lost to Florida but obviously doesn't deserve to be ejected entirely. Double-check your ballots, folks.
Mr. Numb Existence
|1||The Hoosier Report||Indiana||0.88|
|2||Subway Domer||Notre Dame||0.94|
|5||Rock M Nation||Missouri||1.04|
It's been a Numb Existence indeed for Indiana fans of late, so perhaps it's unsurprising that The Hoosier Report takes the final award for the most boring (or prescient, depending on your point of view) ballot.
Also of note: this is an all-midwest affair.
Next we have the Coulter/Kos Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The Coulter/Krugman Award
|1||California Golden Blogs||California||5.39|
|2||The Hotty Toddy Blog||Mississippi||4.73|
|4||Tomahawk Nation||Florida State||3.98|
|5||Lake The Posts||Northwestern||3.55|
The CK Award lands in the hands of Cal Golden Blogs for ranking a 9-4 Pac-10 team with a very respectable nonconference schedule (Michigan State, Maryland, Colorado State) #18. Which is totally reasonable.
In fact, why isn't Cal a lot higher? They're behind a Big Ten team with the same record who they beat in week #1. Pac-10 in bowls: 5-0. Big Ten: 1-6. I hereby absolve Cal of any wrongdoing in their victory here; the fault is with the rest of the poll.
As for our weekly track of how CK Award winners are doing—poorly, usually—this time it didn't quite work out as week 15 winner Tomahawk Nation saw its Seminoles turn Wisconsin into cheese shrapnel. I suggest that the dire power of the CK Award was overcome by an ever direr power that was seriously pissed off that Wisconsin bailed on a game against Virginia Tech in favor of a game against might Cal-Poly, and then won that game only because Cal-Poly's kicker missed three(!!!) extra points.
In any case, the CK Award winners finish the year 4-10 against the spread even with the clunker at the end. Moral: don't overrate your team.
The Straight Bangin' Award
|1||Braves and Birds||Georgia||-5.31|
|2||Hey Jenny Slater||Georgia||-2.31|
|5||Black Heart Gold Pants||Iowa||-0.53|
Though a couple of Georgia bloggers go 1-2 for the Straight Bangin’ award, an award of special merit goes to Saurian Sagacity, which, yes, voted its own crystal-football-toting Gators #2 behind Utah.
Elsewhere, the final SBA is a continuation of its usual theme: disappointment. Usually the winners here are teams that have underperformed relative to expectations, causing fans to overreact negatively. See: preseason national championship contenders reduced to non-BCS obscurity like Georgia and West Virginia.
(Note: I was going to make a snarky remark about Citrus/Something Or Other obscurity, but West Virginia's bowl game doesn't even have a non-corporate name to fall back on.)
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
|1||Eagle in Atlanta||Boston College||166|
|5||Rocky Top Talk||Tennessee||138|
When you eject Oklahoma from your ballot entirely you get quite a drop on Mr. Manic Depressive; EIA's victory is not a surprise.
|1||Braves and Birds||Georgia||70|
|2||Falcon Nation||Bowling Green||74|
|3||The Joe Cribbs Car Wash||Auburn||92|
|4||Dr. Saturday||Southern Miss||96|
Braves and Birds, winner of the SBA this week, also takes Mr. Stubborn, though a final swing of 70 is uncontroversial and the ballot itself reveals nothing pathological.