Monday, September 18, 2006

CFB Top 25: My Take (and YOUR Take)

Quickie readers know that one of my biggest crusades is "sports populism": The empowerment of fans, to as much of an extent in every sport as possible.

To me, very little has represented the opposite of populism than the traditional college football polls, particularly the "human" polls: The AP (media) poll, the coaches poll, the Harris poll.

I have long argued that fans care more, watch more and know more than the so-called "experts."

(I have also, secretly and not-so-secretly, always pined to vote in a college football poll. Not because I know best, but so I could use fan input to make my rankings and try to disrupt the system.)

Anyway, there has been one interesting online-sports concept that I've been keeping my eye on: The "BlogPoll," a group of 60 or so enthusiastic college football bloggers who come together to create a rankings that fills in the gaps where the AP and coaches blow it:

Passion, transparency, accountability.

They post their rankings, but take input from their readers to shape the final product. They hear from other voters, who force them to be transparent about their biases and justify their picks. I think it's a really cool idea, and I'm excited to join in.

So here's the situation: I've got my Top 25, based on watching way too many games on Saturday – a lot of you were right there with me – but this is only a starting point. Take a look, and let me know in the Comments area if you think anything is egregiously wrong. Or even mildly something you'd change. (Don't forget to provide some "why.")

I'll go back and revisit the list, synthesizing all of your arguments and observations, and make changes where necessary before submitting my final ballot. (You can check out the BlogPoll here.)

(Don't worry: There won't be this long of an intro each week. I just wanted to introduce the concept.)

Shanoff's Top 25 Ballot
1. Ohio State
2. Auburn
3. West Virginia
4. USC
5. Michigan
6. Florida
7. Georgia
8. Louisville
9. LSU
10. Texas
11. Oregon
12. Notre Dame
13. VA Tech
14. TCU
15. Iowa
16. Clemson
17. Oklahoma
18. Tennessee
19. Arizona St
20. BC
21. Boise St
22. Penn St

23. Alabama
24. Rutgers
25. Florida St

Let me try to explain myself with a few notes:

I was unimpressed with OSU in beating Cincy, but not enough to have the guts to knock them from No. 1. Winning at UT was still the top road win of the year.

Not TOO far ahead of Michigan over Notre Dame, which is why I put UM ahead of Florida and into the Top 5.

As much as I like West Virginia, I can't deny that the best team in the SEC – beating another Top 6 team (even at home) – shouldn't be No. 2.

I'm not sure why I have Georgia No. 7. Maybe because they're unbeaten, from the SEC and because I'm a sucker for true frosh QBs.

Louisville is not better than LSU or Texas without Brohm, but you can only go with "body of work" here. It's an interesting debate about how you should factor that.

OK, I've probably underrated Oregon at No. 11, but they just as easily could have lost and been in Oklahoma's No. 17 spot.

Virginia Tech isn't disrespected at No. 13. Have you seen that schedule?

I overrate TCU at 14, yes perhaps,but they absolutely shut down the most sophisticated offense in the country.

20-25 is a crap-shoot: I really wanted to get Rutgers in there. I am ashamed of myself for keeping FSU there, even barely hanging on at 25.

OK, those are some of my thoughts on how this was constructed. Now it's time for your reactions, analysis and picks in the Comments section. It WILL be taken VERY seriously.

We'll see how it goes. The whole thing is a great experiment for me. (And I agonized over my ballot way more than I thought I would... or would need to.)

-- D.S.


Christian Thoma said...

I would rank USC over West Virginia. USC easily dispatched Nebraska, and West Virginia's schedule is nothing to write home about so far (ever?).

jhawkjjm said...

Seems pretty reasonable. I didn't get to watch as much as I wanted to and I don't tend to pay close attention to the SEC (I'm in Big 12 country) so I can't speak much about some of those teams.

Couple little things to consider. Didn't BC beat Clemson, shouldn't that factor in the rankings. I'd say that Clemson is a bit too high for a win over a FSU team that is questionable to be in the Top 25.

I'd put OU ahead of Clemson as well. Though that's a coin flip situation. OU got robbed on the road (can't wait till the Pac 10 releases its reveiw on that) against probably the second best team in the Pac 10.

I might also flip WVU and USC as well. Granted its a very overrated Nebraska team, but USC has played two "name" teams and soundly beat them both.

