Monday, August 21, 2006

BlogPoll Roundtable 1: Polling issues

Following the release of the BlogPoll preseason list, we get our first roundtable of 2006.

Our first of the season is hosted by The House Rock Built.

In a strange twist of fate, I had an entire post typed out, but a power surge blew it all away. The "Recover post" feature on Blogger is a disgraceful piece of crap, so I am forced to start over.

With that in mind, this is going to be shorter, with fewer links to the BlogPoll ballot and other things. I'm going to make my points and move on with my busy day.

1. What's the biggest ripoff in this preseason poll? Either pick a team that's offensively over or underrated, or you can rag on a particular voter's bad pick (hey, we're all adults here, we can handle it).

A few thoughts.

Notre Dame is overrated. Teams that don't play defense shouldn't be in the top five.

Auburn? I was especially disappointed in Badger Sports Blog, who had to have seen Wisconsin's pounding of the Tigers in the Capital One Bowl. EDSBS has Auburn #1, LSU #5, and Tennessee #8, apparently having forgotten about the other four or five BCS conferences (your mileage on the Big East definitely varies).

So in this poll, I'm tabbing Auburn as the most overrated side.

2. What shold a preseason poll measure? Specifically, should it be a predictor of end-of-season standing (meaning that a team's schedule should be taken into account when determining a ranking), or should it merely be a barometer of talent/hype/expectations?

Like many, I don't care who a team plays. That, to me, is Phil Steele's biggest flaw. He weighs schedules too much in his otherwise pristine analysis.

Consider things like returning talent, experience, and give a team a bump if they have a veteran outfit that is coming off a tough season (just don't vote them #8 in the preseason poll, Orson). Phil's idea of looking at turnovers from the previous year is a good one, because there is an amount of luck that comes with a high turnover margin, either positive or negative.

3. What is your biggest stretch in your preseason ballot? That is to say, which team has the best chance of making you look like an idiot for overrating them?

My decision to call Notre Dame "overrated" is a stretch that comes with a certain amount of admitted bias. With that in mind, I admit that they could very well end up 12-0. I just don't rate it as "likely".

West Virginia could make me, and many others, look completely stupid. I'm hopeful that it doesn't happen, and I think many are underestimating Rich Rodriguez and his program. If Pat White can develop even a smidge as a passer, this team is a serious threat.

Not only that, but both WVU and Texas did get rid of one stereotype that was prevalent for a couple years, and that was the one that said spread teams couldn't win. Not only did WVU and Texas win BCS bowl games with the spread (with Texas winning the national title), but Penn State and Ohio State also won BCS bowl games while using the spread as part of their offense. So lay off the spread, you purist heathens!

4. What do you see as the biggest flaw in the polling system (both wire service and blogpolling)? Is polling an integral part of the great game of college football, or is it an outdated system that needs to be replaced? If you say the latter, enlighten us with your new plan.

The biggest flaw in the polling system is that there is no playoff system set up to help deflect the negatives that are built in to the poll system.

That, and the polls carry too much weight in the BCS. We were told that the BCS was being implemented to offset the impact polls had in the selection process for major bowl games. Instead of doing that, the BCS fixed nothing (see: "2003"), and they tried to fix the BCS by putting the polls back in.

Way to be on top of things and forward-thinking, gentlemen.

5. You're Scott Bakula, and you have the opportunity to "Quantum Leap" back in time and change any single moment in your team's history. It can be a play on the field, a hiring decision, or your school's founders deciding to build the campus in Northern Indiana, of all godforsaken places. What do you do?

First off, I hated that show.

But I'll play along.

I'm going back to 1993 and reminding Darrell Bevell that the Badgers had their white jerseys on for their game against Minnesota at the Metrodome. Maybe then Bevell wouldn't have cost his team an eventual shot (maybe) at the national title by throwing the ball to the Gophers too many times.

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