Posted on: December 3, 2008 12:21 pm

Blogpoll Week 14: It's Oklahoma

Rank Team PPB StdDev Delta
1 Alabama (48) 24.2 1.3 --
2 Florida (13) 23.2 1.2 --
3 Oklahoma (8) 23.2 1.2 --
4 Texas (5) 22.6 2.9 --
5 Southern Cal 20.6 1.2 --
6 Penn State 19.4 1.3 --
7 Texas Tech 18.8 1.5 --
8 Utah 18.7 2.1 --
9 Boise State 16.7 2.8 2
10 Ohio State 16.1 1.5 1
11 TCU 12.8 3.2 3
12 Cincinnati 12.6 2.1 3
13 Oklahoma State 12.4 2.7 3
14 Ball State 11.7 4.6 3
15 Georgia Tech 11.2 3.2 3
16 Oregon 9.1 3.0 5
17 Boston College 8.3 2.8 2
18 Georgia 7.5 3.2 5
19 Missouri 7.5 3.2 7
20 Michigan State 5.8 3.0 --
21 Brigham Young 4.9 3.8 2
22 Mississippi 4.5 3.9 3
23 Pittsburgh 3.5 2.7 3
24 Northwestern 3.0 2.6 --
25 Oregon State 2.3 2.3 9

Also Receiving Votes: Iowa(1.6), Virginia Tech(1.1), Florida State(0.7), California(0.3), Tulsa(0.3), North Carolina(0.2), Nebraska(0.1), West Virginia(0.1), Rice(0.1), Wake Forest(0.0), Western Michigan(0.0), Kansas(0.0), Clemson(0.0),

Total Ballots: 74

Votes by blog here, votes by team here.

The BlogPoll speaks, and it says: Oklahoma. Sorry, Texas fans. That margin is pretty significant, too, nearly a whole point. The Coaches and Harris polls are virtual ties; the BlogPoll goes strongly for the Sooners.

Elsewhere, Oregon State, Georgia, and Missouri tumble after bad losses, and Boise State is propelled into the top ten because they managed to beat that Chip Kelly monstrosity of an offense earlier in the year.

But who cares about other teams? Let's get right into it: OU-Texas.

Wack Ballot Watchdog

Okay. Here goes. First:

The Case For Texas

The Hoosier Report takes a tack other than "but head to head," and comes up with something new and interesting to consider:

My placement is unchanged from last week and has as much to do with the nature of the Big XII triumvirate's losses more than anything else; in other words, I have ranked the three Big XII teams based on which is the closest to being undefeated. Texas lost at Texas Tech in the final seconds of the game; Oklahoma lost to Texas in a competitive but not down-to-the-wire game on a neutral field; Texas Tech lost badly at Oklahoma.

Obviously, a review of the teams' nonconference schedule strength relegates TT a distant third among the group. Oklahoma, thanks to surprisingly good seasons by Cincinnati and TCU, had a tougher non-con than Texas, but not sufficiently tougher to override a 10 point win on a neutral field.

Dismissing the Texas Tech issue is problematic for me, but that, at least, is a novel way to look at it.

Meanwhile, Texas uber-blog Burnt Orange Nation's rationales for Texas are too vast to reproduce in their entirety here. A summary, though:

For me, if the final scorecard is as close as it is in my analysis, whether or not the Sooners are the ones who score slightly higher, the head-to-head hurdle has not been cleared. In this system, voters are of course wholly free to weight the variables differently than I have, but while I've seen plenty of pro-OU arguments that do just that in a rational way, I have yet to see one that either (A) demonstrates what I would call a sizable Oklahoma advantage on the scorecard, or (B) if it does, seems to me an analysis even remotely near the same ballpark as my own.

Finally, as a point of contrast, I do think Texas has enough of an overall scorecard advantage over Texas Tech to clear the head-to-head hurdle. It's not obvious--there's more than enough room to argue--but I think it's an absolutely fair conclusion to draw. Some may not--just as some may fairly argue for Oklahoma--but I see Texas and Oklahoma in the clubhouse with comparably strong scorecards, while Texas Tech (worst non-con schedule of the three or perhaps of any D-1 school, Nebraska Overtime, blowout loss to OU, top two wins at home, Baylor squeaker in Lubbock) scores just far enough behind that I'm comfortable saying Texas has cleared the narrow head-to-head loss in Lubbock.

I mean, I get that. This is now a beauty contest and Tech got booted (and for good reasons, not because they aren't Oklahoma or Texas)… no one thinks the Raiders are relevant, so the head to head should stand. I can see how this is a totally convincing argument.

But I went for Oklahoma.