Maybe even move Iowa behind Clemson and OU as well, if you struggle to beat Syracuse...

SF said...

Michigan should be ranked #3. I can understand Auburn with the win vs. LSU, but USC and WVA have not taken down a top 5 team yet...on the road by the way...and by 26 points, don't forget.

Give Big Blue the respect they deserve (at least for now)

Jingoist said...

USC ahead of Michigan? Dan, surely the ROAD win over ND vaults Michigan over USC who, despite beating a ranked Husker team, really had no worries at home.

rob (warwick)

Trey (formerly TF) said...

1-7 could all be debated.

Is Auburn better than OSU?
Is USC better than Michigan
Is Florida better than WVU?

What is more of a concern to me is the fact that undefeated Louisville and 1 very close loss LSU are below a texas team that was man handled at home.

I'm all for rewarding teams for out of conference games like that, but lets be fair here. Louisville should be top 8 and LSU won a game that was still in doubt with 4 seconds left...


CMFost said...

My Top 5
1. Ohio State - So far the best team
2. Michigan - that is until they lose to Ohio State.
3. West Virginia - Good team and will beat someone -when is the WV/Louisville Game?
4. USC - They are due to fall and fall hard
5. Auburn - No offense no chance.

Christian Thoma said...

The reason Michigan won't get huge props is because those of us who weren't delusional (and in this case, Dan qualifies) knew that Notre Dame was NOT a top 10 team.

It's like I said at work this morning: "Who knew that Notre Dame sucked so bad? Oh wait, I did."

CorrND said...

I don't get it, Dan. Which is it going to be:

ND is overrated (in which case, you have no business moving Michigan that high)


ND is still legit and Michigan is just that good (in which case, ND should not have dropped that far)?

As I've said all year, I'm going with ND being overrated (WAY overrated on D) and Michigan just having a very good (and certainly lucky) day. I like ND at 12 or 13 but Michigan at 7 or 8 at best.

Unknown said...

Georgia...I dont think they are a Top 10 team but...can't move them yet either.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

FSU is a top 25 team, but don't try and tell me their defense is unbelievable. They gave up 345 yards and 27 points to Clemson at home.

They have a good defense, but I wouldn't put it near the top in the NCAA.

Unknown said...

Dan I know it's been said (at least I'm assuming it has) but you wrote:

"Virginia Tech isn't disrespected at No. 13. Have you seen that schedule?"

Then you proceeded to place West Virginia in the Top 3? I've made it very clear both here and on the FBV Blog of my own that I don't think WVU is a national championship contender because of the cupcake schedule they play - but if you're going to put them in there in the Top 3 then you can't punish VT for playing such a weak schedule.

Don't get me wrong - Steve Slaton is the real deal and if he could go pro after this year he'd be a serious candidate as a top pick (would Houston pass over another chance at a Reggie Bush caliber player) but I dont think for one second that WVU would beat USC if the two played right now.

TJ said...

I'd put Cal in there instead of FSU for the Minnesota win, but Josh is going a little overboard trying to say we should respect them for beating a "highly touted 1-AA team." If beating a 1-AA team ever becomes a reason to put someone in the top 25... well, let's just hope it never comes to that.

I still say Auburn is the #1 team, with WVU #2 and OSU #3, and LSU is too low at #9, but overall a pretty sensible top 25.

About Rutgers, I think theyre a great choice for a spot in the 20s. It's even better because that means your poll has 3 Big East teams, 3 PAC 10 teams, and 2 Big 12 teams, which is great.

One more thing: if South Florida can win at Kansas next week, then the following week will see a matchup of 4-0 USF vs. 4-0 Rutgers. Winner gets a top 15-20 vote from me.

MP said...

Scary as it is, I think Rutgers can be in the Top 25 all year.

But hey, they've suffered long enough. Let 'em have it.

No, Michigan is still not a Top 5 team. And I'm a Michigan fan.

Can I also point out how death threats are never necessary?

FreKy J said...

Here's my Top 10 based on the ladder system I'm using, which only considers the actual games played against other ladder opponents and whether or not the team won.

1) Florida
2) Oregon
3) Michigan
4) Auburn
5) Ohio State
6) Rutgers
7T) Louisville
7T) Michigan State
9) Boston College
10) Alabama