The Case For Oklahoma

The main thing Oklahoma has on its side is the performance of Cincinnati and TCU, top 15 teams that Texas replaced with Rice and Arkansas. Dr. Saturday broke it down:

For OU and Texas, the margins of victory, strength of schedule (according to Jeff Sagarin) and opponents' winning percentages are virtually identical. What you make of this depends on your emphasis: Texas fans (obviously) are most interested in the Longhorns' head-to-head win, as they've gone to great effort and expense to demonstrate. I'm more interested -- and I think the computers are more interested -- in the number of quality wins over ranked teams and other major teams with solid (7-8 wins) records. Oklahoma's advantage here is more obvious when you look at the entire schedule:

The order and "tiers" are based on Sagarin's rankings (if you're wondering why Rice is as high as it is under Texas' schedule, ask him), but the specific order isn't remotely as important as the number of games Oklahoma has in the top tiers compared to the other two. Essentially, the difference is that, as blowout non-conference wins go, TCU and Cincinnati are significantly better than Rice and Arkansas.

This sees the Sooners #1 on his ballot, and on the ballots of most of the blogpoll. Team Speed Kills, which takes its ballot very seriously indeed, came up with similar charts and a similar answer

The answer here really is: there is no answer, and the BCS is stupid, and the Big 12 should never let it dictate its champions again.

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.

Most Disagreement

# Team StdDev
1 Ball State 4.6
2 Mississippi 3.9
3 Brigham Young 3.8
4 Missouri 3.2
5 Georgia Tech 3.2

Ball State maintains the mid-major deathgrip on this category.

Ballot Math

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.


Mr. Bold

# Blog Team   Avg Error
1 Tomahawk Nation Florida State 4.41
2 CollegeGameBalls Virginia Tech 3.02
3 Dawg Sports Georgia 2.97
4 Eagle in Atlanta Boston College 2.86
5 Braves and Birds Georgia 2.84

Tomahawk Nation reclaims Mr. Bold a week after losing it to a meth-crazed Orson Swindle. The midmajors remain off his radar, a major contributing factor, and while I can see where he's coming from on that: Missouri out entirely? Mississippi #10? Iowa #14? This goes beyond principled stand and into the land of batty batness.

Mr. Numb Existence

# Blog Team   Avg Error
1 Eleven Warriors Ohio State 0.93
2 SportsFrog Central Michigan 1.04
3 Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician Syracuse 1.08
4 The Red Zone Report Mississippi State 1.09
5 Around the Oval Ohio State 1.11

What is it with Ohio State blogs and winning this award? Is the practiced boringness of Jim Tressel rubbing off on the fanbase? Does this mean I have a smaller chance of being hit with a bottle the next time I go there? Lord only knows.

Eleven Warriors is your victor here, and now is my time to praise yet another Ohio State blog. Fortunately, this one is excellent in all facets except choice of team. Here's Rich Rodriguez's head on a turkey. Enjoy.

Next we have the Coulter/Krugman 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

# Blog Team   Bias
1 The Hotty Toddy Blog Mississippi 10.53
2 Double-T Nation Texas Tech 3.22
3 TheES Michigan State 3.19
4 Addicted to Quack Oregon 2.95
5 Pitt Blather Pittsburgh 2.49

The CK Award goes, and goes triumphantly, to the Hotty Toddy Blog, which emerged from hibernation—no votes since the preseason—to vote Mississippi #11. This, for the record, is the absolute worst way possible to guarantee your admission to next year's poll. I hope your team explodes in their bowl game.

The Straight Bangin' Award

# Blog Team   Bias
1 Dawg Sports Georgia -5.54
2 Braves and Birds Georgia -2.54
3 ScalpEm.com Florida State -0.68
4 Bears Necessity California -0.28
5 Saurian Sagacity Florida -0.24

Straight Bangin’ award is, unsurprisingly, the domain of Georgia blogs. The rule of this category is: bet on the team that just experienced humiliating defeat. Can you bet on individual BlogPoll categories? Someone check the Bellagio sportsbook.

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.

Mr. Manic-Depressive

# Blog Team   Swing
1 Tomahawk Nation Florida State 136
2 Dawg Sports Georgia 102
3 Bears Necessity California 96
4 CollegeGameBalls Virginia Tech 90
5 The Rakes of Mallow Notre Dame 88

Wheeeee Tomahawk Nation wins here again. Wheeeeeee! Bats.

Mr. Stubborn

# Blog Team   Swing
1 Bama Sports Report Alabama 38
2 Card Chronicle Louisville 42
3 Buffs.tv Colorado 42
4 Falcon Nation Bowling Green 44
5 Frank McGrath Tulane 44

On the other end of the spectrum we have the Bama Sports Report, which had an entirely static top ten (now featuring Ball State?) and went light on the punishments to Mizzou, Oregon State, and Georgia.

Category: NCAAF
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